Linda Wood Rondeau

Snark & Sensibility

PRACTICALLY MARRIED
10/30/2019 1:00:00 AM by: KARIN BEERY

PLEASE WELCOME

KARIN BEERY

TO

FLASH FICTION EXTRA

 

EXCERPT FROM PRACTICALLY MARRIED

Ashley wrapped her hands around the white coffee mug. The hot ceramic warmed her chilled fingers. If only it would warm her heart. She could forgive Tom for the missed phone calls, possibly even for forgetting to pick her up, but she’d been in Boyne Heights for two hours and still couldn’t find him. Her patience had walked out with the last diner patron.

The waitress returned, refilling the mug. “Are you sure I can’t get you anything? At least let me get you a piece of pie.”

Ashley smiled at the kind woman. Her name tag said Pearl. Judging by the salt-and-pepper hair and creases around her mouth, Ashley guessed she was her mother’s age, probably had kids of her own. Maybe grandkids. Taking care of people most likely came second nature to Pearl. “Thank you, but I’m fine,” Ashley said. “I won’t be here much longer, I promise."

“Take as long as you need. You look a little worried is all. Are you waiting for someone?”

“How could you tell?”

Pearl’s laughter rolled through the dining room. “Most strangers pass through. I make a decent cup of coffee, but no one’s ever stayed two hours to enjoy it.”

“I’m waiting for my friend. He’ll be along soon. I hope.” Maybe. Ashley offered another smile, but the waitress didn’t smile back.

“I’ve lived here my whole life and know pretty much everyone. Tell me who you’re waiting for, and I can probably find him for you.”

“I’d appreciate the help. I was supposed to meet Tom—”

“Tom Russell?” The waitress frowned.

“You know him?” Sweet relief! “Thank goodness. I don’t have his home address, only his cell number, but he’s not answering. Could you tell me where I can find him?”

“You stay right there.” Pearl set the coffeepot on the table and pulled the apron over her head. “Get whatever you want. It’s on the house. Lou! Get this girl some food!” Pearl leaned over, eye to eye with Ashley. “I’ll be right back. Don’t go anywhere.”

Ashley didn’t have a clue where she’d go, and she didn’t have time to ask. Pearl ran down the hall before she could say anything. As soon as the waitress disappeared, a skinny teenage boy set a giant sandwich in front of Ashley. “Are you Lou?”

“No, that’s my dad. He said to fill you up. Sorry about Tom.”

“Uh, thanks. I really don’t need all of this food, though.” The kid shrugged, took the coffeepot, and walked back to the kitchen. Tom had joked about the solitude of his hometown and the characters who lived there, but he’d never mentioned how hospitable they were.

Ashley’s stomach growled. She checked her watch. It had been four hours and eighteen minutes since she found her luggage, rented a car, and finally made her way to Boyne. Maybe she should eat something.

She made quick work of the sandwich, popping the last bite into her mouth as Pearl emerged from the back of the restaurant. Behind her walked a tall, brooding man. Dark hair stuck out from under his ball cap, and dark whiskers shadowed his face. Like Pearl, he looked at her without smiling. Warning tingles raced over Ashley’s spine. She kept her eyes on the frowning man who slid into the booth across from her.

Ashley forced a smile. “Can I help you?”

The man nodded, his brown eyes locked on hers. “Pearl said you’re waiting for Tom.”

Ashley’s pulse kicked up. “Yes. And you are?”

“Russ. I’m his business partner.”

That’s right. Tom’s cousin. “He’s mentioned you. Can you tell me where to find him?”

Russ looked up at Pearl, then back at Ashley. Suddenly the booth seemed too small, too crowded. The stranger across from her didn’t flinch. “I’m sorry, ma’am, but there was an accident. Tom’s dead.”

ABOUT PRACTICALLY MARRIED

Ashley moves to a new town to marry her fiancé. Instead, she buries him.

Ashley Johnson moves to northern Michigan to finally meet her fiancé face-to-face, but she arrives in time to go to his funeral. With no home back in Ohio, she decides to stay in what would have been their house, except his cousin Russ lives there too, and Russ has never heard of Ashley. To complicate matters, her fiancé accidentally willed her the family farmhouse. Eager to please everyone and desperate to disappoint no one, she proposes a marriage of convenience that could solve her and Russ’s problems, if they can get past her aunt, his sisters, and an ex-girlfriend.

ABOUT KARIN BEERY

Karin Beery grew up in a rural Michigan town, where she wrote her first novel in high school. Today, she writes contemporary stories with a healthy dose of romance. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s reading, editing, or teaching it. In her free time, she enjoys watching University of Michigan football and action-adventure movies with her husband and fur babies.

https://www.facebook.com/authorkarinbeery/

https://twitter.com/karinbeery

https://www.instagram.com/karinbeery/

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/karin-beery

https://www.amazon.com/Karin-Beery/e/B07HQ2GZQS

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2666258-karin

Purchase link:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WK44MQ8/

 

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