Title: You Belong to Me
Author: Jean C. Joachim
Genre: Small Town Contemporary Romance
What’s she doing here? Single dad, lumberjack Cal Morrison, stares out his window at the moving van across the street. A widower, he lives with his young son, Bobby.
I don’t need her. Neither does Bobby. Why doesn’t she go back to Europe and leave me alone? Still nursing a broken heart, he wants to turn away and forget Giselle Davenport. But he can’t. He’s drawn to her like a moth to a flame.
When she faces his house, her hands on her hips, she hesitates. Does she feel it, too? Cal has his son and a good job, he doesn’t need a woman. Especially that woman. At least that’s what he keeps telling himself.
He rubbed his chin as he stared at her place. What did Giselle think? That they’d simply patch things up and start dating again? No way! She was a spider who’d hurt him beyond anything he could have imagined. She’d be lucky to get the time of day from him.
“Come on, Dad,” Bobby said, standing by the front door.
Leaving his reminiscences behind, Cal threw on a jacket and took his son by the hand. Their snug house was two streets away from Pine Grove Elementary. They’d bought the house because it was an easy walk to Bobby’s school. Having spent yesterday shoveling, Cal made sure their walkway was snow and ice-free, safe for his son.
As they strolled along, Bobby sang “Jingle Bells.” Cal shot one glance over his shoulder before turning down the street.
“You like the big truck, too?” his son asked.
“Yeah. It sure is huge,” Cal lied, quietly chastising himself for not telling the truth. No reason to tell Bobby anything about Giselle.
When he looked over, their eyes met. She lowered hers first and turned away. Be embarrassed. You’ve got plenty to feel guilty about, Ms. Davenport. So, she couldn’t meet his stare? Well, good. It simply meant he wouldn’t have to bother with her.
“Come on, Dad. Sing. It’s almost Christmas.”
Cal joined in. Bobby’s ebullience raised his spirits. The child had no idea how many times his cheerfulness had saved Cal’s mood. The boy had been depressed for months after his mother’s death. At two, he didn’t understand and had adapted to having only his father and grandparents. Cal’s mother, Betty, stood in for Jane as much as possible.
There were times when Cal’s patience stretched from New York to California. The boy’s energy never seemed to give out, except five minutes before bedtime. Between being mother and father to his son and working in the tree and lawn business with his dad, Cal ended up exhausted by the end of the day. Consequently, his celibate lifestyle didn’t present much of a problem.
Now that Bobby had entered kindergarten, Cal admitted the time had come to find a new wife. While he and Jane hadn’t always gotten along, he missed living with a woman, sharing a bed, meals, and decisions about Bobby.
However, in a small town, there weren’t many options, and with a child…well, being a father closed him off to women who didn’t want the burden. With the arrival of winter, the tree and lawn business ground to a halt. Both Cal and his father had more free time than they could fill. Cal planned to make a list of indoor projects to accomplish while the weather was too rough to work outside.
He kissed his son goodbye and ambled toward home. At Giselle’s, there were only a few boxes left. The back of the truck was closed. Cal watched.
A man approached her with a piece of paper and a pen. She brought the paper right up to her face before scribbling something. Hmm, he didn’t remember her being so nearsighted. She must have left her glasses inside. But he didn’t recollect her wearing glasses, either. He shrugged it off. Things changed over time, he figured.
As he got to the place where their paths paralleled each other, he stopped. After the massive truck pulled out of her driveway, he faced her.
“You’re back?” he called out, narrowing his eyes.
She gave him a half smile and made her way down the walk. Halfway there, she stepped on an icy patch, slid, and fell hard on her butt.
“Ouch!” she blurted out.
Cal was by her side in a second. He grabbed her elbow and yanked her to her feet.
“You hurt?” He raised his hand to clean off her bottom but stopped in the nick of time.
Brushing off her pants, she shook her head. “Thanks.” She moved out of his grasp.
“What are you doing here?” Cal struggled to keep belligerence out of his voice but failed.
“In Pine Grove? It’s my hometown. I’ve always lived here.”
“Okay, then. On Pond Road? Right across the street from me?” His folded his arms across his chest.
“It wasn’t intentional. I needed a ranch. Small. Julia picked it out for me before I got back.”
“Oh? Julia? And she didn’t know I lived here?”
“I guess not. I think it was the only small ranch on the market.”
“What do you need a ranch for? What’s wrong with your father’s Victorian?”
“None of your business.” She pushed by him. “Thanks for the neighborly welcome,” she sniffed.
“I did help you up,” he said.
“And I thanked you. I could have gotten up by myself.”
“But you didn’t need to, did you?”
She whirled around and faced him. “What do you want? A medal? Should I call the newspaper? You did something neighborly and nice, but don’t ask me to give you a Purple Heart.” Giselle raised her chin for a second then turned and continued on her way.
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
It’s a second-chance, single-dad romance with a heroine who is vision-impaired, but still a strong, independent woman, and an arrogant, sexy guy who resists her as much as possible. They are brought together by his young son. It’s a poignant story that will tug at your heart, maybe make you shed a few tears, but laugh, too. It gripped me and wouldn’t let go.
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Winner will be drawn on February 4, 2021.
Jean Joachim is an award-winning, USA Today best-selling romance author whose books have hit the Amazon Top 100 list in the U.S. and abroad since 2012. She writes sports romance, small town romance, big city romance, and romantic suspense.
Jean has over 60 books in ebook, print and audio. She writes fulltime, never far from her secret stash of black licorice. An avid bird and dog lover, she has a fondness for chickadees and pugs. A music lover, especially classical, she’s married, has two grown sons and lives in New York City. She’d love to hear from you, email her at: email@example.com
Find her books on her website: http://www.jeanjoachimbooks.com
Social Media Links:
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