Tell Me Your Love Story: My Love Story

I’ve been waiting for a special day to share this one, and today is that day. This is my very own story of true love and happily-ever-after.

In 1984, I found myself at one of those cross-roads in life. It was the summer between my junior and senior year of high school, which may seem as though it should have been a carefree time of fun, but I was always old for my age, and at that point, I was tired of high school. Tired of the needless drama, tired of the games and ready for my life to really begin. After years of straight living and toeing the line of good-girldom, in my junior year I’d gone a little wild. Now, trust me, ‘a little wild’ in my vernacular and in the mid-80’s was not today’s wild. It involved a little bit of alcohol, a little bit of dating–but ONLY dating–a series of boys, but I never did anything that would negatively impact the rest of my life.

Still, in early August before senior year, I was restless. I was done with high school guys, I knew that. I didn’t want to party away my senior year. Craving something more solid and real, I returned two stalwarts that had never failed me: books and my relationship with God.

Yes, I still have it!
Yes, I still have it!

I remember very clearly standing in the local Christian bookstore, looking for something to read, when a small wooden plaque caught my eye. It was Psalm 37:5: “Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you.” That verse resonated with me that day, and I bought the little wall hanging. I remember clearly the odd sense of rightness I felt. As I drove home, I also realized I needed a hook for the plaque, so I stopped at a store I’d never visited before, even though it had been around forever in our town. Kandle Lumber and Hardware just had never been on my radar, but it was on the way to my house, so I ran inside to find what I needed.

The man who helped me was the owner of the store, and I’d met him before. Actually, I knew the whole family vaguely: their son had begun West Point the year before, and he’d come to our house a number of times to chat with my dad, both before he’d started at USMA and then after, to share experiences. But up until then, Clint had been just one of many cadets coming in and out of my house. My father mentored quite a few.

I don’t remember exactly what Pete Kandle said to me that day, but it was something about his son, hinting that I should consider seeing him the next time he was home for a visit. Did I say I would? I don’t know, but that day stuck in my memory as a turning point in my life. I thought about it over the next few months.

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The Army-Navy game had long been a huge deal in my family, and we were pumped in early December of my senior year. For the first time in a long time, Army had a real shot at winning. My family had been invited to a post-game party at the Kandles’ home, and I brought along some of my friends, at Mrs. Kandle’s request. But what I remember most clearly was the hour I spent talking to Clint, leaning up against his dad’s desk in their den. The house was filled with people, and there was no place else to sit. Clint saw me on the floor and ran to grab a down-filled blanket to make me more comfortable. I didn’t know it then, but that was totally who Clint is: serving others, reaching out and giving of himself is at the core of his character.

I didn’t hear from Clint after that celebration, at least not immediately. But about a week before Christmas, he called and asked if I wanted to go Christmas shopping with him. He’d just gotten home on leave, and he needed to buy his mother a gift. What I remember about that day is that I’d never laughed more or felt immediately comfortable with any boy ever.

We went out a few more times over his Christmas break, but I wasn’t sure if we were just friends or . . . more. That is, until New Years Eve, when we went to a party at his friends house. As the clock struck midnight, ending 1984 and ushering in 1985, he kissed me for the first time.

Over the next months, we exchanged hundreds of letters, shared long phone calls (to the chagrin of Clint’s parents, who were footing his phone bill!) and I visited West Point as often as I could. He gave me an A-pin on March 1st that year. I was thrilled, and we were both deep in the throes of young love.

I started college that fall at the University of Richmond, but my heart was up in the mountains along the Hudson. Every Friday, I’d get on a train north, get off in Philadelphia, spend the night at my parents’ house, set my hair . . . and the next day, I’d drive three hours up to West Point, going to football games, dances or other social events, or just sitting with him in the lobby at the Hotel Thayer, doing homework and talking. The rules at West Point were very strict: no PDA, and no cadets were allowed above the mezzanine level at the hotel. Most weekends, Clint couldn’t leave post. But we always enjoyed just being together.

On Sundays, after chapel, I’d drive back home to New Jersey, repack and get on the train south, usually back in my dorm about midnight. It’s no wonder I failed calculus that semester, is it? I was miserable at college most of the time I was there. We knew once Clint finished at West Point, he’d be stationed somewhere in the world, and I’d still have two years of college left. At that time, this future seemed impossible.

And so we did what any two kids in love might: on Christmas Eve of my freshman year, after we’d been dating just about a year, Clint proposed and I said yes.

13391372_10153898748049145_8377456114474310888_oWe were married in June of 1987, ten days after his graduation. We spent our first six months together in Richmond as he attended Officer Basic and I got in another semester at Richmond, and then we moved to Hawaii for his first duty assignment.

That was four children, one son-in-law, many cats, dogs, homes and almost 30 years ago. We’ve lived in Virginia, Hawaii, Wisconsin, New Jersey and Florida. We’ve lost all of our grandparents and all but one parent between the two of us. We’ve weathered parenting, illness, homeschooling, many different churches, changes in career, moves and so many challenges . . . but 1610095_10152032355924145_1033576462_nthere is no one in the world I can imagine sharing my life. Clint has always been the first one to support me, the first one to tell me I can do anything I want. I know without a doubt that he would–and does–move mountains to make me happy. He’s still the same boy who will do anything to make me a little more comfortable.

312560_10150295218589145_1551940_nAnd almost 32 years after that very first date, he still makes me laugh more than anyone in the world.

I’m more in love with my husband today than I was when we got married. Then, I had no idea what love really was. Now, I think I’m beginning to catch glimpses of it. I think we need at least another thirty years to really get it down. I pray that we have those years together. When you’ve lost parents relatively young, you realize that nothing is guaranteed, and so I am grateful for every day we have together, and I am also greedy for even more.

This is a real happily-ever-after. It’s not all sunshine and cloudless skies; as my grandmother told me 12920242_10153768715739145_5181692080328787979_nonce upon a time, you must have just enough clouds to make a beautiful sunset. There must be rain to enjoy a rainbow.  But we’re living out our happy ending, day by day. That’s the very best kind of story in my book.

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Five From Patrick Friar

Welcome to Five From Friends Friday!

Each week, I’ll share with you five quick and quirky questions and answers

from some of my favorite author friends.

I think you’ll see some familiar faces in here, too.

Quickies from Patrick Friar

Author Patrick Friar will be joining us at Indie BookFest this summer! Check out his book and his interview.

Q: Wine or beer?

A: Wine. Moscato.

Q: Think of your favorite of your own characters. What attribute, physical or otherwise, would you most like to have yourself?

A: Damon’s guts to wrestle with two tensions that many  shirk the courage to do with honest soul scouring intensity; religious faith and human sexuality .

Q: A famous producer appears on your doorstep and offers to turn any book you like (by any author) into a Broadway play. Which novel would you choose? 

A: One of Anne Tyler’s brilliant people portrait  writings  either A Beginner’s Goodbye, or St Maybe , or Breathing Lessons.

Q: It’s a gorgeous Saturday morning in early June. How will you spend the day, assuming time and money are both limitless?

A: How about on one of those ivory sandy beaches  with aquamarine surf next to me  . Not very much attire… a great book say from a fellow or maiden Indie author, and a stocked cooler. 

Q: Brownies or chocolate chip cookies?

A: My mom baked the best. Won the hearts of all my high school friends on bus trips many years ago . Have to go with Moms famous chocolate chip cookies 

***

Damon is faced with a trial that shakes the depths of his soul. His spirituality is tested as he encounters the unyielding pull of image1sexual desires. Controversial and absorbing, Stained Glassis the story of a man whose own passions tear him apart with indecision.

 pastorsdamon.com/Amazon

  

Patrick Friar has had many years of experience in ministry. While becoming familiar with the inner workings of different smaller and larger church congregations, he finished work with a doctorate. Friar operates regularly as a therapist working with couples, individuals, and groups. He calls North Carolina home. He enjoys being a family man and is well-traveled. Friar enjoys a good steak, watching sports, playing golf, listening to music, and spending time with his family.

Follow Patrick here: Website/Facebook

Release Day!

The Only One is available now!

TheOnlyOne

 

The anticipated final book in The One Trilogy 

is finally here!

Rilla’s a good girl who’s ready for a change.

Mason’s a tough guy who’s afraid to love again.

Sometimes love isn’t the easy choice.

Sometimes it’s the only one.

***

Amazon/iBooks/BN/Kobo

Mason Wallace left his hometown to live his dream: he had the perfect career, a gorgeous wife and a beautiful baby girl. He was on top of the world, until it all shattered with the sudden death of his wife. Now he’s back in Georgia, running his bar and trying to take care of his family. And he needs all the help he can get.

Rilla Grant’s never been farther than twenty miles from her family’s farm. Her overprotective father wants her to marry their church’s youth pastor and settle down into the life he’s chosen for her, but she’s not sure that’s what she wants anymore. Rilla’s chafing to make her own choices, and that includes starting her own PR business and maybe even moving off the farm, no matter how much her dad hates it.

When Mason asks Rilla to work on some promotion for his bar, she’s both excited and terrified. Excited, because it’s just the opportunity she’s wanted, and terrified because Mason, with his intriguing hazel eyes and drool-worthy body, is the kind of guy who makes her knees weak and her heart pound. He’s the only one who’s ever tempted Rilla to defy her family, and when she does just that by moving in to help take care of his daughter, they’re both forced to make a decision that’ll change their lives forever.

Sometimes love isn’t the easy choice. Sometimes it’s the only one.

***

Don’t miss the first two books in The One Trilogy!

The familiarity of home, the warmth of family ties, the sweet sensation of being wrapped in the arms of THE ONE love that meant everything. . .each story is a remarkable package of all this and more.

–Olivia Hardin
USA Today Best Selling Romance Author

The Last One

The One Trilogy Book 1

Meghan Hawthorne is restless. The last year has been a roller coaster: her widowed mother just married a long-time family friend. Her younger brother unexpectedly became a father and a husband. Everyone’s life is changing. . .except for hers. As she begins her final summer of college, Meghan’s looking for excitement and TLOEbookSWmaybe a little romance. Nothing serious; this girl just wants to have fun. 

But the only man for Meghan turns out to be the last one she expects. 

Sam Reynolds doesn’t need excitement, and he doesn’t want romance. Fun is out of the question. He’s been the steady, responsible one since his parents were killed, and serious is his way of life. 

When Sam rescues Meghan alongside a dark Georgia backroad, she falls hard for his deep brown eyes and slow drawl. But making him see her as more than just a party girl won’t be easy. Sam’s tempted by the fiery young artist, even as he realizes that giving into his feelings will mean radical change. . .maybe more than he can handle. 

Nobody ever said love was simple.

 “As an almost strictly paranormal romance reader, it takes a certain type of author to convince me to dive into straight romance. Tawdra Kandle is one of the few authors I will make an exception for. Her writing style is so easy and relaxing that I have to really keep an eye on the time or I’ll stay up all night to finish one of her books.” Carrie Williams, Goodreads Reviewer

“Wow. Talk about romance with an edge. From the beginning the characters were so real that I was completely invested in them. The sexual tension woven into the story added so much value to the relationships. I will be reading this book many times just so I can spend more time with Meghan and Sam.” Cheryl Garrett, Goodreads Reviewer

“I’m in love with this book!!” Leah Fennick, Goodreads Reviewer

Buy it now at Amazon/iBooks/Barnes and Noble/Kobo/Google Play

***Free for a limited time***

 Watch the trailer here!

 

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The First One

The One Trilogy Book 2

Ali and Flynn were high school sweethearts. Eager to see the world and leave behind their small Georgia hometown, they’d planned for an exciting new life together after they finished school.

But on graduation day, only one of them hit the road.

Eight years down that road, an unexpected loss brings Flynn home again. He’s a big-shot photo journalist, and he’s made most of his plans reality. But he’s done it alone. Is it too late for his biggest dream to come true?

Ali’s spent those years working hard, raising a daughter and helping her brother keep their family farm alive. Thinking about Flynn and what might have been is a pain she tries to avoid. . .even when it’s impossible to forget.

Flynn’s return brings back feelings Ali thought were long dead and hopes she’d abandoned. Finding their way back to each other will change them forever, opening old wounds and stirring up memories.

Can first love be the one to last forever?

“Tawdra Kandle knows how to weave a story that is both steamy and heartfelt. I cannot even tell you how many times I was brought to tears while I read The First One. I’ve been waiting for Ali’s story ever since I finished reading The Last One, and I was not disappointed.” Melissa at Reading It All

“This was a beautifully executed romance that managed to change around all my preconceived notions about Flynn and Ali from the previous book. I started the book determined to hate Flynn all the way through for abandoning his family, but somewhere along the line I began to hope for happiness between these two. Amazing!” Carrie Williams, Goodread reviewer

Buy it now at Amazon/iBooks/Barnes and Noble/Kobo/Google Play

Watch the trailer here!

 

Tawdra Kandle writes romance, in just about all its forms. She loves unlikely pairings, strong women, sexy guys, hot love TK03scenes and just enough conflict to make it interesting. Her books run from YA paranormal romance (THE KING SERIES), through NA paranormal and contemporary romance (THE SERENDIPITY DUET, PERFECT DISH DUO, THE ONE TRILOGY) to adult contemporary and paramystery romance (CRYSTAL COVE BOOKS and RECIPE FOR DEATH SERIES). She lives in central Florida with a husband, kids, sweet pup and too many cats. And yeah, she rocks purple hair. 

Follow Tawdra on Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram

Visit her Website and subscribe to her Newsletter for special content and giveaways!