by Judi Lynn
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
Karli Redding is a traveling nurse. She has a month off between jobs, so when Mill Pond's mailman, Keagan Monroe, calls to say that her grandfather can't care for himself anymore, Karli volunteers to go to Mill Pond and help set up suitable health care for him. Axel's always been a pain in the rear, and age hasn't improved him. The two bump heads, and Karli ends up cooking and cleaning for the old man while she tries to decide what to do with him. She also finds herself getting more and more attracted to Mill Pond's mailman. But Keagan's been through one bad romance and he wants something permanent this time, nothing temporary. Can Karli give up her footloose lifestyle? Can she find happiness in a small town?
Keagan drove to his parents’ farm early in the morning. Heavy frost covered the fields, and fog swirled in the low spots on the way. It was only a twenty-minute drive from the two-story that he rented in town with his roommate, Brad, and he knew every inch of the way. He’d been looking for property to buy for a while now, but farms were too big, and ranch houses in town with tiny yards were too small. He’d better find something soon, though, because his landlord was getting the itch to convert the rental into a bed-and-breakfast. He’d make more money, for sure.
No lights were on in either house—the old homestead or the ranch his sister and her husband lived in. The fields were all harvested. Hopefully, his dad and brother-in-law were sleeping-in this morning. Keagan cut his headlights so they wouldn’t shine in the windows and drove to the far shed where his studio was. He could only spend an hour here before he had to leave for work at the post office, but he’d hand-painted eight dinner plates last night. The paint would be dry by now, setting off the pattern he’d embossed in them, and he wanted to glaze them today. The woman who’d ordered them at Art’s Grocery had chosen the fall leaf pattern with rusts, reds, and golds, and she wanted to collect them this coming weekend when she made a return trip to Mill Pond.
When he walked into his studio, the smell of wet clay greeted him. The heavy blocks were sealed in thick bags, but somehow, the odor always permeated the room, and he loved it. He glanced at his pottery wheels and long, drying counters. The tea pot in the shape of a cat sat ready to be painted in the corner. The customer wanted the tea pot to look like a tuxedo cat—black with a white chin, nose, and paws—just like the picture she’d given him. He’d paint that after supper tonight.
He pulled on a work apron and got busy, finishing ten minutes before he had to leave for work. His cell phone rang and he glanced at his mom’s number.
“Hey, K, when you stop to deliver mail for us today, come up to the house, and I’ll give you a casserole to drop off at Axel’s place.”
He grinned. This happened more often than he’d expected. People knew his route. If their houses came before a friend’s, they’d often give him something to drop off on his route, besides their mail. Not technically allowed, but this was Mill Pond. Rules could bend here.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
I taught elementary education for six years before I had my two daughters. I have a fondness for kids, so lots of them have been in and out of our house. I have a fondness for cooking, too, which means I fed a lot of them. As much as I love hamburgers and hot dogs, the kids had eclectic tastes, so I collected more and more recipes and cookbooks. Today, food sneaks into my stories, and if I'm lucky, so do children...and strays. I invite most of them in and now have a stray cat who walked through our doors to rule our house, a stray chihuahua who barks at everything, and an adopted parakeet and rat terrier. I also have a very patient husband, or he'd have probably left before now.
On twitter: @judypost
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