So let's take a peek at who's starring in this latest story!
Tanner Merrill returns home from Afghanistan bearing scars, both inside and out. If only the people of Lone Creek, who hail him as a hometown hero, knew his secret... Baylee Cameron harbors heartache of her own, which Tanner's sudden return forces her to face. She longs to share, but can she trust Tanner with her heart? Will the Legend of Lone Creek, which captured Tanner's three older brothers, claim Tanner and Baylee, as well?
Excerpt: I just love this first scene. How's that for a beautiful picture with words?
A lone cardinal flitted over the pasture, taking refuge in a snow-kissed pine, its crimson feathers a splash of color over new-fallen snow.
Tanner paused as the cold air nipped his lungs. Drifting snow seemed almost magical—clean, new, beautiful, and pure. This was his favorite time of all—the first snow of winter, when a layer of white lay in tufts over the sleeping ground.
At first, Baylee thought she was looking at a bear hunched near the water’s edge. The idea stole her breath, and her mind raced to locate a safe hiding place. But then logic took over, and she realized she’d never seen—or heard—of a black bear on Lone Creek property. An occasional wolf…plenty of deer. But never a black bear.
The stranger stood and backed away from the creek, and Baylee was drawn to his lean outline. Even beneath the bulky jacket, the breadth of his shoulders was evident. Recognition dawned.
She’d heard stories of Tanner’s bravery, of the way he’d helped to rescue half-a-dozen men from certain death when his unit became caught in crossfire over in Afghanistan, of how he’d unselfishly handled an explosive that nearly claimed his life. Carson and James spoke of him often while they worked alongside her on office renovations.
Tanner Merrill, the youngest of the Merrill brothers, was a legend in Lone Creek.
What would he think if he knew she’d mistaken him for a bear? Baylee laughed at herself and pulled her green knit cap low across her brow to ward off the chill. The air was calm, and the first rays of sunlight danced across the snow, making the frozen blanket glisten. Daybreak was her favorite time—a vibrant snapshot when everything seemed new and untouched. Under the cover of dawn she could dream the world was perfect and that hope won out, every time.
For a brief moment, she could forget the worries that plagued her…borne of a past that shamed. She shook off the memories and clicked her tongue, the signal for Sadie, the palomino mare she rode, to canter. There was no point in ruining such a beautiful morning. Baylee dipped her head, catching a plump, wet snowflake on her tongue. She felt as if she’d been enfolded in the serene scenery of a snow globe.
For now…all was perfect.
Buy link: http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/love-in-lone-creek
I think Ms. Manners has outdone herself here. Her characters, who are always so wonderful, are just absolutely real - real enough to take a chunk of your heart right along with their heartaches. And the setting is breathtaking! Beautiful!
Baylee certainly knows how to hold her own and stand up for herself. It's a joy to watch the way she faces off against Tanner at the start. And Tanner just doesn't know what's hit him as he tries to understand his feelings for a total stranger. Between all the new additions to the family and his own longings for something he can't even name, Tanner is just lost and alone until he learns to open up.
What a wonderful story! From high to low this story just wrings you dry. From chuckles to tears I enjoyed every word of it!