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Seventeen Days (paperback) by Linda Griffin

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  • Divorcee Jenna Scott moves to a quiet California fishing village during the first Gulf War to make a new life in a house inherited from her grandfather. Her next-door neighbor recommends widowed handyman Rick Alvarez to fix her leaky roof. Jenna is intimidated by his good looks and annoyed by his self-assurance, but disarmed by his affection for his young son. She is still hurting from her ex-husband’s betrayal and resists the attraction between them.
     
    Rick has lived in the village for only three years and is still an outsider, friendly but not sharing his past with anyone. When an attractive vacationer is murdered, local gossip says he is the killer, and rumors spread about his wife’s death as well.
     
    Jenna is determined not to believe the gossip, but will she ever be able to trust Rick with her wounded heart?

    Rating: Spicy
    Page Count: 182
    Word Count: 44719
    978-1-5092-2296-4 Paperback
    978-1-5092-2297-1 Digital

    Excerpt

    Chapter One

     

    Monday, February 11, 1991: President Bush, after meeting with top two military advisers, says alliance is in no hurry to begin ground war.

     

    Light sparkled on the cool green water of the harbor. On the second day of bright sunshine after a week of rain, everything had a special, clear brilliance—the sky very blue; tall green grass, the meadow scattered with flowers. Against the sky and the ocean rose the clean, graceful shapes of fishing boats. The waves, the salt-fresh wind in the trees, and bird songs were the only sounds in the wonderful stillness. The entire scene had a soothing calm that eased Jenna’s disappointment over her first sight of the house.

    She headed back down the path to appraise it again. It was nothing like the enchanted palace of her dim childhood memories, but it wasn’t so bad. The building appeared to be structurally sound, and it was certainly big enough for her to live comfortably in alone. The exterior needed paint badly, and she could see shingles loose and missing on the roof. The stepping stones she had jumped on when she was four or five were buried in long grass, which left bright drops of moisture on her shoes.

    The steps needed repair, but the porch was still firm, and someone had swept it recently. She had played here for hours as a child—how could the space have been so small? The screen door was rusty, and one hinge was very loose. She had been given a small brass key, but the door was not locked.

    Inside it was cool and dim, most of the windows shuttered. She opened two of them, letting in the sunlight and fresh air. Except for a few cobwebs, the sparsely furnished living room was in good condition. A bucket strategically placed under a leak in the hallway was half full of water. In the kitchen, water stains were clearly visible on the ceiling. The room held only a small refrigerator, old gas stove, double porcelain sink, and too little cupboard space. It retained a little of the coziness she remembered from childhood, but she was dismayed by the lack of modern conveniences. After living in her efficient apartment in the city, could she manage without a dishwasher or a microwave? Jenna sighed. Such as it was, the house was now hers.

    She walked into the master bedroom. The bed had been stripped, but her grandmother’s portrait still hung on the wall. Her grandfather had slept in this bed until two years ago, when he relocated to Carroll City to be near his hospitalized wife. Now they were both gone, but something of their spirits remained, a mixture of her childhood memories and the stamp of their personalities on the furnishings.

    They had been married for sixty years and still in love to the very end. Her own parents were still bickering fondly after thirty-two. Only she had failed. Patrick, who had once promised to love her forever, had left her for another woman. She could imagine no more humiliating failure.

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Seventeen Days (paperback)

Seventeen Days (paperback)

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