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Book, Reviews, Excerpt

A Whedon, PA Story

A One-of-a-Kind Family
by Holly Jacobs

~Golden Quill Award Winner
~Write Touch Readers' Award Winner &
The Readers' Crown Award Winner!!

ISBN # 978-0373716159
Harlequin SuperRomance, 2/10

She’s kind of special…

Anna Chapel believes in people. She believes in helping them lead exceptional lives. Now the dedicated life coach wants to do that for different, yet special Colm Franklin. If Colm’s breath-stopping, over-protective brother Liam will let her.

But the guilt-ridden computer programmer refuses to believe, to dream. Or could it be he simply needs to learn how? Anna’s biggest challenge may be ahead: can one woman with a head full of wayward curls and a smile a mile long convince Liam they have a fighting chance? That, together, they can overcome anything to create a family that’s truly one of a kind?

 

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Book, Reviews, Excerpt

Reviews:

"While this is a romance, Holly Jacobs also shows that people with exceptional needs also have exceptional qualities. A One-of-a-Kind Family is another stellar romance from a special author." Lesa's Book Critiques

"Ms. Jacobs took what could be a touchy subject and injected a perfect blend of humor into it, but didn't make Colm a spectacle for public humiliation. When I closed A ONE-OF-A-KIND FAMILY I wanted to search my shelves for other works by Ms. Jacobs. I think that says it all."
~Fresh Fiction

"Jacobs' strong storyline and charming characters form a lovely story." ~RT Book Reviews  

"Jacobs describes the challenges and joys of having a family member that is exceptional with her classic inspirational style.  A ONE-OF-A-KIND FAMILY is a lovely read that delivers a potent message." ~CataRomance

"...a terrific timely contemporary romance." ~Harriet Klausner

Book, Reviews, Excerpt

A One-of-a-Kind Family , by Holly Jacobs
ISBN # 978-0373716159
Harlequin SuperRomance, 2/10

(Excerpt Copyrighted 2010)


“We got the house,” Anna Chapel practically sang as she burst into The Sunrise Foundation’s small reception area. The first thing that caught her eye was the big sign that boldly and proudly announced: Sunrise Foundation, Helping Exceptional People Lead Exceptional Lives.


Today’s news was certainly going to go a long way in helping a small group of Whedon, Pennsylvania’s exceptional people lead more independent, and certainly exceptional, lives.

“It’s ours,” she sang out again. “We got it.”

Anna was so excited she couldn’t contain the feeling any longer and wiggled her hips. There were some things in life that Anna felt she was blessed with, but there were others she knew she was not. Rhythm and her hair were two of the were-not areas. She wiggled her hips again and felt a few more of her Medusa curls escape her ponytail holder, but she was simply to happy to mind.

“Was that a dance?” her friend Deanne Cellino, Ceelie as she was known, laughed. “Because if it was...” She shook her head and her long blond hair swished back and forth along her shoulders–shoulders that stood so much higher than Anna’s five foot, five inch body’s shoulders stood. Anna always thought that Ceelie looked a bit Amazonian–she looked like a warrior, but had the heart of an earth mother. It always got warm and fuzzy over small things.

“Hey, that was a Snoopy-Dance of Joy, my friend. And you’re not going to dim my absolute glee by pointing out that I have no sense of rhythm. If there was such a thing as an anti-rhythm, I realize that’s what I’d have. But when one is dancing a Snoopy-Dance, rhythm is not required, all you need is joy and I’ve got that in spades. Come on.”

She grabbed Ceelie’s hands and Snoopy-Danced again. Ceelie was laughing so hard that all she did was stand there, but she finally got herself under control and did a bit of a jig as well.

“You are absolutely crazy, girl,” Ceelie assured her with a friend’s affection.

“I might be, but you’re talking to a crazy person who got the house. It’s so perfect, Ceelie. Three bedrooms, two full baths. A ranch, so with the addition of a ramp, it’s handicap accessible and it’s–”

“Perfect,” Ceelie filled in for her.

Anna sighed, still riding the glow of her success. “Yes, perfect for our clients. It will make the perfect group home.”
All her joyful dancing had drained off enough of her excess energy that Anna could sit down. She plopped onto the small loveseat in the office’s reception room. “Now, the work begins. We need to get our variance from the zoning board, then start the renovations and...” Her sentence faded as she started mulling over the long list of jobs that lay ahead of her.

“Hey, enjoy the moment. You worry too much about what’s coming up and what’s behind you. Just live in the now for a minute.”

“Deanne Cellino, ladies and gentlemen,” Anna said to a nonexistent audience, “mystic, sage, warrior princess and all around mother to the world.”

Ceelie blew a raspberry in her direction. “You know I’m right.”

“Yes, I do.” Anna studied her friend. Ceelie liked to say she was upwardly-vertically challenged, but her abundance of height was needed to contain her giant of spirit. Ceelie was one of those people who always seemed to have things together. She balanced a demanding job and parenting her two children with apparent ease.

Anna and Ceelie made up the entire staff of The Sunrise Foundation. With Erie nearby, some of the Whedon’s special needs residents sought services there, but the rest, were serviced here. Anna and Ceelie served as life coaches. Ceelie had come up with the job title and Anna always thought it was an apt description for a job that varied based on each client’s highly individual needs.

Ceelie’s smile faded a bit. “And not that I’m anxious to bring down your happy mood , but your mother called.”

“Oh.” Anna forced a smile she didn’t feel. Her mother calling during a work day never boded well. “Did she say what she wants?”

“She wants you to call her back as soon as possible. She said she tried your cell, but it went to voicemail.”

“I turned it off at my meeting with the bank about the mortgage and haven’t turned it back on yet.” She reached in her bag, pulled out the phone and turned it back on, then flicked on the missed calls–four from her mother. No, this did not bode well.

“Well, you probably should call her back now. You have an appointment in half an hour with that new case.” Ceelie somehow honed in on the correct file that was midway through a huge stack of file-folders and handed it to her. “A thirty year old who’s been in his brother’s custody for a year since his parents died in a car accident.”

Anna looked at the file labeled Colm Franklin. She opened it and found other than an initial fact sheet, it was empty. Normally clients came to Sunrise with a file folder full of notes from other programs. “No notes?”

“None. He was in special ed classes back in high school. Long before Whedon practiced mainstreaming. Once he finished school, he stayed home with his mother.”

“Oh. Do we have anything from the school?”

“It’s old enough at this point and not really worth much, would be my thought, but you can call and see what the school has.”

“But even if I find something, I’m basically starting from scratch?” She shut the folder.

“Yes, that’s about the gist of it.”

“Any insights on the brother?” Family members called Sunrise for a variety of reasons. It helped to know what they wanted from the program.

The Sunrise Foundation was a small non-profit that survived on a shoe-string budget with grants from both government and charitable foundation. The money for the new group home came from a huge grant last year. Ceelie had become a grant-writing pro, but there was never quite enough money to accomplish everything they’d like to do. And at Sunrise, everything was pretty much anything. From helping clients find housing, to teaching them to handle money, to helping some learn basic life-skills. Anna had taught clients to cook, to use a cellphone, and even to tie their shoes. They’d helped place clients in jobs, and... Basically they facilitated whatever a particular client needed to improve their quality of life.

Anna’s job description changed on a daily basis for each of her dozen clients. And the amount of time she worked with each client changed as well. Some needed more intense interaction, some just minimal support.

“Liam Franklin, the brother, is self-employed. Something to do with computers and security.” Ceelie shrugged. “You know me and technology.”

Anna did know. Ceelie could manage a word processor or spreadsheet on the computer, but other than that, she did nothing more complex than email.

“Liam works out of his home office most of the time, but he’s got to travel for business and is looking for a babysitter for Colm when he does. He got a referral from his doctor, and assured me in no uncertain terms that he wanted nothing more than that. Just a babysitter.”

Anna ran her fingers through her wildly springy hair. For years she’d tried products, haircuts, flat irons... Finally, she’d reached the ripe old age of twenty-eight and admitted that she didn’t have the time. She was going to embrace her outer Medusa and let her hair live the life it was destined to lead. After all, that was her job. Helping people lead the best life they were capable of. She looked at the Sunrise motto again. Helping Exceptional People Lead Exceptional Lives.

It was such a simple concept, yet so succinct. Too bad some families never understood it.

She wondered what kind of person Colm’s brother–who simply wanted a babysitter–was. Maybe this new client was so severely limited that he needed that kind of care, but maybe he could do more... That sense of the possible, the idea of helping someone discover they could accomplish more than they ever imagined–that’s what kept Anna doing what she did.

“Just a babysitter,” she murmured, more to herself than to Ceelie.

“You can handle it,” Ceelie, her own personal Pollyanna, said.

Anna nodded. “Sure. I’ll do what’s best for...” She glanced at the file. “Colm. Colm Franklin. After I call my mother back.”
“Colm doesn’t know how lucky he is,” Ceelie assured her.
Anna hoped lucky was the word Colm and his brother would someday use to describe their first meeting at Sunrise.
She got up and headed back into her private office to call her mother. Although, she was already sure that there was some new crisis–one that probably involved a man in one way or another. She couldn’t remember who her mother’s current boyfriend was. The names changed so frequently, it was hard to keep up.

“Hey, Anna,” Ceelie called.

Anna turned around and looked at her friend, who did another little Snoopy-Dance. “You got the house.”
Anna’s spirit immediately lifted. “You’re right, we got the house.”

From the book: A One-of-a-Kind Family
By: Holly Jacobs
Imprint and Series: Harlequin SuperRomance
Publication Date: 2/10
ISBN: 978-0373716159
Copyright © 2010
By: Harlequin Enterprises
® and ™ are trademarks of the publisher.
The edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.
For more romance information surf to: http://www.eHarlequin.com

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