I’d intended it as an epilogue from dad, Marty’s, POV and a bridge to the next Calhoun in the series. Marty Calhoun is a sweetheart who deals out bear hugs and wisdom like most good dads do. As much as he’s loved celebrating his children’s successes away from Bigfork, he’s enjoying having them all home again too. – Juanita
Molly’s Old Time Five and Dime pumped with folk coming in for a piece of the gossip on how Tony Jackson came to be arrested in Bigfork. At the battle-scarred kitchen table in the rear of the shop, Marty eyed out a sad-looking Ronan Jackson.
“There’s a place for you to stay at the ranch, boy. You could spend some time with your sister and your niece.”
The young man stopped fiddling with the spoon in his mug of cocoa, laced with a dash of Molly’s finest whiskey. “You’d let me do that?”
Marty shrugged. “I don’t see why not.”
“Charlotte hates me.”
“No, she doesn’t. She just doesn’t know you yet. She had to learn to know herself first.”
“Maybe a night or two, then?”
Mason pulled out a chair, swung it around backwards and straddled it. “You hurt Pyro again and I’ll have to get Carter to shoot you. I can’t have anyone messing with my designer.”
“Lamborghini? Matches? She’s my hero.”
Ronan grinned. “I hated that car. Dad wanted it more than I did.”
Carter snorted and rattled the newspaper he’d been reading. “Yeah right. I bet you would have preferred a Chevy Camaro.”
“A Corvette Stingray, actually.”
“At least you have decent taste in cars.” Mason stared him down. “Now all you have to learn is how to be a decent human being.”
“Yeah, I might need some help with that. I didn’t have the best role model.”
Marty slapped a hand on the table. “You can start by making it up to your sister. You have big fences to mend, boy.”
The kitchen door flew open and thumped against the wall. Marty offered up a prayer of thanks that Zoe was up front with Molly getting cooed all over by the women of Bigfork. His youngest daughter shot into the room like a V8 off pole position, firing on all cylinders.
“Hey, kids, I’m home!”
Marty pushed his chair back and stood. “Welcome back, honey.”
“Thanks, Dad.” She hugged him hard, kissed his cheek, slapped him on the shoulder and looked around the table. “Mason, Carter … Ronan Jackson, you scumbag, what are you doing at the family table? Dad, what’s he doing here? Where’s Chase?”
“Slow down, girl, and take a breath. Is Paige back with you?”
Mason’s head shot up. “I’m outta here.” He stood up off the chair, swung it around and pushed it back under the table, the scrape of sixties metal against tile setting Marty’s teeth on edge as he watched his middle son run from his past again. The back door into the alleyway behind the store slammed shut, the noise echoing in the sudden silence.
Carter dropped the paper with a sigh. “I’ve got it, Dad. I’ll go after him.”
Marty sank back down on his chair and slapped both palms against the roughened denim covering his knees as his daughter’s best friend, pit mechanic, and the girl responsible for breaking Mason’s heart entered the room. “Welcome home, Trinity. And Paige. You have a niece to meet and a wedding to help plan.” The times ahead loomed full of trouble and torment, but God, it was good to have his kids home. Now all he had to do was get Grace back too.
Juanita graduated from the Australian College QED, Bondi with a diploma in Proofreading, Editing and Publishing, and achieved her dream of becoming a published author in 2012 with the release of her debut romantic suspense, Fly Away Peta (recently re-released as Under Shadow of Doubt).
Under the Hood followed in 2013 as one of the first releases from Harlequin’s digital pioneer, Escape Publishing.
In 2014 Juanita was nominated for the Lynn Wilding (Romance Writers of Australia) Volunteer Award, and was a finalist in the Romance Writers Australia Romantic Book of the Year and the Australian Romance Readers Awards in 2014 and 2016. Her small-town romances have made the Amazon bestseller and top 100 lists. Juanita writes mostly contemporary and rural romantic suspense but also likes to dabble in the ponds of Paranormal with Greek gods brought to life in the 21st century.
She escapes the real world to write stories starring spirited heroines who give the hero a run for his money before giving in. When she’s not writing, Juanita is mother to three boys and a Daschund named Sam, and has a passion for fast cars and country living.