by Liza O'Connor
When Anna Baker is fired from her New York job, she accepts her aunt and uncle’s offer to come live with them in the little town of Wabbaseka, Arkansas. She discovers a house in dire need of repairs and her relatives in need of proper care. Under the misconception that being unemployed means she has no money, the local sheriff gets involved in her life, trying to determine how she can afford the building materials to fix up the house. Her cousin, Dewayne, appears and wants her evicted, and the FBI thinks she’s involved in a money-laundering scheme. While Anna doesn’t find the peace and quiet she seeks, she may find love…
Jeremy laughed. “You don’t want to send me home yet, I’ve got gossip to tell you.”
Anna rolled her eyes. “Gossip in a small town, who would ever think.”
“Last Friday when I was doing some work at the church, Sam Johnson asked me to step into his office. He tells me he’s heard of my commendable charity in doing all the work on this house for nothing. Then he hands me a check for two thousand dollars. Says the parishioners pulled the money together to help cover my costs.”
Anna leaned back and covered her face with her hands. “Oh shit,” she muttered.
“Of course, I tried to refuse the check, but Sam wouldn’t hear of it. The parishioners wanted me to have it for my selfless act of charity.” He eyed her for a moment, then continued. “I hope you see I had no choice—”
Anna glared at him. “You didn’t tell him the truth. He’s the worst gossip in town.”
“No. I knew the truth was an unacceptable option, so keep that in mind when I tell you what I did tell him.”
“What?” This didn’t sound good at all.
“I told him, in good conscience I couldn’t take the check, because it was not out of charity but out of lust for your body that I worked so long and hard on the Larringtons’ house.”
“You told him what?”
“I told him I lusted after your body.”
“Which explains the sermon this Sunday! Couldn’t you think of anything else?” She slapped him across the arm.
“I’m sorry. It was a spur of the moment lie. Besides, it was at least marginally believable.”
“Well, you’re not my type. However, I have to admit, in this dress….”
“I can’t believe you told him that.”
Jeremy shrugged. “I thought it was pretty clever. I’ve seen the way Johnson looks at you. He knew exactly what I was talking about.”
Anna scrunched her face up in disgust. “Sam Johnson has the hots for me?”
“Yep,” Jeremy smiled.
“I’m going to be sick.”
“Don’t worry I told him that you and I were an item. You’re too tainted now for his taste.”
Anna pondered this. “I’m trying to decide whether I should kill you or kiss you.”
“Do I get a vote?”
“Because if I did get a vote—”
“I’d point out kissing me has multiple benefits over killing me.”
“One, it would be more fun.”
Jeremy laughed. “Well, it would definitely be more fun for me.”
“You don’t count.”
“I object to your limited perspective. However, another good reason is kissing me would support my claim we are dating. Whereas killing me, well, that’s not very supportive.”
“Try this for supportive. Get off the counter and set the table.”
He stopped at the door and looked back at her. “You know you want me…” he teased.
Liza O’Connor lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels.
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