Woods Lake Series
The Woods Lake series is a series of connected standalone novels with recurring characters. Each book tells the story of one couple including their happily ever after. The books can be read in any order.
I Never Stopped Loving You
January 15, 2021
Joey and Ally’s story is an epic love story. It’s the longest of the Woods Lake stories in both length and time. It is broken into two parts. Part 1 is their original love story from the day they meet until their break up. Part 2 is the story of their second chance.
Joey was 24 when he met Ally, and he had just reenlisted in the Army for an additional four years.
Ally was 19, in college, working toward her goal of becoming a Literacy Specialist.
It’s an instant attraction that leads to a week of flat track races, baseball games, lake dates, line dancing, and stargazing. Joey asks Ally to write to him every week, and he promises to email, call, and video chat as much as possible. He knows that he can’t be home a lot, but he promises her as much time as he can give her.
Their story is the story of two people who love each other in a way that most people only dream of, but years of distance becomes unbearable and leads them to drift apart. Is their love strong enough to overcome this time apart and find their second chance at a happily ever after?
Content Notes: book contains discussions and references to - car accident; death (not a main character); funeral; hospitalization; illness; military deployment, including limited communication due to deployment; special ops; surgery; and past controlling/amnipuative/abusive family relationships
It's Always Been You
Woods Lake 1 - Marco & Jenna
10 years ago Jenna's life changed forever when she watched her brother Ricky die in a race accident. No longer the outgoing party girl who spends her weekends racing the quarter mile strip, she spends her days battling anxiety and tries to just get by. The nightmares still come and the only person who has ever been able to save her from the nightmares in her dreams and the nightmares in her reality is Marco. When she was 12 and he was 16, he was her brother's best friend. When Ricky died four-years later, Marco become her protector. Now 14 years later, they have been debating the should we or shouldn't we and have to decide if their friendship can survive the relationship they both crave.
Marco has loved Jenna since he was 16 and she was 12. When Ricky died, his mom had Jenna move into their house because she had nowhere else safe to be. Marco held her every night when the nightmares came for the next year. The friendship has always felt like it was destined to be more than just a friendship, but the timing was never right. Can their 14 year friendship survive the relationship trial, he asks her for? Will this week long trial be what they need to finally make things work or will they lose each other in the process?
“I’m scared. Okay! I’m so scared. I’m scared that I won’t live up to the expectation that you have built up in your mind or that I won’t be what you want after a while. Mostly I’m scared that if this blows up, then I lose you and I don’t think I can survive losing you. Nothing good ever lasts in my life. I can’t lose you. I won’t survive it.”
“Babe, you’re not going to lose me. You and me, we are forever. I made that decision the first night I held you through the nightmares. I’m good and I’ve lasted fourteen years. I’ve loved you for all of those fourteen years. I loved you when I shouldn’t have loved you. I loved you through the good times and the bad time. . . . I held you every night while you slept for almost a year after Ricky died. What else do you need from me to show you that I’m not going anywhere? I’ll give it to you right now. I have no expectations built up in my mind. I don’t want anything from you except you. . . . I want you to let me love you the way you deserve to be loved every day. Those are my expectations. Yesterday you told me you were in. Completely in. Now that you know all my expectations, are you still in?” His hands were on each side of my hips. He hadn’t broken eye contact since he started talking. I leaned in and kissed him. I spread my knees apart and wrapped them around his waist drawing him into me. “I’ll take that as a yes,” he said when he pulled away.
“We’ve talked about what happens if I decide I don’t want this to continue after the week. We go back to what we were before and file it away as now we know if we should or shouldn’t. We haven’t talked about what happens if I decide I’m in and you decide that this isn’t working for you the way you thought it would and you want things back to how they were.”
“Not going to happen, that’s why we haven’t talked about it. There’s nothing to talk about. It’s always been you. I couldn’t act on it because you were too young and by the time you were legal, you lived across the hall from me.”
“I can’t lose you Marco. I don’t know how to not have you in my life. I can’t lose you.”
He softly spoke into my ear. “You’ll never lose me. Let’s just see what happens this weekend and next week and go from there. Pretend to be my girlfriend and get an idea of what it would be like to be my girlfriend and then you can decide. If you decide it won’t work or you don’t want to, you’ll still have me, and we will both have the answer to the question of ‘should we or shouldn’t we’ so we can move on.”
You Mean Something
Woods Lake 2 - Jesse & Lexie
Jesse - 28; mechanic; self-proclaimed "not a relationship guy"; others describe him as "a fun for a weekend guy, not a relationship guy.”
Lexie - 22; art teacher; recently out of a relationship and has sworn off dating and men.
One night, Jesse saves Lexie from having to spend time with her sister’s boring friends. After less than an hour of hanging out and catching up, he realizes that he doesn’t want her to go and finds a way to spend time with her the next day. After finding out that they both like pizza, poker, swimming, and video games, they decide to be friends. When Lexie's ex shows up, and she needs a place to stay, Jesse offers his guestroom for a week until he knows her apartment is safe to return to. By the end of the week, Jesse may not want Lexie to leave, but he's not sure she would want to stay.
Can a guy who’s never committed to anything more than a fun weekend or two weekends, at most, become boyfriend material? He’s never wanted to try, but for Lexie, he’s willing to and hopes that she considers him more than just a distraction from the drama in her life.
"I was always the weird art girl that never fit in because I’m super shy, would rather being reading or painting, and there were exactly zero art classes offered all through school.”
“Since when are you shy?”
“But you’re talking to me and telling me everything.”
“I’ve literally known you my entire life. It’s different."
"I’m a total nerd Jesse. Backyard BBQs, pool hangouts, poker, or video games. That’s more my speed.”
“If you tell me you know how to cook, you might just change my mind about my opinions on relationships. I love barbecues, pool hangouts, poker, and I’m a video game nerd.” She squinted her eyes together a bit. “What’s that face?”
“I’m a firm believer in what you see is what you get and with me you get someone to hang out and do things with and have the freedom to walk away anytime because I’m not looking for a commitment.” I reached across the table and touched her hand. “I don’t know what he did Lexie, but if he let you walk away or pushed you away, it’s his loss.”
“Where have you been all my life? You play video games. You can kick my ass swimming. You like poker. You like pizza and beer and you eat brownies from the pan.”
“All of that describes a friend. That’s where I’ve been, in the friend zone.:
As soon as we pulled into the driveway, I saw her. She was sketching on the back porch. She saw me and ran for me. She jumped into my arms. I lifted her by her thighs and guided her to wrap her legs around my waist. "I was so worried about you. What happened? Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. We didn't lay hands on him. We had a discussion. We escorted him to his truck. I pinned him against his truck and made a couple of things very clear to him. First, he kept saying that you were his, and I told him that he lost the right to call you his girl when you were no longer his only. He asked how long you'd been sleeping with me. I didn't correct him that you weren't because it's none of his business. I told him you could choose what you do with your body, and it's none of his business. I also made it clear that women don't belong to men in the way he thinks they do. The last thing I told him is you're mine. In the sense that you're the person I take care of and protect. You are mine."
A Woods Lake Christmas
Woods Lake 3 - Christmas Novella
A Woods Lake Christmas is a standalone Christmas novella that features all of the main characters in the Woods Lake series as they each decorate for Christmas and then come together as a family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
See three of the Woods Lake couples (Marco & Jenna, Jesse & Lexie, Joey & Ally) decorate their trees. Go with Shauna on a long-weekend trip and meet Micah, who we will see more of in a later book. Then join the couples and the rest of the family: Mom, Rocky, and Tony for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Gifts will be exchanged. Questions will be asked. Announcements will be made. Come spend the holidays in Woods Lake.
Sneak Peek (Shauna & Micah):
He pulled me into the elevator and kissed my neck while holding me close.
“I want as much time with you as I can get. I figured lunch out today because we need to grab groceries. My fridge is pretty much empty since I haven’t been home much this week. I can make dinner tonight and give you a cooking lesson after decorating my Christmas tree. I put it up last week and got the lights on, but that’s as far as I got.”
I listened to what Micah was saying, but I also focused on how his hand fit perfectly on my hip and how he had hooked his finger through one belt loop. He did it every time he puts his hand on my hip. I’ve never said anything about it because I don’t want him to stop. It makes me feel like he doesn’t want to lose me. Just that small gesture makes me feel special and important. I’ve never been important to anyone before.