Excerpt From “A Ripple in the Water” by Donna Small

A Ripple in the WaterWhen widow and single mother, Katharine Penner, Spots a tall, gorgeous stranger on the other side of the local swimming pool, she is struck by her immediate and intense reaction to him. In an awkward and very uncomfortable turn of events, Kate learns that the stranger she was drawn to is non other than Riley Morgan, the new swim coach and college-aged son of one of her closest friends. Riley has long harbored feelings for Kate but kept them his most closely guarded secret, all to aware of the fact she was married and off limits. But now, one year after tragedy has left Kate alone, he has come home for the summer determined to win her affections.

As the summer progresses, these two find that their mutual attraction for each other blossoms into something much more serious than either of them ever thought possible. But can Kate’s second chance at love overcome the obstacles created by their thirteen year age difference and her friendship with Wendy, Riley’s incredibly overprotective mother?


Once his summer plans were in place, it seemed it couldn’t arrive quickly enough. His excitement was palpable, though he did his best to hide it from his roommates. They had embraced college life with two arms and were mostly occupied with cute co-eds. As a result, they were oblivious to Riley’s distraction. None of them – and his roommates were his closest friends – would understand his feelings for a woman from his hometown or his lack of desire to date any of the coeds that were constantly hanging around in their apartment as though it were a designer shoe store having a clearance sale.

Occasionally, though, one of his roommates would push the dating issue and even more occasionally, Riley would succumb to the pressure and take some girl to a movie or campus party. A part of him hoped that doing so would help him forget his feeling for Kate but it never did. The girls he dated were just that – girls. They were insecure and full of themselves at the same time. How was that even possible? How could these girls look down their noses at someone and then in the next moment, be upset because some guy called you five minutes later than he said he would? Riley shook his head. He was tired of the drama. Tired of double dating with another couple, only to have both girls leave to go to the bathroom at the same time. Tired of the stupid ones who called and hung up, not realizing that in this day and age, everyone had caller id. And he was tired of the giggling. It was maddening, and he was done.

Once he’d made that decision, it only seemed the natural progression to date women who were older. Of course, his roommates were all for this and would high-five him before each date, then poke each other in the stomach while giving each other knowing looks.

Riley, for whatever reason, found older women fascinating, making this method of dating somewhat easier than his earlier attempts. Older women were self-confident and didn’t give a shit if you called or didn’t call. They had lives of their own and while they were pleased if you called, they wouldn’t give you the third degree if you didn’t. They were comfortable with themselves and truly believed that if you didn’t call, it was your loss.

If you didn’t call, they would make other plans.

Older women had their own lives to lead and they certainly weren’t going to sit around waiting for some guy. Riley smiled, thinking of the ladies he’d dated. They were all wonderful, confident, intelligent women but, truth be told, they weren’t Kate. Despite dating these women, some of them he truly cared for, he was unable to rid himself of the ever present feelings he had for Kate.

It was Kate he wanted and there would be no substitute.


Donna Small is the author of two novels, Just Between Friends and A Ripple in the Water. She discovered books at a very early age and would frequently ignore her teachers in order to discreetly read book during class. To this day, she is an avid reader and can be found most evenings curled up with a good book. She lives in Clemmons, NC with her two daughters and their beagle, Charlie, where she is at work on her next novel.

Click here to buy: A Ripple in the Water

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