USA Today Bestselling Author
The first time they met, they didn’t like each other.
The second time they met, they vowed to stay away from each other.
The third time they met…
Sometimes, the third time is the charm.
Jared Dobson loves being on the water, his job with the Virgina Marine Police means he’s out there on patrols every day. He was recently able to purchase a fixer-upper on the water and has been working on the renovations. Now that he can actually live in the house he’s looking to rent the small efficiency apartment over the garage. He’s happy to get a call from the realtor there’s someone interested. The rent will help him get more done on the house.
On patrol the next day they spot a tent and a small boat on a small island. Camping isn’t allowed there but they couldn’t find the person so they continued their patrol until a call comes in.
An overturned rental boat left four men in the water to be rescued. The boat was rented from George Mooney, who’s had multiple problems with his rentals lately. He’s belligerent about it especially when the Sheriff comes to shut his business down. Jared gets sucker punched and really isn’t happy about it, even getting back on the water isn’t calming him. It’s while he’s in this state of mind that they meet up with the camper. It’s quite the confrontation, as Jared behaves like an idiot and she’s giving it right back to him.
Wilhelmina Schmidt works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is collecting samples from the Chesapeake Bay and for analysis. Now while she could have said that at the beginning, she was in just the right mood not to.
Jared’s in for an even bigger surprise that weekend as he breaks it off with the woman who agreed to be an occasional hookup. His new tenant witnesses the spectacle the woman makes and low and behold it’s Wilhelmina aka Billie.
These two are attracted to one another, but neither one is willing to make a move, in fact Billie does her best to avoid him. Although she does tend to find herself sort of running into him.
That all changes when Jared falls off a ladder while in the process of changing out a light fixture.
This is a favorite scene.
After positioning the ladder under the light in the dining room, he glanced back at Daisy, easily seeing her with the kitchen door open. He also noticed that he could see the garage apartment window from where he was. Hell, does everything make me think about my tenant?
Climbing up, he was determined to keep his mind on the task at hand, which was changing the light fixture. The one in place when he’d bought the house was an old rectangle fluorescent light, matching the one in the kitchen. They were ugly as hell and gave off glaring illumination. He’d already had an electrician install recessed lighting in the kitchen, but now he was ready to replace the one over the space where he’d have a dining table. Once I purchase a dining table, that is.
He managed to get one side of the light unfastened with little problem, but as with most household projects that always seemed to take more effort than it looked like it should, the other end was stuck. Refusing to climb back down the ladder, he was sure that if he leaned over just enough to reach the caught end, he could pull it the rest of the way down.
Stretching out his arm, he grasped the metal that had been painted over at one time. Pulling with force, he found the edge was firmly stuck. Finally jerking as hard as he could, the metal gave way, but he realized too late that the ladder was tipping. The light fixture dropped to the floor with a clatter, and he barely had time to throw his hand out before he landed on his shoulder with his head smacking against the wood floor.
“Shit,” he moaned as a blinding pain shot through his head as well as his shoulder. Daisy raced inside, incessantly barking as she ran circles around him lying on the floor. Her barks echoed in his head as he tried to push himself upward, immediately falling back down. Drops of blood appeared on the floor. He lifted his hand and swiped at his face, cursing again as his fingers came away covered in red.
“Daisy, shhhh,” he whispered, trying to push up again.
“Hang on! Stay still.” T
he female voice cut through the barking and the pain in his head. He tried to push upward again, now feeling hands on his arms.
“Oh shit, you’re bleeding.”
Woozy, he blinked at the sight of two women in front of him, mirror images of each other. “Billie?”
“Yeah, I have you.”
He felt hands move over his torso. “Why’re there two of you?” he slurred, wondering why two white-blonde Billies kept swimming across his vision.
“Jesus, sit still.”
Her voice was farther away, but he couldn’t see where she went with Daisy pushing her way onto his legs as he lay on the floor.
“Move, Daisy,” she ordered, reappearing.
A cloth was held against his head, and he winced. “How did you know I fell?”
“I could see you from the top of my stairs.”
Her reply made sense, but amid the pain, the fact that she must have been watching him to get over to his place so quickly made him smile.
“What the hell are you smiling about?” she asked with suspicion.
With one eye covered by the cloth pressed to his forehead, he could ascertain there was only one of her now. “You. You make me smile,” he admitted, throwing a wobbly smile her way.
“You look like a drunken sailor with a sloppy grin.” She pulled the towel away and shook her head. “Jared, this isn’t too bad, but I think you need stitches. Plus, you may have a concussion. Do you hurt anywhere else?”
“My shoulder. I landed on it.”
“I need to get you to the hospital.”
“No. I don’t want to go to the hospital. It’s just a stupid cut—”
“Well, we don’t always get what we want, do we?” she snapped. “Come on. Let’s get you up. I’m taking you to the hospital.”
He wanted to protest, but with her hands on him, the words couldn’t seem to form in his head, much less come out of his mouth. She gently pulled him upward, but his legs felt like Jell-O, and he slumped onto her. Hearing an “oomph,” he managed a mumbled, “Sorry,” as her body wavered underneath his weight.
Barely aware of what she was doing, they somehow managed to get out to her car, where she unceremoniously poured him into the passenger seat. He tried to wipe the blood away from his forehead, but the towel was turning red, so he kept the pressure applied. She was gone for a moment, then he felt the car wobble slightly as she climbed behind the wheel.
“I put Daisy inside and closed your door. I grabbed your phone, keys, and wallet from the kitchen counter.”
He was still processing what she said about Daisy when a soft touch landed on his arm, and he rolled his head to the side to see a worried crease marring her forehead. He gave voice to the first thing that popped into his mind. “You’re so pretty.”
An indelicate snort erupted as she turned away to start her car. “Okay, Romeo, just concentrate on your face for now.”
Her melodious voice made him smile. “I like listening to you.”
“Well, that’s a first for us,” she replied.
“Oh.” He hadn’t realized he’d spoken aloud. She was soon on the highway, and he closed his eyes, knowing it would take almost forty minutes to make the drive.
“I don’t think you’re supposed to sleep if you have a concussion,” she said. “Talk to me.”
“Talk to me. Jeez, I’ve seen you talk to others, so I know you can do it. Just pretend that you don’t hate me and talk.”
“I don’t hate you,” he muttered. “I wanted to apo… apolo… I wanted to say I was sorry.”
She glanced toward him, and he tried to smile again, thinking it might make her more amenable to his words.
“Apologize?” she asked before turning her focus back to the road.
Feeling the loss of her attention, he kept going. “Yeah, I was an ass. I’m never an ass. Well, unless I have to be. You know, like if I was in a need-to-be-an-ass need-to-be-an-ass sort of situation.” She snorted, but he pushed through. “No, really. I’m not an ass. Well, I was with you. Twice. But I didn’t mean to be.”
She remained quiet, and he continued. “But you were kind of assy, too.”
“Oh really? Please tell me how I was assy?” She made a sound close to a chuckle, so he was encouraged.
“You were all snobby about your name and then about the bay. I don’t know. I was assy. You were assy. We were both assy.”
“Christ, how hard did you hit your head?” she bit out, shaking her head.
“Hard…” he breathed, closing his eyes. He’d apologized and now just wanted to rest. He had no idea how much time had passed, but it felt like he’d barely closed his eyes when she shook his knee gently.
“We’re here, Jared. You need to wake up.” She pulled into an ER parking space, where someone pushing a wheelchair met them. She shoved his wallet into his hand before he was whisked away while she drove off. He sighed heavily, hating that she was leaving him. She’s probably got better things to do than hang out with me.
“No, man, she’s just parking her car in a regular lot,” the aide said as they wheeled him into the ER.
Maryann Jordan. A Hero for Her – Maryann Jordan (Kindle Locations 910-968). Kindle Edition.
Things change between these two as Billie takes it upon herself to check on him through the night for concussion.
Then the tables get turned and he cares for her when she gets sick.
There’s so much more going on here as well, the readings she’d been getting are high around the farms and she’s wishing she had her predecessor’s notes and readings. With her illness things fall behind and when she returns to collecting she finds quite the surprise and not a pleasant one.
I certainly didn’t see any of this coming, and I loved the way the relationship between Jared and Billie slowly progresses throughout.
I have to go back and catch up on this series since I loved this book so much!
5 Contented Purrs for Maryann!
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I have always been an avid reader. My early memories were of my mother taking me to the library and allowing me to check out as many books as I could carry. My favorite books were checked out numerous times and read over and over. I would use my Barbie dolls to play out the scenes in books (such as Nancy Drew!).
I have written as a hobby for many years (probably since childhood). I have written devotionals, autobiographical writings about having a severely handicapped, medically fragile child, about my mother’s Alzheimer’s, and other subjects that interest me.
I joke that I “cut my romance teeth” on the old historical romance books. In 2013, I started a blog to showcase wonderful writers. In 2014, I finally gave in to the characters in my head pleading for their story to be told. Thus, Emma’s Home was created.
I worked as a counselor in a high school and was involved in education for the past 30 years, until retiring in 2015. I have been married to a wonderfully patient man for 35 years and have 2 adult, very supportive daughters. When writing, my dog or one of my cats will usually be found in my lap!