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A Longview Romance series
by Nancy Marie Bell
Genre: Sweet Romance
Tags: Rescue dogs, dogs, Alberta, ranching, western romance, horses
Release: April 6, 2012
Editor: Antonia Tiranth
Line editor: Penny Ehrenkranz
Cover Designer: Charlotte Volnek
All Michelle wants for Christmas is peace of mind. The only storm bigger than the one in her heart is the one raging across the Alberta prairie outside her window. Finding an injured stray dog is the last thing she needs. Add to the mixture the handsome new vet who is taking over her beloved Doc’s practice and peace of mind is not in the picture. Cale Benjamin is too nice to be for real. Michelle is still smarting from being jilted by her high school sweetheart fiancé and not in the mood to trust any man, let alone one as drop dead gorgeous as Dr. Cale Benjamin DVM. The injured stray, Storm keeps putting Michelle in Cale’s path whether she likes it or no. She is distressed to find that the handsome young vet is sliding past her carefully erected defenses and into her heart. A few well placed nudges from Doc’s match maker wife Mary help the young doctor’s cause, but will it be enough to make the lady rancher allow him into her life?
The answer lies in the pages of Christmas Storm, find out for yourself.
The scuffle of Cale’s stocking feet on the linoleum alerted her he was still sitting at the table. The chair scraped as he stood. Michelle couldn’t look at him, keeping her face in Storm’s long fur. He must think she was a real witch to act like this, even worse Gramma would be furious with her behaviour.
“Maybe I should just go, or do you want me to stay?” Cale’s voice was uncertain.
“Think you sticking around might prevent a murder?” Her voice was muffled by the dog in her arms.
“Don’t know. I thought leaving might help me avoid a mug to the head.”
Evil man. He was laughing at her. She raised her head and glared at him; the wary expression on his face brought a reluctant smile to her lips. His body appeared tense and ready to run for the hills if she picked up a piece of ammunition.
“If you’re smiling, does that mean you’re not planning on using me for target practice?” His smile warmed his eyes, and a dimple appeared at the corner of his mouth.
“You’re safe for now, I guess.” Michelle released Storm and got to her feet.
“Do you want to hang around here, or run into the steakhouse in Longview for something to eat?” His gaze strayed to the closed door of the living room.
“Longview sounds good to me, anywhere but here right now.” Michelle grabbed her coat from the back of the chair.
“She really is just an old friend. Stacey isn’t important to me in any other way.” His eyes met hers earnestly. He stopped on the step below her, so Michelle didn’t have to look up at him.
“Didn’t look that way the other night.” Her voice sounded obstinate even to her.
“I told you before. You can either believe me or not. I’m not going to tell you again.” She heard him sigh before he turned and walked to his truck.
Michelle let Storm into the cab and climbed in after her. In silence, they drove out the lane and down the snow covered road to town. The steak house was full, so they settled for the hotel further north on Morrison Road. Storm thumped in beside them and arranged herself under a table in the corner. Michelle stared at her in surprise. The dog seemed quite at home, as if she visited the hotel bar often. Shrugging, she ordered her meal and wandered over to the table the dog had chosen. Cale followed her when their food was ready and set hers on the table. Michelle lifted her hand in recognition to a waitress. The woman was the mother of one of the girls she went to school with.
Stella stopped on her way by their table and stared at Storm. She peered under the table at the dog and held out her hand.
“Cassie, is that you?” The waitress spoke to the black dog, who wriggled out from between Michelle’s legs and shoved her nose into the woman’s hand.
“How do you know the dog?” Michelle laid her hand on Storm’s head.
“She used to come in with Henry all the time. This was their table.” Stella shook her head.
“Who’s Henry? Henry Laskin? I didn’t know he had a dog.”
“Henry Ackerman from over Turner Valley way. He liked to come here ‘cause this is where he met his wife.” The woman’s eyes looked shiny. “How did you come by Cassie?”
“I found her under my porch just before Christmas. Looked like someone was beating on her.” Michelle frowned.
“That son of Henry’s, arrogant son of a bitch.” She swore.
“What’s the son got to do with it?” Cale broke in.
“Henry passed on the middle of December, and I offered to take the dog. I got to know Henry pretty good over the years, and a neighbor let me know when he died. The son said he’d take care of Cassie, and I never heard any more about it.” She stroked the dog’s head.
“He took care of her all right. Dumped her on the highway with a load of pups in her belly.” Michelle ground her teeth in anger.
“Bastard, seemed like the type. Made a big deal about her being a papered purebred, near as I can tell she don’t look like no purebred to me.”
“My guess is she’s purebred mutt.” Cale interjected.
“You’re gonna keep her are you?” Stella eyed Michelle sternly.
“Yup, we’ve been through a lot together. And if mister high and mighty son wants her back, there’s about five thousand dollars in vet bills he’ll have to take care of before he gets his hands on her.” Michelle fisted her hand on the table.
Stella patted her hand. “He ain’t gonna hear about her from me.”
“No problem, sweetie. I’m just glad Cassie is okay. What did you call her?”
“Storm it is then. Cassie must have run off and died somewhere in this weather. If that skunk comes looking for her, that’s what I’ll tell him.” Stella moved on to wait on a new customer.
About the Author:
Nancy Bell is proud Albertan, horsewoman, wife, mother and grandmother. She lives on a farm near Balzac, Alberta with her husband, two horses, a pony, various dogs, cats and whatever else happens to wander into the yard. Nancy had her first poems and short stories published while still in grade school and won the first annual Earthsongs Bardic Competition. Through This Door, a book of poetry was released in October 2010. The first two books in The Cornwall Adventures series were released in 2011 from MuseItUp Publishing. Laurel’s Miracle in September and A Step Sideways in December. The third book in the series, Coming Home, is presently being written. She also enjoys writing poetry and short stories.
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Customer Reviews:Heather (Saturday, 26 January 2013)
bookworm (Tuesday, 07 August 2012)
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