Sheridan “Dani” Reed is a recently unemployed photojournalist living in New York City. Her boyfriend is vacationing without her, and her best friend has abandoned her for a job in the south.
Is a quarter-life crisis a thing?
After accepting a freelance job in Louisiana for Southern Style magazine, she feels the bleakness of her life back in New York fading in the rearview mirror. Getting back to her southern roots seems to be just what she needs to lift her spirits and spark her creativity. During her stay, she meets playboy Micah Landry and his colorful family.
She knows she should avoid him and keep things professional, but his southern charms are hard to resist. Through the lens of her camera, she finds the beauty and soul of the Landry Plantation, but it’s her beauty and soul that capture Micah’s attention.
When an unexpected phone call takes her back to New York, she’s forced to face the life she was trying to escape head on. Will her trip and the Landrys only become fond memories, or will Dani find her way back to them and her beloved south?
In their debut novel, Jiffy Kate bring you a story of love, adventure, and finding a place to call home.
– EXCERPT –
When a picture of the pond pops up on the screen, my breath hitches in my chest. With the moon beaming down and reflecting off the glass-like water, it’s more than beautiful. It’s tranquil, peaceful, but most of all, it reminds me of her. I can almost see us there, our feet hanging off the side, our shoulders grazing every once in a while. She looked so gorgeous in the moonlight. I wish I had a picture of that, but this is a close second.
“That looks like something straight out of a magazine,” I whisper before I realize what I’m saying.
“Hopefully, it will be.” She laughs.
“How much for a print of that?” I ask.
“Really? You’d want—”
“Yes,” I cut her off, “I’d love to have one of your pictures.”
“Well, it’s yours. I’ll order the prints once I’m back in New York and have them sent directly to you.”
“Let me pay.”
“No, it’s my pleasure. Really.”
“Give me your phone,” I instruct, and she willingly hands it over. I put my phone number in as a new contact and shoot myself a text before handing it back. “I have your number now, so I’ll text you my address.”
“Okay,” she says, smiling.
“Okay.” For the hundredth time today, I find myself staring at her lips for longer than necessary, wanting to bend down and kiss the shit out of her. She swallows hard and I abruptly break my gaze. Turning around, I leave in search of something to do before I get myself in trouble.
– REVIEW –
Finding Focus is the debut publication of writing team Jiffy Kate (Jiff Simpson and Jenny Altman). An adaptation from their fan fiction, Southern Comfort, Finding Focus is the romantic tale of Sheridan (Dani) Reed and Micah Landry.
Dani is a gorgeous girl with Southern roots working as a photojournalist in the Big Apple. Unemployed and stagnating in a long term relationship with her boyfriend (WEASEL ALERT), Graham, Dani accepts a freelance assignment from Southern Style magazine. Her job is to document the historic Landry Plantation in French Settlement, Louisiana. Dani has barely unpacked her suitcase when here come the Landrys, or should we say, here comes (ahem) Micah Landry.
Micah Landry is a handsome, well-mannered Southern gentleman — a successful restauranteur, who also seems to do pretty well bringing religion to the female population of French Settlement. Unfortunately for the aforementioned female population, as soon as Micah lays eyes on Dani, he finds his true calling — winning Dani’s heart.
And so begins a delightful courtship, replete with warm, hazy, humid days of long glances and sizzling nights of tender touching. Micah is hard pressed not to act too quickly on his feelings for Dani, as she still maintains an obligation to her ex-boyfriend (WEASEL ALERT), Graham. Micah’s not having any of that and in a move worthy of John James Preston (aka Mr. Big), he swoops in to rescue his lady love. Micah is a keeper — he can kiss me stupid any day.
Along the way, we do meet the entire Landry family and what a pleasure it is to read about these folks. Headed up by Micah’s parents, Sam and Annie, the Landrys are one of those enviable families who play, pray and stick together. The dialogue is witty and hilarious, as one would expect from Jiffy Kate. Here’s Sam giving a priceless bit of wisdom to his son:
“If it’s got tits or tires, it’s gonna require some work . . . And I know that you’re not afraid of a little hard work. So, if this is what you want, work at it. Show her you’re serious.”
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Micah’s mother, Annie is the quintessential Steel Magnolia — feminine, strong, makes the meanest gravy and biscuits in town, and, if need be, will strike you down with a “bless you heart” that will make you want to head for cover. Who doesn’t want to be under the protective blanket of love this woman offers?
Finding Focus is a delightful romantic novel, but far more than that — it’s a love letter from Jiffy Kate to their beloved Southern heritage, and a Valentine to their readers everywhere. Well done, ladies, well done.
*I received an advanced read copy of this book from the authors in exchange for an honest review.*
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– ABOUT THE AUTHORS –
Jiffy Kate is the joint pen name for Jiff and Jenny Kate.
You can call them Jiff and Jenny Kate, but they’ll answer to just about anything.
Jiff is a Louisiana girl living in Texas. She’s currently a substitute teacher, working her way back into the classroom. Her most important job is raising two teenagers. She accepts daily prayers on her behalf.
Jenny Kate is Sooner born and Sooner bred. She works in an accounting department but has a degree in elementary education. She’s a mom to a preteen boy in an old man’s body. She spends her evenings sitting at the football field watching practice and her Saturdays in the stands.
When they get the chance to escape real life, you can find them writing in GDocs, immersed in a romance novel, or on a jet plane heading to their next adventure.
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