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BY MARSHA R. WEST
Socialite and philanthropist Elizabeth Hartman needs to start a new life after divorcing her husband Gerry Richardson who’s gone to federal prison for money laundering, a crime the Feds suspected her of being involved in. Her mother’s family vacation home in Red River, New Mexico offers just the respite she needs. Or does it?
One too many deaths sent retired Dallas homicide detective and now Marshall Matt Thornton to Red River to seek a less dangerous place to serve. The New Mexico mountains promised to be that refuge until his high school sweetheart Liz Hartman arrives, bringing with her danger to his town and his heart.
Finally, they traveled across another pass and below them lay the small town of Red River, lights twinkling in the dark valley. Liz released her shoulders which had hiked because of the stress of the long drive and drew in a deep breath. Safe. Huh. Where did that idea come from?
Her mother’s house sat on the east end of town. After they exited Main Street, they drove down Golden Treasure Road and trundled across a short bridge over the river. She and Lauran both climbed out of their vehicles and hugged each other.
“Made it.” Lauran pumped her fist in the air.
“That we did.” Liz rubbed her hands up and down her arms. “I’m grabbing a jacket even for the short time it will take to unload.”
“I always forget how the temps drop at night.” Lauran buttoned her sweater. “I’ll get Charley, Mom, while you go unlock the front door.”
Liz slid her arms into the sleeves of a light jean jacket. “Let him walk around outside to mark his territory before you bring him in. Mom won’t be happy if he pees all over the floors.” Liz stepped up on the porch, unlocked, pushed open the door, and switched on the light. A scream tore through her throat.
She backed out.
“What’s the matter, Mom?” Lauran with Charley in tow hurried to her mother’s side on the porch.
“Don’t go in.” Liz blocked her daughter with an arm. “I’m afraid we’ve had a break-in.” Liz dropped her head. “What else can happen?”
“Come on, Mom.” Lauran put one arm around her mother’s shoulders. “Come sit in the car, and we’ll call the marshal’s office.”
It wasn’t long before lights bounced down the road and crossed the small bridge dividing the house from the main part of town. A tall man climbed out of a large SUV identified with the words Red River Marshal and settled a classic white Stetson on his head. “Is one of you Elizabeth Hartman?” He glanced between the two women.
Liz stepped forward. “I am.”
“I’m Marshal Matt Thornton.”
Liz’s gaze raked the tall, broad shouldered man, connecting him to a younger version she’d known lifetimes ago. “Matthew?”
“No one calls me that anymore. Odd, you remind me of a woman I used to know with the same name.” His eyes opened wide. “Liz Hartman?”
“It’s me, Matthew.”
“Liz Hartman.” He shook his head like he couldn’t take in who stood before him. “What are you doing here?”
“I wanted to ask you that.”
“Do y’all know each other?” Lauran struggled to calm down Charley, whose barking made it difficult to hear as he appeared to want to take a bite out of the man in uniform.
“We do indeed. Lauran, this is Matthew Thornton. We attended high school together. Matthew, this is my daughter, Lauran Richardson.”
He tipped his hat to her daughter. “Nice to meet you. It’s just Matt now. But are you okay? I got a call about a break-in. What’s going on?”
“We arrived from Fort Worth less than ten minutes ago. This is my mother’s house, and when I unlocked the door and switched on the light—” She drew in short breath. “Well, I discovered what looked like a tornado had blown through. So, I backed out and called you. Well, not you, but the marshal’s office.”
A funny little tingling took over in her middle. What the hey? She and Matthew had dated in high school, even been homecoming king and queen, but they went their separate ways in college and lost track of each other.
A retired elementary school principal, a former school board member, and theatre arts teacher, Marsha R. West writes Romance, Suspense, and Second Chances. Experience Required. She lives in Texas with her supportive lawyer husband and Charley, a deaf, Chihuahua/Jack Russell Terrier. Their two daughters presented them with three delightful grandchildren all who live nearby.
The theme of all of Marsha’s eight books is second chances. She even has a four-part series titled The Second Chances Series and she believes in Happily Ever Afters. Her husband picked up a plaque for her on one of their several trips to Maine that states her philosophy exactly. Everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it’s not the end. The Heroines and Heroes in her books are in their 40s and 50s with their parents and children often playing supporting roles.
She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, the North Texas local chapter, NTRWA, Authors Marketing Guild LLC, the WORD-BY-WORD Blog, and has her own weekly blog and monthly newsletter. Marsha loves making presentations to groups and has twice taught a Silver Frogs class on Indie Publishing for Texas Christian University. Her books can be found on AMAZON, B & N, KOBO, and iTunes. Print books are also at Indie Lector Stores and Amazon. Blurbs for each of her books with links can be found on her website https://authormarsharwest.wordpress.com/ Where you can also sign up for her NEWSLETTER and BLOG.
Links to Marsha’s website, blog, books, etc.:
Thanks, Marsha, for sharing your story with us!
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