An Irresistable Suitor.
All his life handsome, black-haired Reed Tyler had worked Miss Hattie's farm--and dreamed of one day settling down on his own piece of land with the pretty young woman he'd sworn to marry. Hattie was someone he could tell his hopes and troubles to--someone he looked on as a sister. So he thought, until the idea of Ancil Drayton calling on her made him seethe. Until the night a brotherly peck became a scorching kiss... and Reed knew nothing would bank the blaze--and that his best friend was the only woman he would ever love.
From the Paperback edition.
Every mogul knows the best idea is an old idea with a new twist. So Andi proudly revives her father's business: an old-fashioned car wash…staffed entirely by bikini-clad women. That ought to get traffic—and blood—flowing on Grosvenor Street!
This gutsy gimmick soon has the whole town in a lather, and not necessarily in a good way.
Scandalized citizens are howling, neighboring businesses are worried. But straitlaced grocery-store owner Pete Guthrie is definitely intrigued. He knows it's hard to run a small business in a big-box world. To him, Andi's brains and bravery are as alluring as the bikini she calls business attire.
I am not, nor will I ever be, the kind of woman who wears pearls with her apron while cooking meat loaf for her husband. But when I was a kid, my mother, Babs, prepared me to be the next June Cleaver—teaching me lessons that belonged to another era. Another world, practically. My mother's world. I couldn't wait to leave home and get away from her. But now, well…let's just say life hasn't turned out quite as I'd planned. And heaven help me, I'm going home.
LANEY HOFFMAN—Cotton Queen, 1975
It's funny—all I ever wanted was to teach my daughter, Laney, how to be a lady so she could find a good husband and take her rightful place in our community. But Laney has always remained convinced that my life and my ideas are, well, pathetic. She has no idea—no idea!—what it is to lose a husband, to watch your dreams wither while keeping a smile on your face for the neighbors. Now, that is a talent. Laney is probably too smart for her own good, but being smart hasn't kept her out of trouble. Thank heavens I'm here to help pick up the pieces.
BABS HOFFMAN—Cotton Queen First Runner-Up, 1956
Buttoned-up book lover DJ is all sensible shoes, drab skirts and studious glasses. After an ill-advised spring-break-fueled fling left her mortified, she's committed to her prim and proper look. When she's hired by a rural library in middle-of-nowhere Kansas, she finally has the lifestyle to match—and she can't wait to get her admin on.
But it's clear from day one that the small-town library is more interested in circulating rumors than books. DJ has to organize her unloved library, win over oddball employees and avoid her flamboyant landlady's attempts to set her up with the town pharmacist. Especially that last part—because it turns out handsome Scott Sanderson is her old vacation fling! She is not sure whether to be relieved or offended when he doesn't seem to recognize her. But with every meeting, DJ finds herself secretly wondering what it would be like to take off her glasses, unpin her bun and reveal the inner vixen she's been hiding from everyone—including herself.
For Jesse Winsloe, the answer is clear: head into hiding. Single again and laid off from work, Jesse flees to Onery Cabin to lick her wounds with her ancient aunt Will—a Granny woman with the secret to healing the lovelorn.
Sure, Onery Cabin may be right out of Hollywood's Lifestyles of the Poor and Hillbilly, but Marrying Stone Mountain has its charm—including the local physician's assistant, Piney Baxley, a past recipient of Aunt Will's pungent "heartbreak poultice."
Between folk remedies and a "no strings attached" romance, Jesse is beginning to think she's found her own brand of lovesick cure—because there's nothing like a pinch of confidence and a dash of attraction to mend a broken heart.
After three long years of patiently waiting for her reluctant, handsome, gentlemanly Amos Dewey, to pop the question, Augusta Mudd--owner of her small town's biggest factory--decides it's time to take matters in her own hands. With the help of her friend, ruggedly attractive Rome Akers, she's determined to make Amos jealous--and get him to the altar--before it's too late.
Rome Akers wasn't ready to settle down. But by pretending to make Augusta his partner for life he had a chance to become her business partner instead. Yet despite his best intentions, the closer he gets to this intelligent, sweet woman, the stronger his feelings grow. Their tantalizing conversations and tender kisses ignite a desire more passionate than Roman ever imagined. Soon he'll do anything to make Augusta a bride--but only if he gets to be the groom.
Jack and Claire Crabtree were once happily married, but separate interests have left each one dancing to their own tune. She refuses to move into the brand-new house he built for the family. He spends too much time at work with a colleague whom she considers a threat to any man's fidelity. When Jack is summoned back to Oklahoma to see his ailing grandpa Bud, Claire only makes the trip at the last minute.
Bud and Geri Crabtree danced through life together for seventy years as friends, lovers and devoted spouses. They always knew what mattered most in life—and the laughter and tears come naturally when their family gathers together. And if Jack and Claire can remember the bond they once shared, they might be able to rediscover what's wonderful about love….
…an obligation to the Man Upstairs. A chance meeting between her BMW and an eighteen-wheeler prompts Jane to make a deal: let her live and she'll dedicate herself to Doing Good. Whatever that means. Jane's platinum-card kung fu has taught her how to spend, but not how to give—turns out it's actually pretty hard! But when her country-club life crumbles, Jane is faced with an even bigger challenge: replacing all her dreams and salvaging her soul.
Bestselling authors & Real-life heroines
Each and every one of us has the ability to effect change—to make our world a better place. The key is to begin in our own backyards, look at needs within our communities and then decide to do something about them. The dedicated women selected as this year's recipients of Harlequin's More Than Words award have changed lives, one good deed at a time. To celebrate their accomplishments, bestselling authors have written stories inspired by these real-life heroines. In this book, Pamela Morsi honors the work of Karen Thomson, Founder of Literature for All of Us.
We hope More Than Words inspires you to get in touch with the real-life heroine living inside of you.
How would you celebrate twenty-five years of marriage? A cruise? A party? Renew your vows? What about a divorce? These are the ideas brewing in the mind of Corrie Braydon. She would be the first one to agree that she and her husband, Sam, have a lot to celebrate, but is that a good enough reason to stay married?
With the kids grown, the house paid off and money in the bank, Sam is looking forward to taking things easy, spending more time with Corrie and maybe even taking a holiday or two—no surprises here. Corrie, on the other hand, is not sure what she wants—but she plans to find out!
With warmth, humor and love, Corrie and Sam reflect on the past and ponder the future. But they'd better hurry up—twenty-five years can go by in a flash!
Red's rowdy friends, late-night lifestyle and tiny apartment above her San Antonio saloon definitely aren't kidproof. And Red's pretty sure the hot young fiddle player she's been dallying with will run for the hills when he learns she has a daughter, let alone grandkids.
But Red is about to learn that age doesn't necessarily come with wisdom. That a nine-year-old girl can be as exacting as the strictest parent. That the school of hard knocks never had bake sales. And that her boy toy is more of an adult than she is.
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Like a bad-choice-making boomerang, Mazy Gulliver has returned to her mom's tiny house in Brandt Mountain. But this time, she's got her teenage son, Tru, in tow and no intention of messing up ever again.Mazy's so determined to rebuild her life she hardly minds beingthe new loan collector, or even working for Tad, her ex. She's not here to make friends—or fall in love.
Sweet, dependable Eli Latham has loved Mazy since they got pretend married in second grade. But after being burned by Mazy for two decades, Eli's got a new strategy. Mazy likes bad boys, so a bad boy is what he'll be. How hard can it be to act like a jerk?
Not for the first time, men are making Mazy crazy, though she's determined to do what's right for her and Tru. But breaking old habits is hard, and if she really wants things to change she'll have to face her biggest adversary: herself.
Jane is so busy rescheduling her next liposuction, shopping for clothes she doesn't need and bragging about her latest real estate sale that she hasn't noticed the callus forming around her heart. Her husband is cheating on her, and she talks to her daughter through a therapist. No, life is not perfect.
So what should she do? Jane's not sure, but she figures a drive in her convertible might help her relax. A broken fingernail momentarily diverts her attention, and when she looks up she sees an eighteen-wheeler bearing down on her. Suddenly Jane's problems become incidental. She barely escapes with her life, but not before she makes a solemn promise to "do good" for the rest of her life.
So how come "doing good" is so complicated?
And the changes keep on coming. Ellen's new job at The Cowboy of Taxes has a revolving door of down-on-their-luck clients—perfect for Ellen, considering her recent experiences. In the meantime she has something of a revolving door at home, given her mother and daughter remain convinced that men will solve their money problems.
But life is what you make it, and in colorful San Antonio, Texas, four generations of women discover that the most important thing about having a past is letting it go.
For instance, Dawn Leland never thought in a million years that she and her girls would ever end up back with her in-laws. Sixteen years is a long time to be away, but life has dealt her something unexpected. Now she has no choice.
AND SOME THINGS DON'T BEAR THINKING ABOUT…
Sephrona Leland said good riddance to bad rubbish when her son's widow took her two little girls and left Knoxville all those years ago. And despite her husband's best efforts, the bitterness still remains.
BUT ALL THINGS TURN OUT IN THE END…
It takes some forgiveness, a little understanding and the magic of two young girls to make everyone see that—although it's hard to imagine—they have all ended up where they belong.
Eulie Toby didn't like playing tricks, but the only way she could keep her younger orphaned siblings together was to get married--and Moss Collier was the perfect choice. Handsome and kind, he seemed so lonely living with his hermit uncle on that pretty sweep of Tennessee mountaintop. It didn't matter if their vows came at the end of a shotgun; Eulie promised Moss she'd make him the best wife in all of the Sweetwood.
But a young bride and a ready-made family were the last things on Moss's mind. He had big dreams of going West and nothing was going to stop him--not Eulie's sweet innocence...not her deliciously kissable lips...and especially not that growing warmth deep inside his heart every time she came near. Moss had plans all right--but he hadn't planned on falling in love.
Think you can trust your husband? Think again!
That's what the gossipy types at Erica Bentley's new job say. Even her (multi-divorced) mom agrees. But Erica's sure she knows her husband, Tom, better than that. He says he loves her, and shows it in a million ways. Except…he has been working extra-late these days. And he's been kinda quiet. Even secretive.
Happily married Tom Bentley never thought his head could be turned—until he saw Clara. Her sleek body has him longing, and he can't get her 127" wheelbase out of his mind. That's right. Erica's "competition" is…a car.
The beautiful Buick has Tom completely car-crazy. And Erica's sleuthing is making her just plain crazy. One of them needs to come clean with their newest obsessions, before Clara drives their happy marriage into a ditch!