Welcome to Magnolia Bay
The Welcome to Magnolia Bay series is the love child of my two passions: animal communication and romance writing. As an animal communicator, I know that our animal companions speak to us in ways we understand on a subliminal level but don’t always recognize intellectually, and I have witnessed first-hand how they work their wiles to nudge us in the right direction.
I hope that the Magnolia Bay love stories will lift people’s hearts the way any romance novel should. But my sinister master plan is that any animal lovers who read these books will recognize the ways in which they are already communicating telepathically with their own animal companions, and maybe decide to study and learn and practice to increase their natural abilities. How might we change the world if enough people take the time to embrace their ability to communicate with the animals they love?
Book #1: Warm Nights in Magnolia Bay
A Sweet and Uplifting Animal Communication Romance About Two Reluctant People and the Animals that Help Get Them Together
Abby Curtis lands on her Aunt Reva’s doorstep with nowhere to go but up. Abby needs this time of rest and respite to heal her broken heart, and caring for her aunt’s animals at Bayside Barn is exactly what she needs. What she doesn’t need is the distraction of the hunky new neighbor, who isn’t happy to learn that he has moved next door to a glorified petting zoo. But Reva’s dog, Georgia, has other ideas.
Quinn Lockhart plans to renovate and flip the aging estate he has just purchased, but he finds out too late that the neighboring property is a popular—and loud—field trip destination. He takes steps to remedy the situation, but his attraction to Abby soon makes him regret his hasty decision. He’s stuck in the mess he has made of things until an abandoned wolf dog colludes with Georgia to find a way to bring Abby and Quinn together despite their differences.
Praise for Warm Nights in Magnolia Bay
I love the feeling of real people and pets with real emotions of love and angst. Can’t wait for the next book.
This book was so good! It has wonderful characters and a great story line. I loved how the animals and humans interacted with each other. It hooks you on the first page and doesn’t let go. I loved it!
Thoroughly enjoyed this heat warming small town romance centered around an animal shelter.
I fell in love with the characters. The inner conflict that Casey goes through is so familiar. I found myself empathetic to her situation when her world was hanging in the balance of happiness and misery. There are surprising turns and conflicts… and I could not put the book down. I was taken with Casey’s love for ballet, her dog, family, and of course her hot romance with Ian and past with Ben her first love… Casey is a heroine that I can identify with and admire. I can’t wait for the next book to come out.
“De Jongh’s debut novel hits all its marks and blends romantic comedy, drama, and suspense. The characters are well-crafted—there’s no perfect Prince Charming—and Ben’s kids make for a compelling complication to the love triangle. … this is a lovely story about the intersections of love, friendship, duty, and self-care. A thoughtfully written, rewarding read.”
Meet the Characters of
Warm Nights in Magnolia Bay
Abby had it all, but chucked it in one wine-fueled moment of anger after catching her live-in lover/boss with lipstick on his undershorts. With no job and no home, she flees to her aunt Reva’s farm, Bayside Barn. Her summer of healing turns out to be a summer of hard work, as her Aunt leaves for an internship in wildlife rehabilitation. In charge of the farm on her own, Abby has to battle her way back from depression and cope with awkwardness and anxiety in order to get the work done. It would be easy if the work was only about caring for the animals, but she also has to host field trips at the farm. Sometimes, the best she can do is fake it, but she somehow manages to survive, even to heal.
Betrayed by his business partner, dumped by his wife, estranged from his teenage son, Quinn has plenty of reasons to be grumpy. A year of post-divorce promiscuity in The Big Easy didn’t help his feelings any either. Now he’s made a new plan: following his ex and their teenage son to Magnolia Bay, where he plans to make amends to his son while renovating the old estate he’s just bought. His visions of quiet workdays on the estate are shattered when the loudmouthed animals at Bayside Barn introduce him to his new next-door neighbor, Abby.
Reva is a telepathic animal communicator who hides her abilities from all but her trusted friends and relatives. Her life mission is to teach the children who visit Bayside Barn about the value of all life. With help from the animals at the farm, she teaches compassion and respect for animals while showing visitors to the farm how much love and wisdom animals have to share. If she can find opportunities to slip in a little subversive training to help people learn telepathic animal communication, that’s even better.
Mack McNeil doesn’t look like any veterinarian I’ve ever known, but when I “hear” him talk, I’m channeling our south-of-Houston cowboy vet, Mike Brady, who saved one of our cats—Griffie, the pool-diving feline in Warm Nights—without charging one penny more than he’d quoted in his estimate, even though Griffie’s long recovery included after-hours emergency surgery. Mack’s character is epitomized in country vets everywhere, especially the ones who don’t mind getting up at three in the morning to deliver a baby calf or save a colicky horse. Mack is a big guy with an even bigger heart, a man who is well-educated but down to earth; a man whose muscles are made from hard work, not long hours at the gym.
The character of Georgia is based on our Georgia, who was brought here under false pretenses by our youngest daughter. She claimed she’d found the puppy on the side of the road. I knew better, but I didn’t call her on it because I knew that Georgia was meant to be here. Georgia runs the show around here, acting as Ms. Manners with the cats when they act up. She is also the short-stop and referee of all ball games.
Wolf’s character is based on a wolf I met while visiting an animal communicator friend who volunteers as a trainer at the wild-animal refuge where he lives. The refuge takes in injured wildlife and wild animals who have been confiscated from people who bought them for pets then realized too late that wild animals don’t make good pets. Wolf had been surrendered to an animal shelter, then brought to the refuge when shelter workers realized that he wasn’t a domesticated dog. Though the once-tamed animals at the refuge are too wild to be kept as pets, many of them still crave human interaction, so as part of their enrichment, they receive regular training that allows them to have limited human interaction in a controlled setting that is safe for everyone, humans and animals. Some of the animals have been so well trained that they’ve even acted in movies and television!
Elijah and Miriam
Elijah the granola-bar-stealing donkey is based on our Elijah, who was born here at Dragonfly Pond Farm. His mother, Miriam, had been given to us by a friend who was downsizing their donkey herd, and it turned out that she was pregnant. We did have a sneaking suspicion, but still, Elijah’s birth was a happy surprise! Though Miriam was still a little bit wild, we messed with Elijah from the beginning, rubbing his long ears, brushing his coat, picking up his hooves and patting them on the bottom so he’d be used to having his hooves cared for when the farrier came. Over time, Elijah’s tameness convinced his mother that she wouldn’t die if she let us pet her too.
Gregory the hedge-eating goat is based on our escape artist goat who was born here at Dragonfly Pond Farm. Gregory thought he was a dog, but we didn’t tell him he was wrong about that. Gregory was a bit bossy with his horns, but other than that, he was a kind-hearted goat. He still is a kind-hearted goat, but he and the other goats and sheep moved to our ferrier’s house when they kept eating all the new hedge trees Hans tried to plant along the property line.
Freddy the macaw is based on our macaw, Talume, who was passed on to us when a friend couldn’t keep him any longer. We didn’t plan to keep him forever, though he lived with us for a few years until we found the perfect home for him. He is now the King of the Sun Porch at his new house, living with a newly-retired couple who have plenty of time to give him all the attention he needs and deserves.
Griffie is a cat we had in Houston who lived long enough to make the move to Alabama. Several years after Griffie died, he reincarnated to be with us again. I didn’t recognize him at first, because he didn’t look like himself until he got to be about three years old. He came to us as a small, short-haired white cat with big blue eyes and even bigger pink ears. (I guess he knew I had vowed never again to have a long-haired cat.) We named the kitten Blue because of his blue eyes, and now Blue Kitten weighs 18 pounds and has long, bunny-soft hair that he willingly allows us to brush whenever we want. No matted fur allowed on this big kitten!
Read an excerpt
Chaos before coffee
Sweaty and tired, Abby decided shoveling poop could wait until after coffee. She set up the coffeepot and hit the button to perk. She had just removed her boots when a deep bellow of human rage galvanized Georgia, who sprinted across the yard and squeezed under the fence. A second later, her sharp barking joined the new neighbor’s angry expletives. Abby ran barefoot along the hedgerow fence toward Georgia’s hysterical barking.
A donkey’s cry made her heart race. How had Elijah gotten into the neighbor’s yard? Then she saw how. “Oh shit.” She climbed over a section of crumpled wire fencing and burst through a thick tangle of vegetation into a scene of mayhem and hysteria.
The new neighbor charged toward Elijah and flung his hands in the donkey’s face. “Shoo. Get out.”
Elijah reared, eyes rolling, ears pinned back. Abby grabbed a stout stick and rushed to defend her aunt’s traumatized donkey. “Stop! You’re scaring him.”
Bawling in terror, Elijah veered around the man’s waving arms and leaped over the crumpled wire fence. Georgia—all thirty pounds of short, snarling protection—stood between Abby and the crazy neighbor.
This mean man would not be getting any of the secret-family-recipe pound cake.
Dinner for two
Abby dressed for dinner in a soft jersey sundress with a flowery print and a flirty skirt that swirled around her thighs when she moved. Her damp hair would probably frizz, and her cheeks would be too shiny, so hopefully the cute dress would provide a distraction from the total picture.
Because when faced with the realization that she had time to either clean the house or dry her hair and put on makeup, she’d opted for the house. While she zipped around barefoot with the vacuum, while she cleaned the kitchen and dusted the furniture and wiped down the butcher-block countertops, she told herself she’d made the right choice.
Quinn had seen her without makeup, so that cat was out of the bag. The cat still inside its bag was the one that could’ve spilled the secret that Abby wasn’t exactly a neat freak. After three days of not picking up after herself, she had to admit that Reva’s house was beginning to look a little grim.
She’d just put away the vacuum and lit a few good-smelling candles on the table when Quinn tapped on the glass door.
Dressed in oh-Mama-fitting jeans and a Lord-help-me-fitting T-shirt, Quinn also had a charming grin on his face and a bottle of red wine in his hand.
She might have fallen just a little bit in love before she even opened the door.
Wolf in trouble
A low growl filtered through the leaves, seeming to come from all sides at once. It sounded like a dog’s growl, but Wolf knew it wasn’t. This deep, bellowing growl came from the throat of something much bigger than any dog Wolf had ever seen.
And whatever it was, it was growling at him. His hackles rose at the unseen threat.
The growl moved closer, and Wolf could tell now that it was coming from behind him, accompanied by the silky, swishing sound of something big slithering through the mud, somehow staying on top of it instead of being swallowed by it.
Panting, floundering in the ever-deepening mud that sucked at his feet with every swimming step, Wolf struggled toward the smell of the clear water beyond the marsh. His front paws struck something hard and slick, something hidden deep under the muddy surface that the reeds seemed to grow on top of rather than sending roots down. Wolf scrabbled to get all four paws on the shifting platform, then pushed off and leaped forward…only to land in an even deeper pool of mud.
No bottom. No bottom. He went down, down, down. The mud closed over his head.