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Living the Dream with Ava Santoro Leave a comment


Every little girl has dreams. Some of them can see their futures clearly. What they will choose for a career. Where they will travel. Whom they will marry. The names of their [insert number here] children. They can see the white picket fence or the New York City skyline or the mountaintop where they will live.

Ah. Blissful dreams.

Ava Santoro definitely had dreams. She grew up in a firmly middle-class household in the (fictional) neighborhood of Bridgeview in Spokane, Washington, the middle child of three. Her older brother, Peter, was the perfect firstborn who made his dreams of creating an organic food box program a reality. Her younger sister, Dafne, botched her dreams as a teen by becoming pregnant, but is tracking with new dreams of becoming a high school English teacher, which, by the time her toddler is in school, will help align their schedules.

But… Ava. As a small child, she lived for music and dance. She fondly remembers her earliest teachers and mentors. She could be that for others, and so she got her teaching degree in music.

As her author, I admittedly took some liberties with the Spokane school system, whereby elementary schools might have a day every week where a music teacher might visit and teach each grade individually, meaning it might take five schools to create a full-time job for this sort of teacher.

Insert a ripple in Ava’s perfect dream, because she only has three schools… and therefore a point-six income.

In Ava’s dreams, she will meet Mr. Perfectly Right any day now. In her words, he will be as pure as the driven snow, like she is. But she’s twenty-six, and he hasn’t come along yet. Also, most of the teachers in her schools are women, and the few men are married. Now where is she going to meet her dream man?

When she spins away from her annoying cousin and into the arms of a very surprised server at her other cousin’s wedding dance, she knows she has not met Mr. Perfectly Right. The server meets exactly nothing on her checklist. He has a tattoo. Gasp. He admits to needing a full-time job. Uh oh.

He’s gorgeous and can dance as well as some of the professionals she’s worked with. He also quickens her heart, but he walks away without asking for her contact info.

Seth Donahue knows he is no woman’s dream-come-true. He’s a prodigal son who returned to the fold mere months before his dad and stepmom died, leaving him with his two half-sisters to raise. He’s struggling with the girls’ grief, his own guilt, and his despair at dropping out of college for a second time and struggling to make ends meet.

He has no business dreaming of a future with the gorgeous Ava Santoro, who has everything together when he most definitely does not.

And so begins the story of a sheltered good-girl and a guy whose only diploma is from the school of hard knocks. How can they dance their way to a dream-come-true?


Dance and music teacher Ava Santoro has led a sheltered life, and she likes it that way. Now she’s ready for Mr. Perfectly Right to come her way. He’ll be a kindred spirit, a gentle, bookish guy, and a life-long Christian. Not someone like the somewhat-reformed temporary worker in her favorite refuge this summer.

Seth Donahue is scrambling to gain permanent guardianship of his two half-sisters. Too bad he’s dropped out of college — twice — and is struggling to find flexible employment. When his new neighbor offers him a job in Bridgeview’s food forest, he’s surprised to discover he enjoys working with edible plants. He didn’t expect to meet a vivacious dancer who challenges him to choose joy over dulling the pain of his past.

When Ava discovers Seth’s background, it might be too late to guard her heart. How can Seth convince her he’s a changed man?


While Joys of Juniper is Book 11 in the Urban Farm Fresh Romance series, it can be read as a standalone. It’s currently on pre-order for 25% off and will release April 13 on Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited.

Interested in getting an early peek at Joys of Juniper? I’m offering two readers an advance review copy (e-book only, worldwide). If you’d like to put your name in the hat, please comment before Sunday, March 14. Winner will be announced in the next Sunday Edition. The prize will be awarded via Bookfunnel later in March.

“Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.”

What is one thing you dreamed of as a child that you’ve actually accomplished? Or, what dream did you once have that now makes you laugh or cry because it didn’t come true?

**The ballet dreamer image is from Pixabay.

Valerie Comer (229 Posts)

Valerie Comer is a USA Today bestselling author and a two-time Word Award winner who writes where food meets faith and fiction. She injects experience laced with humor into her green clean romances. Her life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local foods movement as well as their church. She only hopes her creations enjoy their happily-ever-afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.



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