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Small Town USA #2
Sourcebooks Casablanca
June 2013
On Sale: June 4, 2013
Featuring: Jack Gannon; Caitlin Mulcahy
320 pages
ISBN: 1402269021
EAN: 9781402269028
Kindle: B00BEXP50M
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
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Caitlin Mulcahy loves her family. She really does. But sometimes they can drive her to her last shred of sanity—from her dad ("I'm not meddling, I just want what's best for you") to her eight–months–pregnant older sister to her younger sister, who will do just about anything to avoid real work. Cait just needs to get away, even if for only an hour.

When she sees someone in need of help on the side of the road, of course she's going to pull over. She might even be able to fix his engine—after all, the Mulcahy family is a handy bunch. She's not expecting that former Marine Dr. Jack Gannon and a little black puppy named Jameson will be the ones who end up rescuing her...

Excerpt

Dusk lent a certain mystical quality to the air. Driving past the newly planted fields, she could just imagine faeries flitting about, waving magic wands over the earth, pond, and trees as vines, flowers, and buds burst into bloom. Letting her imagination wander, she almost didn't see the car parked at the side of the road until she was just about to pass it.

Only one car in town had a paint job like that: Doc Gannon's Jeep. Meg told her his friends had painted it in army camo as a joke to welcome him home after his first tour .

Why had he stopped? She pulled off the road in front of his vehicle, got out, and started to look for him.

"Hey, Doc—where are you?"

The silence had her gut icing over before she chastised herself that people only parked their cars and disappeared in the movies...like the one she'd watched trying to unwind after a long night in her woodshop .

She called out again, "Do you need help?"

When he still didn't answer, she pulled out her cell phone. If anyone had gotten sick out on Eden Church Road, Peggy would have heard and would let her know. She was about to hit the speed dial when she heard a deep shout coming from across the road.

Turning toward the sound, she was knocked off balance by a small, black, fuzzy missile. Wrapping her arms around the animal so it wouldn't get hurt when she landed, her backside took the brunt of the impact—so did her phone when it hit the pavement. Luckily, it was still in one piece.

"Hey," she said, as she looked down at the quivering puppy in her arms. "Where did you come from?"

The puppy's tiny pink tongue bathed her face, and he nipped the end of her nose. When Cait laughed, the puppy did it again. She snuggled him close and bent reached to pick up her phone.

"Don't let go of him!"

His deep voice grabbed her attention. The tall, broad–shouldered man moving across the road toward her looked worried. Cait remembered how upset the whole town had been to hear of his injury. Rev. Smith had even started a prayer chain. Had Doc aggravated his wound somehow chasing the puppy? She took in his broad shoulders and tall frame. Yes, he was limping but trying to ignore it.

She'd known Jack Gannon all her life—well, a younger version, before he enlisted—but for some reason, she didn't remember anything about him looking so ruggedly handsome. Had she only seen what she expected to in those brief glimpses of him those few times she'd seen him home on leave?. There was definitely more here than she remembered.

Coming to stand beside her, he stared down at her for a moment before holding his hand out to her. "Are you all right?"

She had to clear her throat to answer. "Yes, I'm fine. But what about you? What happened?"

He chuckled and it sounded rusty, as though he wasn't used to laughing. "The little rascal ran out in front of me," he explained, pulling Cait to her feet. "I had to swerve not to hit him. I've been chasing him for the last fifteen minutes. Thanks for catching him."

"All I did was show up. He's the one who decided to jump into my arms." She jiggled the puppy she held. "Hey, fella. What're you doing out here?"

He Jack smiled, revealing a deep dimple.

"Wait a minute. Are you Meg's sister Caitlin?"

She felt the blood rush to her cheeks and hated that she blushed. "Yes, I am. And you're Apple Grove's hero hometown hero. We've been waiting for you. Welcome home, Doc."

A dark shadow crossed his features as his lips thinned and a grimace took the place of his smile, catching her off guard. What had she said that changed his mood?

"I'm no hero." He let go of her arm.

Unsure of how to continue, she looked up at the sky. "They're saying we'll have rain by midnight."

He shrugged and shoved his hands in his pockets. The silence weighed heavily between them. Wanting to get back to the friendly banter of just a few minutes ago, she asked, "So how was your first day back in town?"

He sighed. "I guess everyone in Apple Grove knows I got back last night ."

She smiled. "If they didn't, Peggy and Kate wouldn't be doing their jobs down at gossip central."

He tilted his head to the side and his features softened—not quite a smile, but no longer frowning. The late afternoon sun glinted off his crew cut. She didn't remember his hair having a reddish tint. How many other things had she forgotten over the years or not paid attention to?



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Small Town USA



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