Even bad girls need love...
When Reece Childs rolls back into Amethyst to stay, Lona Rose realizes her reckless crush on the older brother of a former beau is still waging hot and heavy. But how to prevent the rumors and mistakes of her past from ruining the start of something wonderful?
Reece has just the plan to head off the rumor mill...and make this reckless rose his own forever.
Just a year ago, Lona Rose couldn't have imagined a life that including showing and selling houses by day, membership in the local garden club, and going home each night to an empty house, her rose bushes, and no social life whatsoever. Nor could anyone who knew her imagine the quiet life she'd led.
Lona looked around the table at her fellow garden club cohorts, eagerly preparing for Amethyst's annual upcoming 'beautification project'. Amethyst's push for tourism in the last few years had resulted in astounding summer surges in the population, but the same seventy-five year-rounders remained in Amethyst throughout the seasons. The Garden Club always filled the parks, Main Street, the town hall and various other points of interest with a profusion of colorful flowers and plantings. For the first time in many seasons, the four of them were actually talking business deeds instead of dirty deeds.
After the divorce from her second husband was finally over a year ago, all Lona had wanted was to be alone. Especially when she saw everywhere she looked ecstatically happy husbands and wives settling into a life together, putting down roots, having baby after baby. She'd needed to go it alone since her divorce, needed to cultivate some roots instead more rumors of scandal. At the moment, she felt desperately and profoundly lonely.
Why in heck do I feel so sick inside with misery now? It feels like my life is over, and I wasted it in frivolous pursuits.
Lona sat back in her chair, only half listening to the gaggle of honking geese around her. When the four of them went at it, they had a tendency to sound like wild, disorganized geese.
President of the Amethyst Garden Club was Myrtle Simonson, looking for all the world like a perky daffodil in a shocking yellow sundress and wide-brimmed, straw hat. At thirty-four, she'd been divorced from her deadbeat hubby for almost a year and half now.
Samantha Spyri had split from her husband of ten years just two months before the guy dropped dead of an unexpected heart attack. Every time the topic came up, Samantha went off on an "I had no clue!" defense, like she'd had something to do with Dick's sudden death.
Heidi Mann got fed up with her philandering beau long ago, cut him loose, and declared herself forever footloose and fancy-free. Her exploits around town had become nothing short of legendary.
Phyllis Arquette had come to Amethyst five years ago, newly divorced and ready to settle in with her two young daughters...
A realization hit Lona in the head with shock. This wasn't a gardening club. It was a divorce club! The thought made her want nothing more than to hot-foot it out of the building pronto. Sooner or later, this conversation would turn into a gossip-fest. She didn't want to be here when it did.
"Look, I need to get back to work," Lona interrupted, pushing back her chair. What made me ever think I belonged in this group? The second I walk out of here, the four of them are gonna be comparing notes about what scandal I've supposedly gotten myself into now. I know they do it every single time the door closes behind me.
"I'll call you, lovey," Myrtle called, clearly a little startled by her abrupt decision to go.
Lona nodded, sick with a shame that she didn't want to feel anymore. She stood and retrieved her purse from the refreshment table, digging inside for her keys and sunglasses.
"You all hear Deke Childs' older brother's back in town?" Heidi murmured behind her.
At the name, Lona stood stark still, her shades askew across her nose. Reece. Reece Childs. She'd convinced herself the man would forever be married to his rig. He'd been a truck driver from the time she met him. After his father died, he'd taken over his old man's truck route in order to care for his mother and younger brother.
"Deke helped him get a job with Mason Construction," Heidi divulged. "You know Scott Romero and Reece used to be buddies in high school."
"He plannin' on stayin' for good?" Samantha asked the very question on the tip of Lona's reluctant tongue.
She is closer to his age than I am...and she's likes her fun the same as whoring Heidi. She's just better at keeping her nasty deeds quiet.
"Sounds like it. Mona Childs' is mighty pleased about having both her sons close by again. First time in...what? twenty-five years."
"Twenty-seven," Lona said on automatically, without thinking before she spoke.
She didn't wait around to gauge the reactions of the rumor-mill. Her heart slammed painfully against her chest by the time she got in her sports car. She had no doubt at all that the gaggle of gossiping geese had now been reminded, with her own careless correction, that she'd had a short-lived relationship with Deke Childs.
Not that it matters or that any of them will care that it only lasted as long as it did with Deke because I lived for a glimpse of Reese rolling back into town...
Reece Childs, 6'2', sexy-scruffy beard on that gorgeous face, lean and mean. Forever in that hard, straw cowboy hat that allowed only glimpses of his midnight blue eyes.
The memory of the one time she took a chance on following her heart by cornering and kissing Reese, telling him she loved him--only him--flooded her with devastating humiliation. Darn near as humiliating as his rejection had been.
She couldn't be considering anything with this hunk with the dreamy, velvet eyes; a grin that stole a woman's breath and heart every single time...and a backside so irresistible, her fingers flexed each time it was in reach.
"My brother's sick in love with you, Lona Rose. For Pete's sake, you're a little girl. What do you think's gonna happen here?"
No, she couldn't even consider swinging by Mason Construction's building site on the pretense of seeing her brother-in-law Scott, who owned the company. She couldn't consider running into Reece accidentally. She couldn't make a fool of herself a second time.
But she was thinking about it.