Can Catherine accept the consequences of a great-aunt's dying wish without losing her heart or independence?
Taking in stray, injured or needy animals, veterinarian doctor Catherine Mornelli opens the Four Hooves and Paws Rescue program. But the land where the animals are kept is being sold. She approaches her Great-Aunt Elaine about possibly using her barn. However, visiting her aunt and checking out the barn also means seeing her ex-boyfriend.
Josef Garrison farms land that once belonged to his family for generations but went to his neighbor Elaine after his great-grandfather lost it in a poker game to Catherine’s great-grandfather. When Catherine returns, he sees a way to win back her heart and the land at the same time.
Josef and Elaine sat on lawn chairs under the oak tree in the grassy center of the roundabout drive. They stood as the truck approached. Catherine groaned at the sight of the two. Her aunt was up to her old tricks, trying to get Josef and her back together.
“Shit.” She brought the truck to a halt. “I should’ve known Aunt Elaine’d do something like this. Let’s get your leashes on. I can’t have you running off,” she said to the dogs as she clipped the chains to their collars. “Okay, out.” She opened the door, and they bounded from the truck.
The dogs pulled her forward. “Aunt Elaine, how are you? You look great.” Catherine embraced her short round aunt who wore a large floral print dress. She whispered in the older woman’s ear, “You planned this. Him being here.”
“Nonsense,” her aunt murmured before speaking louder. “I’m doing well.”
“Josef, hard to believe you’ve gotten taller since ... well, years past.” He wasn’t the young college kid she remembered. He’d grown several inches, and his muscles were bulkier and well formed—all around.
“Cat. You’ve changed, too.” He rubbed the dogs’ heads, giving them the attention they sought from him. “What are their names?”
The dogs were enjoying the new environment and explored as far as the leashes allowed. “Fuzzy is the little guy, and Darby’s the yellow lab.” She forcefully twisted the tie-down stakes into the dry hard ground away from each other and secured the dogs’ chains.
“Yours or rescue acquisitions?” His baseball cap shadowed his eyes which gave them a sense of mystery.
“Mine.” Something stirred in her stomach—the past. Thank God for the hat, as his eyes were beautiful to look into. And that’s when she’d always found trouble. Trouble of the good kind.
The dogs barked wildly at the road, and a yellow lab ran through the yard.
“Who’s let their precious dog run wild?” She approached the oncoming dog. “You’re a friendly guy.” She knelt. “Where did you come from?”
“He’s a she, and her name is Blondie.” Josef stepped beside Catherine.
About the author:
Born and raised in Minnesota, Jody remains close to home, living with her husband of more than twenty years as well as three children and a cat named Holly. Growing up, she enjoyed reading V.C. Andrews' Dollanganger series, S.E. Hinton and Stephen King to name a few.
She’s traveled throughout the United States, to the Bahamas and Cancun, Mexico. Between watching soccer games, scrapbooking and being the COO of the Vitek household, she writes contemporary romances.
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