Emma Willoughby's mind wandered, her car drifted, and her best friend, Tracy, nearly died in the resulting automobile accident. Now Tracy's brother, Will Jackson, is determined that Tracy will never see Emma again. What Will doesn't count on is Emma's determination, her slightly dotty Granny Rose, and the power of dandelion wishes.
Heat level: As with all Harlequin Heartwarming books, this story is sweet (has no overt sensuality, rated PG).
A sound behind Will had him spinning on the defensive. It wasn’t unheard of—if you believed local myth—for a mountain lion to attack out here. He cocked his arm back, ready to launch his only weapon besides his signal-less iPhone—a water bottle.
But it wasn’t a mountain lion behind him. It was Emma, legs churning pedals as she rounded the turn below. She wore black bike shorts and a tight blue flowered halter top, exposing most of her lithe limbs. Emma might have pulled off the professional racer look, if not for the uneven back and forth, near-tumbling way she worked the bike, accented by her unbridled smile, and a pink helmet decorated with daffodils and ladybugs.
Laughter—warm, unbidden and unexpected—filled the air.
His, Will realized with a start, watching Emma close the gap between them.
He frowned. Put his hands on his hips. Told himself Emma hadn’t heard him laugh and waited for her and what would certainly be another argument about visiting Tracy.
Instead of stopping at his side, Emma kept going. “See you at the top.” And then she laughed. To be sure, it was a ragged, I’m-breathing-hard-kind of laugh. But she delivered it with an I’m-gonna-kick-your-butt jab at his ego.
The Story Behind the Story
Like many in my generation - not that I'm old - I'm dealing with parents who are losing their hearing, losing their eye-sight, feeling their age, and sometimes losing more of their mental sharpness than they'd like to admit. It stresses me out, and yet, I'm the kind of person who laughs about it.
How can I not? My parents and their friends speak their minds. They go on unusual trips, they buy unusual souvenirs, they bring back unusual stories. And so, Harmony Valley was born - a town that's lost its economy, lost its youth, but hasn't lost its character.
But what about heroes? It's hard to live in Northern California and not know somebody who knows somebody that designed an app and became a millionaire. Most young millionaires struggle to figure out what to do next. And so my three heroes were born - business partners who made their fortune selling a popular farming app. Will, Flynn, and Slade return to their hometown (now more like a remote retirement village) to take stock of their futures and are asked to do something to revitalize the town.
What they don't count on is a town with opinionated seniors who second guess every move they want to make.
Let the games begin!