Small-Town Contemporary Romance
Nell Quade loves trouble, and doesn’t give two hoots about picking men up in a bar. A tried and true method, she knows exactly where to cast her net to draw in the big game. When an interesting, and attractive, stranger comes to town, Nell ends up getting more than she bargained for. He takes the bait and warms her bed for the evening.
It’s Thanksgiving time in the small town of Heartwood, Virginia, and along with her brother Nolan, the family is ready for a fun old-fashioned family get together complete with decorations and drama. The holiday seems to be going well until Nell’s one-night stand appears at the table expecting a seat.
Kai Ingles is Nolan’s roommate, and maybe just a little bit more. Embarrassed, Nell must navigate her way through turkey, mashed potatoes, and intrigue to get to the heart of the matter. And maybe lose her own along the way.
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I went into the bar looking for trouble.
That’s what I told myself later, when my head cleared and I’d gotten my clothes free of the smell of cigarette smoke. When those wee hours of the morning came and I questioned why I’d felt the need to go out, to capture a man’s attention, to bring him home.
To send him packing in the morning.
When I remembered the past, and hated what I’d been through. Hated what I’d done. Otherwise, why go to the Tooth? It was the only bar in town and reeked of alcohol and deep fryer oil and regret. There were peanut shells on the floor, racing posters on the wall, the ubiquitous pool table where people spent their weekend nights in a haze.
Why did I go?
Because I did my best hunting on a full moon. With the holidays looming, I needed a pick-me-up. Not the normal kind in the form of chocolate or candy or an entire pint of ice cream. Nah, I liked mine tall, dark, handsome, never mind the cliché.
That was me. Nell Quade, the perpetual prowler.
November came before I was ready and I didn’t feel equipped to handle Thanksgiving. It wasn’t the holiday traffic. Most of the out-of-towners rolled into my neck of the woods in autumn, when the trees began to turn and flood the mountains with a riotous display of color. Visitors flocked to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia for a taste of country air and small-town living.
They found Heartwood County’s single stoplight “charming.”
My shift had ended at the hospital and I’d changed into my skinniest jeans and my tightest-fitting sweater. A layer of tinted lip gloss went on while I preened in the mirror at brown eyes, a peaches-and-cream mask. At slashing cheekbones, a full pink mouth. The hair wasn’t perfect but I’d live with it as long as the rest held up.
The Tooth was busy even on a normal day. Popular not only with the drinkers and pool players, but also with the older couples needing time away from their own kitchen tables. Say what you will, the place had a dreadful smell but a delicious burger.
I crunched over discarded peanut shells and wiggled my fingers at the bartender, squinting through the smoky haze at the guy who looked like he’d been on a swim team since birth.
The bar was a dive, by a landslide. Trails of smoke danced in the air, and the walls were grimy to the point where no one dared touch them. I sent a glare across the way to the random chick plopped down in my seat, sending her scrambling. Oh God, I had my own seat in the damn place. I had to get out more, and not just to the Tooth.
“Nell.” Fenton greeted me the moment I sat. “I got your drinks just the way you like ‘em.”
“You sure know how to please a girl.”
About the Author:
Brea Viragh is a writer based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with degrees from Berea College and Nova Southeastern University. When she isn’t writing, her hobbies include binge-watching HGTV, scouring thrift shops for goodies, and maintaining her alpha status among her boyfriend, puppy, and three cats. A recipient of a 5-Star Writer Award from NY Literary, her work includes the Promise Me series, available online, as well as short stories published in New Realm, eFiction, and Conceit magazines.