"Love is definitely in the air in Harmony, if they like it or not..."
Reviewed by Sandra Wurman
Posted March 18, 2012
Women's Fiction Contemporary | Romance Contemporary
Life takes us down many roads to find what will make you
happy. Sometimes it is difficult to recognize who would
complete you. Sometimes there are roadblocks. I often think
that the concept of a person's type is such a roadblock. In
JUST DOWN THE ROAD several characters are going to have to
learn the hard way that there is no such thing as a type --
love doesn't recognize those boundaries. Jodi Thomas
certainly doesn't. Thomas does her magic bringing a very
diverse group of characters to life with stories that deftly
intertwine practically seamlessly.
So the first thing Dr. Addison Spencer and Tinch Turner are
going to have to do is figure out that they don't really
know what their type is. Their attraction is rather
immediate and mutual even if they spend a great deal of time
trying to talk themselves out of it. Kind of comical to see
two adults working so diligently to avoid the obvious. But
fate was going to lend a hand. Tinch found himself in need
of some doctoring and was taken with the image before him of
a pale vision -- perhaps an angel whose touch definitely was
made for healing. His heart was still broken over the loss
of his young wife and he wasn't really all that interesting
in living without her. So he more or less sequestered
himself at his little ranch spending time rescuing horses.
He had a knack working with these damaged animals perhaps
because he was also damaged. Addison was also kind of hiding
out from her very controlling father who spent most of her
life directing her in whatever direction suited him. And he
absolutely did not approve of her decision to take a
position in this little one horse town. But working in the
E.R. in Harmony was proving to Addison that she was doing
what she really loved -- taking care of people. And the
interesting thing was that a small town has the added
advantage of a welcoming community of people who were to
become extended family.
What neither Addison or Tinch could have imagined was their
being thrust together working to protect Jamie, Tinch's four
year old nephew, whose mother's death is considered
suspicious and has the local authorizes worried about
Jamie's safety. Their attentiveness to Jamie's well being is
chipping away at Addison's reluctance to get close to Tinch
and at the same time Tinch is also finding it more difficult
to ignore his attraction to the doctor he had originally
thought of as the ice princess. Funny how a little boy can
demolish a well constructed wall -- brick by brick.
Harmony being a close knit community has definitely closed
ranks around Jamie, Tinch and Addison. But this threesome
isn't the only story in town. There is definitely love in
the air for more of Harmony's odd couples. Seems like a few
couples are going to have to take a chance and see what's
just down the road of life for their future.
Harmony, Texas, is a place where dreams are born. As the
townspeople face unexpected endings and new beginnings, they
also come face to face with themselvesâ€”and whatâ€™s most
important in life...
When Tinch Turner lost his wife, he gave up on living. Now
he spends his nights brooding, boozing, and brawling. When
one of his escapades lands him in the ER, he finds himself
staring up at the beautiful new doctor in town. For the
first time in years, he feels a spark, but Addison Spencer
wants nothing to do with the unruly rancherâ€”or any man for
that matter. Sheâ€™s only in Harmony four months, long enough
for the trouble she left behind to be over. But then a
vulnerable little boy barrels into both their lives, forcing
them out of the pastâ€”and into a future where love is just
down the road...
In the meantime, as Reagan Truman grieves her beloved uncle,
she finds comfort in the makeshift family sheâ€™s made in
Harmonyâ€”and in a new baby, the first born in the Wright
Funeral Home in 45 years, proving to everyone that life does
Harmony County Hospital
Dr. Addison Spencer stood between the emergency room
doors of Harmony's only hospital and waited for the next
wave of trouble to storm the entrance. The reflection of
her tall, slim body dressed in white appeared more ghost
than human in the smoky glass. For a blink, Addison feared
she might be fading away like an old photograph facing the
sun. When she'd been a child with light blond hair, her
father had called her his sunshine; now there seemed little
sunshine left. If it weren't for her work she'd have no
anchor to hang on to in life.
Saturday night always promised a full house in the ER,
yet the howling wind just beyond the glass whispered
change. She'd already been up since four A.M. delivering
twins to a teen mother who yelled all the way through the
birthing, but Addison's shift wouldn't be over tonight
until the bars closed. If a fight didn't break out in the
parking lot of the Buffalo Bar and Grill, maybe, just
maybe, she could be in bed by two.
She thought of the silence at the little place she'd
rented ten miles from town. An old four-room house with
hand-me-down furniture from decades past. Nothing special.
Nothing grand. Only the porch wrapped all the way around
and in every direction she saw peace. A single neighbor's
place spotted the landscape to the south. Cornfields were
to the east and rocky untamed land to the north and west.
Closing her eyes, she wished she were already there.
"Dr. Spencer?" Nurse Georgia Veasey's voice echoed
"Yes?" Addison turned, trying hard not to show any hint
of the exhaustion she felt. One of her med school
professors had drummed into everyone he taught that a
professional gives her best until she drops and can give
nothing at all. He often ranted that a career in medicine
left little room for life beyond the hospital walls, and
for Addison that seemed perfect. One bad marriage had
taught her all she wanted to know of the world outside.
"Harley phoned in from the bar." Georgia moved closer,
as though looking through the night for trouble. "Appears
we got a pickup load of roughnecks coming in all bleeding
A year ago she wouldn't have known what the nurse was
talking about. She'd learned that roughnecks were oil field
workers. "Who'd they fight?" Addison asked without any real
interest. Half the time the drunks couldn't answer that
"One man apparently, but the caller said it was Tinch
Turner. From what I hear, he never joins in a fight unless
the odds are five to one."
Addison understood. "Get six rooms ready." She'd be
stitching up the load of roughnecks and probably operating
on the fool who took them all on. "I'll go scrub up. You
know what to do."
The head nurse nodded. She'd start the staff cleaning up
blood and giving shots while their drunken patients turned
from fighters to babies. The nurses and aides would comfort
the boys in grown men's bodies as they sewed them up and
called someone to come get them.
Addison knew Georgia would send the one who was most
seriously hurt to the first room. She would be waiting
there, ready to do her best one more time.
As she moved inside, Addison stopped long enough to pour
a strong cup of black coffee. She hated coffee and yet
seemed to live on it lately. Going into her twentieth hour
on her feet, she needed something to keep her awake. Odds
were good that in a few minutes she'd be going into surgery
trying to save the life of some jerk who should have gone
home to his wife and family after work.
Some doctors loved the emergency room and practiced
there for their entire career, but Addison knew only that
she wanted to be a doctor. Her father had spent years
pushing her toward what he called a more promising career,
meaning more money, more praise, but no matter how hard she
tried, she never measured up to his standards. If she'd
told him she simply wanted to practice medicine, he would
have screamed his disappointment. But these past few months
in Harmony had allowed her to love her career again and to
think about what she wanted.
The latest problem between her father and her, the one
that had driven her here, might be over by the time she
returned home and she could finally tell him of her plans.
If she was lucky, the career path he'd planned for her
would no longer be an option.
Tinch Turner waited in his pickup for all the oil field
workers to pile out and go into the ER. They'd have a few
black eyes, a few stitches, but he knew from experience
that none of them were hurt bad enough to be admitted.
Tinch just had to break up the fight as fast as he could,
and sometimes the easiest way to get trouble's attention is
to hit it between the eyes.
Next week he'd buy the boys a drink and explain to them
that if they were in Harmony they needed to behave. Howard
Smithers shouldn't have started calling them oil field
trash, but every one of the roughnecks had been flirting
with Howard's wife. She was barroom beautiful and tended to
forget she was married when she drank. Tinch had seen her
flirt before, and he couldn't help but wonder if she wanted
Howard to be jealous or dead.
Closing his eyes, Tinch told himself he should have
stayed out of it. Several others in the bar could have
stepped in to help Howard. But Tinch had tossed caution out
the window about the time he gave up on caring whether he
lived or died. Somehow, taking a few blows reminded him
that he could still feel, even if it was only pain.
Not that he wanted to feel again. He wanted to die and
lie next to his wife in the cemetery. He just wasn't able
to kill himself. It bothered him that he was just one
breath away from her. All he needed to do was not breathe
and he'd be with his Lori Anne. Only God had played a trick
on them. He'd made Lori Anne fragile and Tinch strong as a
bull. She couldn't make it to her thirtieth birthday and,
with his bad luck, he'd probably live to be a hundred.
Maybe, if he kept drinking and fighting, one night he'd get
lucky and someone would put him out of his misery.
The blood dripping off his forehead bothered him enough
to make him climb out of his pickup and head for the
emergency room door. He didn't much care about the pain,
but he hated bleeding all over everything. He'd get a doc
to stitch up the cut, and then he'd go back to his farm and
drink until he washed the memories away and finally slept.
Through the blood, he saw Nurse Veasey. She was frowning
at him. Hell, he thought, she was always frowning at
him. "Evenin', Georgia," he said, thinking she had that
same look when she first saw him sitting next to her in the
third grade more than twenty years ago.
"Shut up, Tinch. I don't even want to talk to you." She
grabbed his shirt and pulled him toward the first little
examining room. "Didn't I tell you I'd beat you up myself
if you came in here after a fight again? I swear if there
were two like you in this town we'd have to build another
wing onto the hospital."
Despite a headache the size of a mustang bucking in his
brain, Tinch smiled. "You did threaten me last time,
Georgia, and the fear of it kept me away for weeks, I
She slapped him on the arm and he thought of suggesting
that might not be protocol for nurses, but Tinch decided to
wait until he could see to run before he upset her more.
He'd gone to school with her and her two sisters. All three
were good girls determined to make the world a better
place, or at least improve Harmony. Maryland taught school,
Virginia married a preacher, and Georgia became a nurse.
They were women on missions. The type Tinch had spent his
"Sit down on the table and keep quiet," Georgia said as
she shoved his chin back and poked around the wound running
half the length of his forehead. "It doesn't look all that
bad. If you had any brains they would have dribbled out a
long time ago. I'll send in the doctor."
"Aren't you going to give me something for the pain?"
She shook her head. "Judging from your breath, you've
already had enough." She tossed him a towel. "Try not to
bleed on anything."
Tinch grinned. "Thanks, darlin'."
"Don't you dare darlin' me, Tinch Turner. You're a
walking one-man demolition derby. Stay here; I've got
people who care about themselves to try to mend."
She was gone before he could bother her more. Tinch
shrugged. He liked "the states," as everyone called her and
her sisters, but he had a feeling they were passing around
a petition to have him banned from town. Maryland had told
him the last time she saw him that the way he drove was a
bad influence on her high school students, and Virginia had
been praying for him for so long, her knees were probably
Tinch lay back on the examining table, wishing he'd
brought the rest of the bottle of whiskey with him. When
the door opened, he didn't even look up. He was just about
beyond caring for anything or anyone in his life.
"Mr. Turner, I'm Dr. Spencer," someone said as she moved
close to the table.
Tinch opened one eye, but he couldn't see much through
all the blood.
"Lie still and I'll take a look at that cut."
He didn't move as she cleaned the blood away with a warm
towel. "Any chance it's fatal?" he mumbled.
The all-business voice answered, "Afraid not. You
allergic to anything?"
He closed his eyes. "Work. Women. Hospitals." He felt a
shot poke into his arm. "Silence. Snakes. And Wednesdays. I
hate Wednesdays. And kids. Strange little things, always
running around screaming in stores." He thought of more
things he was allergic to, but he couldn't seem to get the
For a few moments he knew the doctor was still there. He
felt her pushing his hair away from his forehead like Lori
Anne used to do. He could almost see Lori Anne smiling at
him, saying she wanted to see his beautiful blue eyes
better. She'd claimed she could measure his love for her in
his eyes, and he'd never doubted she could.
Lori Anne's face faded and he dropped away into
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