In this funny and poignant sequel to Cold Tea on a Hot Day, Valentine’s own Marilee James is engaged to Tate Holloway, the new editor of the Valentine Voice, a man whose sweet Southern sensibilities and melting kisses have convinced her to take a leap of faith. But marriage is a nerve-racking propositionespecially when she’s got a special-needs son and an abandoned niece to care for.
As she stands at life’s crossroads, Marilee needs a push in the right direction.
That push, ironically, comes from Stuart James, Marilee’s ex-husband and her son’s father. Gone these two years, he’s come back at the most inopportune time, pushing Marilee to think long and hard about the road she’s taking. But Stuart, with his charm, his talent and his own secrets, is exactly what Marilee’s heart needs to move into the arms of the right man and into the happiness that’s waiting right around the corner.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
At The Corner Of Love And Heartache
By Curtis Ann Matlock
Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
Chapter OneThe Valentine Voice, Wednesday, February 21
Publisher and Associate Editor to Wed James, Holloway Announce Engagement
Tate Briggs Holloway, publisher of The Valentine Voice, and Marilee Roe James, associate editor, announce their engagement and plans to marry March 21, 11:00 a.m., at the First Street Methodist Church, with Pastor Stanley Smith officiating.
Ms. James is the daughter of Norma Cooper of Lawton, formerly of Valentine, and the late Frank Justus of Valentine, and the niece of Vella and Perry Blaine, of Valentine. She has served on the staff of The Valentine Voice for over eight years, and is the founder and director of Angel Gifts, a nonprofit organization that provides educational assistance for special-needs children to small schools.
The prospective groom is the son of Franny Holloway of Galveston, Texas, and first cousin to Muriel Porter-Abercrombie, formerly of Valentine and from whom he purchased The Valentine Voice last spring.
The couple will make their home in Valentine, with Ms. James's son, Willie Lee, and niece, Corrine Pendley.
* * *
New York City, 6:15 a.m.
Stuart James sat in the dim glow of a single desk lamp in his room at the Algonquin Hotel. The sounds beyond his room were becoming more frequent, footsteps in the hallway, the whoosh of the elevator, horns on the streets below, as the cityawoke.
Stuart, in a navy sweatshirt, plaid flannel lounge pants and worn kid leather moccasins bought years ago while on a photo shoot on a Navaho reservation, was reared back in the chair with his feet up on the desk and a notebook computer open in his lap. He rarely slept more than four hours a night, and had been awake since three and occupying himself by surfing the Internet.
Peering at the luminous screen through half glasses, he read the headline that appeared. He became still, as if even the blood stopped in his veins.
Movement returned, first with his eyes, which ran along the lines of text that announced the upcoming marriage of his ex-wife. Then his hand came from behind his head, and his feet dropped to the floor, while he stared for long seconds at the text, his mind assimilating the news.
Then he reached for the two medication vials sitting nearby. Popping off the lids, he shook one pill from each vial, tossed both into his mouth and downed them with water from a glass that was ready and waiting.
Carefully, breathing deeply, he set the computer on the desk, his eyes drawn again to the text, which he reread.
His hand shot out and took up the receiver of the phone. But he halted the action in midair, then slowly replaced the receiver, sitting for a long minute with his hand resting there, as his mind swept back, touching on memories out of time.
In a motion more swift than he had achieved for some months, he rose and reached for his slacks thrown across a chair. Pulling his wallet from the back pocket, he opened it to the picture he had kept of her and held it into the circle cast by the lamp.
Marilee's image was there beneath the cloudy plastic. Not smiling, but fiery. He smiled softly, remembering. He had taken the picture himself, and it was the best of her possible. Marilee had never been one to take a very good picture. She posed too hard. But this one he had caught her unawares, and angry. What had it been that time? Oh, yes, it had been when he had left her a whole day, waiting at that old grocery in the Tennessee mountains.
He supposed his main mistake had been leaving her too often.
Rubbing the stubble on his cheeks, he again read the text on the computer screen and felt such emotion as made him turn away. It was just a podunk newspaper in a podunk town, he thought, and that was why the announcement appeared on the front page.
Marilee had been floating around in his mind so much for the past six months. That was why he had come back to the States, why he had found the Voice on the Internet and looked there every few days for the past month. He had been resisting the urge to run to her. His urge was stupid. Why couldn't he let it go?
He shook his head, and then he caught sight of himself in the mirror on the wall. Always thin, his face was bony now. In the low-lighted room, his image appeared colorless, lifeless. Fear swept down his spine and sent him turning from the sight.
He looked again at the telephone for a long minute, before going to the closet, pulling out his bags and beginning packing. He would not call her. He wouldn't give her an opportunity to tell him not to come. If he just showed up on her doorstep, she would see him then. And he doubted she would send him, the father of her child come at last, away.
Excerpted from At The Corner Of Love And Heartache by Curtis Ann Matlock
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Table of Contents
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Great book...I'm enjoying this series, the characters, humor, romance and inspiring storyline. As I've said before, I love Curtiss Ann Matlocks books...