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MUCH ADO IN MONTANA
BY M.M. JUSTUS
All bets are off. Tara Hillerman, town librarian, has lived in remote, tiny Campbell, Montana, all of her life. Except for the college years she’d like to forget. Don’t bet she’ll leave. Tim Swanson escaped Campbell when he went off to med school nine years ago. Now he’s home to help his ailing father close up the town’s only medical clinic. Don’t bet he’ll stay. But neither of them planned on their explosive reunion. Then Tim’s father makes a medical mistake that almost ruins their best friends’ lives. Tara bets Tim their own future that he can’t set things right, and who will back down now?
MUCH ADO IN MONTANA
BY M.M. JUSTUS
Timothy Swanson stamped the dirt from his boots and shoved open the swinging doors to the Red Dog Saloon. He was glad he hadn’t given into the admittedly juvenile impulse to wear his normal Saturday night duds tonight. He’d have been as out of place here in Italian wool and leather as his Prius was out in the Red Dog’s gravel and mud parking lot.
Still, he had to resist the impulse to shoot the cuffs of his flannel shirt, one of several he’d bought specifically for this visit. At least it wasn’t plaid. This one was navy blue, shades darker than his jeans. Tim hated flannel. He’d grown up in flannel shirts. Gone to college in them. But as soon as he could ditch them and still fit in, he had. Stupidly enough, they made him feel like a hick. But when in Rome…
No one had noticed him yet. Tim couldn’t decide if that pleased him or ticked him off. The big, low-ceilinged, wood-paneled room was packed with people. Everyone looked as if they’d just come off shift at the mill or in the forest, which most of them probably had. Peanut shells littered the scarred plank floor. Country music poured from enormous speakers that looked like they dated from thirty years ago because they did. The place smelled like beer and sweat, and, whether he wanted to or not, Tim felt himself relaxing after the eight-hour drive from Seattle.
Then one head turned, and another, and another, astonishment chased by ear-splitting grins and shouts. Tim braced as he was engulfed by the crowd. As he fielded their boisterous greetings. Got slapped on the back. And was yanked forward as the door swung shut behind him. A mug of, yes, that was Budweiser, was shoved into his hand – Tim hid his grimace as he took his first sip and wondered if the Red Dog had anything else on tap these days.
He was home again. Whether he wanted to be or not. Then he saw her face, and froze.
M.M. Justus used to live in a town a great deal like Campbell, Montana. Several of them, in fact. She holds degrees in British and American literature and history and library science, and a certificate in museum studies. In her other life, she’s held jobs as far flung as hog farm bookkeeper, music school secretary, professional dilettante (aka reference librarian), and museum curator.
Her other interests include quilting, gardening, meteorology, and the travel bug she inherited from her father. She lives on the rainy side of the Cascade mountains in Washington state.
Please visit her website and blog at mmjustus.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/M.M.Justusauthor and on Twitter @mmjustus.
Links to M.M’s website, blog, books, etc.
My website is at http://mmjustus.com, add /blog to get to the blog directly.
Much Ado in Montana’s page on my website is http://mmjustus.com/much-ado-in-montana/, and here are its sales pages:
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Thanks, M.M., for sharing your story with us!