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Two Moon Bay #1

Girl in the Spotlight

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The daughter they never knew 

When Miles Jenkins sees the graceful young figure skater on TV, he can't believe how much she resembles Lark McGee, the girl he dated briefly in college. Could this aspiring star be the child Lark gave up for adoption eighteen years ago? He has to find out. 

Locating Lark ignites conflicting emotions in Miles—including regrets for what might have been and romantic feelings that take the two single parents by surprise. As they prepare to meet their daughter, this deeper connection between the two just might be the chance at love they never got.

384 pages, Kindle Edition

First published June 6, 2017

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About the author

Virginia McCullough

38 books605 followers
A writer all her adult life, Virginia McCullough has had the opportunity to write the stories of her heart in her novels, including Girl in the Spotlight, the first book in her Two Moon Bay series for Harlequin Heartwarming. (Book 2 is scheduled for release in January 2018). Her award-winning romance and women’s fiction titles include The Jacks of Her Heart, Amber Light, Greta’s Grace, The Chapels on the Hill, and Island Healing.

Born and raised in Chicago, Virginia has been lucky enough to develop her writing career in many locations, including the coast of Maine, the mountains of North Carolina, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and currently, Northeast Wisconsin. She started her career in nonfiction, first writing articles and then books as a ghostwriter and coauthor. She’s written more than 100 books for physicians, business owners, professional speakers and many others with information to share or a story to tell.

Virginia’s books feature characters who could be your neighbors and friends. They come in all ages and struggle with everyday life issues in small-town environments that almost always include water—oceans, lakes, or rivers. The mother of two grown children, you’ll find Virginia with her nose a book, walking on trails or her neighborhood street, or she may be packing her bag to take off for her next adventure. And she’s always working on another story about hope, healing, and second chances.

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Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews
Profile Image for Coral.
776 reviews27 followers
June 11, 2017
Plot: 5/5
Characterisation: 4/5
Prose: 4/5
How much I enjoyed it: 4/5
June 12, 2017
Virginia McCullough’s Girl in the Spotlight is a sweet love story. But it’s not just a romance between a man and a woman. It’s also a story of love from a parent to a child, the parents who gave birth to her and the parents who adopted her.

I love Miles and felt he handled the situation involving Perrie Lynn with maturity and discretion. He’s a tender dad to his little girl Brooke and a friendly ex-husband to Andi. His compassion, honesty, and steadiness with Lark increased my appreciation of him at every turn.

Lark on the other hand …. well, I realize i don’t have the right to judge her actions and attitudes since I have never experienced what she has. But she just didn’t seem to be handling this in a healthy way. Not from day one. And while that is certainly understandable, it’s never really addressed and her behavior/thoughts made me uncomfortable more than once. If she hadn’t had Miles’ steadying influence, I’m not sure what she would have done.

Maxine and Eric – oh how i adore and respect them. And Perrie Lynn… I got just as caught up in her performances and the competitions as I would if I really did know her. There is a moment in the book where I literally gasped out loud, so invested was I in their lives. It felt as though I had heard a bit of news about a friend and reacted to it accordingly.

Bottom Line: Girl in the Spotlight by Virginia McCullough puts you right in the audience, sitting high up in the arena seating, experiencing the skating competitions along with the fictional spectators. You’ll hold your breath for every axel and lutz and salchow, and you’ll easily be able to picture the sparkling costumes and the ‘kiss-n-cry’ bench as we all wait for the scores. Though the pace is slow in some places and the story overall is light on romance, you’ll be emotionally invested in this compelling story from the very first chapter!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.)

see my review at Reading Is My SuperPower
Profile Image for Lynn Brooks.
2,979 reviews30 followers
June 11, 2017
4 1/2 STARS!

The meaning of a second chance is personified in Virginia McCullough’s debut Harlequin Heartwarming novel! A yearning … pushed to the wayside. A connection … born, yet not developed. Regret … a daily reminder. Could she truly have a second chance with the daughter she gave away? Is it possible for him to even realize the amount of hope he’s handed her? In this story, we meet a couple who made the young sacrifice to give their child up for adoption, then went their separate ways and developed their own lives after college. We hear the ups and downs of their lives, feel the weight of past decisions and watch them reach their grown up potential before our very eyes. The characters are well developed, their story is well thought out and leads us into the turmoil they are feeling from the first chapter. Ideally I would have wanted the ending to happen earlier in the book so we could have seen a little more of what happened after such a build-up, but overall, a great read and a satisfying resolution!

Happenstance brings a young skater to Miles Jenkins attention. She’s beautiful with coloring similar to his, yet with a grace and familiar attributes that remind him of a girl long ago. Tidbits of her life being talked about by the commentators make him wonder … that face makes him unable to not act … the heaviness in his heart has him reaching out to the one person who will understand.

Lark McGee can’t believe she’s getting a call from Miles after all this time. Is he remembering what day it is too? Hearing his voice and the story he has to tell her is life changing! Meeting up with him again … sharing memories … discussing where life took them … sharing a yearning of what might be. Can life be rewritten when you meet the person at the wrong time once, but the right time later? Can this connection they are feeling be real?
Profile Image for Jess Lawson.
539 reviews11 followers
June 3, 2017
Girl in the Spotlight was well written and the words flowed perfectly. I enjoyed getting to know Miles and Lark as well as there children. Lark and Miles have a history that connects them through a special bond that isn't exactly hard to get over. This is a second chance love story. Miles and Lark find themselves in a situation that many couples who give up a child do not always get lucky enough to be in.

Throughout this book I often wondered if Miles was over his ex wife, while he was spending time with Lark trying to reconnect. Later I realized it was literally because she was his confidant for so long, she was the only person he could confide in about certain things. Lark on the other hand is the exact opposite. She would have carried her deep dark secret to the grave before she told a sole. Her ex was not someone she would remotely consider confiding in. These two had marriages that ended badly before they found each other again but each had a completely different type of relationship with previous spouse.

The bond that connects them to each other is the vary bond that will help them with reconnecting. All the secrecy of not being able to tell anyone and the long talks about how to handle situations will be the things that continue to push them toward each other. The book was enjoyable, the characters truly loved the daughter they had been unable to watch grow. I feel this book was more about the depth of what this couple lost over the years than the romance.
Profile Image for Readsandeats.
737 reviews10 followers
June 19, 2021
One night as Miles is watching figure skating with his daughter, the skater catches his attention, not just because of the way she skates but for her looks. She has his features, as well as those of a girl he dated in college. Could she be the baby they had adopted?
He contacts Lark - his college girlfriend and mother of the baby.
This is their story of finding each other again and finding their daughter.

A beautifully written book, with topics sensitively dealt with.
Would recommend this book.
Profile Image for Anne.
13 reviews1 follower
June 10, 2017
I'm a huge fan of the Harlequin Heartwarming series, and Virginia McCullough is a new and strong voice for them. I loved this book because it was more than a romantic love story. There is no stronger love than a mother for her child, and McCullough has captured the love of a mother for the child she gave away as an infant, a love that haunts. This is a must read book. And the added advantage is you can visit Door County, Wisconsin along the way.
Profile Image for Kristen Lewendon.
6,618 reviews38 followers
June 17, 2018
There really isn’t anything simple about this book. It’s filled with complex emotions and even more complicated relationships. But at the heart of it all, this was a story about the love that makes a family whole. No matter what unexpected connections make up that family. I loved watching Miles and Lark get a second chance to find out what they could be together. Even if it was heartbreaking to watch them navigate the tricky legalities of adoption.
I received a complimentary copy of this book.
Profile Image for Natalie Brady.
65 reviews
June 18, 2018
The writing and story telling of this book is very well done. The author truly gets into the meat of the characters and who they are.
167 reviews35 followers
February 2, 2019
I receved this in a goodreads contest. It is a well written book. I enjoyed the plot and the characters. It is above the normal romance novel.
June 4, 2017
I was thrilled to get an advanced reading copy copy of this book!

Readers can always count on Virginia McCullough to deliver stories with heart and soul.

Girl in the Spotlight gives Miles Jenkins and Lark McGee a second chance to find the love their casual college romance and inopportune pregnancy cost them. Seventeen years after they give up their daughter for adoption, Miles’ seven-year-old figure skating fan daughter draws his attention to a rising skating star who happens to have been adopted, is the “right” age with the “right” birthdate, and a telltale widows peak and heart-shaped face that reminds him of Lark.

Thus begins Miles’ and Lark’s journey to meet the daughter they gave up and their own reuniting, both now divorced, both with a child of their own. Expect a heartwarming and eventful voyage that not only brings the principal parties together, but deals with ex-spouses’, a teenage son’s, and a young fangirl’s reactions to learning there’s another child in the mix and the growing closeness between Miles and Lark. Even their daughter’s adopted parents are involved with the impending meet, which is being delayed because of the upcoming Olympics and World Championships. There can be no distraction for the Girl in the Spotlight.

Perrie Lynn may be the girl at the center of everything this story is about. But this isn’t her story. It’s the story of the two people who gave her up so she could have the life she was meant to have. It is the story of the complications of reunions between adopted children and their birth parents and how it affects far more people than the man and woman and the girl they gave birth to and then let go.

I highly recommend Girl in the Spotlight as well as any book written by Virginia McCullough. Her characters are relatable as they could be any one of us. Her stories are about trials any one of us might face. And she writes with a quiet grace that draws one in.

Reviewed by Barbara Raffin, author of the St. John Sibling Series
Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews

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