Sunday, October 17, 2010

First Love, Michelle Sutton

Josiah and Tara had enjoyed acting in their high school plays. They had also been each other's first lover... in fact; most of the time they'd spent together had been in Tara's bed. When Josiah became a Christian, he left Tara to go to college and didn't look back.

Four years later, Josiah is back in town when his father has a near-fatal heart attack. When they meet up again they realize how much their separation had hurt each of them. But now Tara is a Christian and is trying to live a life that is pleasing to God.

Josiah wants Tara back, but neither knows how to relate to each other without the physical intimacy they once shared. They are determined to do things right this time, but find it more challenging than they'd anticipated.

She hated to spell it out for him, but it seemed necessary to prevent him from getting the wrong idea. "You're here for a haircut. Don't expect more."

Raising his hands in mock surrender, Josiah chuckled, "Whoa, there. I didn't mean anything by it, I swear."

"Good." Grabbing the black cloth to drape over his shirt, she flipped it open and then pointed to the chair. He sat and she tied it around his neck, a stress headache creeping into her head. Irritation shredded her nerves. Rather than sitting, he peered at her with an incredulous look in his eyes.

"Come on," she winced and touched her forehead. "I don't have much time."

"Aren't you gonna..." Josiah pointed at his hair and nodded toward the sink.

"No." She snapped the cloth again. "Just sit."

"But, that's the best part." Ruffling his hair with both hands, he sighed. "All right, but my hair is sweaty and dusty. I think it'll be easier to cut if it's clean first. I'll even pay you extra."

Did he think he could buy her forgiveness?

But he did have a point. Taking in the faint cloud of dust forming beside his head as he ruffled his hair, Tara sighed. She rolled her eyes and pointed at the sink with her elbow. "All right, all right. Just hurry up. I need to get home."

Josiah crept in slow steps and glanced over his shoulder. Tempted to push him along, she refrained, deciding the less hands-on contact she had with him the better. Maybe that was what he wanted. To get her riled. Well, it was working.

The sooner she cut his hair and sent him on his way, the sooner she'd have time to think about what his return to town might mean. While tempted to quit the acting group to avoid seeing him, she refused to run away. Besides, playacting the part of a socialite at special events in town was the only fun hobby she allowed herself. She refused to give up her only link to acting.

No, she wouldn't give him the satisfaction of quitting. She'd keep playing the part and enjoy every minute of it. No man would take the fun out of her life ever again. Not even someone as devastatingly handsome and as important to her as Josiah had once been.

5 stars
First Love, the second in the Tombstone Treasures series, is a wonderfully, edgy romance. I liked this one even better than the first one. If the trend continues, the third one should be a blockbuster! Michelle has written an edgy, Christian, romantic story that has a little bit of suspense thrown in.

Tara Hinkson has had a tough time since graduating from high school. Her mother was involved in a horrible car wreck that has left her with the mind of a 5 year old and severely disabled. Tara and her mother share a small house just down the street from the beauty shop where Tara works. Since her mother can not be left along, she has had to hire someone to be able to sit with her mom while she works. Can you imagine having to be the "parent" to your mom or dad? Wanting to be able to sit down and share your thoughts and feelings with them or even just to sit and hold each other and not being able to. That would be a very hard adjustment to make.

Josiah Reardon was Tara's long time boyfriend in high school. Things got very heated in their relationship and they spent most of their time in bed. He broke off the relationship when he was getting ready to go off to college. Tara had not heard from him since then, several years, when he walks into her hair salon for a haircut. To say she was shocked would be an understatement. She didn't really like the way she felt when she saw him. The old flame was still there, at least on her part. How did he feel?

The story takes us on Tara & Josiah's journey of trying to build on the past relationship to make a future. But can that be? Every time they get near each other the old feelings take over. The ones that led to the bedroom. Since high school both of them have become Christians. They both know what they are doing is not right in God's eyes but the flesh is weak and they don't seem to be trying too awfully hard to be strong.

I really loved this book! I loved the characters! Michelle did an awesome job of developing them so that the reader can feel their emotions and know what they are going through. I could picture every place that Josiah and Tara were. I felt so bad for Tara's mom and for Tara having to put her own life on hold all these years to take care of her mother. Michelle has written several good bible truths into her story without being "preachy". Way to go, Michelle! You've done it again!
-- J. Thompson "Janet's Treasures~~book reviews"

Michelle's books just keep getting better and better! While Never Without Hope and In Plain Sight are still my favorites (5+ stars) First Love gives them a good run. I give it a 4.75. I appreciate that Michelle writes about topics we often don't find in Christian Fiction, and I REALLY appreciate that while her characters are Christians, they don't always do the right thing. It's pleasant to read about what's ideal, but it's inspiring and hopeful to read about God's Grace. Without mistakes, there's no opportunity to write about it. Since I don't know anyone who hasn't made a mistake, Michelle's stories should have a very wide appeal.

First Love is an entertaining and honest story about the difficulties of abstaining from premarital sex when there has been a previous relationship. Michelle explores the issue far beyond just the physical aspect. She gives a heavy dose of emotional side-effects, including confusion, heartache and guilt. As a soon-to-be 40 year old, I enjoyed this book very much, but I strongly recommend it for teens and young adults. One should never underestimate the impact of passing on wisdom through words. Thanks, Michelle!
-- Shawna K. Williams - Grace-Inspired Fiction.

Why Michelle Wrote First Love:
The inspiration behind First Love came from a novella project I was working on with three other Barbour authors and I had to draft a first chapter and synopsis for it. Come to find out Barbour didn't think Tombstone would be very romantic so the project went nowhere even with best-selling authors also in on the project. So I just used what I had prepared. I wanted to show how hard it might be to date someone you used to sleep with on a daily basis and who broke your heart when they found God and left. So what happens if you are both Christians in the future and you find out you still have feelings for the other person and decide to give it another try? How do you keep from falling back into bed? How hard would that be? Of course, anyone who knows me knows that my characters usually mess up more than once before they get it together. That's the part I like best. I like writing emotional conflict when it clashes with spiritual values.

Also available at Amazon Kindle, B&N, Kobo, iBookstore, Sony, Books on Board, Allromance Ebooks and coming soon to

Author Bio:
Michelle is the author of over a dozen inspirational novels, a book reviewer, an avid blogger, the mother of two young college students, a wife of over two decades, and follower of Jesus Christ.

Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win this book and other recent features!


  1. First commenter..I don't mind, this giveaway is one I have been waiting on. Michelle Sutton's works are incredible and insightful. She is a courageous writer. Thank you for this giveaway and the chance to win this great book. I hope I do!

    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

  2. I absolutely agree, Barb! Best wishes!

  3. Shawna you rock...what can I say!!!!

  4. Thanks, Vin. I need to get your newest book on here, too!

  5. Not only is Michelle a great writer, she's a wonderful inspiration for other writers out there! I for one appreciate your stories and her support!

  6. I would like to ditto what Stefne said. Michelle boggles my mind with all she does and how she manages to put out such great stuff time after time. Inspiration indeed!

  7. That really sounds terrific. I've not read Michelle Sutton. Actually, I've only just heard of her. I'm hoping for a book - to try her out.
    Terrific post - thanks for hosting.
    reginahott at gmail

  8. Great sounding story. Michelle's a great writer, I've read quite a few of hers! :)

  9. Oh i've wanted to read this for a while!! I hope i win!!:-) I read the first book in this series and LOVED it!! I'm sure this one will be as good probably better than the first!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  10. I would like to be entered to win this book as well--it sounds really good.

  11. Haven't read the books, but they sound interesting and I do love the covers.

    Congrats, Michelle.

  12. I haven't read any of Michelle's books yet and have been wanting to.


  13. Sounds like a good book. Not an uncommon situation so it will be interesting to get Michelle's twist on this one.


  14. Just want to post some hope that I'll win Michelle's ebook "First Love." She is such a terrific person to know. I appreciate her giving me a chance to post an article on her blog in relation to her book "Never Without Hope." I've had the pleasure of reading some of her other writings and enjoy them all. Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win this fine book. Hope I do!

    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com

  15. thanks for the chance to win

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

  16. Michelle's book sounds really wonderful and honest. I'd love to be entered in the drawing.

  17. For those of you who didn't win, hop on over to Tara's View on Books for the final giveaway I'm doing for this book. After that contest is over, you'll just have to buy it. :)