Executive Order 9066

February 1942 was a dark time for Americans. Ten weeks earlier, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, pulling the United States into a war they’d tried hard to avoid.
rooseveltOn February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066,  authorizing the removal of any or all people from military areas “as deemed necessary or desirable.” The military in turn defined the entire West Coast, home to the majority of Americans of Japanese ancestry or citizenship, as a military area. (If you’d like to read the document for yourself, you can find it here.)
 More than 120,000 men, women, and children of Japanese descent were detained in fifteen assembly centers in the spring of 1942, including the Portland Assembly Center.
Many of these people were born in America, some second or third generation Americans, but their place of birth became irrelevant in the coming days. Those living in the evacuation areas were forced to leave behind their homes, sell their possessions for mere pennies on the dollar, and abandon their businesses to report to assembly centers — or become fugitives in the land they called home.
My recently released sweet historical romance, Garden of Her Heart, details one woman’s plight as she has to choose between doing what she is ordered or what she knows to be right.

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Can forbidden love blossom amid the constraints of war?

The moment the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, life shifted for Miko Nishimura. Desperate to reach the Portland Assembly Center for Japanese-Americans, she’s kicked off the bus miles from town. Every tick of the clock pushes her closer to becoming a fugitive in the land of her birth. Exhausted, she stumbles to her grandparents’ abandoned farm only to find a dying soldier sprawled across the step. Unable to leave him, she forsakes all else to keep him alive.

After crashing his plane in the Battle of the Atlantic, the doctors condemn Captain Rock Laroux to die. Determined to meet his maker beneath a blue sky at his family home, he sneaks out of the hospital. Weary and half out of his mind, he makes it as far as a produce stand he remembers from his youth. Rather than surrender to death, Rock fights a battle of the heart as he falls in love with the beautiful Japanese woman who saves his life.

A poignant, sweet romance, Garden of Her Heart proves love can bloom in unlikely places even under the most challenging circumstances.

 

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Excerpt:

“Please, Miko? Would you at least consider marrying me?”

She shook her head and tried to pull away from him, but he drew her closer, wrapping his arms around her and holding her. His breath tantalized her ear as he bent his head near hers. “Please?”

“I can’t, Rock. I don’t want to be the cause of you missing out on the love of a lifetime.” She turned her head to the side and pressed it against his neck. Unintentionally, she heightened the yearning that already pulsed between them. Forcibly, he relaxed his hold on her.

“Miko,” he whispered. “Look at me, sweetheart.”

Unhurried, she tipped her head back, drawn into the bright warmth of his eyes.

“Miko, if I didn’t want to marry you, I wouldn’t offer. I rather like the idea of spending my future with you. We have more going for us than many couples who wed. There is no doubt in my mind at all about your ability to be a good wife. Me, on the other hand…” His cocky grin brought an amused light to her eyes. “It might be challenging to be married to someone like me.”

A smile curved her mouth upward and Rock tamped down the desire to kiss her again, even with the pastor watching their every move.

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