Spiritual malaise permeates the hearts of the residents of a scenic small town with a troubled past, tenuous present, and an uncertain future.
In the town of Sterling Lakes, stained-glass artist Cascade Preston has overcome a dark childhood deeply wounded by domestic violence. When she’s approached to design new windows for a refurbished church in town, she ignores the request…until the no-nonsense project manager Dan McQuay appears looking for the window plans. Suddenly, the project takes on a whole new light.
GENRE: Inspirational Romance ISBN: 978-1-922066-52-7 ASIN: B009RMKW14 Word Count: 52, 410
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5.0 out of 5 stars Letting God Heal A Painful Past
LIGHT OF THE HEART is a wonderful story of a young woman who struggles to get past the shadows of her childhood. Cascade is a woman who uses busyness to avoid dealing with her past. When she discovers her next project is in the town filled with painful memories, she almost runs the other way. But when she meets Dan and start to fall for him, she must rethink her life, including issues with forgiveness. Ms. Andrews has a way of keeping the reader glued to the page. Her characters and their problems are real. She points to God as the only one who can renew the soul and offer a new start.
5.0 out of 5 stars An unexpected delight!
I don't typically read this genre. Full disclosure, the author is a dear friend and I wanted to support her publication. Early into the book, I found myself not wanting to put it down. The characters are easy to relate to and the story has a perfect balance of romance, mystery, and intrigue, not to mention descriptions of cities and towns in New England where I have spent much of my life. It was easy to imagine each scene and the kind-hearted characters that remind us of life's most important lessons. Download your own copy and get whisked away to Sterling Lakes, right now!
5.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting, Heartwarming and Romantic!
"Light of The Heart" was such a powerful story! This heartwarming romance was clean and uplifting. You feel the struggles that the characters deal with in order to come to terms with their past through forgiveness. The author developed the characters so realistically that you felt like they were your friends. I see why the author earned the wonderful honor of getting the five-rating star rating from Readers' Favorite!
5.0 out of 5 stars Light of the Heart is a great love story with plenty of humor
Light of the Heart is a great love story with plenty of humor. Cascade, the female character, is charming. As for Dan, he is a hoot and he’s such a fun and masculine character. One of my favorite quotes that he says is this: “I’m just the project manager. I come into town, do the job, and leave. No ties, no friendships, no tea parties and barbecues with the neighbors. In and out.” He snapped his fingers. “Just like that.” No tea parties and barbecues with the neighbors? After that statement, you can tell what kind of guy he is going to be. This story is very entertaining and I really liked Dan. –Review by Author Linda Weaver Clarke
4.0 out of 5 stars LIGHT OF THE HEART
THIS IS AN EXCELLENT BOOK. VERY GOOD STORY...WOULD SUGGEST TO ALL AGES..............THE ENTIRE STERLING LAKES SERIES IS VERY GOOD READING,,,REGARDS BEN SMITH
5.0 out of 5 stars A Story of romance and faith
Light of the Heart by Regina Andrews is a wonderful story of two people, Cascade and Dan, who find each other. They both have issues from the past. This requires them to take a leap of faith but it is especially difficult for Cascade. She is a stained-glass artist and her career takes off. She meets Dan at her old home place, Sterling Lakes, where she is contracted to do the glass in St. Luke's church. Dan is a construction worker there. We come to love these two characters as we follow them at Sterling Lakes. Can Cascade get past her unforgiving attitude toward those of Sterling Lakes for not helping her in the past? To me, the key answer was given by her friend, Tina. It made Cascade think and will make anyone think of their own life situations and reassess their feelings toward others whom they think have been neglectful. Ms. Andrews has crafted a thought provoking story of sweet romance, faith, trust in each other, appreciation for others problems and trust in God. I highly recommend this first book of the Sterling Lakes Series.
5.0 out of 5 stars Will Light up Your Heart
Cascade Preston is a stained-glass artist who struggles to overcome an awful childhood and trust in men. She doesn't want anything to do with the town she grew up in when she's sought to complete the stained-glass project to remodel an old church in Sterling Lakes. Cascade encounters the project manager, Dan McQuay, and though she's attracted and single, she turns down the job and makes up her mind to forget his blue eyes until the ladies at the prison where she volunteers make her think twice. They throw a guilt trip on her, and she ends up wanting to do the windows for the church when she visits the site and thinks they've gotten another artist. The beauty of this book is in the method the author uses to convey God's light in the heart and entwine it with the light that filters through stained glass windows in a church. Dan McQuay makes it his business to not get involved until he's entwined in the rays of light Cascade throws his way and he opens his heart to God's light. When they both open their hearts to the stained-glass window project, God works in both. At first Cascade has to face her fear of Dan's leaving like usual when he completes a job. Then, she's offered a big contract and must go to New York if she wants to follow her dreams. Will she marry Dan or follow her dreams and be the one who does the leaving? She feels like she's sold her soul when she flies to New York and signs that big contract. She must search her conflicted heart, and she's so confused she doesn't know what is the right thing to do. Can she face living in Sterling Lakes again, the town she grew up in and hates? Is it possible for God to change her heart about Sterling Lakes and the people who live there, if she lets the light filter in through those stained glass windows? Can she trust Dan not to leave her? I bought this book, read it, and loved it. If you want to read a beautiful book with a filtered-light story, this is the one. And you won't want to miss what happens when Cascade must face her fear of the water when the canoe tips over during a sudden storm.
5.0 out of 5 stars An Awesome Romance!
I enjoyed reading Regina Andrews' outstanding debut novel, Light of the Heart, in her Sterling Lakes Series about the talented stained glass artist Cascade Preston and project manager Dan McQuay. Andrews has created wonderful characters and a lively, interesting plot in Book One. Cascade's unhappy childhood gave her a strong reason for not wanting to return to Sterling Lakes to design and make stained glass windows for St. Luke's Church. Fortunately, her cousin and employee, Abby, turns a bid in for the job and forges Cascade's name. Abby realizes Cascade needs to face her past, even though it will be painful. Dan also has personal problems that must be resolved so he can move on to have a happier life. The scenes are remarkable where Cascade visits the women in Tanglewood Women's Prison and gives them positive feedback on their stained glass assignments. It adds a depth to the character I appreciated. On one particular visit, the women in prison accuse Cascade of holding the church renovation up by refusing to do the stained glass job. As she leaves the prison, Cascade realizes she might be in her own personal prison. I love Ms. Andrews' writing, and I'm sure Book Two in the Sterling Lakes Series will be another great story to enjoy.
5.0 out of 5 stars a heartfelt story
Regina Andrews has a gift for creating true-to life characters confronting believable conflicts, and draws both with depth and detail that captivate the reader. At the same time that we are fully engaged in the lives of these characters and the issues they face, Andrews manages to broaden the scope to show a larger, more universal dimension of their particular circumstances. An illuminating, inspiring story on many levels, for every reader.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Touching Love Story
This novel is the first in a series, and Ms. Andrews has made a wonderful beginning. The story is Inspirational and a sweet, heart-felt romance. Both Cascade Preston and Dan McQuay have deep-seated personal problems, but both also do a fair job of appearing to have no problems. Both have built up defenses against more pain, disappointment, and hurt. When a new job opportunity comes up for Cascade, she must return to the town she most wants to avoid. But whether the church that needs her expertise for new stained glass windows, or Dan who is the construction foreman, or her own demons make her balk at the job, she still feels pulled to the town by unsettled feelings. Seeking God in all things, Cascade works through the fog of indecision and uncertainty. Dan, too, learns to follow the same lead. Anyone would enjoy this story, but those who love Inspirational stories will love it. Five Stars Rising Star Reviews
The afternoon class at Tanglewood Women’s Prison was filled with tension, as separated and splintered as a light spectrum refracted through a prism. Cascade Preston held her student’s template assignment up to the overhead light and spoke carefully on the quality of the stained glass project.
“With two lights, or openings, Brenda, I would say your idea of a church window for this one would be correct.”he afternoon class at Tanglewood Women’s Prison was filled with tension, as separated and splintered as a light spectrum refracted through a prism. Cascade Preston held her student’s template assignment up to the overhead light and spoke carefully on the quality of the stained glass project.
Sighing in relief, the student replied, “So you think I’m making progress?”
“Of course.” Cascade tossed her honey-colored curls behind her shoulders. “Don’t you?”
Brenda snorted. “Heck, no. I’m in here for domestic assault. What do I know about progress? My life is over.”
The hopeless comment stopped Cascade in her tracks. “Not to downplay the seriousness of sin, but we all make mistakes and God forgives us when we ask and genuinely repent. Sinners are encouraged to flock to Him. That’s comforting, don’t you think?”
Brenda shrugged. “God has His own agenda. We’ll see what the parole board says about mine in two weeks.”
“For now, let’s focus on next week’s class. Bring me a flower for that one.”
“Where are we supposed to get a flower?” someone muttered.
“Draw one, stupid,” Brenda answered.
Cascade shook her head with a smile. “Bye, ladies. Take care.”
“See you.” Brenda gave her a high-five as Cascade walked past her.
Heels clicking efficiently with her every step, Cascade made her way from the holding room to the shuttle alongside her beefy escort. Once inside her Corolla, she said a prayer in her head: I hope I’m doing some good here, Lord. I pray none of these women go through what my mother went through. She tried to block the images of her mother’s bruises from her mind, but they wouldn’t go away. They never did.
The drive back into Boston passed by quickly without too much traffic. “Lean On Me” blasted from her audio system, and she sang along with all her heart. At twenty-seven, she knew the song was technically an oldie, but to her the lyrics were fresh and filled with meaning. As she sang, she wondered what it would feel like to have someone to lean on. She’d always been alone.
“There’s only one thing that could make tonight perfect,” she mused inside her head as she pulled into the parking area for her condo complex, “and that’s not going to happen, for sure.”
Images of her long-gone fiancé, Kevin, came into her mind and heart. Where was he this fine June evening? More importantly, why were things so much better for him without her in his life?
Her eyes narrowed as she noticed someone walking toward her car. She didn’t recognize the big guy crossing her path. Shading her eyes from the late day sun, she saw dark hair with outdoorsy looks. Nope don’t know him. But I might want to.
Hopping from her car, she said, “Can I help you?”
“If you’re Cascade Preston, you sure can.”
He folded his arms across his chest. With all those muscles moving, Cascade could only imagine the stress put on the seams of his light blue, cotton shirt.
“And you are…?”
“Dan McQuay.” He extended his arm towards her. “From the site.”
“Hi.” Cascade pumped his strong hand, lost in his sky blue eyes. “What site?”
He tilted his head. “The construction site.”
“I’m not following you.”
He looked at her steadily. “I’m project manager for the retrofit on the church in Sterling Lakes. The one you’re doing the windows for.”
Cascade’s heartbeat quickened. Just hearing the name of the town where she grew up made her anxious and tense. “It seems there’s been a misunderstanding. No way am I working on anything in Sterling Lakes.” She started to bustle past him. “Now, if you’ll excuse me…”
“Don’t run away, Ms. Preston. There’s a problem here.”
His tone of voice got her attention. He sounded like he cared…about her. That was crazy. She was a total stranger to him.
She nodded. “Apparently, there is a problem. You’re right about that. I don’t know what you’re talking about. Like I said, I’m not doing any work in Sterling Lakes, and I never will. That’s the last place in the world I would ever go.”
He gave a slow whistle. “Well, that’s a loaded speech if I’ve ever heard one.”
In spite of herself, she smiled. “I didn’t mean to get all hot and huffy, but that’s how I feel, and I have good reasons.”
He eyed her intently before he finally spoke. “Understood. The thing is, your name is on the plans I have, and my crew’s ready to get going. We haven’t heard from you, and we need to have a job meeting. Mostly, we need your specs.”
Cascade noticed the strong line of his jaw when he spoke, and oh, those bluer-than-blue eyes of his were so easy to get lost in. She swallowed. “I don’t know what to tell you. I’m not contracted for that job. Your project executive should be able to answer your questions.” She toyed with the zipper on her shoulder bag as she watched him frown. “Look, why don’t you give me his name? I’ll check things out at my studio in the morning and get in touch with him. Maybe I can get to the bottom of this.”
“Yup.” He took his hands out of his pockets. “Here’s my business card, and here’s his. Try and remember, ma’am, every day is money to me.”
“I own a business myself, so I get it. But I know every job I’ve undertaken, and this isn’t one of mine. Let me see if I can find out why I’m on the list of subcontractors for this project…if I really am.”
“I shouldn’t be, so there’s a big mistake. I never even sent in a bid.”
“At least we found out something tonight,” he said with a shrug. “Other than you being a whole lot prettier in person than in the pictures all those magazine articles and newspaper stories print about you.”
Cascade’s face warmed up at his compliment. “Now you’re trying to butter me up.”
“Just stating the truth, plain and simple, like I always do, Ms. Preston. That’s my way. Thank you for your time.”
He started walking over to his truck. “Talk to you tomorrow.”
“Right. And there’s one more thing.”
He cast a questioning look in her direction.
“You can call me Cascade.”
He gave her a nod and hopped into his truck. Her smile lingered as she watched him drive off. If things were normal, it might not be that bad to do a job with Dan McQuay. He seemed down-to-earth, nothing like the suave politician that her former boyfriend, Kevin, had been. After all the drama he’d lived with day and night, she found the contrast refreshing. If she discovered drama with Dan McQuay, too…
Don’t go there. Bad enough that the job is far from normal. Being in Sterling Lakes, it’ll never be anything like routine.
Great, thought Dan as he drove along Route 9 back to his hotel. Another fruitcake artist type who isn’t in touch with reality. Not a clue. He sighed.
Yet Cascade Preston seemed completely together, despite that she seemed to have no memory of her name being on the list of those who’d bid on the project. She clearly had tons of talent, was both well-spoken and successful. Not to mention those gorgeous green eyes and honey-colored curls. What could be the glitch?
He hit speed dial on his cell phone. Mike Davis, his project executive, had to know. After two rings, Mike picked up. “Davis here.”
“Hey, Mike, it’s Dan. Remember I asked you to check on that stained-glass artist, Cascade Preston? You know, that famous one who hasn’t been showing up to the job site in Sterling Lakes?”
“We checked up. She’s on board, Dan. Signed everything.”
“Yeah, okay. The funny thing is, I just met her and she didn’t know what I was talking about. I can tell she’s leveling with me.”
Mike snorted. “What can I say? She’s it. Unless someone else signed her name and didn’t tell her.” He chuckled. “See you.”
Red flags waved in Dan’s mind. Why hadn’t he thought of that? Someone else had signed Cascade’s name to those papers. But who would do that?
“Thanks, Mike,” he said.
Nothing’s ever easy. All I want to do is finish the job, get my money, and move on. No ties, no drama, just the money for Mom’s care, and then I move on to the next job, the way I always do. Forged papers plus a possible lawsuit with a world-famous artist spelled disaster for his project plans. They’d better have another glass artist lined up because this one didn’t sound like she was willing to do it, and the schedule had to be kept no matter what.
Thirty-one years old. I need this hassle?
In his mind’s eye, he saw his mother lying in her bed in the rehab center, helpless and unresponsive, no longer the loving, vivacious woman he remembered from his childhood. Doctors always said the patient might–might–be cognizant of who was there with them. I have to believe that or I’ve already lost her.
His job was a priority because he wasn’t the only one who benefited…or suffered…when there was nothing coming in.
He signaled for the exit off Route 9 and, as he drove west facing the beautiful twilight, Cascade’s smile flashed in his mind’s eye. Seemed like a shame she wasn’t really on board. Might not be that bad to do a job with her. But, the way things were shaping up, he’d be better off just chalking it up to another “what if” and forgetting all about the lovely Cascade Preston.