When Unfortunate Things Happen.
Gretchen Jones, heroine of Rough Ride experienced one of the worst events—the death of a husband. Wrong place, wrong time and tragedy struck. I sat down with Gretchen and her best friends, Flora and Tonya, to talk about Gretchen and her late husband.
Gretchen’s smile was broad, her eyes even somehow light as she sat between her two best friends, talking about her late husband. “Paul was a good man. Sweet.”
Tonya chuckled. “So funny.”
“Yes!” Gretchen brightened. “He just had a fun and easy sense of humor.”
“Good heart.” Flora reached over and patted her friend’s knee then looked to me. “I didn’t know him well, but he was quick to lend a hand and never met a stranger.”
Gretchen covered her friend’s hand with hers. “It was nuts. And so fast. I was working in Tonya’s diner at the time. Not long out of high school. I needed to make ends meet and Tonya needed workers she could count on.”
Tonya rubbed over her face. “Oh my gosh. Yes. Gretchen and I ran around with each other during school. I had just inherited the diner from my aunt and I needed all the help I could get. One day Paul walked in. He’d just bought a trailer park down the street and had moved in.”
Gretchen laughed, her cheeks pinking. “You tell it. I think you remember better than me!”
“That’s because you just stood there staring with your mouth hanging open!”
Gretchen was still laughing. “It’s true. Paul walked in, smiled at me and I just lost my breath.” Her laughter died a little. “He could do that to me every day I knew him.”
Tonya extended an arm across the top of the couch and gave her friend a small squeeze. “Paul walked up to the counter and Gretchen just stared at him. I had to come away from the register to seat him. And then wait on him. They were adorable. He asked me for her number. Instead I told him she got off work at six, that he should come back for dinner.”
Gretchen’s laughter was gone, but a small wishful smile was still on her face. “Tonya was short handed but she sent me home that day to rest, shower, do something with my hair and put some make up on. I was back in time to meet Paul and it was just a whirlwind from there.”
I smiled at her. “Sounds romantic.”
“It was. People called me crazy. We dated for weeks then got married at the courthouse. We couldn’t stay away from each other.”
“Paul passed away in a convenience store robbery, is that right?”
Gretchen’s eyes had misted over. Flora gave the hand she held an extra squeeze. “He’d gone in for a couple items when a teenager came in with a gun. Paul tried stopping it. And he did. The store owner and the others in the store are all safe because of Paul’s selfless acts. He was a hero that night.”
I cleared the knot from my throat. “It’s been a few years now, is that right?”
“Yes. It’s hardest at night. When it’s quiet.”
Flora nudged her. “Now you have your thoughts about a certain someone to keep you occupied.”
Gretchen’s cheeks colored pink. “Do not.”
“Do so.” This time Tonya nudged.
I leaned forward as they teased. “Rumor is there’s someone in your trailer park who keeps catching your eye.”
Gretchen pressed her lips together.
Tonya tapped her on the knee with a flip of her hand. “No clamming up now. You’ve talked our ears off about Lane Iverson nearly since the day he moved in.”
“Fine.” Gretchen rubbed her thighs. “I think he’s cute.”
“You stare at him out your windows when he drives in and out.”
“One time!” Gretchen shook her bowed head. “You make me sound like a stalker.”
“Not a stalker, but I know it was more than one time.” Flora had an eyebrow raised.
“Maybe.” Gretchen’s cheeks were burnt red now as she fought a smile trying to break free. “Maybe a few times.”
I fanned my face. “I think it’s getting a little warm in here.”
Tonya snickered. “That would be Gretchen’s body heat warming up just thinking about him.”
“Stop it.” She nudged her friend, but it was easy as she laughed.
“Have y’all gone out yet?” I sipped from tea. This sounded like juicy details ahead.
Flora’s nose lifted. “He’s too busy being grouchy to pay anyone any mind.”
Gretchen turned to her friend. “He’s not grouchy!”
Tonya was nodding. “He eats in my diner a few times a day and he is always grouchy and cranky.”
Gretchen was shaking her head between them. “He is not. He’s helped me work in my yard before. I think he’s sweet. Maybe a little shy.”
“Cranky,” both her friends repeated.
Gretchen flipped her wrists at them. “They don’t know him like I do.”
Tonya faced him with her hands on her hips. “You don’t know him at all!”
Not to be deterred, Gretchen only nodded. “I know enough. I just need to wait for my moment. When he’s ready.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
Leave me a comment and I’ll randomly pick someone to win a copy of Donnell Anne Bell’s The Past Came Hunting. A book about a different robbery…different murder…and entirely different victim. Thanks Donnell for donating your book! You can find out more about her at her website, facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Donnell-Ann-Bell/285286321485019 , and twitter.
*Contest open until 5/22 at 11:59pm CST with winner announced the next day. Open to US residents ONLY and winner has choice of physical or e-book copy*
Fifteen years ago a young Colorado Springs police officer arrested a teen runaway accused of aiding a convenience store robbery and attempted murder. She was innocent, but still served prison time briefly. Her testimony sent the real thief to jail for much longer. Now she’s a young widow raising a son, and the man she put in prison is free and seeking revenge.
She moves to a home in a new neighborhood—then learns that her next-door neighbor is the by-the-book officer who arrested her. Now he’s a Colorado Springs P.D. Lieutenant. Like it or not, he may be the only one who can protect her and her son from the past he helped create.
Keri Ford writes Sexy Country Contemporary Romances. See her website for more information about her books and The Roughnecks Blog Tour with all the giveaway, sneak peeks and blog stops: http://bit.ly/Hb1hwS
You do for family, no matter what. Lane Iverson knows that better than anyone. Harboring a secret about his mother’s death, Lane is counting the days until he finishes helping his brothers with some work and can head back to his hiding hole hours away. As long as he doesn’t have to face his three brothers every day, the guilt is easier to carry.
There is only one thing that can risk his plan. All of five foot tall with these deep eyes and a voice that shudders through him. The completely addicting, Gretchen Jones. She’s been watching him the entire time he’s been in town. With courage from her friends behind her, she confronts what she wants. To her surprise, that’s the easy part. Keeping her heart protected when she knows he’ll be leaving? Not so easy, but her only choice.
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