The Canary Cage is more than a saloon. It’s a cauldron of regret, lost love, and intrigue—and, as “Lily” soon learns, once you enter its doors, you may lose more than your reputation.
Historical Inspirational Romance; 105,000 words
It’s 1899 and socialite Melissa Forrester has traveled 1,500 miles from her home in Norfolk, Virginia, to Guthrie, Oklahoma. She’s there to visit her sister’s grave and to try to understand why Augusta had felt driven to suicide. Now completely alone in the world, Melissa is angry at God and at Tyler Buchanan, the man she holds responsible for her sister’s death.
Impulsively accepting employment at The Canary Cage, the saloon where her runaway sister had worked as a singer named “Roxie,” Melissa adopts an assumed name herself, and, for a time, lives a lifestyle much like her sister’s. As “Lily,” she’s determined to seek out Buchanan, the man Roxie claimed to have loved. Lily’s bitterness burns, and she fully intends to make him pay for rejecting her sister.
But Buchanan, Guthrie’s most successful newspaper publisher, turns out to be a tougher adversary than Lily expected. Tyler has his own demons to wrestle. Years earlier, he had fled Charleston, South Carolina, leaving scandal behind, and started a new life in Guthrie. When Lily arrives, he’s irresistibly drawn to her, and a familiar battle between head and heart resurrects. The more he tries to avoid her, the more she seems to be everywhere. With an aggressive, marriage-minded debutante added to the mix, Tyler has his hands full.
Lily grows closer to those who inhabit The Canary Cage and finds she has more in common with their dreams, struggles, and heartaches than she could have imagined. Experiencing intolerance firsthand, she sees herself and those around her in a different light.
She discovers more about the circumstances surrounding her sister’s suicide and Tyler’s shadowy past and wonders: Could there be another, darker, explanation for Augusta’s death?
Perhaps there are even more important questions. Will the price Lily has to pay for her subterfuge be too high? If she continues to harbor unforgiveness and resentment, will she lose her true self? Will her willfulness rob her of the friendships and the love she’s finally found? Will she, like other seemingly lost souls, be unable to escape the evil hiding behind the doors of The Canary Cage?
Contemporary Inspirational Romance—120,000 words
Rachel Johnson, a promising young architect, has just been given a design project that could change her career. But it’s for NASCAR driver Marc Dennison, the one man she never wanted to see again. Hardworking and married to her job, Rachel has no time—and no desire—for romance. Marc left skid marks on her heart eleven years earlier in one brief encounter. Now she has no intention of changing course. Even when the love of her life comes along … again. Even if he’s interested. Even if he remembers her.
Enigmatic and complex, Marc is a champion with all the accompanying trappings—wealth, fame, and way too many adoring female fans. Still, when he looks in the mirror, he doesn’t see a winner, but an outsider who is missing something, He’s fully aware his peers and the racing public find him easy to admire but not easy to like. And that doesn’t sit well, no matter what people think.
As the racing season and the work on the house come to an end, will Marc still see that same nobody hiding behind the façade of a champion? Is it too late for him to learn how to receive and give the love that’s been missing? Will he lose the most important race of his life?
The more time they spend together working on the design project, Marc can’t help but be drawn to Rachel while she resolutely fights her attraction to Marc. She reminds herself of the admonition against being unequally yoked, even as her passion for him seems intent on re-blooming. But will Rachel win her battle for purity and learn to rein in her passion for Marc when he seems as determined to have her as he is to win a second championship?
Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who build it. (Psalm 127:1)