ORCHARD AT THE EDGE OF TOWN
Apple Valley #3
Releasing July 28th, 2015
Apple Valley, Washington, is where starting over means surprising new chances, facing trouble always brings a helping hand—and the most unlikely hopes can forever come true…
Apricot Sunshine Devereux-Miller needs to stay lost. Her eccentric aunt's home in Apple Valley is the perfect place to forget her cheating ex-fiancé and get her no-longer-perfect life back under control. Plus, it couldn't hurt to fix up the house and turn its neglected orchard into a thriving business. And if Apricot can keep Deputy Sheriff Simon Baylor's two lively young daughters out of mischief, maybe she can ignore that he’s downright irresistible—and everything she never dreamed she'd find ...
Simon isn't looking to have his heart broken again. He already has his hands full raising his girls. And lately he's thinking way too much about Apricot's take-charge energy and unwitting knack for stirring up trouble. He can't see a single way they could ever be right for each other. Unless they can take a crazy chance on trusting their hearts—and risking the courage to finally find their way home.
Shirlee McCoy spent her childhood making up stories and acting them out with her sister. It wasn’t long before she discovered Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, her mother’s gothic romances . . . and became an ardent fan of romantic suspense. She still enjoys losing herself in a good book. And she still loves making up stories. Shirlee and her husband live in Washington and have five children.
Readers can visit her website at www.shirleemccoy.com.
She unlocked it and pulled it off the rack, the old 1940s Schwinn as sturdy as any modern bike, its oversized wicker basket roomy enough to carry groceries from the farmers’ market she loved to visit on Saturdays.
Used to love to visit.
Now she planned to spend Saturdays closed away in Rose’s house until she decided what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. The life that she’d planned to spend with Lionel.
She climbed onto the bike, bunching the dress up around her thighs, the strap of the dainty little blue purse Lionel’s mother had loaned her tossed over her shoulder. The key to Rose’s house was inside. Otherwise she might have been tempted to throw the purse into the roadside ditch and leave it there.
If only she could do the same with the past thirty six hours.
Actually, she’d like to do it with the past five years. Toss them into a ditch, let them be covered by dirt and time until the only reminder that they’d ever been there was a tiny little lump of nothing.
Seeing as how she couldn’t do that, she started pedaling, her legs pumping, the poufy skirt shredding as it caught under the wheels and in the spokes of the old bike.
All that money down the drain.
All that time.
All that commitment and trust and faith that things would work out.
Just like that.
Hot tears burned behind her eyes, but she’d be darned if she was going to let them fall. Lionel didn’t deserve them. What he deserved was to be forgotten, and that was exactly what Apricot intended to do. She also planned to down a quarter-pound burger and an entire batch of homemade fries. Two things that she hadn’t eaten since Lionel had moved in three years ago. He believed in organic whole foods. Raw.
Apparently he did not believe in fidelity.
“Better to learn that before the vows than after,” she told herself. A magpie screamed a response. Rose would have said it was a sign of trouble. Apricot didn’t believe in signs and portents. She believed in hard work and integrity. She believed in doing her best and in treating people with respect. She believed in keeping the peace and compromising.
“And look where that got you,” she muttered.
This time, the magpie didn’t reply.
She pedaled like mad for ten minutes, then coasted down a small hill, her lungs burning, her ribs chafed from the built-in corset. She couldn’t wait to tear the dress off, toss it in the burn pile, and set a match to it. Couldn’t wait to send her family over to the condo to kick Lionel’s butt out, either.
Although, knowing them, they’d already been there, and he’d already been kicked to the curb.
She still wasn’t going back.
Not for a while.