When Jocelyn Warton takes an impromptu exit off the highway while on vacation in rural North Carolina she thinks she’s just visiting a picturesque village in the mountains while her car is being repaired.
Noah Edwards, forensics professor and part time tow truck driver is more than a little intrigued by the beautiful visitor from New York. He doesn’t know what’s going on any more than she does, but he’s part of it.
Together they discover that this existence may not be all there is . . .
While writing this story, I created a Pinterest page of images that inspired the story – I hope you enjoy visiting it. Pinterest
Jocelyn woke disoriented for a moment, before memory returned. Vacation, the mountains, the rental car . . . Noah. Then it hit her, no nightmare! She’d slept peacefully through the night. The vacation was working already. She smiled at the cheery yellow room.
She dressed quickly in jeans and followed her nose to the scent of coffee brewing. Damn that smelled good. Much better than the one-cups she’d grown accustomed to.
“Morning,” Noah was leaning against the counter, a mug already in his hand. “How do you take your coffee?”
“Black, please. I go for the jolt,” Jocelyn grinned at him.
“My kind of woman.” He winked at her and handed her a full mug. “Did you sleep okay? You’re up early.”
“Slept like a baby. It’s a lovely and welcoming room. Isn’t anyone else up?”
“Those girls? Not likely. Moe’s probably in his shop. Your car has him baffled, and he can’t stand that. I’m glad you decided to hang around.”
Jocelyn could feel the heat in her cheeks and lowered her face to the coffee mug. “That’s the kind of vacation I like, no plans just going with the flow.”
“I need to remember that. See if I can get you back up here again.”
“The other cousins wouldn’t mind?”
“We’re a good group. The spouses that have had the courage to join us seem to be managing.”
Spouses? She ducked her head to her mug again. No need to pay any attention to the pull of this man. She’d known him less than twenty-four hours even if she had slept in his home last night. She had slept alone and that was fine with her. Anything else would have been weird, right?
“What’s on your agenda today?” she asked, turning her thoughts in another direction forcefully.
“The first part will be spreading manure. I know, it’s glamorous, but I like to beat the paparazzi so I do that kind of thing early. Then a long hot shower, so that I’m presentable by lunchtime. My afternoon could be free if you are.”
“You don’t have much faith in Moe. I might be gone by then.”
“I hope not.” His face had gone serious at that.
Jocelyn decided to ignore the tug in her gut that comment made. “Could you use some help with the manure?”
He stopped and blinked at her. “You can’t be serious.”
“I like to try new things.”
“You’re on but you don’t have to stay at it for long. I’d love the company. We’ll need some protein first.”
“Who’s on breakfast duty?”
“Usually me, being the only one up this time of day.”
“Then how about an omelet?”
“You offering to cook?”
“I’m willing to try.”
The smile on his face caused an answering one on her own, and she stepped to the refrigerator. “Confess, dinner was all you last night, wasn’t it?”
“I told you guys, I gave Carol a few tips. She did all the work. You know she doesn’t like to cook.”
“We made it a little fun and less stressful for her. Move.” He had joined her at the refrigerator, and she used her hip to shove him aside. Damn that had felt good. He had a great body. None of her professors had looked like him in college. Her grades probably wouldn’t have been as good if they had, because she would not have been paying attention to the lecture.
She gathered eggs, mushrooms, onions and some ham she spotted.
“You really do cook.”
“On occasion. I enjoy it but don’t take the time usually. It’s up and out most mornings.”
“Not nine to five?”
“In advertising? More like midnight to midnight when there’s a promotion coming out and the company always wants a promotion coming out.”
“So the vacation really is to relax. Are you sure you want to shovel manure?”
“Doing it physically instead of metaphorically might be nice.” She warmed at his chuckle.