I hope your March is getting off to a fabulous start! It’s looking pretty sunshiny where I am – literally and metaphorically. 😊
For believers around the world, this is often a season of reflection and prayer as God prepares our hearts for Easter.
This year, though, it’s also a season of great Christian romance. (Is there really any season that doesn’t deserve a little romance? 😉) You may have heard of the Easter in Gilead series. Valerie Comer talked about An Unlikely Hero, book 1 in the series, in her latest post. Her book released last week, and you can get it now.
Elizabeth Maddrey also talked about Her Billionaire Benefactor, book 2 in the series, in her latest post. Her book is on preorder and will release next month – order your copy now!
And last month, I gave you a sneak peek at my hero, Dawson Bauer. He’s an interesting guy. It seemed only fair to introduce you to Letty Stanton, the girl who gets Dawson so twisted up, this month. I hope you enjoy this excerpt!
The stream of customers was never-ending, and each person had an opinion they felt compelled to share.
Mrs. Alleghany stood there, a gleam in her eyes. “Did you hear about the new young man working at the college? He does technical stuff. Quite a handsome fellow, too, from what I hear. Savannah Smith’s niece saw him at auditions last night and told her aunt all about it.”
Letty tried to bite back her grimace. “Um… did you want any coffee today?”
The steel-haired woman harrumphed. “Is that all you think about?”
Letty glanced over at the kitchen door. She could go for an escape right about now. Then she took in the still-growing line and sighed. “We’re a coffee shop. It’s sort of my job to think about coffee.”
Mrs. Alleghany gave a long-suffering sigh. “Fine. One hot coffee to go. You’re starting to get a little long in the tooth, you know. If he’s working at the Bible college, I’m sure he’s a fine Christian man. You should bake him a pie to welcome him to town.”
“Yeah, and show a little cleavage when you deliver it!” The voice came from near the door, but the speaker was hidden by the line.
Letty grabbed the coffee Cici held out to her and handed it to the town’s biggest gossip. “On the house, Mrs. Alleghany. Have a nice day. Next!”
Cici, the high school girl who helped during the early morning rush, stood there with her shoulders shaking. “I’m not laughing. I promise. And cleavage or not, you don’t look a day over fifty.”
Letty snorted. She was still shy of thirty, and they all knew it.
The next customer was at the register. “Don’t listen to her, Letty, dear. You’re a spring chicken. Are you even old enough to drink?”
With a shake of her head, she turned to the gentleman who always wore slacks and a button-up shirt, whether he was spending his day gardening or socializing. “Good morning, Mr. Abrams. How’s the arthritis this morning?”
“A storm’s coming. I can feel it in my bones.”
Nobody laughed. Mr. Abrams’ bones hadn’t been wrong yet.
“Want the usual?”
“You know it, sweetheart. So… how old are you, anyway? Probably too young for a crotchety old man like me…”
Letty took the hot mocha from Cici and handed it to one of her favorite town residents. “Well, Mr. Abrams, I’m old enough to drink but not so old that I’m ready to shop for a cemetery plot.”
“How long’s it been since you went on a date, dear? I seem to recall…”
“It’s on the house. I can help the next person!”
Sally stopped laughing long enough to order. “I need two vanilla lattes, one caramel macchiato, and an Americano with an extra shot.”
“You got it.” Letty wrote the orders on the cups and passed them off to Cici.
“If I ask about your love life, will my order be on the house, too?”
“Ha. You wish. If you ask about my love life, I’ll ask about yours.”
Sally held her hands up in surrender. “You fight dirty, Letty Stanton.”
“And don’t you forget it.” She winked at her friend before turning to the next customer.
“Good morning, dear. Can I get one of your almond croissants, please? And a cup of cinnamon spice tea, please.”
“Of course, Mrs. Butler. Coming right up.”
As Letty handed over the plated pastry, the soft-spoken woman dropped her voice to a whisper. “The college’s new AV guy is going to run lights and sound for the play. Maybe you’ll get a chance to meet him at auditions…”
I hope you enjoyed the excerpt! You can preorder His Runaway Crush here. It releases March 28th, so you won’t have too long to wait. 😊
And in the comments, tell me about one of the hang-out places where people gather to share information. In Gilead, one of those places is Heavenly Brew, Letty’s coffee shop – and half the time I’m not honestly sure if they’re sharing information or harassing each other…but maybe in some towns that’s the exact same thing. 😊In any event, one commenter will be randomly selected to receive a $5 Amazon gift card.
May your March be filled with fun reading and fabulous books!
Lori R says
I live in a small town and I would say our coffee shop and grocery store would be where people might hang out and gather information.
Heather Gray says
The grocery store! I didn’t even think of that. I’ve been spoiled by living in a city – I place my grocery order online and go to pick it up without ever stepping foot in the store. My mother-in-law, though, worked for years in the local grocery store in the small town where my husband grew up, and you are so right! That place was like a clearinghouse of information. ^_^
I live in a city that’s big enough that we don’t have a central location everyone goes to, but small enough that if you’ve lived here long enough you’ve probably heard of most people at some point. During the summer the people on my side of town hang out at one of the pools and share life. It probably can become quite the gossip station if we’re not careful.
Heather Gray says
Ha! I have a few memories of the pool from when I was younger. I could never understand why the adults just sat around and talked – how boring! – when they could have been in the pool having fun. Now I understand – sometimes you take any excuse you can get to have a little adult conversation. ^_^ You’re right, though – anytime we get together to “catch up” with other people, we do need to be careful not to slide into gossip. Excellent point! (There’s a serious gossip in Gilead, and she’s not terribly liked because of all her gossipy ways.)
Kathleen Mattingly says
The first thing that popped in my mind was a bar!! But after I thought about it, I believe it would be a diner that people go to for breakfast especially. I go by this local diner every morning on the way to work, and there are a lot of cars— mostly older people.
Heather Gray says
Yes! I didn’t even think about that one. We used to have a favorite breakfast place when we lived back in Idaho. No matter how busy the place was, there was this long table in the center of the dining room that seated probably 20 people, and it was almost always full – all the seniors (often men) would gather at that table to share their news, catch up on other people’s news, debate politics, and basically solve all the world’s problems. It’s similar where I live now, and except it’s a Panera, and it’s exclusively older men, and the discussion centers around politics more than people- one of the “perks” of living this close to DC, I guess. ^_^
Cathy French says
We have a big grocery store nearby that has a bar. I have seen people sitting and drinking at that bar in the middle of the day so I know they are sharing for sure.
Heather Gray says
Oh my word! Where Ilive, you can’t even sell liquor (other than wine and beer) in the grocery stores. I can’t imagine having a bar in one! That cracks me up. Thank you for sharing! :-)
Bonnie Heringer says
When I was in high school a long, long time ago, the place was Ann’s Donut Shop. I worked there for awhile. Some very interesting regulars came in. It was fun. As I recall, i laughed a lot.
I have Valerie’s book, An Unlikely Hero, queued on my Kindle, ready to read. I am looking forward to this series. Thank you.
Heather Gray says
Donuts! I could get on board with hanging out at the donut shop. :-)
I wonder what makes a place a regular hangout. What is it about the place that invites people to come, stay, and return? That would be interesting to ponder.
Bonnie Heringer says
In my case, it was the only place to get donuts and coffee! It was a small town, and Krispy Kreme or Dunkn’ Donuts hadn’t come about yet. Then, there was me! Just kidding. But I do think people come in with other friends or meet them at their meeting place. After awhile, it could just be habit.
Margaret Nelson says
I just finished Valerie’s book last night and really liked it, so can’t wait for yours! My husband and I rarely go out to eat, except for after church on Sunday. I’m happy when I run into a neighbor at the grocery store, but it doesn’t happen that often. My “hang out” place is church on Sunday and Wednesday night :-)
Heather Gray says
Amen! Church is pretty much my hangout place, too. And Sunday church is usually followed by Chinese takeout. :-)
Kendra Muonio says
I would say Starbucks or a grocery store.
Heather Gray says
I remember the first time I walked into a Starbucks and was greeted by, “Hi, Heather!” I felt like I’d gone through some sort of time warp. I don’t live in the type of community where people actually know each other’s names. Needless to say, they got a bigger tip than usual that day, and that became my favorite Starbucks. (It took me a while to figure out it was because I’d placed my order in the app and my name was already on the cup…) ^_^
Priscila Perales says
I went and read your other post as well, and I already love your characters! Can’t wait to read their story! :)
I think if it’s not a coffee shop, it could be a diner.
Heather Gray says
Yay! I’m glad that you’re looking forward to reading His Runaway Crush. I loved getting to know Dawson and Letty and seeing where God was going to take them as characters. And I like the idea of a local diner hangout. It’s a nice, chill place – no rush. People can visit, spend time, and not feel like the waitress is trying to kick them out so she can get her next customer seated. There’s some home-town warm about that mental picture. :-)
I honestly have no idea where people hang out around here! I hang out with church friends at our Thursday Bible study, which ends for the summer this week, and when I go out to lunch with friends we chose different places!
Erin Stevenson says
I’ve lived in several small towns, but it’s been awhile. Back in the day, the post office was always a good place to socialize.
I just finished the first book in the Gilead series and LOVED it. I love small town series where you can follow the characters and be introduced to new ones who were minor characters in previous books. I love how you’ve taken over the characters so seamlessly. I’m kind of hoping that by the last book, something will happen to change Mrs. Alleghany’s heart. Nothing is too hard for Jesus, right? :)
Alicia Haney says
Hi, I think Beauty Shops, the stylists (hair dressers) seem to know everything about what is going around. Have a great day.
Hi Elizabeth! Our community has about 10,000 residents. Was out running errands today. Had a discussion with a lady from book club at the grocery store. Since I had an appointment at the local bank (credit union) to update my accounts, as I was leaving an agent saw my name and wanted to know if I was a teacher for a local school. I knew his teacher wife, who teaches at my granddaughter school – we talked for 10 minutes. Husband went to our internet provider and met people he knew. SO some folks meet at coffee shops, restaurants, grocery stores, local library, parks, the bluff park over looking Lake Michigan, at beaches, and museums. A plus living in a smaller community. Lots of wonderful places to meet and catch up. Enjoy your day.
After reading the previous comments – yes do it shop is a hangout, breakfast restaurants, diners, the post office ( I no Mike who works the window since the post office branch opened in the late 1990s. It is across the street from the high school I taught at. The beauty shop – have been going monthly for the last 30 years. Walgreens – know the clerks and meet locals. Our two local bakeries – Bot of Swiss & Flour Shop – been going to oth for decades. Go weekly.
I’m really enjoying the Gilead series so far, so I’m looking forward to your book releasing!
It’s not really somewhere to hang out, but I have to say the place where most gossip is shared that I know of is the school gates at pickup time! It’s all very good natured, but news certainly seems to spread fast!
I am not sure if we have a local hangout. We do have a few small cafes where people meet on a regular basis. The Blacksmiths cafe is one named by previous owners after there family relative that was one of the settlers of my town and a blacksmith. We have a couple others where people meet. As we are a small country town we have a main street and many will chat there and in the supermarket.
Mary Preston says
The coffee shops do a roaring trade around here. Always a great place to meet up.
SARAH TAYLOR says
A great place would be at the hairdresser and coffee shop
Lelia (Lucy) Reynolds says
The Hair Haven where I get my hair done always has people in and out just to talk when I’m there. If you listen you don’t know what you will hear. I always have a book. 😜
Debra Pruss says
Heather, I have not been out and about much in years. From what I hear, I would have to say Starbucks or maybe the library. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.
Your books looks so interesting!
Coffee shops, diners, ball games, and the grocery store all seem like places to hang out. I know my uncle meets friends at McDonalds, and the retired teachers from my elementary building meet at Panera, so maybe some fast food places in small towns are hangout places, also.
The local restaurant is the hangout for those who like to catch up on the goings-on in our area.
Linda Kish says
We live in a small town. Church, Starbucks, outside of the kids’ schools or at the kids’ ball games would probably the most common places where people would meet up around here.
Natalya Lakhno says
“Pause” – coffee shop :)