Just Grace and Danny
Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Arthur Archambeau
Word Count :114470
Publication Date :2021-11-19
Series : #
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-3212-6
They were two lost souls…until they found each other.
A burned-out pop diva runs away from fame and falls for a handsome Roman Catholic priest, who allows her to hide inside a Church rectory in an idyllic small town known as the real-life Mayberry.
Grace Stevens has it all. Beauty. Fame. Money. But, at only twenty-seven, all has become too much. Grace has become a prisoner to her own fame. She’s tired of the crazy tour schedule, the intrusive fans, the paparazzi hounding her, and her sleazy business manager controlling her. She yearns for a normal life. And she wants to find love, true love.
Danny O’Connor is a thirty-one-year-old Roman Catholic priest and a combat veteran of the Afghan War. He suffers from severe PTSD. Danny made a battlefield promise to God that if He got him safely home from war, he’d become a priest.
Reluctantly, Danny agrees to allow Grace to hide inside the St. Mary’s Church rectory, where she takes up residence with him. What he didn’t count on, though, was falling in love with her. Now, he’s confronted with the ultimate choice—will he choose God or the girl? Will he break his vow of celibacy in the heat of passion or abide by his commitment to the Church?
Just Grace and Danny is a slow burn but steamy romance about the power of love to mend brokenness. It’s a triumph of small-town values over the bright lights of the big city. It will get into your laughter, your heart, your soul. And maybe even a little into your tears. And leave you craving penny candy from a small town five and dime store, and bubble gum kisses in the rain.
Grace Stevens was literally sick and tired. And the rain was coming down so hard that she could barely see through the windshield of her silver Mitsubishi Mirage rental car. The GPS in her vehicle was malfunctioning. And she hadn’t been able to find her phone, so she had no access to any information or directions. All she knew was that she was headed northbound on Interstate 95, somewhere in Maryland. She had no particular destination in mind.
Grace was one of the most popular and successful female entertainers in the world, and, now, at only twenty-seven, she was burned-out. She had it all—beauty, money, fame. But all had become too much.
The final straw was her manager, Kip Darby, telling her she had to perform that night’s show at the Baltimore Arena, despite the fact that she felt lousy and was running a temperature of 101. “I’m not going to tell twelve thousand people that we have to cancel the goddamn show,” he’d warned her. So, she signed for a rental car at the hotel and took off. She ran away without telling anyone where she was going, just wanting to disappear from the face of the earth.
Her throat was sore, and her head was pounding. She had the chills. And now she was driving through a torrential downpour. A good old-fashioned April thunderstorm.
The guy behind her was driving a tractor-trailer and kept flashing his lights because she was only going forty miles per hour. “Screw you, asshole. I can’t see shit and I’m already in the slow lane,” she muttered. He kept riding her bumper, so she looked for a place to get off the highway.
Finally, through the sheets of rain, she saw an exit ahead. It was raining hard enough that she couldn’t read the town's name off the sign, but she took the exit anyway. This is only going to get me more lost—but what the hell? Maybe getting lost is what I need.
Once off the interstate, she took a series of random roads that led her through a small town. She could make out some of the landmarks. A country store, some antique shops, a small pharmacy. Such a tiny little town. Where am I?
She looked for a place to pull over, somewhere to ride out the storm. Somewhere to collect her thoughts. As she drove through Main Street, she squinted through the windshield to identify possible candidates.
Then, at the south end of town, she saw it. A Civil War-era church. A large white sign with black lettering out front read—St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Established 1863. Church Open 24/7 For Prayer and Meditation. All Welcome. She talked to herself. “Well, I guess I’m part of the all.” She made a right turn into the church’s lot and parked. Tilting her head back, she closed her eyes and rubbed her temples. It was good to be off the road. She wasn’t accustomed to driving. It stressed her out. A chauffeur generally drove her.
She rummaged through her purse, frantically looking for her phone. Like everyone, she felt naked without it. It has to be in here somewhere. But she couldn’t find it. Finally, she dumped the contents of her Louis Vuitton handbag on the passenger’s side front seat and sifted through everything. Some bubble gum, a small pack of tissues, a taser, a tube of coconut scented moisturizer, a pack of Virginia Slims, a couple of tampons, her wallet. But no cellphone. Shit. I must have left it in the hotel room. Aw, who cares? It’s probably blowing up with missed calls and messages by now. And I don’t want to deal with that stuff anyway. No biggie. Come to think of it—it’s actually better that I don’t have it. If I don’t have it, I can’t obsess over it. It’s actually kind of liberating. She opened the cigarette box and pulled out a smoke. After she cracked the front driver’s side window, she lit up. I know I shouldn’t be smoking while I’m sick, but I so need a cigarette right now. She took deep drags and held them in her lungs before blowing them out through her nose.
After she finished her smoke, she tossed the butt out the window, grabbed her purse, and exited the car. It was still raining hard, though not as hard as it had been when she was on the highway. She had no umbrella, so she ran from the parking lot to the church's front door. Turning the handle of the large white door, she peeked inside. On this Friday afternoon, it was vacant. Tentatively, she walked in and looked around. The ceiling was high and arched. Down the center aisle, a ruby red carpet led up to an altar that featured a life-sized crucifix and a Virgin Mary statue. The place smelled of incense and was quiet except for the building’s HVAC system's constant humming. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in one of these.
She hacked and sneezed as she walked up the red carpet towards the front of the church. When she reached the first row of wooden pews, she stopped, set down her purse, and moved a stack of Bibles. She sprawled out, closed her eyes, and put her right hand on her forehead to check for fever. The wet jeans and t-shirt she was wearing made her feel cold. She even shivered a little. But after ten minutes or so, she drifted off to sleep to the sound of the rain hitting the stained glass windows.
She woke up when she felt someone jostle her arm. A deep male voice asked, “Miss, are you all right?”
Grace opened one eye, looked up, and saw him. He had black hair, blue eyes, and was tall. She guessed about six-feet-four inches. And he looked to be about thirty. He had an athletic build and was handsome. Damn. He looks like JFK Jr.