Country Boy, City Girl
Veronica "Ronnie" Hawthorn has found peace at last in the Missouri Ozarks town of Green Springs, excited at the prospect of running her own arts-and-crafts store in an old farm house. But when city girl Ronnie "falls" into her handsome neighbor's arms, she is surprised to discover that country boy Dave Darden is one of the most eligible bachelors in America.
From Mojocastle Press:
"Readers will not be disappointed...You will be
rewarded with a down home love story that will long be
An excerpt from Country Boy, City Girl...
Ronnie sighed. Self-imposed pressure faded away as the rhythmic thump, thump, thump of the clay hitting the table surface over and over again lulled her into a blissful state of relaxation. The overwhelming strain she had endured these last ten months was forgotten as she vigorously kneaded the firm white clay in her small, yet capable, hands.
"Small hands, big heart," her mother had told her time and time again. Mama's heart had been big, too, but not strong enough to survive her last heart attack. How Ronnie wished Mama could have live long enough to see Natalie born.
Now was not a time for regrets. The stiffness in Ronnie's shoulders, the small pain at the base of her neck which usually signaled a tension headache coming on, simply vanished as she and the clay became one. A woman alone starting a new business venture, Ronnie felt every bit as malleable as her chosen medium.
Her full, rosy lips came together in a hum as she worked the clay ball over and over until the last of the air pockets were worked out. She rolled it over one last time, then unceremoniously plopped it onto the center of the wheel. She adjusted her work apron and sat down on the low stool, tucking a few stray blue-black hairs behind her ears before wetting her fingers in the jar of slip. A moan of pleasure sprang forth from deep within her as she sank her thumbs into the clay's cool center, gently nudging and pulling it to form the sides of the bowl.
Today was the first day of her new business and she wanted to always remember it as a happy one. The pitch of her humming soon matched the whine of the electric potter's wheel, tuning out troubling doubts and painful memories. The dusty, earthen aroma of the clay transported her thoughts back in time. She could almost pretend she was still in art school, long before she met Jim, fell in love, got married, had Natalie and buried her desire to become an artisan under a "soccer mom" facade. The Green Springs Arts and Crafts Gallery opened a new chapter in life for both her and Nat. Ronnie made a silent vow--this story would have a happy ending.
The haunted-house creaking of the back screen door instantly alerted her to another's presence. A little girl's giggle gave her would-be assailant away.
She grinned. Silly, Nat! She's sneaking up on Mommy to play "Guess who?" It was nothing short of miraculous. In the few short days since they had moved from the city to Green Springs, Natalie had left the sadness of her father's recent death behind and rediscovered her childhood. Ronnie couldn't wait to spring a surprise of her own on her playful six year old daughter.
Ronnie bent further over her work, pretending not to hear Natalie's approaching footsteps as they were heralded by the squeak of the old farmhouse's pine floorboards. Squeak, squeak, squeak. . . She stifled a laugh and kept her eyes focused on the clay, her reflexes readied for her own response. She sprang into action the instant a tickle of warm breath brushed against the back of her neck.
"Got ya!" Ronnie cried, spinning around on her stool, grabbing her attacker by the collar and planting the biggest, wettest, sloppiest kiss she could manage.
A jolt of electricity raced from her lips and traveled along the nerve highways of her body, awakening places inside she had believed were dead and buried along with Jim. Her eyes instantly flew open.
Surprise! These lips didn't belong to her daughter!
Stunned, Ronnie pushed with all her might against the stranger's wide shoulders but found herself held fast in his powerful embrace. She began to pound against him with her fists but her actions only caused him to crush her womanly curves closer to his muscular chest. His tongue entered her slightly parted portal and enticed an immediate response from within her, frightening in its intensity. Her mind was spinning so fast that she toppled off the stool and landed like a bag of clay into the newcomer's formidable arms.
It seemed an eternity before the stranger lifted his lips from hers, releasing her from his daring grasp. Ronnie melted onto the floor, her power even to protest this despicable interloper's brazen behavior vanquished.
"If this is how you greet all your male customers. . . then I'll lay odds this place turns a profit its first month..."
Country Boy, City Girl is now available from Mojocastle Press: