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Hearts of Montana Series #2
BY JENNIE MARTS
Secrets have a way of revealing themselves….
Right after a fire breaks out in her diner, a phone call changes Cherry Hill’s life. The tragic death of her cousin leaves Cherry sole guardian of her eight-year-old nephew. But the upper crust side of the Hill family deems her unfit and is determined to take Sam away from her. The only one on her side is the sexy sheriff, Taylor Johnson, the man who broke her heart nine years ago when he left town.
Taylor Johnson has sworn to protect the citizens of Broken Falls, but should that extend to a fake engagement to the woman who captured his heart so long ago? It doesn’t take long for his pretend feelings to turn real for both Cherry and her adorable nephew, Sam.
But Cherry’s been hiding a secret from Taylor that could rip this new family apart…
Hearts of Montana Series #2
BY JENNIE MARTS
The siren wails of the fire engine were a welcome sound as Cherry Hill shot another burst of white foam from the extinguisher. Panic welled in her chest as she watched the flames creep up the diner’s wall above the griddle.
What started as a small grease fire was rapidly turning into a desperate situation.
Cherry swore as she battled to save the only thing she had left.
“Make sure everyone’s out of the building,” she yelled at Stan, the diner’s cook. Thankfully the breakfast crowd had thinned, and only a few people had been left in the restaurant when the grease flamed on the griddle and the fire began. “You should get out too. I got this.”
Stan attacked the fire with a dish towel, keeping the flames from spreading across the kitchen counter. “No way, dude! I’m not leaving you.”
The door to the kitchen swung open, and three large firemen filled the small room.
Well, two large fireman and one skinny guy, the best you could hope for on a small-town volunteer fire squad. One of the men dragged a fire hose through the door, and Cherry groaned as she heard glassware hitting the floor, unlucky bystanders in the path of the thick hose.
“I thought you weren’t supposed to use water on a grease fire,” she said, dredging up old advice her granddad had given her when she’d taken over the diner.
One of the fireman stepped toward her. He held a fire extinguisher in his hands. “Don’t worry. You can trust a fireman to always have the right equipment.”
Recognizing the voice, Cherry’s head snapped up, and she looked into the grinning face of Taylor Johnson.
What in the hamhock is he doing here?
Still not used to having him back in town, Cherry’s heart did a flip each time she saw him. She gulped. He had the right equipment for just about anything.
But Taylor was the new Sheriff—since when did he fight fires?
Before she had a chance to ask, another flame shot up, this one catching the side of her arm, and she cried out.
The grin disappeared as Taylor stepped forward, now all business, and put his body between hers and the fire. He yelled at the cook and pointed at Cherry. “Get her out of here before one of you gets hurt even worse!”
The whoosh of the water jetting from the hose drowned out his words, but Stan must have got the idea because he wrapped an arm around Cherry’s middle and pulled her out the front door and onto the street in front of the restaurant.
Gasping, Cherry took in great gulps of clean air and prayed that the fireman could save the diner.
Even if they saved the kitchen, the diner would be shut down for days, maybe weeks, as she battled the insurance company and made repairs.
Mentally calculating the lost earnings, she wondered, not for the first time, if the inheritance of the diner from her grandparents had been a blessing or a curse.
Within fifteen minutes, the fire was out, leaving only gray wisps of smoke rising into the air above the building. An ambulance arrived shortly after the fire truck, and Stan had guided Cherry toward the vehicle.
An EMT had just finished wrapping a large bandage around Cherry’s burned arm. She looked at the white gauze, bright against her smoke-stained skin, and smiled at the woman. “Thanks, Marge.”
She’d known Marge for years. Just like she knew almost everyone in the small town of Broken Falls, Montana.
If she hadn’t gone to school or church with them, they were her neighbors or her store clerks or bank tellers. Anyone she might not have known growing up in this town, she’d met through the diner over the last ten years that she’d worked there.
She looked toward the café, the curvy pink letters of Cherry’s Diner emblazoned on the windows, and saw Taylor emerge from the smoky building.
He peeled off his fireman jacket and tossed it on the truck. He wore his standard brown uniform shirt and jeans, and the sun winked off the gold sheriff star pinned to his chest.
Why had he moved back here?
She’d seen him a few times since he’d been back, in the diner and once when a friend of hers had needed his help.
Each time she saw him, she was taken aback at the change from the skinny light-haired boy who’d taken her to the prom and stolen her virginity.
Okay, so maybe he hadn’t exactly stolen it. Maybe she’d given it. Freely.
And with abandon.
But she didn’t want to think about that.
Taylor’s hair had darkened to a dirty blond, and the years in the military and the police academy had hardened his body and strengthened the muscles that so nicely filled out his uniform.
He strode toward her now, a look of concern in his eyes.
Those were just the same. His eyes hadn’t changed. They were the same deep blue color.
And they bore the same intensity that she remembered from all those years ago when he had looked into hers and pledged to love her forever.
To always be there for her.
The same blue eyes that haunted her dreams after he left. Leaving her alone with a broken heart and a handful of empty promises.
Well, not quite alone.
“Are you all right? How’s your arm?” Taylor asked, drawing her out of the years-old memories. He picked up her arm and looked down at her bandage as if inspecting the quality of the work.
“You don’t need to concern yourself with me. I’m fine.” She pulled her arm back, wincing at the pain of the burn but not really caring.
Jennie Marts loves to make readers laugh as she weaves stories filled with love, friendship and intrigue. She writes for Entangled Publishing and reviewers call her books “laugh out loud” funny and full of great characters that are “endearing and relatable.”
She is living her own happily ever after in the mountains of Colorado with her husband, two sons, two dogs and a parakeet that loves to tweet to the oldies. She’s addicted to Diet Coke, adores Cheetos and believes you can’t have too many books, shoes or friends.
Her books include the contemporary western romance Hearts of Montana series, the romantic comedy/ cozy mysteries of The Page Turners series, and her latest hot hockey players series, the Bannister Brothers Books.
Links to Jennie’s website, blog, books, etc.
Amazon preorder link: http://amzn.com/B015WAHKFU
**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: Jennie has a giveaway for one of her Karen’s Killer Book Bench blog readers! Comment on the following: What would you order for dessert at Cherry’s Diner? Leave a comment below and be in the running to win an e-copy of TUCKED AWAY, Hearts of Montana Series, Book 1 by JENNIE MARTS. Don’t miss the chance to read this book! Thanks, Jennie, for sharing your story with us!