Summer Lovin': A Wounded Hearts Novella

BOOK: Summer Lovin': A Wounded Hearts Novella
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Summer Lovin’
A Wounded Hearts Novella
Jacquie Biggar

C
opyright
© 2016 by Jacquie Biggar

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

ISBN: 978-1-988126-01-2

Foreword

M
itch Taylor and Rebecca Sorenson
share a secret.

 

Rebecca’s job is rewarding as secretary of Cascade Elementary—the same school she attended as a child. She has a great group of friends, even though many of whom are married now. And if sometimes she wished she was up there in that sparkling white dress…

Except, wait—she did get to wear bridal white. Granted, it was a slinky party dress and the justice of the peace was Elvis in a gold lame jacket, but still, the deed was done.

She’d tied the knot.

Mitch Taylor doesn’t do regrets. It would be a waste of energy bemoaning the mistakes he’d made in his life. The end of his promising football career taught him nothing in life was a guarantee.

Like love.

What were the chances two people from the same po-dunk town in Washington would end up together in a nightclub in Las Vegas?  A few too many drinks later, a hasty ceremony performed by the king of rock ‘n’ roll, and they’d been hitched. The night that followed lived on in his dreams, but when he’d woken the next morning she was gone.

Can these two mismatched lovers find a way past their mistakes, or will they keep their lonely hearts guarded forever?

I
have so
many people I’d like to thank. First and foremost my husband, Robert John. Without you I wouldn’t have had the courage to pursue my dreams. Thank you.

My mom, who has always been my guiding light and allows me to toss ideas with her. Thank you.

To my daughter, Brandy; you are my inspiration to never give up.

To my critique buddies, you know who you are. Without you pushing me to better myself, this book might never have happened.

To my beta readers for their tremendous input, and the reviewers who are key to a writer’s success, thank you.

And last but not least, to Kim Killion and Jennifer Jakes, for the beautiful cover I’m so proud of and the services you provide. Thank you.

T
his book marks
the fifth in the Wounded Hearts series centered around the citizens of Tidal Falls, Washington. The characters have grown and taken on a life of their own and I’ve had great fun getting to know them.

I hope you enjoy Mitch and Rebecca’s story.

Jacquie

Jacquie Biggar has a wonderful gift for writing hot and extremely likable military men!

Jacqui Nelson

Introduction

R
ebecca was in Hell
.

What other explanation could there be for the reappearance of Mitch in her life when she’d worked so diligently to avoid him for the best part of eighteen hundred and eighteen days—not that she was counting.

The divorce papers sitting on the desk at home were burning a hole through her brain, making her ache with things she dared not admit.

He looked amazing, by far the handsomest man in a room full of fine-looking men. His white dress shirt emphasized the breadth of those impossibly wide shoulders, honed to steel by years of honest manual labor. But then she’d always admired that about him. When his football career had come to an abrupt end he could have turned to a bottle and no one would have faulted him for it. Instead he picked himself up, went to a community college, got his welding ticket, and opened a business. Now his work was often sought after from all over the state and his shop had grown from a backyard garage to a fully equipped warehouse on a prime piece of Tidal Falls land. Mitch Taylor was a local success story.

He grasped her hand and she reluctantly followed his lead across a floor now packed with swaying bodies. He didn’t stop until they reached a shadowed alcove off to one side of the stage. When he turned and held out his arms she stepped forward like a lamb, letting his jacket drop onto a nearby chair. The moment his arms wrapped around her and his calloused fingers found the bare skin of her lower back, Becky knew she was in trouble.

Her startled gaze rushed upward and tangled in the molten heat of his amber eyes. The light and shadows created by their surroundings turned his face lean and mysterious and oh-so-hypnotic. Someone bumped into them but she barely noticed, she was so caught up in his aura. It had been like this before—in Las Vegas.

Rebecca tried to pull away, her heart beating double time, an out-of-sync counterpoint to the drums playing on stage. Mitch simply tugged so that she had to grasp the front of his shirt to keep from falling—not that he would have let her. There were many things about Mitch Taylor that bothered her, but she never doubted his kindness.

He bowed his head and rested his cheek against her temple and his voice rumbled through her soul. “It’s just a dance, sweetheart. What are you afraid of?”

Everything.

Him.

Herself.

Chapter One

W
ould this day never end
? Rebecca Sorenson shuffled the papers on her desk and glanced up at the school clock for the tenth time in so many minutes. She had plans, big plans and couldn’t wait to get a start on the weekend.

Tonight was the big night for her best friend, Annie’s, bachelorette celebration. Which is why—Rebecca glanced at the clock again just as the bell rang signaling classes were done—she needed to get going. There was still a ton of last minute preparations before the party.

She hurried to log off the computer, finished stacking her secretarial files, and reached into the bottom drawer for her hobo styled handbag and striped sun hat. Annie made fun of the fact she had to give up two pay-checks to afford her purse with its straw look and leather straps, but hello,
Jimmy Choo
. She wouldn’t call herself vain exactly, but she definitely preferred good quality whenever she could afford it.

The elementary kids poured out of their classrooms, laughing and talking, not a worry on their sweet minds. Rebecca envied them their youth. Life had a way of bleeding that exuberance away.

Okay, enough with the maudlin shit.

She pasted a smile on her lips and rounded the end of the counter to join the melee heading for the front entrance.

“Bye, Miss Sorenson,” little Jessica Reed sang as she rushed past with a couple of friends in tow.

Becky’s heart pinched. She loved each and every one of the precious little rug-rats. Outside parents stood in friendly groups chatting, some with strollers or fussy preschoolers tugging on their hands. The moment they caught sight of their children, welcoming smiles broke out and arms opened wide to hug them close. The gentlest of breezes, just enough to take the heat out of the early summer sunshine, teased the girls’ dresses and flirted with the boys’ jackets. It was like a Hallmark movie.

She lifted the strap of her purse higher, plunked her hat on her head, and dodged families as she made her way across the playground, intent on reaching the bike rack where her prized baby blue Schwinn waited with a sturdy padlock.

A boy, maybe grade three going by his size, was crouched near the back tire of a beat-up black bike covered in superhero decals. He looked near tears as he fought to free the bike from its lock. Rebecca hesitated, anxious to get going, but the kid’s obvious turmoil tugged at her heart.

“Hi,” she said brightly. “Looks like you have a problem there. Can I help?”

The boy looked up at her through the thickest set of dark lashes and puppy dog eyes. She moved closer and his grubby fingers covered the combination while his gaze became even more fearful.

Rebecca stopped and raised her hands. “It’s okay, kiddo, I work here.” She pointed at the school behind them. “In the office. I’m Miss Sorenson. What’s your name?”

He looked down, wiped his nose with the sleeve of his jacket, and mumbled, “Tommy.”

Becky crouched and set her purse beside her on the tarmac. She knew most of the children attending Cascade Elementary, but not this little guy.

“What class are you in, Tommy?”

He flushed and looked toward the kids romping on the playground. When he turned back his face was belligerent. “I don’t go to this dumb school.”

Well, that explained why she didn’t recognize him. She started to rise, saw the hint of desperation in his gaze, and stilled.

She nodded toward the bicycle. “That’s a pretty terrific bike you have there. Do you want me to try and get that lock for you?” She hoped he wasn’t trying to steal the machine. It looked as though his life might already be rough enough without adding theft to the mix.

He shook his head once, then reluctantly changed it to a nod. When he got up to give her room she noticed his threadbare sneakers. She gave him a reassuring smile and picked up the rusty lock. That was no doubt half the problem; the mechanism needed oiling. She was relieved to see that he’d used the right combination though. An experimental tug or two later proved her theory. Becky reached into her open bag and searched until she found the small tube of Vaseline she kept for chapped lips. Tommy looked anxious and confused when she handed him the ointment.

“Buddy, I need your help.” She wiggled the lock. “I need you to rub some of that lotion onto the lock as I pull. Hopefully we’ll get a little bit inside and it’ll loosen the mechanism, how does that sound?”

Becky waited while he considered her idea. He finally nodded hesitantly.

“Don’t worry,” she smiled. “We’ll get this.” She positioned the lock between them. “Okay, partner, now.”

He opened the tube and carefully squeezed it over the lock.

“That’s great, Tommy. Now rub it in for me.” She kept up a push-pull on either side of the lock until gradually it loosened and finally popped open.

His eyes widened with delight. “You did it,” he said, his voice filled with awe.

Rebecca grinned, impressed it actually worked. “No,
we
did it,” she said and impulsively leaned over to give him a hug.

He held himself stiff for a moment, then his arms wrapped her middle and squeezed the heck out of her. Warmed by a sudden burst of affection, she dropped a light peck on the top of his head.

A rough tug yanked the boy out of her arms.

“I told you to get yer damn bike and git yerself back home, boy.”

Rebecca gasped, startled. A brutish man stood, legs astride, in front of them aiming a malevolent glare toward Tommy. His bullish face sported a bulbous nose lined with ugly red veins and lank, greasy hair. It didn’t take much to guess that he spent a good portion of his time on the end of a bottle.

His hand twisted in the scruff of Tommy’s jacket, and he gave it a shake. Instant tears sprang to the poor kid’s eyes.

“There’s no need to be rough,” she snapped and reached down to lift her bag from the ground. “I asked him to help me out for a couple of minutes.” She studiously ignored his start of surprise. “Is that a problem, Mr.?” She damn sure wanted this joker’s name. Jack would be interested to hear how he was treating a little boy.

The guy snorted. “You think I’m an idiot, lady?”

He shoved Tommy toward his bike, almost knocking him off his feet. “Git goin’, I’ll be right behind ya.”

Tommy gave her a helpless glance then yanked his bike out of the rack, threw a leg over the cracked seat, and peddled away as though his life depended on it.

The man moved into her personal space. Rebecca held her ground but her heart was thrashing its way up her throat.

He lifted cigarette stained fingertips and ran them up and down the strap of her purse. “You don’t want to mess with me, lady. Just forget today ever happened, you got it?”

Becky swayed, more scared than she’d ever been in her life. She opened her mouth to answer she didn’t know what, when a familiar, and at the moment welcoming, voice spoke from over her shoulder.

“Hey, Becky, there you are.” Mitch’s big body cast a looming shadow over the man in front of her. He took a hasty step back.

Mitch wrapped a muscular arm in a short-sleeved shirt around her waist and tugged her close. Rebecca glanced up to tell him to lay off and cringed at the stony expression at odds with his jovial tone.

“You have a problem with my
wife
, mister, you take it up with me.” He stared the other man down, totally ignoring her gasp of outrage. “Got it?” His choice of words made it clear he’d heard at least the end of the conversation.

The man swore and spat on the ground between them—
ew
—then turned and stomped off to a faded red pickup sitting near the school fence.

The engine roared, sending up a blast of blue smoke. He left behind the smell of burnt gas and an uncomfortable silence.

She twisted out of Mitch’s hold and fisted her hands on her hips.

“Husband? You’re about five years too late to be making that claim, Mitchell Taylor.”

BOOK: Summer Lovin': A Wounded Hearts Novella
12.03Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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