Small Changes marks book number 20 for me and I’m delighted to be able to share it with you.
This book, like Before You, combines my small town romances with the paranormal. These are regular people, but there’s that tiny little twist . . .
Melanie has returned to her hometown to take over the family business despite wanting to stay far away from an abusive ex, who is narcissistic enough to never take no for an answer.
Jonah was led to this small town for a respite after running, along with this daughter, for two years. He has to keep Emma safe, but his next door neighbor is an unexpected, and beautiful, distraction when he least needs it.
Jonah looked over at Emma as he turned off the burner on the stove. She loved grilled cheese sandwiches and it wasn’t a bad breakfast choice along with a banana or grapes. The cheese oozed out of this one exactly the way she liked it. Without warning she was out of the chair, toppling it over and at the backdoor, her small hands beating on the door. “Mellie! Mellie!”
He didn’t even take the time to realize her cries were silent. He’d heard them loud and clear.
“What’s wrong?” he asked even as he scooped Emma into his arms and headed outside. There was a truck in Melanie’s driveway. Yes, she’d mentioned she was having some work done on her kitchen. But something was wrong.
He perched Emma on a chair on Melanie’s patio with an unnecessary motion of his finger to his lips to keep quiet and stay put. Then he reached for the sliding door handle.
A guy, a big one, with sandy military cut hair and unremarkable brown eyes had Melanie up against the wall, one hand on her chin. Jonah could already see the grip on her arm was going to bruise.
“Let her go.” It was an order, spoken at a normal volume but an order nevertheless.
Big guy turned to him but didn’t loosen his grip. Melanie’s eyes were glassy, unfocused. Had he hit her? “This is none of your business, buddy.”
“I’m not your buddy and let the lady go.” Where the hell was her damn dog? He might not be the aggressive type, but Jonah was sure he wouldn’t allow this if he were capable. What had this asshole done?
“Get out. This isn’t your house and this isn’t your business.” Big guy turned to him then, releasing Melanie who started slipping toward the floor. He took a menacing step toward Jonah who stepped forward and punched him once right in the face.
It was a short jab, perfectly aimed. A second blow wasn’t necessary.
Big guy lurched back as blood spurted from his nose and his feet tangled. He went down with a crash, taking a box with him, showering himself with canned food. Then a dark shadow slid past Jonah, and Rex was looming over the man, growling as only a very big, very menacing dog could. Part wolf lurked somewhere in that dog’s ancestry.
Jonah scooped Melanie up and placed her in one of the kitchen chairs. “Can you hear me?”
She nodded and winced, her hand going to the back of her head. Jonah had his phone out, 911 already dialed.
“There’s been an assault at 437 Chestnut. We need the police and an ambulance.”
“I’m okay,” her voice was faint and Jonah ignored her.
“Jonah Sanders, I’m a neighbor. Thanks.” He shoved the phone back in his pocket. Oh crap, Emma, where was she during all of this? He took a step toward the sliding door, which still stood open from his entrance. Not in the chair.
Jonah glanced at Melanie then stepped around Rex and his prisoner to look in the living room. Emma looked up at him from the large chair by the couch. He felt his heart rate start to return to a normal cadence and took a deep breath.
The sirens were already audible. Perks of a small town.