Welcome To Weston
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Nov 3 2012, 12:01 am
Walking down Main street of the small Ohio town of Weston, you see the sign outside what looks like a 1940’s diner. There’s flowers in the window box and a sign inviting you in for “The Best Blue Plate Specials for 50 miles” painted on one of the plate glass windows. Suddenly a rotund woman with bright yellow hair opens the door. She’s dressed in a red and white stripped apron and has a smile that beams with friendliness.
Welcome to Weston! Come on in, the Peaches ‘N Cream cafe is open every day breakfast to dinner. I’m Lorna Doone, yep, spelled just like the cookie and I’m the owner of the Peaches ‘N Cream. Why don’t you take a seat here at the counter? I’ve got fresh pies going into the pie cabinet there. Apple and Pumpkin are the best this time of year. You can have a slice while I fill you in on what’s happening in town.
We have a new resident, been here for a few months. She’s kind of secretive, keeps watching people and writing stuff down on her big legal pads. At first we thought she was a lawyer or something, but turns out she’s a writer. That’s her over there in the corner, typing away on that laptop thingy, complete with earphones. Says she listens to music while she writes. Her name’s Suzanne Ferrell.
You see a dark haired woman typing away, stopping every so often to take a bite of the slice of apple pie by her elbow or sip her Diet Coke.
What does she write? Says she writes romance novels. Says she always likes Happy Endings. Good thing, because I like them, too.
Why is she writing in a little town like Weston? Well, I asked her the same thing a while back. Said she loves the people in town and romance can happen anywhere, not just in big cities or exotic places. You know what? She’s right. Take Weston. Seems like a peaceful little town with not much going on. But as my friend Harriett, nurse for the town doctor, says, “things aren’t always what they seem.”
The door to the kitchen opens and a young woman with copper-red hair and burns-if-she’s-out-in-the-sun-more-than-one-hour complexion enters the dining room carrying two plates of what must be the day’s Blue-Plate special. She nods at you, but keeps moving to the two truckers seated in a booth near the windows.
That’s Emma Lewis. She’s the heroine of Ms. Ferrell’s latest book, Close To Home. Emma’s got a lot on her plate. The single mother of two precocious twin boys and an aging mother who is having trouble getting through each day, Emma thinks the last thing she needs is
a man in her life, but I know better!
Emma smiles at you as she passes by on her way back into the kitchen.
Lorna points to the window. A tall, dark haired man strolls by, a rather serious expression on his handsome features.
That’s Clint Preston, nephew of our town doctor, Doc Ray. Clint came to Weston for the year to fill in as the town doc while Doc Ray takes a long needed vacation. Clint also needed a sense of peace and calm to try to find his passion for medicine, which was burned out by long shifts in an urban hospital’s ER. Now don’t you think they’d make the sweetest couple? Me and Ms. Ferrell had a long talk about the two of them. Seems the pair caught her eye too and she did some digging and decided they just needed a little push in the right direction.
So what happened?
Well, all it took was two six-year olds and a huge tree…
Harriett tried to talk him out of it, but Clint was determined to investigate the situation at the twins’ home. It had been months since he’d really enjoyed taking care of patients. Holding the body of one dying child was enough for him. He wasn’t about to let anything happen to these boys now.
So, in the end, despite his nurse’s cryptic remarks that things were not always what they seemed, he and the boys headed across the street.
“Mommy is…” Brian said as he held Clint’s hand with his good one.
“…sleeping now,” Benjamin informed him from the other side.
“Who watches you when your mother is asleep?” Clint asked as they reached the old three-story colonial directly across from his clinic.
“Mama does,” the boys answered in unison.
Did this woman truly believe raising these boys in a small town protected them—that the safety of a small community negated the need for supervision? His blood started to boil again as his temper re-ignited.
The boys led him up to the front door. He followed them inside. The condition of the front parlor stopped him in his tracks. Either someone was attempting to knock out a wall, or the boys’ mother let them entertain themselves by hurling hammers into the drywall.
He took a step into the room, but two small hands stopped him, pulling him backward.
“We’re not allowed…” Brian began.
“…in the construction rooms,” Benjamin followed.
“I’m sorry boys.” Clint stepped back. At least the woman has some sense. “Why don’t you show me where your mother is.”
“Mommy’s upstairs,” Benjamin bounced up the steps, while his brother chose to hold Clint’s hand and walk up beside him.
Despite his bravado of doing things just like his brother, Clint sensed Brian probably needed a little more reassurance. He gave the younger boy’s hand a squeeze and smiled down at him.
Brian gave him a gap-toothed grin in return. “Mama will be surprised to see our…” He held up his arm. “What’d you call this?”
“A cast.” Clint couldn’t resist another smile. “And I’ll just bet she’ll be surprised.”
“Mommy’s in here.” Benjamin stopped for a moment at the first door at the top of the stairs, then burst into the room. Brian dropped Clint’s hand and dashed in after his brother.
Laughter greeted Clint’s ears at the open doorway—rich, soft laughter, like the creamy center of a melted caramel. The kind of laughter that made you want to wrap yourself up in it and stay a while.
Clint stopped in the doorway, spellbound.
The boys sat on different sides of an antique four-poster bed, sunk knee-deep in patchwork quilts, sheets and what he would swear was an old fashioned feather-tick mattress. But it was the vision between the little boys that held Clint’s attention.
Emma Lewis had the same rich, dark, burnt-copper hair as her sons, and the burns-if-she’s-out-in-the-sun-longer-than-one-hour skin of most redheads. Beneath the wrinkled T-shirt and jeans she’d fallen asleep in, he could tell she was neither too thin nor too heavy, just the luscious type of figure Clint decided long ago he liked on women. She also possessed that wonderful laughter that had stirred more than his heart to life.
But when she raised the deepest cornflower-blue eyes to him, Clint nearly moaned. If he let himself, he could get lost in that open, clear gaze forever.
“Can I help you?” The remnants of sleep in her voice brought on visions of hearing her voice after a night of endless passion.
“I’m Clint Preston,” he started to explain.
“He’s Doc Ray’s nephew. And he’s a doc, too,” interrupted Benjamin.
“And he put this on my arm,” Brian added, not to be outdone by his brother.
“What?” Emma looked at her sons, finally taking in their casts and looking a bit confused. “What happened?”
“Apparently they decided to play skydivers while you were sleeping,” Clint informed her. Some of his anger was dispelled by the obvious motherly concern on her face.
“Where?” she asked, looking first at one cast then the other.
“Thompson’s tree,” the boys answered at the same time.
Emma sat straight up at this information. Her face changed from one of concern to one of maternal outrage. “The tall oak in front of Old Man Thompson’s barn? What were the two of you doing there? You know he doesn’t allow anyone on his property. That boar hog of his is dangerous!”
“But it’s the biggest tree, mommy,” Benjamin said, his head drooped with guilt.
“That’s no excuse, Benjamin Joseph Lewis!” Their mother gave the boys such an I’m-very-disappointed-in-you look that Clint wanted to grab them and leave.
His anger snapped back to life. “If you had someone watching them, this wouldn’t have happened,” he said, coming to loom over the bed. “Setting limits, then yelling at them after they forget those limits is no replacement for actual adult supervision. Cases of neglect have been made on less, lady!”
Emma surged up in the bed, coming almost nose-to-nose with him. “How dare you suggest I neglect my sons. Not that it’s any of your business, Doctor, but for your information, I do have someone watching them.” Emma glared at him, her arms securely around her sons. “Mama watches them.”
“You can’t possibly believe they are safe running loose in this Podunk town while you sleep. You don’t deserve two great kids like these. Your lack of concern over their care is tantamount to neglect.”
“I don’t know who you think you are, Doctor, but no one accuses me of neglecting my kids.” She crawled out of the bed, to stand inches from him, her face flushed with her temper.
Then he remembered Johnny Wilson.
“I’m giving you one week, lady. Either you find more responsible child care, or I’ll have the county Child Protection Services here so fast you won’t know what hit you.”
“Oh, dear. This is all my fault.” A soft voice sounded from behind him.
Clint turned to see a tiny, white-haired woman standing in the doorway, wringing her hands.
That’s Miss Isabelle, Emma’s mother, but both boys call her Mama. Poor thing has been a bit forgetful since her husband Sherm died back in the spring. So once Ms. Ferrell had Clint and Emma meet, sparks certainly started to fly around here! The pair kept bumping into each other and sparring, until Clint did some digging on his own and Emma dispels his belief that she’s a neglectful mother, but he can see her situation is more critical than she wishes to face and finds himself volunteering to help care for her sons and the remodeling of her home.
A dark sedan passes by the Peaches ‘N Cream and Lorna visibly shutters.
That car’s been coming by here quite a bit lately. Something about it gives me the willies. Anyways, as Emma and Clint forge a relationship among our slightly off-beat inhabitants of Weston a menace from Emma’s past threatens her and her sons. Clint and Emma join forces to protect her sons and the love the couple has discovered in each other’s’ arms.
I can’t tell you any more, wouldn’t want to spoil the story for you.
Lorna smiles at you, a two-dimple smile.
Now, how about a slice of pie? The lemon meringue is just about ready to cut.
Hey everyone, I see you’ve met Lorna Doone. Her cafe, the Peaches ‘N Cream is the gathering place for the folks in Weston, it also tends to be gossip central. I fell in love with this little town and it’s not quite centered inhabitants. Actually, it reminds me of the small town where my parents grew up, only this is in rural Ohio and not rural Tennessee. I always found small town gossip and politics very fascinating. Close To Home is the first book in the Weston series, a small-town contemporary romance series where “Things aren’t always what they seem“.
I hope you’ll enjoy Emma and Clint’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
BOOK LAUNCH PARTY!! Since this is a book launch, what are you bringing to eat or drink and who is you date??? I’m also giving away 2 Amazon gift cards in honor of Close To Home’s launch!!
I’m drinking Peach Belinis and bringing Clive Owen!
Amy Adams pic courtesy http://www.toptensthings.com
Posted in Close to Home, contemporary romance, Lorna Doone, romance series, small town romance, Suzanne Ferrell, Suzanne Ferrell books, Weston series