Title: SMALL TOWN, BIG SECRETS – A TRINITY RIVER NOVEL (book 2)
Author: ELSIE DAVIS
Genre: Sweet, Contemporary Romance
To save her son, shy but determined waitress Becky McAllister would do just about anything. But she never expected “anything” to include the brother of the man who broke her heart. Steve Parker needs a wife, now, if he has any hopes of winning his local DA election and becoming the advocate for the underserved he’s always dreamed of being. The sweet waitress seems like just the person—if he can get her to agree. One year of marriage—no strings, no personal attachments. Becky gets the insurance funds she needs for her son’s surgery while Steve’s poll ratings soar. Neither planned on a commitment in their future, so they should have no problem making it through the year without getting emotionally involved, right? Except Becky’s holding on to a secret from her past—one that would change everything.
Becky walked out of the doctor’s office, the blast of Texas heat hitting her hard, but not as hard as the news she’d just received. Twelve thousand dollars. The deductible and copay on Byron’s hernia surgery were far more than she’d ever expected. In hindsight, the lowest-cost insurance plan might not have been such a good idea, but it had been all she could afford. Of course, there also was no way she could have ever foreseen her five-year-old son needing to be hospitalized for surgery. No number of fundraisers the town did for her would raise this kind of money.
She pulled her long hair back off to one side of her head and rubbed her neck, wiping the pool of sweat that had formed there. Becky already worked full-time at Charlie’s Bar and Grill, and her mother worked full-time at the Parker mansion. Between the two of them, they barely managed their expenses, but neither one could take on a second job, at least not while they had to juggle Byron’s care. Her sister was a big help, but she and her mom agreed Julia’s studies came first.
There was one other avenue she hadn’t pursued, but considering the magnitude of the copay, Becky wasn’t left with much choice. For her son, she’d do anything—and that included asking Byron’s father. Not that she expected the miserable cur to help, but she would ask. The weasel hadn’t even acknowledged his own son. Instead, he’d gone out of his way to make sure no one knew he was connected to the boy in any way, forcing Becky into silence.
She glanced at her watch. Darn it. The conversation with the financial administrator had taken longer than she’d planned, and now she was late for work. Becky hurried down the sidewalk toward Charlie’s. The last thing she needed was to lose her job, especially with Ethan considering her for an assistant manager’s position. He was a great boss and a good friend, but to him, his restaurant had to come first, something she understood.
Becky reached into her purse and pulled out the baggie with her peanut butter and jelly sandwich she’d fixed for herself this morning. No such thing as a leisurely lunch today. She pulled out the first half, the sticky red jelly coming out the sides and getting all over her fingers. She licked the outer edges to catch the strawberry goo before it dripped onto her clothes. She reached for the napkin tucked in the front pocket of her purse and yanked it out, but in doing so, the papers from the doctor’s office she’d shoved in there earlier came out with the napkin and fell to the ground.
Sandwich in one hand, she juggled her purse and stooped down to grab the papers. Her day couldn’t get any worse. She stood and rounded the corner, colliding with the hulking chest of a man, her sandwich firmly smushed between them. The man’s arms came around her, preventing her from falling.
Apparently, her day could get worse. “I’m so sorry.” Becky stepped back, getting her first good look at the guy she’d broadsided.
“Are you okay?” Mr. Business Executive asked, letting his hands drop when he realized she wasn’t in danger of falling flat on her face.
Of course, it had to be a guy who looked like he belonged on the cover of a magazine. Dark, wavy hair that was cut in a roguish style and brushed off to the side. His olive complexion had nothing to do with the sun. Chocolate brown eyes, a cleanly shaven face, and a strong jaw completed the picture. Swoon worthy. But there was nothing swoon worthy about the peanut butter and jelly now plastered across his suit coat, shirt, and tie. This was a day she clearly should have stayed in bed. And considering the man’s frown as he gazed down at the mess she’d made of his clothes, he would agree.
“I’m fine. I’m so sorry. Here, let me help.” Using her napkin, she began to wipe at his shirt. Each stroke only smeared the gooey mixture worse, turning his blue shirt an ugly brownish-red color, making him smell like he’d plastered peanut butter on as aftershave this morning.
The man reached up to grasp her hand, stopping her from doing any more damage than she’d already done. “I’m not sure that’s helping,” he said with a laugh. His smile reached his eyes, the corners crinkling. Way better than a frown. Becky was mesmerized for just a moment, lost in the kindness of his expression. Most people would’ve been furious with her, but not this guy.
“I feel awful.”
“Where were you in such a hurry to go? Or do you just make a habit of meeting people in unorthodox ways?” The warm sound of his laugh was pleasing, his joke at a time like this catching her off guard.
“My job,” she said. “And this isn’t good. I can’t be late— or any later than I already am. I’ve really got to run. Is there anything I can do to make this up to you?”
“I’ll get it handled. Don’t worry. I’d hate for you to be late for work.” The man removed his suit coat. “Are you sure? I could go get some water and more napkins…” She’d been late far too often trying to manage Byron’s care and doctor visits, but she didn’t feel right leaving him like this.
“I’m sure.” Becky exhaled, her breath coming out as one big whoosh. “Thank you for being so understanding.” She turned to leave, but then she paused, half twisting back around. “And no, I don’t make a habit of bumping into people, for the record.”
“I’m glad to hear it. I won’t have to keep an eye out for you while I’m in town.”
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Why is your featured book a must-read?
Becky’s story was never part of the original plan for the series. After reading book one, Back in the Rancher’s Arms, I received so many requests for Becky’s story…I wrote it. This novel is dedicated to my readers!
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Elsie Davis discovered the world of Happily-Ever-After romance at the age of twelve and has been hooked ever since. She's a Hallmark Channel movie fan, enjoys reading sweet romance, and loves creating her own fun stories, keeping them appropriate for all ages who love romance...pre-teen to grandparents. A #1 Amazon Best Selling category author, Elsie writes from her heart, hoping to share a little love in a big world. Colossians 3:14 ~And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.~ Sweet and Wholesome Romance by Elsie Davis - www.amazon.com/author/elsiedavis
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