Every week on First Sight Saturday, a guest shares a first meeting between two characters. This week, E. Ayers visits with her contemporary romance A Child’s Heart, which also has strong mainstream elements. This book is Trent and Cassie’s story and is a River City Novel.
Trent Callahan intended to fill the day with a few pleasant memories of his four-year-old son, and he was not about to have this day ruined over false advertising. He brought his son to see dinosaurs, and the child was going to see them.
He strode into the room to have a word with the museum curator, but what he saw made him want to gag. Mummified remains of small animals seemed to be everywhere, and in the middle of all of it was an Oshkosh-clad young woman with white-blonde hair. Trying not to stare at the dead creature next to him, he held his son’s hand a little tighter as he cleared his throat. “Excuse me. I was told I’d find the curator in here. It’s quite obvious that no one in this place seems to know anything.”
The young woman rose from her crouched position and smiled. Her eye color matched the denim blue of her overalls. Pulling a pair of gloves off and extending her hand to him, she politely answered, “I’m Cassandra Jones, the curator. How may I help you?”
Taken aback, he hesitated, then took her hand. Standing there without a trace of makeup, she looked very young, except for the crinkles around her eyes. He stammered, “You’re the curator?”
“Yes. Again, how may I help you?”
“We came to see the dinosaur exhibit, and I’m being told we can’t go into those rooms.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry. The exhibit officially opens to the public tomorrow. Tonight is the Dino Tread.”
“I can’t afford to come back tomorrow. I took today off from work to bring my son. According to the billboard, the exhibit opens today.”
Tears were brimming in the child’s eyes.
“I understand the confusion. The posters are more accurate than that billboard. Give me a moment to finish,” she replied with a broader smile, which made the lines around her eyes more noticeable.
He watched as she returned to what she was doing when he walked into the room. It was as if she were ignoring him, and his blood boiled. He looked down at Shawn, whose eyes were washed in tears that were starting to spill. “Don’t cry, Shawn,” he whispered. “I didn’t pay all this money for you to miss seeing the dinosaurs. You’re going to see them.”
“Daddy, I don’t like these ugly things.” Shawn pointed to a blacken figure. “I don’t want to stay here.”
Trent scooped his son into his arms. “It’s okay, they aren’t going to hurt you.”
The woman stood and then grabbed her keys off a shelf. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to keep you waiting.” She reached up and touched the boy’s arm. “What’s your name?”
“Shawn,” the boy replied shyly.
“That’s a wonderful name for a handsome young man.” She gazed up at Trent and blushed. “He’s as handsome as his father. Follow me.” They walked out of her office and down the hallway. “What’s your favorite dinosaur, Shawn?”
“Tyrannosaurus.” The boy bared his teeth and held out his hands to claw at the air.
She laughed. “That was a mean one, but not the meanest.” At the end of the hall, she ushered them through a door marked for employees only. The office was small, and there was an older women sitting behind the desk. “I need two guest passes for tonight’s event. Seat them at my table.” Thanking the woman for the tickets, she set out on another trek through the museum. She inserted a key into a door. “Please return tonight as my special guests.” She handed Trent the two passes. “I’m sure Shawn will enjoy the evening. It’s geared for children and their family.”
Trent could feel the anger slipping away as she smiled at him. Those tickets were worth almost as much as he made in a week, and her bright, friendly smile seemed genuine. Suddenly, he felt as if he were being asked on a date, and he knew he had to respond. He lowered his son to the floor, as she opened the door and flipped on some overhead lights. He swallowed and then answered, “Thanks. I appreciate it.”
Shawn’s eyes lit up with excitement. “Wow! Real dinosaurs!”
“You’ll see the whole exhibit tonight. There will be an hour tour of the exhibit and then dinner. Afterwards, we have several special educational events with lots of hands-on fun crafts. It’s all in the brochure with your tickets. If Shawn is allowed to stay up extra late, he can view the dinosaur movie. It starts at eight fifteen and runs for an hour and twenty minutes.”
Trent smiled at the curator and nodded, but suddenly his stomach filled with butterflies. It seemed as though he was back in junior high, and Cassandra Jones was the prettiest girl in class. He got a grip on his waning confidence and shoved his shoulders back, as he stood a little straighter. “I’ll be here at…” He looked at the brochure in his hands. “Five.”
“Come a few minutes early. And you never gave me your name.”
The woman’s eyes grew wide. “Shawn Callahan? This is the famous Shawn Callahan?”
“It’s your son who is in need of heart surgery, right?”
“Yes. It’s scheduled for June first.” He could feel the broad smile as it crossed his face. “Riverton Chemicals and Petroleum raised the rest of the money he needed.”
“He looks perfectly healthy.”
“It’s a tough battle to keep him that way. The surgery will give him the opportunity to live a normal life.”
He nodded. “Yes. She’s been very active in helping to raise the money for Shawn.”
“She’ll be here tonight.”
“I owe her a huge debt of gratitude for what she’s done. She’s a friend of one of my neighbors, and her father is part of the team of doctors who will be doing the surgery.”
Shawn tugged on his dad’s pants and, in a panicked whisper, said, “I need to tinkle.”
The lovely blonde gazed at the little boy. “Follow me.”
“Sorry. One of his meds creates an urgency.”
“The mens room is right there. I’ll see you this evening.”
END OF EXCERPT
What a great Dad! I’ll bet he will also make a wonderful man for Cassandra to fall in love with. You can find A Child’s Heart
and Barnes and Noble
If you’d like to find E. Ayers on the web, here are some links.
And here is a list of other books by E. Ayers that are available at most retailers. * indicates books that are sweeter romances.
Mac and Amanda’s Story (A River City Novel)
A New Beginning
Rick and Dallas’ Story (A River City Novel)
Ari and Tate’s Story (A River City Novel)
Jeffery and Letitzia’s Story (A River City Novel)
Gerald and Katie’s Story (A River City Novel)
Coming Out of Hiding
A Fine Line
(a novella) *
A Skeleton at Her Door
A Snowy Christmas in Wyoming
(a novella) *
A Cowboy’s Kiss in Wyoming
(a novella) *
A Love Song in Wyoming
(a novella) *
A Calling in Wyoming
(a novella) *
Thanks so much for visiting today! I am sure our author welcomes any questions or comments. Like many of us, she is traveling this week so be patient if she doesn’t reply to you right away. Fill your time with a good book. Happy reading!