Excerpt: Falling for You by Barb Curtis

“Curtis’s sweet, inviting third Sapphire Springs romance begs to be turned into a Hallmark movie. This is everything small-town romance readers could want.”―Publishers Weekly

(The following is an excerpt from Barb Curtis’ newest novel, Falling for You (Sapphire Springs Book 3). It is reprinted here with the author’s permission. It will be released March 29, 2022)


Two months was a long time to be off the grid.

An eviction notice clung to Faith Rotolo’s apartment door by a grimy piece of scotch tape and her key no longer fit the lock.

Her heart rate surged as she dug around her purse for her cell so she could call Nick—the friend of a friend whose apartment she’d been staying at before she went to Fiji. Her fingers clasped around the phone. She pulled it out and pressed a button.


“Ugh.” Just great. She spun on her heel to race back downstairs, where her car took up the better part of two parking spots.

Settling behind the wheel, she plugged her phone in to the charger, patiently waiting for it to come to life while the air conditioning washed over her, a respite from the mid-August heat. To her horror, it vibrated with notifications and incoming messages for what seemed like eternity.

A hundred and three emails?  She glanced at the parking meter. The handful of coins she’d shoved into the slot before heading upstairs would only buy her another couple of minutes, and notifications were still pouring in.

She scrolled through her mailbox quickly. Junk mostly, save the occasional email from her father. And then lo and behold, she found the answer she’d been looking for: Nick had sent a brief message a month ago. He’d skipped out on the rent—took off to go on tour with his band. She’d need to find a new place to stay when she got back.

“Ugh, Nick, you flake.” Faith glared upward past the lush elm tree toward the bare second level windows. Thank God everything she owned lived in a storage locker in North Buffalo. She drummed the pads of her fingers to her chin. It’d be impossible to find another apartment with the influx of students arriving to begin the fall semester in a couple of weeks. Either she moved into a hotel until she found a place or she crashed at her father and stepmother’s house.

A hotel might be more welcoming.

She moved on to missed calls and voicemails. Some lady named Maureen Carver, a lawyer in Sapphire Springs, had left a message asking if Faith could please contact her. Then there were two more, the urgency factor escalating in each one.

Hmm. Faith tapped her foot and pinched her bottom lip. Her mom had grown up in Sapphire Springs, but other than that, she knew very little about the place. The town had barely been spoken of in the twenty-three years since the accident that claimed her mother’s life.

What would a lawyer want with her?

Curiosity won out and had her clicking on the lawyer’s phone number instead of looking for a hotel. Her heart rate quickened with each ring.

Surely she wasn’t being sued for a yoga injury. She’d made people sign waivers.

Oh! She’d bumped that car a few months back. Nudged it, really—didn’t even leave a mark, and she’d left an apology note with her phone number so they could call her directly. Couldn’t be that.

“Maureen Carver.”

Spoken like a woman who meant business.

Faith drew in deep breath before speaking. “Good morning, Ms. Carver. This is Faith Rotolo. My apologies for the delay in responding to your messages. I’ve been out of the country a couple of months.” That sounded half-assed professional, if she did say so herself.

The cheeky gerbera daisy on her dusty dashboard bobbed back and forth before Maureen broke into a hearty laugh that continued for several seconds.

Faith Rotolo. Well I’ll be damned. I thought you flew the coop, girl.”

The friendly tone had Faith’s shoulders relaxing. “Sorry about that. I’ve been in Fiji teaching a yoga retreat. Cell phones weren’t permitted.”

“Two months without a cell phone? Sign me up.” Maureen spoke over shuffling papers and ringing phones. “In all seriousness though, you became a bit of a fixation for me. I placed bets with the girls at the office over whether you really existed. I even searched for you on social media.”

Seriously? A lawyer creeping her Instagram?

Maureen continued. “Even your father’s receptionist didn’t return my calls. My imagination went wild. Nobody in your life seemed alarmed over where you disappeared to. I actually debated filing a police report.”

Okay, if she was dead in a ditch, somebody would miss her, wouldn’t they? Her father probably would if he took time out of his busy schedule to notice.


 Maureen gave a hearty laugh. “Anyway, all that to say that I’m relieved to hear a voice on the other end of the line. You’re probably busy catching up on personal business, so I’ll get right to the point. Would you be able to come to my office in Sapphire Springs for a meeting?”

Faith drew in a breath. Sapphire Springs had been all but off-limits since the accident. She’d never been back since. Dad either, as far as she knew. The town held too much sadness.

Her eyes travelled past the blinking light on the expired meter, and scaled the low-rise brick building. “I guess so… I mean—”

“I can come to you, if that’s easier,” Maureen persisted.

And meet where, exactly? The back alley where she’d soon be living amongst pigeons and stray cats? A black car pulled up beside Faith’s lime green Volkswagon Beetle. The driver laid on the horn and gestured to her parking. Before he sped off, he flipped her the finger.

She shrunk a little in her seat and eyed the meter reader turning the corner onto her street. What prevented her from meeting Maureen other than this prickling dread over visiting the town where her mom had grown up and being hit with painful memories? She didn’t have kids to think about, or a boyfriend to check in with. Not even a cat for crying out loud. “No, I guess I could come to Sapphire Springs. I can be there this afternoon.”

A happily ever after-crafter at heart, Barb Curtis’ love for writing began with a quick-witted style column, and her background in marketing led to stints writing print and web copy, newsletters, and grant proposals. The switch to fiction came with the decision to pair her creativity with her love for words and crafting characters and settings she could truly get lost in. Barb happily lives in a bubble in rural New Brunswick with her husband, daughter, and dog. You’ll find her restoring the century-old family homestead, weeding the garden, and whistling the same song all day long.

Twitter @Barb_Curtis