When Sienna Townsend finally gets the courage to leave her abusive fiancé, she never expects to end up stranded on the side of the road in a small town in Texas. Her plan is to gas up her car and keep on driving as far away from Arizona and her bad memories as possible.
But a few friendly faces and kind hearts convince Sienna that perhaps Coalton is exactly where she is meant to be.
Kevin Baker has come home to give his sister away at her wedding. He's surprised when he runs into the mysterious beauty in his tiny hometown. He can see the shadows of hurt in her eyes and something draws Kevin to Sienna, filling him with the urge to take care of her.
When Sienna moves into an old rundown home, Kevin offers to help her renovate. But they soon find that he is repairing more than her broken home....he also begins to repair her broken heart.
"So how are you liking Coalton so far?"
Sienna heard Kevin's muffled voice and looked around trying to find him.
She covered her mouth to stifle a gasp when she saw him under the sink, in those tight jeans again. She picked up her coffee and took a sip to clear her dry throat.
"It's definitely not like Arizona," she said.
"I bet," Kevin said. "Did you let your family know where you were?"
Sienna exhaled as she looked down into her coffee mug. She absentmindedly swirled the spoon around as she said, "There was no need."
"Won't they worry about you?"
"No," she said, becoming sad. "It's just me really...Pete was..."
I'm the only family you have, the only one whose ever loved you and who ever will love you...
Sienna had realized that she'd squeezed her eyes shut. She'd been trying to get Pete's words out of her head. She hadn't heard Kevin stop working under the sink and stand.
"You're shaking," Kevin said, taking a step toward her.
Sienna stepped backward and found herself pressed against the island. She turned around and sat her mug down. She shook her head and tried to speak, but the lump in her throat was too large.
"Is Pete your ex?"
She whirled around and glared at him.
"What did Ronnie tell you?" Sienna demanded.
"Only that you'd just gotten out of a bad relationship," he glanced down at her wrist, and the bruise that was nearly gone now. "It wasn't hard to figure the rest out on my own," Kevin said.
"I don't want to talk about this right now," Sienna said, sliding past him.
"Maybe it will help," Kevin said, shoving his hands into his pockets.
"I have to go and get ready for work," Sienna said, leaving the kitchen.
"Don't you want me to check out the shower first?"
"You can do it later, after I'm gone," Sienna said, before running up the stairs to her room then slamming the door shut.
"Damn," Kevin swore, as the sound of Sienna's door closing echoed through the house.
One step forward, two steps back, he thought, shaking his head.
He wanted to kick himself.
When he asked about her family, she'd sounded so sad, that he stopped working and stood up, only to find her eyes closed, hand clutched around her mug and her body was shaking so bad, he thought she might faint.
It was obvious she was trying to block out a memory.
Asking about Pete being her ex had slipped out.
He'd wanted to reach out and wrap his arms around her, but he knew that wasn't wise; which was why his hands were now in his pockets, his nails digging into his palms.
The sound of the shower coming on nearly made him cover his ears as the loud banging sound came through the pipes. It was worse upstairs than it was in the kitchen.
That would definitely be the next thing he would work on. He went back to work under the sink and realized he would need some parts to fix it properly, but what he'd done would now would give her ears some temporary relief. He made a list on his phone of things he'd pick up later at the hardware store then went back outside to work on the loose floor boards of her porch.
He'd gotten a great deal of work done by the time he heard the screen door swing open. Kevin stopped and looked up at Sienna.
Damn she's beautiful, he thought to himself.
She opened her mouth to speak, then shut it. After another moment, she finally said, "Thank you for fixing the sink."
"It's not a permanent fix, I need to get a few things to make sure it stays mended."
"Let me know how much the costs are so I can pay you back," she said.
"I've got to go. Can you make sure you lock up before you leave?"
Now she was cutting him off.
"Of course," he said.
She breezed past him, and he wrapped his hand tighter around his hammer. Her fresh scent filled his nostrils.
"Sienna?" Kevin called out.
She stopped, and for a moment Kevin thought she wouldn't turn around, that she'd keep walking to her car. Finally she turned and she looked at him, waiting to hear what he had to say.
"If you change your mind and decide you want to talk...I'm a good listener."
She looked caught off guard by his comment. He watched her as she seemed to process what he'd just said, then gave him a slight nod, before turning around again to head to her car.
After she'd driven off, he continued staring in the direction she gone.
Eventually, he got back to work on the porch. He decided since he didn't have a key, he would come back another day to continue working on the pipes after he picked up the supplies he needed. Coalton was a fairly safe town, but he still didn't want to take any chances of leaving Sienna's house open while he made a quick trip to the hardware store. The pipes would have to wait.
He took his frustrations out on the wood on the porch with the hammer.
This Pete guy had really broken Sienna. But he could tell she was fighting to get her strength back.
And he wanted to help her do that, but he didn't know how.
If only hardware stores had supplies to mend a broken heart...
Growing up an introvert, Te` Russ found solace in literary arts at an early age. She found reading to be a vehicle to broader horizons and writing a form of self-expression. She began writing love stories in her adolescent years as a way to expel her youthful thoughts of love into words. Since then she has gone from writing stories and thoughts of love in journals to attending college for journalism and falling in love, which has allowed those youthful words of love to blossom into a series of stories in her romance novels.
Though she has an immense appreciation for the sheer smell that books collectively exert, she also has found balance to her introverted nature with adrenaline inducing activities. So if she does not have her nose pressed deeply into a book or her pen ticking through a pad, you may also find this mother of three jumping out of airplanes, cheering her husband on at the top of her lungs at MMA fights, buzzing down the interstate on the back of motorcycles, or kayaking.
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Until the next time, I'm just...