The first Green Mountain Romance by New York Times bestselling author Marie Force!
The family-run Green Mountain Country Store is cherished by locals as a reminder of simpler times. The Abbott children are determined to keep it that way—but their father has different plans…
When Cameron Murphy heads to Vermont to build a website for a new client, she imagines a more relaxing trip than she gets. After wrecking her car by colliding with the town moose, she meets the most handsome hero she’s ever seen. Unfortunately, her savior, Will Abbott, is also the son of her client—and he wants nothing to do with the new website or the city girl creating it.
For all Will cares, Cameron can march her fancy boots right out of town and out of his family’s business. But he can’t seem to get her out of his head. As his family’s dispute heats up, so does the chemistry between the two, leaving them wondering if simple is better after all—especially when it comes to matters of the heart.
Bonus: Exclusive to this edition—a never-before-in-print Green Mountain story!
About the Author
Marie Force is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling, award-winning author of more than twenty-five contemporary romances, including the Green Mountain series, the McCarthys of Gansett Island series, the Fatal series, the Treading Water series and numerous stand-alone books. While her husband was in the U.S. Navy, Marie lived in Spain, Maryland and Florida, and she is now settled in her home state of Rhode Island. She is the mother of two teenagers and two feisty dogs, Brandy and Louie.
Read an Excerpt
Welcome to Vermont and my new Green Mountain series! A couple of years ago, I was watching my daily fix of Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News when I saw Anne Thompson’s feature about the Vermont Country Store and the family who runs it. I was immediately intrigued by the notion of a family running an old-fashioned country store. When my husband got home, I told him, “We’re going to Vermont!”
Luckily, he was happy to comply, and a few weekends later we took off to explore the Green Mountain State. I was completely captivated by the area, the Vermont Country Store, and everything we experienced during that weekend in Vermont. My husband teased me about how I spent two hundred dollars at the original store in Weston, Vermont, and then went to the second store in Rockingham and managed to spend another two hundred dollars—on completely different items. Visiting the Vermont Country Store is an amazing experience, and I recommend you check out the store in person or online at vermontcountrystore.com.
I’d been to Vermont before, several times in fact, but I hadn’t spent tons of time there. As a result, I had to do a lot of research to make my Vermont as authentic as possible. Suffice to say it was certainly no sacrifice to spend time in such a stunningly beautiful place. I absolutely love the scenery, the mountains, the people, the quaint small towns and the quirky slices of life that make it such a special place.
If you’re wondering where in the Northeast Kingdom the town of Butler can be found, the answer is it’s a fictional place, created from an amalgamation of a wide variety of small towns in the state. Parts and pieces of many of the towns I visited crop up in Butler, so Vermonters may find a slice of their hometown in Butler.
My research was aided by the helpfulness of several of my readers who are either from Vermont or who have lived there at one time or another. Thank you to Diane Nabel, June Claughton, Elysa Blumenthal, Kristin Ells, Terry Langlois, Brent H. Curtis and Leslie Temple, who answered my Facebook call for Vermonters willing to answer a questionnaire. Their input and insights helped tremendously. Audrey Coty, co-owner of the Nebraska Knoll Sugar Farm, provided a very memorable morning for my assistant, Julie, and me at her lovely home. Thank you, Audrey!
I’ve also been “lucky” to participate in the building of several complex websites during my professional life. However, my dear friend Mary Harrington, chief operating officer of Embolden, a website company in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, helped to fill in some of the gaps for me from the contractor side. Thank you so much, Mary!
My assistant, Julie Cupp, planned an awesome three days in Vermont, and many scenes in All You Need Is Love were inspired by our trip, especially the icy climb up the hill to Colton’s sugaring facility, which was a lot more fun to write about than it was to experience in real life! Thank you, Julie, for embracing my new series and for running my business so I can have more fun writing than I’ve had in years.
To the amazing team at Berkley—it’s been such a pleasure to work with all of you, especially my lovely editor, Kate Seaver. Kate, thank you for taking a chance on three chapters and hoping for the best. You’re a dream to work with. Leslie Gelbman, we bonded after taking our daughters to college, and you made me feel right at home at Berkley. Susan Allison, Erica Martirano, Erin Galloway, Courtney Landi and Katherine Pelz, your enthusiasm for the Green Mountain series has been so inspiring to me, and I look forward to bringing the rest of the series to life with your help.
A very special thank-you to my agent, Kevan Lyon, who stayed with me during the lean years, stayed calm during the experimental years and who’s the first to celebrate with me during the good times. You’re the best, Kevan, and I appreciate all you do to help keep me sane in the midst of madness.
To my wonderful friends, whether I’ve known you personally for many years or met you along the way through my books, thank you for your support of my career. Maybe you’ve bought one book or all of them, but either way, you’ve helped me more than you’ll ever know, and I appreciate each of you. A special thank-you to my wonderful beta readers, Ronlyn Howe, Kara Conrad and Anne Woodall, who are the first to read everything and the best at “cleaning me up.”
My husband, Dan, my kids, Emily and Jake, and my dogs, Brandy and Louie, make my life complete and support me every step of the way.
I’m blessed with an amazingly loyal group of readers, and I’m thankful for you each and every day. We have tons of fun on Facebook and Twitter, through e-mail and Skype chats and at book signings. I can’t thank you enough for embracing my books the way you have. I hope you’ll enjoy Will, Cameron and the Abbotts!
If you’d like to chat with other fans of the series, make sure you join the Green Mountain Reader Group at facebook.com/groups/GreenMountainSeries. To talk specifically about this book with spoilers allowed and encouraged, join the All You Need Is Love Reader Group at facebook.com/groups/AllYouNeedIsLove1. Join my mailing list at marieforce.com to be notified about new books and feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks so much for reading!
A hard job is like forty miles of rough road.
—The gospel according to Elmer Stillman
“What the heck is a frost heave?” Cameron asked Troy, who’d briefly been her boyfriend until they realized they made better friends than lovers.
“Searching,” Troy said, indulging her as he had on and off during her long journey from Manhattan to the end of the earth.
“I need a freaking PhD in geology to understand these explanations, but if I’m reading it right, it’s what happens when water freezes under the road and the pavement heaves upward.”
“Apparently, there’re a lot of them around here. Signs every two minutes.” Cameron’s stomach tightened along with her fingers on the wheel of her gleaming cherry red Mini Cooper, purchased yesterday with this trip in mind. “What do you suppose I do if I happen upon one?”
“Um, I guess you hit the gas and jump it?”
“Thanks. That’s really helpful.”
His loud yawn had Cameron choking back one of her own. What should’ve been a leisurely five-and-a-half-hour trek up the scenic Taconic Parkway had turned into seven tense hours as her paltry driving experience had proven no match for the twists and turns of mountain roads.
“Are you almost there? I’m getting tired.”
“The GPS says twenty more minutes.” All at once, the phone made a series of weird clicking noises. “Troy? Hello? Ugh!” Colleagues had warned her that mountain cell phone reception was spotty at best, but she’d refused to imagine a scenario in which she didn’t have the world at her fingertips. It didn’t bear thinking about.
Cameron hit Redial on the smart phone and reached Troy’s voicemail. At least he was trying to call her back.
She put down the phone and focused on driving. In addition to the frost heave signs, the frequent moose-crossing warnings were also unsettling. What were the rules of the road when it came to moose? Who had the right of way? The questions reminded her that she had lots more research yet to do about her destination.
When the phone rang, she pounced on it. “Are you there?”
“Good,” Cameron said, relieved to hear his voice. “Reception sucks up here.”
“How long do you have to be there anyway?”
“If they hire us, and that’s a huge if at this point, hopefully just a week, maybe two. I’ll pacify my father, and then get back to civilization.” Cameron didn’t like to think about what was riding on her landing this big job.
“Sounds like a plan,” he said, yawning again.
“Stop that, will you?”
Cameron had never driven on such a dark road and had visions of missing a turn and pitching off the side of a cliff. Her fingers ached from gripping the wheel so tightly. “Talk to me,” she said.
“What do you want to talk about?”
Over the course of their ten-year friendship-that-defied-definition, they’d covered every subject under the sun. “I don’t know. Think of something.”
“You never did tell me much about the project.”
She released a rattling deep breath, seeking to calm her nerves. “The Green Mountain Country Store needs a website. From what I hear, they’re still living in the early-twentieth-century dark ages. My dad went to school with the majority partner, and they ran into each other at their Yale reunion. Dad told him what I do, and one thing led to another.”
“You mean one thing led to frost heaves and moose crossings.”
Despite her tension, Cameron laughed. “God, Troy, what am I doing here?”
“Taking one for the team the way you always do.”
“Yeah, I guess.” Her father was one of her weak spots, and he’d taken full advantage by all but ordering her to meet with his old friend. But since her website development company was still recovering from the economic downturn a few years back, any new business was welcome—even if it required a trek into the wilderness. “It’s so dark I can barely see where I’m going.”
“You’re talking hands-free, right?”
“Since both my hands are surgically attached to the wheel at the moment, yes.”
“I should’ve driven you up there,” he said, sounding regretful.
“You’ve got court this week.” Her friend was an up-and-coming attorney in Manhattan, and Cameron was proud of all he’d accomplished—and appreciative of the pro bono work he did for her company.
“Still, we could’ve gone up yesterday. I would’ve been back in time.”
“That’s sweet of you, but I wanted to do this on my own.”
“Had something to prove to yourself, huh?”
“Well, when was the last time I drove? Or even left Manhattan? I’m almost thirty, and until yesterday I’d never owned a car.”
“I’m proud of you, Cam. You could’ve said no or sent one of your employees. It says something about you that you decided to take this on yourself.”
Touched by what he’d said, she released a nervous laugh. “We’ll see how proud you are of me after I’m here a week and going through ugly city withdrawals.” Her eyes darted from the dark road to the GPS. “Only five more minutes. I guess I can take it from here.”
“Positive. Thanks for keeping me company.”
“Anytime, kiddo. Call me tomorrow?”
“I will. Good luck in court.”
Cameron looked down long enough to end the call. When she returned her attention to the road, something large and black was in her path. A shriek escaped from her clenched jaw as she jammed on the brakes. The tiny car skidded perilously, and she was certain she’d be spiraling into the abyss at any second.
Instead she smashed straight into the immovable object, deploying the car’s airbags. That was the last thing she saw before everything went black.
• • •
Cameron didn’t think she lost consciousness. Rather, she lost her headlights, which pitched her into inky darkness unlike anything she’d ever experienced. In the city that never sleeps, it didn’t ever get totally dark. Not like this anyway. With the headlights went the heater, and within minutes she was trembling from the cold and the fear of being alone in the middle of nowhere with something blocking her path. And smacking her face on the airbag hadn’t helped. Her nose hurt, and her eyes were watering.
She reached for her phone and managed to drop it. Rooting around on the floor, she finally found it, but when she turned it on she had no service. “Ugh! You gotta be kidding me!”
Squinting, she tried to make out what was blocking her path, but it just looked like a huge black wall. She pushed the airbag aside and turned the key. The engine clicked in response but didn’t turn over.
“Fantastic.” Who did one even call out here? Did the auto club send tow trucks into the middle of nowhere? She was powering up the phone to try again when the flash of headlights coming toward her caught her attention.
With fumbling hands, she managed to get the door open. Her legs didn’t want to cooperate as she forced herself out of the car, sinking ankle deep in something cold and wet. Thinking of the five-hundred-dollar cinnamon suede boots she had lusted after for months and finally bought with a gift card from her dad, she whimpered.
On the other side of the big black wall, which was now partially lit, she heard a voice.
“Are you okay, Fred? Does anything hurt?”
The wall let out the deepest “moo” she’d ever heard and began to move.
If her feet hadn’t been encased in something nasty, Cameron would’ve taken a step back when she realized “the wall” was alive. “What the . . .”
Ambling slowly into the woods, the animal’s departure allowed Cameron to see a large man standing in the silhouette of headlights, his truck running behind him. At well over six feet tall, his shoulders were broad and his posture menacing—or so it seemed to her. All he needed was a chain saw to complete the Texas Chainsaw Massacre image that was forming in her overly active imagination.
She wondered if they had chain saw or axe murderers in Vermont. Judging from the number of trees she’d seen on the way up here, they had plenty of use for both tools. Glancing down to her right, she gasped at the smashed-in front of her new car, illuminated by the truck’s headlights. “Oh no! My car!”
“You hit Fred,” the would-be axe murderer said.
Without taking her eyes off the front end of her once-pristine car, she said, “Who’s Fred?”
“The town moose.”
She stared at him, agog. “The town has a moose?”
“That’s right,” he said as if such things were perfectly normal, and she was the crazy one for asking the question.
“What about my car? Look at what he did to my car!”
“Didn’t you see the moose-crossing sign a mile or so back?”
“I saw it and a thousand others, but I didn’t think it meant a moose would be stupid enough to stand in the middle of the road where it could get hit by a car.”
“Are you calling Fred stupid?”
As cold, wet muck seeped into her lovely boots, Cameron wanted to shriek. This whole thing was beyond stupid! She wished she could close her eyes and be back in her SoHo apartment, in a world where everything made sense to her. A “town moose” standing in the middle of a road definitely did not make sense.
If she could manage to extract her feet from the goop, the first thing she’d do was click her heels together three times and hope for instant transport home. Hey, it had worked for Dorothy, right? Thinking about her favorite movie of all time buoyed her flagging spirits.
“Are you hurt?” he asked, almost sounding concerned.
“I don’t think so.”
“Where you heading?”
“I know. The GPS said I was minutes away before Fred got in my way.”
“Looks to me like you hit him, not the other way around.”
“Tell it to the insurance company,” she said, wondering if her insurance covered mooseastrophies. This really couldn’t be happening. Maybe she’d fallen into a dream the way Dorothy had, and when she woke up she’d laugh about the guy who’d been more concerned about a moose than he was about the smashed-in front of her brand-new car.
“Fred definitely got the better end of the deal,” she muttered.
“If you want to grab your stuff, I can give you a ride into town.”
Cameron, who’d spent a lifetime avoiding dangerous situations, who never left home without a can of mace, who rarely talked to strangers or made eye contact with people on the street, had no idea whether she should get into a car with a perfect stranger who could very well be an axe murderer. Then she remembered the can of mace in her purse.
“What about my car?”
“I’ll have Nolan bring it in for you.”
“He runs the garage in town.”
Cameron pondered her limited options and decided she really had no choice but to take her chances with him—as long as her mace was close at hand.
“No worries, I have all night to stand here and wait on you.”
“I, um, my feet seem to be stuck.”
“What is this crap all over the road?”
“That’d be mud,” he said with the first hint of humor in his deep voice. She had to admit it was a nice voice. Too bad it belonged to someone who cared more about a moose than he did about her poor car. “Welcome to mud season in Vermont.”
“Mud has a season. This just gets better and better all the time.”
He turned back to his truck, and for a heart-stopping second she thought he might be planning to leave her there. Instead, he fetched a long black object that resembled the billy clubs carried by New York’s finest and started toward her.
As the menacing music from Texas Chainsaw Massacre played in her head, Cameron’s heart began to pound. If she hadn’t been stuck in the muck, she would’ve been tempted to run into the far less threatening forest.
The axe murderer turned on a powerful flashlight, aimed it at her feet and let out a lusty belly laugh.
“What the hell is so funny?” In the residual glow from the flashlight she caught a glimpse of what might’ve been an arresting face if he hadn’t been so sanctimonious. Chiseled was the first word that came to mind. Rugged was the second. She hated herself for wanting a better look at him when she had much bigger problems at the moment.
The quicksand episode from Gilligan’s Island chose that moment to pop into her head as she realized she could no longer feel her feet.
“Are those suede boots?” he asked when he finally quit laughing.
“Um, just FYI, suede boots usually don’t fare too well in Vermont mud season.”
“Thanks for the advice, Cliff Clavin. Now maybe you could tell me how I’m supposed to get free of this crap?”
“Quickest way would be to step out of the boots and leave them.”
“Leave them? They’re five-hundred-dollar boots!”
“Ouch,” he said, wincing. “I hate to break it to you, but they’re probably a total loss.”
Cameron refused to believe that. Her dry cleaner in the city could get anything out of anything. “Where’s it coming from?”
He directed the flashlight beam to her left, the light scaling an imposing hill, tracing the path of mud flowing like a river down the slope and across the highway. “When the snow melts it makes mud.”
“After months of hip-deep snow, the mud is a welcome harbinger of spring around here.” He brought the flashlight back to her feet. “So what’s it going to be, princess? Save the boots or save yourself?”
“God, what a choice.”
The flashlight provided just enough illumination for her to catch his eye roll.
Annoyed, cold and furious over the loss of her favorite boots—not to mention the carnage that was her new car—she bent to unzip the first one. “Where do I, um, step when I take them off?”
“I’ll give you a lift to my truck.”
“But I need to get my stuff.”
“I’ll come back for it.”
Even though she wanted to dislike him for defending the moose over her car, she had to admit he was being sort of helpful—and condescendingly sanctimonious. She couldn’t forget that.
“Fine.” She unzipped the second boot and tried not to think about abandoning their soft loveliness to the Vermont mud bath.
“Ready?” He squatted before her, and Cameron stepped out of the boots and slid onto him piggyback style. A whoosh of air escaped her lungs as he lifted her effortlessly, as if she were a bag of flour rather than a one-hundred-and-thirty-pound woman. He deposited her into the front seat of his toasty warm truck with the finesse of a flour bag landing on the floor of a bakery. “Sorry,” he muttered after the hard landing.
“No problem.” Like heat-seeking missiles, her feet headed for the warm air coming from under the dashboard of the relatively new truck. It still had that smell. How would he feel if Fred crushed in the front of it?
Before she could pose the question, he said, “What do you need from the car?”
She looked up at him, lit by the overhead light in the truck’s cab, and her breath caught in her lungs. Arresting hadn’t been the right word to describe his face. He was beautiful. Prominent cheekbones and lush lashes and full lips that made her want to drool, even though they were flat with annoyance directed at her. His strong jaw was sprinkled with the perfect amount of stubble, just the way a male jaw should look. Since he was wearing a knitted cap, she couldn’t tell what color his hair was but she was picturing light brown based on the color of his brows. Releasing a long leisurely sigh, she realized she was staring at him.
“Any day now,” he said, snapping her out of the dream state she’d slipped into.
Clearing her throat, she said, “I need my purse, phone, GPS and both suitcases from the trunk.”
“Anything else, Your Highness?”
“What? You asked.”
“Stay put.” He stalked off into the darkness, leaving Cameron to fume at his surly disposition. Of course it was just her luck that he had the face of an angel and the personality of Ralph Kramden. Looking around the neat interior of the truck, she was relieved to find no sign of an axe or chain saw.
Her suitcases landed with a loud thud in the back of the truck a few minutes later. He got in and thrust her purse and electronics at her.
Cameron caught the items with an awkward juggle, and automatically clicked on her phone to check her messages. Still no service. She moaned. “Come on!”
“That thing won’t do you much good up here,” he said with that disdainful tone she was coming to expect from him.
“So I’ve discovered.” The flashing blink coming from the back of her car indicated he’d turned on the hazard lights so approaching cars wouldn’t hit it. At least the back end wouldn’t look like the front by morning. Propped up by the deepening mud, her abandoned boots resembled toy soldiers standing watch over the wrecked car.
Welcome to Vermont.
• • •
The short ride into town was full of awkward silence. Sensing his irritation with her, Cameron chose to stay quiet instead of peppering him with questions about the town, the state and what he might know about the Green Mountain Country Store.
“You got a name?” he asked.
“What kind of name is that for a girl?”
Instantly on the offensive, Cameron glared at him. “It’s the kind of name my parents gave me—and I had it long before Cameron Diaz was famous.”
Astounded, Cameron swiveled in her seat. “Tell me the truth—have I been abducted by aliens? It’s okay. You can give it to me straight. I can take it.”
“I don’t know about aliens, but I may as well tell you I have no idea who Cliff Clavin is either.”
Cameron’s mouth fell open. “The know-it-all mailman from Cheers? One of the top-rated shows of the eighties and nineties?”
“So you think I’m a know-it-all, huh?”
“You sound rather proud of that.”
“Well, you don’t have to be a know-it-all to get that wearing suede boots to Vermont in March isn’t the brightest idea you’ll ever have.”
“Pardon my ignorance, but I’ve never been here before.”
“All that technology laying in your lap, and you never got the 411 on the mud.” He snorted out a laugh.
“Anyone ever tell you that you can be somewhat insufferable?”
Arching an eyebrow, he smirked at her. “Only somewhat? I’ve fallen short of my goal.”
Exasperated, Cameron shifted to look out the passenger window.
“Was it something I said?”
She shook her head in disbelief. The guy was too much. “What’s your name anyway?”
That got her attention. “Any relation to Lincoln Abbott?”
“That’d be my dad. How do you know him?”
“I don’t actually know him. Yet. I’m due to meet him tomorrow.”
“For what purpose?”
“To build a website for his store.”
“Damn it!” Will slammed the heel of his hand on the wheel. “I can’t believe him! We told him we didn’t want it!”
“We?” Cameron made an effort to keep the waver out of her voice. Would this interminable day ever end?
“My siblings and I. We’re his partners.”
“Oh.” Since the company had no website, she’d found precious little information about it online and had planned to start from scratch once she got to town.
“Let me guess—when he hired you he never mentioned that his children voted against a website.”
“Um, no, that didn’t come up.”
“This is so typical. He brings one of his big ideas to us, we tell him we aren’t interested, and then he does it anyway.”
“If you’re partners, how does he get away with that?”
“Because he owns the majority—fifty percent. The other fifty percent is split between the ten of us. Five of us help him run the store and vote proxy for the others. The other five provide a variety of products to the store.”
“Ten of you?”
“I’m one of ten.”
“You have ten kids in your family?”
“I’ve never known anyone who had more than four kids in their family.”
“Well, now you know someone who has ten.”
As an only child, Cameron tried to wrap her head around what it might’ve been like to grow up with nine siblings. “What are their names?”
“You want to know the names of my siblings?” he asked, as if that was the stupidest question he’d ever heard.
“Yeah, I guess I do. If I’m going to be stuck in the middle of your family feud it would be good to know the people I’m dealing with.”
“Feud is kind of a strong word, but we do argue. A lot.” He sighed and tightened his grip on the wheel. “Hunter and Hannah are the oldest. They’re twins.”
“Ten kids and twins too?”
“Two sets of twins. Lucas and Landon are second from the youngest. They’re identical twins.”
“That’s so cool.”
He glanced over at her, seeming confounded by her interest in his family. But to Cameron, who’d grown up painfully alone, families like his only existed on the TV shows she’d glommed on to, looking for a family anywhere she could find one.
“I’m after Hunter and Hannah. Then comes Ella, Charlotte, Wade, Colton, Lucas and Landon and then Max.”
“Wow. That’s a lot of kids.”
“Is your mom in an asylum?”
His bark of laughter took her by surprise. “Nah. She rolls with it all. I’ve never met anyone as quietly efficient as she is. She always made it look easy.”
“How do you make ten kids look easy?”
“I don’t know, but somehow she did.”
“So which five are involved in the business?”
“That’d be me, Hunter, Ella, Charlotte and Wade. Several of the others are involved in businesses that feed products to the store. Colton runs the family sugaring facility that makes maple syrup, and Max helps him out when he’s able to between classes. He’s a senior at UVM. Landon has a woodworking business and oversees the volunteer firefighting department in town. Hannah makes jewelry. Lucas manages the family’s Christmas tree farm and helps Landon with the fire department. I think that’s everyone accounted for.”
“Just out of curiosity—why don’t you and your siblings want a website?”
“Because we don’t need one. We have a very nice business just the way it is. A website will bring a bunch of issues we aren’t interested in dealing with.”
“We’ll have to hire people to fulfill orders, set up a distribution center, figure out shipping. So many headaches.”
“But it could grow your business exponentially.”
“We don’t want to grow our business. It’s fine the way it is.” He drove into a quaint little New England town with a signature white-steeple church, a volunteer fire department, a combination café and gallery, and there, in the middle of everything, the Green Mountain Country Store.
In the dark, it was hard to see much, but it seemed small next to some of the other buildings and boasted a quaint front porch. They were past it before she could ascertain much of anything else.
Will pulled into a parking lot behind a large white Victorian house.
“Where are we?”
“I assume you’re staying at the inn since it’s the only place in town that takes guests.”
Cameron pulled out the confirmation message she had printed at home. “The Admiral Frances Butler Inn?”
“That’s it.” He cut the engine and got out of the truck.
By the time she emerged onto thankfully dry pavement, he’d fetched her luggage from the back. “Can you hand me the black bag? My running shoes are in there.”
He retrieved the bag she pointed to and dropped it in front of her.
“You don’t have to shoot the messenger, you know,” she said.
“What does that mean?”
“Just because you’re mad at your dad for hiring me doesn’t mean you have to be cranky with me.”
“You were irritating me long before I knew my dad had hired you.”
“You’re just full of charm, aren’t you?” she asked as she pulled on sneakers.
“So I’m told.”
He waggled his brows at her. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”
“Actually, I really wouldn’t.”
“Suit yourself,” he said with a shrug as he led her into the back door of the inn. He seemed to know his way around, so she followed him through a series of hallways to the front desk where he rang the bell on the counter. The place smelled like potpourri and lemon-scented furniture polish.
An older woman came through the door wearing a housecoat, pin curlers in her hair and a warm, welcoming smile on her plump face.
“Hi, Will. What a nice surprise. What brings you in tonight?”
“Hi there, Mrs. Hendricks. I’ve brought you a guest. Cameron . . .”
“Oh,” the older woman said, resting a hand on her head as if she just remembered her curlers. “I look a sight.”
“You’re pretty as a picture, just like always,” Will said.
“Will Abbott,” Mrs. Hendricks said as her face turned bright red, “you could charm a bird out of a tree.”
Will sent Cameron a smug smile, as if to say “Told ya so.”
Cameron cleared her throat, hoping to remind Mrs. Hendricks that a paying customer was waiting to check in. “Cameron Murphy. Pleased to meet you, Mrs. Hendricks.”
The other woman finally looked at her and gasped. “Oh my! What happened to your face?”
Cameron raised her hands to her face, remembering the moment of impact and how her nose had hurt afterward. “What?”
“You have two black eyes,” Mrs. Hendricks said. “And your nose . . .”
Alarmed, Cameron looked around for a mirror. “What about my nose?” She walked across the small lobby to a framed mirror and shrieked at what she saw. Her nose was swollen and sure enough, dark bruises were forming under her eyes. “Oh my God!”
Turning back to find Will leaning against the counter and Mrs. Hendricks looking on with concern, Cameron marched back over to confront him. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Tell you what?”
“That my face was all banged up!”
“Um, maybe because I figured you’d hardly need me to tell you that something had smacked you in the face.”
“It must’ve been the airbag,” she said, remembering that moment of utter blackness. Had she passed out? She’d been ignoring the pain in her face as she tried to get her bearings with Will, but now that they mentioned it, her nose was throbbing rather insistently.
“The airbag would also explain the burn on your neck,” Will added.
“Burn?” Her voice was a shrill squeak. “What burn?”
He leaned in closer to her, and she swore her heart skipped a beat as she caught a whiff of his outdoorsy scent. The touch of his finger on her neck sent a shocking bolt of heat straight through her, landing in a tingle between her legs. What in the name of hell was that about?
“There.” As if he’d touched something hot, Will pulled back his hand and straightened out of that insolent slouch he did so well.
The two of them stared at each other for a long heated moment.
“Was there an accident?” Mrs. Hendricks asked, interrupting the intense interlude.
“She hit Fred,” Will said gravely.
Mrs. Hendricks brought a hand to her ample chest. “Oh! Is he okay?”
“He seemed no worse for the wear,” Will said. “Good thing it was a small car.”
“It was a new car!” Cameron said, wondering if anyone in this godforsaken town would care that her adorable little car was no longer adorable.
“Well, as long as he’s okay,” Mrs. Hendricks said as if Cameron hadn’t spoken. Then she turned to Cameron. “I can call Doc Edwards for you, if you’d like.”
“Thank you, but that’s not necessary.” All Cameron wanted was a warm bath and an ice pack for her throbbing nose.
“Could I borrow the phone to call Nolan about her car?” Will asked.
“Of course.” Mrs. Hendricks handed him the portable phone, and he dialed a number from memory.
While Cameron completed the check-in paperwork and handed over her credit card, Will filled Nolan in on the accident.
“Yep, she ran smack into poor old Fred.” A pause. “He seemed fine, but we might want to send the doc after him in the morning to make sure.”
Glowering at him, Cameron whispered, “The car. Remember the car?”
He met her glower with a scowl. “Now, about the car.”
Finally, Cameron thought, signing on the dotted line for Mrs. Hendricks and accepting the key to her third-floor room.
Will handed the phone back to Mrs. Hendricks. “Nolan’s going to fetch the car tonight so no one hits it out on the road. He said to check in with him in the morning. The garage is across the street.” Pointing toward the front door. “That way.”
“Thank you.” Cameron forced herself to look up at him and all his beauty. “I appreciate your help.” His eyes, she realized were light brown, almost gold. Why did he have to be so spectacularly gorgeous and so outrageously cranky?
“You need help getting your stuff upstairs?”
The idea of him following her to a hotel room sent more tingling awareness rippling through her. “I can do it.”
But before the words were out of her mouth, he was already heading to the stairs with her bags. Uttering a quick thank-you to Mrs. Hendricks, Cameron scurried after him.
On the third floor, he deposited her suitcases outside Room 18. He stopped so suddenly that Cameron nearly ran into his broad back.
Turning, he caught her inches from his chest, and the awareness that had sizzled between them downstairs chose that moment to reappear. Cameron had never experienced such an overpowering need to touch another person. She rolled her hands into fists to keep from acting on the impulse.
“Listen,” he said, haltingly, “you seem like a nice enough person.”
“Wow, thanks.” Charming? Whatever.
His expression turned stormy. “What I was going to say is that things are apt to get a little heated tomorrow at the meeting. Don’t take it personally, okay? Our beef is with him, not you.”
“I’m here to do a job. Nothing about this is personal.”
“Good,” he said, apparently picking up on her double meaning as she’d hoped he would. “Let’s keep it that way.”
“Fine by me.”
“You might want to put some ice on your nose,” he said as he headed down the stairs.
Too bad he missed the gesture she made at his retreating back.
Don’t let the door hit you where the Lord split you.
—The gospel according to Elmer Stillman
She’d left her scent in his truck. All the way home to his cabin in the woods outside of town Will was stuck with the reminder of his encounter with the city girl. Meeting her had brought back memories of women he’d known in college, who’d come to the University of Vermont from the city and spent four years poking fun at the mountain lifestyle he treasured.
Actually, she reminded him of Lisa, who’d arrived at UVM from Boston. Will had made the monumental mistake of falling in love with her and of thinking he could convince her to stay after they graduated. Ignoring the signals she was sending that she couldn’t wait to go home to the city, Will had proposed, hoping he was enough to convince her to stay.
He hadn’t thought of that disaster in a long time, and it was no coincidence that the encounter with Cameron had brought it all back to remind him to steer clear of women like her who didn’t belong in his world and never would. From the tips of those extravagant suede boots to the ridiculous fur-trimmed vest to the cultured way she spoke, she was a city girl through and through. Even her silly little car was so out of place in the mountains it was laughable.
Just because everything male in him had stood up and taken notice of her didn’t mean he had to do anything about it. In fact, he’d be wise to continue pretending that nothing about her appealed to him. Tomorrow, she’d get a good dose of the Abbott family dynamics, and if she was smart, she’d hightail it back to the city the minute her toy car was drivable again.
Speaking of her car, Nolan already had it hitched to the tow truck.
On the way by, Will slowed down and opened the window. “Thanks, Nolan.”
“Hey, Will, no problem. Fred did a number on the car, huh?”
“Sure did,” Will said. “The owner is a woman named Cameron.”
“Is that a girl’s name?”
“So I’m told. She’ll be by to talk to you in the morning. Have a good night.”
A few miles past the scene of the accident, Will turned on to the muddy road that led to his cabin, and his truck switched automatically into four-wheel drive. This time of year, mud rather than snow made the roads impassable. Bumping over the chuckholes in the road, he made his way—slowly—to the end and cut the engine.
As he approached the front door, the scurry of paws on wood met him as they did on evenings when the dogs didn’t accompany him to work. He opened the door to an enthusiastic greeting from his two yellow labs, Trevor and Tanner. “Hi, guys. Sorry I’m late tonight. Had to help a damsel in distress.”
Will fed the dogs and cracked open a beer before he reached for the phone to call Hunter.
“Hey, man,” Hunter said. “What’s up?”
“Dad’s done it again.”
Will told his brother about his encounter with the web designer from New York City.
“Are you serious? What part of ‘we don’t want a website’ didn’t he get?”
“Apparently the part where we said no.”
“Goddamn it. When is he going to retire anyway?”
“This is great,” Hunter said with a long sigh. “I’m so not up for another big showdown with him.”
“Neither am I.” Will took a drink of his beer. “So what’s the plan?”
“Damned if I know. I guess we’ll hear what she has to say and then figure out how to give her the polite brush-off.”
“Why does he want to take our perfectly nice local business and turn it into a big national production? We all make plenty of money. Why isn’t that enough for him?”
“You know how he is. Always thinking bigger and better.”
“While we’re thinking smaller is good—and manageable.”
“Right. So what’s she like? The web designer?”
“Typical city girl. You know the type. Get this—she smacked her car into Fred on the way into town.”
“No shit?” Hunter let out a bark of laughter. “That’s a hell of a welcome. Is Fred okay?”
“He seemed fine, but her car—not so much. She got a bruised nose and a coupla shiners from the airbag.”
“Ouch. Well, hopefully she’ll get the gist that we aren’t buying what she’s selling and we’ll be rid of her.”
“Let’s hope so.” Will didn’t want to ponder the alternative. If she stuck around, he already sensed she’d challenge his pledge to avoid women like her. It would be just as well if she left before resisting temptation became a problem.
• • •
Cameron woke up the next morning feeling like she’d gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson. With her face throbbing, she tried to remember if she’d been in an actual fistfight the night before. As images from the mooseastrophy ran through her mind, she realized even her lips seemed swollen. Moaning, she forced herself out of the incredibly comfortable bed and into the bathroom to view the damage.
She let out a scream at what greeted her in the mirror. Her features were black, blue and swollen almost beyond recognition. Sure enough, her lips had exploded overnight. No amount of makeup would cover this mess. Tears filled her eyes as she went looking for her phone. “Please have a signal. Please.” The phone lit up with three strong bars. “Thank you, Jesus.”
Cameron found her best friend and business partner Lucy’s number on her list of favorites and pressed Send.
“Buenos dias,” Lucy said, endlessly cheerful in the morning, which had long ago stopped irritating Cameron, who was anything but a morning person. “Did you make it there in one piece?”
“Luce,” Cameron said, trying not to fall apart completely.
“What is it, hon?”
“I smashed into the town moose, my whole face is swollen, I lost my suede boots and the car is demolished.”
“You lost the new suede boots?”
Leave it to Lucy to focus on the boots. “Lucy! My face is a wreck, and I have the meeting at the store in just over an hour. What am I going to do?”
“I, um, what about cover-up?”
“Hang on.” Cameron went into the bathroom, snapped a photo of her face in the mirror and texted it to Lucy. A second later her friend’s scream came through the phone line loud and clear. “Thanks. That helps.”
“Holy hell,” Lucy said. “How did that happen?”
“Have you heard anything I said? I smashed into the town’s moose, the airbags deployed and did this to my face.”
“The town has a moose?”
“Lucy, have you taken your ADD meds today?”
“Oh, shit, I forgot.”
Spurred by the reminder, Cameron took the tiny pill that kept her focused during the day and chased it with a drink of water. “I can’t do the meeting. Not looking like this.”
“You have to do it. We need the retainer, Cam. The payroll for next week is a bit tight.”
Since Lucy often sugarcoated bad news, Cameron knew “a bit tight” meant nonexistent. “Don’t pay me.”
“The tightness includes not paying you.”
“Land this new client, and we’ll be saved.”
“How can I go in there looking like this?”
“Do they know about the accident with the moose?”
“One of the sons does. He sort of rescued me and infuriated me at the same time.”
“Oh, do tell. Sounds like there’s a story.”
“He’s hot but cranky. Definitely not my type.” As she said the words, a tingle of sensation attacked her backbone, making her squirm on the bed. No matter what her backbone might be trying to tell her, she was not attracted to Will Abbott. She hadn’t even liked him.
“Hot but cranky. Very interesting.”
“Lucy, focus! What do I do about my face?”
“Well, you can still talk and still walk them through the PowerPoint we put together, right? I don’t see why you can’t take the meeting and apologize for your messed-up face.”
“I so don’t need this right now. And my car,” she said with a moan. “My beautiful new car that I couldn’t afford.”
“Cam, I know you don’t want to ask your dad—”
“Stop. Don’t go there. That’s not an option.”
“Then you’d better land that new account today, bruises or no bruises.”
“I’ll do my best.” The thought of seeing sexy, grumpy Will Abbott again when she looked like the creature from the black lagoon turned Cameron’s stomach. She prided herself on her impeccable appearance and often relied on her equally impeccable sense of style to wow prospective clients.
Well, her face may be a mess, but she could still bring it on the style front. “I’d better get going if I’m going to make the ten o’clock meeting. I also have to figure out what’s up with my car.”
“Keep me posted. We’re all pulling for you, hon.”
“Thanks, Luce. I’ll call you later—if there’s a signal.”
Cameron jumped in the shower to wash and condition her long blonde hair. She spent twenty minutes drying and straightening, keeping her focus on her hair so she wouldn’t obsess about the bruises on her face or the tinge of red surrounding the hazel iris in her left eye.
Since it was still quite chilly in Vermont, she decided on a brown cashmere sweater dress with another pair of boots. Thank goodness she’d brought backups, she thought, pained once again over what had become of the gorgeous cinnamon boots. Maybe she could get back out there today to rescue them from the mud. Her dry cleaner in the city would know what to do with them.
Her growling stomach was a reminder that she needed to eat something—and get coffee into her system—before the meeting. As she donned her down vest with the faux fur collar, she remembered the LCD projector in the backseat of her car that she needed for the presentation at the store. First, coffee, then find the car and the projector.
Carrying her purse and computer bag on her shoulder, she opened the door and nearly tripped over a package in the hallway. “What the heck?” She put down her belongings and unfolded the brown paper bag from the Green Mountain Country Store. Inside she found a pair of stylish fur-lined snow boots. They were brown with tufts of white and tan fur at the top. Cameron smiled as she looked inside the bag for a note but didn’t find one.
It was nice of him, she thought begrudgingly as she went back inside to change into the new boots. Perhaps seeing them on her might soften him up when it came time to talk about a website for the store. Or perhaps not . . . Her feet slid into the boots, which were lined with something soft and warm.
“Heavenly,” she whispered, wondering how he’d known what size to get her. The boots looked great with her brown dress and down vest. Although she wouldn’t be caught dead wearing them in the city, apparently they were what she needed to combat Vermont mud season.
Still trying to process the fact that he’d brought her the boots, she gathered her belongings and headed downstairs, allowing her injured nose to lead her to coffee. It was a relief to know her nose was still working properly. As she passed a couple in the lobby, she caught the horrified look the woman sent her way.
“Face versus airbag,” Cameron said with a wry grin that she instantly regretted. “Airbag won.”
“Oh my goodness! Are you all right?”
“I will be, but my modeling career is on hold for a few days.”
That made them both laugh as she’d hoped it would. Cameron firmly believed if you couldn’t laugh at yourself, you weren’t allowed to laugh at anyone else either.
“Hope you feel better soon,” the man said.
Cameron followed the sound of voices and the smell of mouthwatering food to the back of the inn. In a room made entirely of glass, guests had a breathtaking view of the forest and Burke Mountain in the distance as they enjoyed a leisurely breakfast.
“Good morning, Cameron.”
She turned to find Mrs. Hendricks, who looked totally different without the curlers and housecoat. Wearing a red sweater with jeans, she looked years younger than she had the night before. “Morning.”
“Oh, honey.” Mrs. Hendricks zeroed in on Cameron’s face. “Does it hurt?”
“It doesn’t feel great, but it could be worse. At least nothing feels broken.”
“That’s good. How about some breakfast?”
“I’d love some coffee and maybe a muffin to go.”
“We can fix you right up.”
Five minutes later, Cameron sipped surprisingly robust coffee as she stepped into cold fresh air heavily scented with woodsmoke and crossed Elm Street to Nolan’s Garage. The sign outside said GAS, REPAIRS, OIL CHANGES, USED CARS, PLOWING AND FIREWOOD.
“Now there’s a combination you don’t see every day,” Cameron said as she got her first daylight look at the charming little town, made up of colorfully painted buildings that housed a variety of small businesses. From where she stood, she could see the Clip & Dye hair salon with an Aveda sign in the window. Cameron was instantly comforted to know there was a full-service salon in town. Next door to the salon was the Fish-Ski-Hike store with snowboards and hiking boots in the window.
An art gallery shared space with a coffee shop and beyond that was a glassblower’s studio, a couple of restaurants and a bookstore. She glanced in the other direction and took in the brown and tan Victorian that housed the town hall with the volunteer fire department attached, and a white-steepled church at the end of the street. Her gaze landed finally on the Green Mountain Country Store, which was bigger than it had seemed the night before.
The green-clapboard building was two stories with a delightful front porch where black rockers lined up invitingly. She might’ve mistaken it for a private home if not for the painted GREEN MOUNTAIN COUNTRY STORE sign above the porch.
Cameron couldn’t wait to check out the store before the meeting with its owners, but first things first. She entered Nolan’s garage to find out the status of her injured car.
Bells on the door announced her arrival.
A good-looking man who Cameron gauged to be in his mid-thirties emerged from the garage area, wiping his hands on a red oilcloth as he came into the office area, wearing a navy blue work coat and pants with sturdy boots—the kind that got you through a harsh Vermont winter and mud season. He took one look at her face and grimaced.
“You must be the gal who went one-on-one with Fred last night.”
“That’d be me. Cameron Murphy. Nolan, I presume?”
“The one and only. I’d shake your hand, but I wouldn’t want to mess you up.” He had dark hair and brown eyes that glimmered when he smiled.
“Thanks for that and for fetching my car from the mud bath.”
“No problem.” He couldn’t seem to stop staring at her battered face. “Did you get that looked at?”
“Nah. Looks worse than it feels.”
“If you say so.”
“How’s my poor little car?”
“She’s seen better days.”
“Like yesterday, the only day I owned her before she got smooshed.” As she watched him choke back a laugh, she waved a hand. “Oh go ahead and laugh. It’s kinda funny.”
Clearing his throat, he said, “It’s not funny that you got hurt.” Seeming embarrassed by the blunt statement, he turned toward the garage. “Come take a look.”
Cameron followed him into the bay where her car was raised up on some sort of lifter thing. “Oh man. It’s way worse in the bright light of day.”
“She took a pretty good hit. Old Fred is a sturdy fellow, and you probably got him square in one of the legs. The way I see it, we’ve got two options. We can total it, and you can fight it out with your insurance company. Or I can fix it up pretty close to new, but it’ll take some time.”
“How much time?”
“How long are you here?”
“A week. Maybe two.”
“Two ought to about do it. I’m mostly a one-man operation, so I’d have to fit it in between other jobs. I’ve got a guy who’s amazing with the bodywork, but he’s somewhat unreliable. I have to take what I can get with him, so the two weeks is mostly an estimate. Could be more.”
Pondering her options and realizing she might have to be here longer than she wanted to be, Cameron took in the mangled front end. “This is the first car I’ve ever bought for myself.” She didn’t share the fact that she had used the last of her dwindling savings to buy it so she’d have a way to get all her stuff to Vermont and get around while she was there.
“Since you only got a day out of it, seems to me it’s worth trying to salvage. The engine is brand-new after all, and BMW makes a mighty fine engine.”
“So you’d try to save it if it were yours?”
“Oh hell, yeah, but I’ve got nowhere to be in the next coupla weeks. You might have other plans.”
Cameron’s tired brain whirled as she pondered her options. If she had to go back to the city before the car was done, she could always fly. She’d considered flying into Burlington, except she’d had too much stuff, such as the LCD projector that was still in the car, to manage the flight by herself. She had ballet tickets in two weeks that she had no intention of using, but her father had given them to her and would expect her back in time to “use” them.
Other than that, there was nothing on her calendar that she couldn’t handle from here, provided she could get a decent phone signal and Internet connection.
Will Abbott had intrigued her last night talking about the big family that worked together to run a business. She’d be lying if she said she wasn’t interested in spending some time with a family like that, provided they decided to hire her, and provided Will and his siblings didn’t hate her for building a website they didn’t want. If they didn’t hire her, she’d fly home and then come back for the car when it was ready.
Cameron glanced at Nolan, who was watching her as she had her internal debate. “Go ahead and fix it. I’ll get the claim started.”
He pulled a card from his back pocket and handed it to her. “They can call me for pictures and estimates.”
“I’ll do my best to make her as good as new.”
“That’s very kind of you. Would it be possible to get something out of the backseat?”
“Sure. What do you need?”
“The LCD projector behind the front seat. I need it for a ten o’clock meeting with the Abbotts.”
“I’ll fetch it and bring it over to you.”
“Oh, that’d be great. Thanks again. I’ll be in touch.”
“I’ll be here.”
With half an hour until her meeting, Cameron strolled across the street to the store. Walking through the front door, she felt like she’d traveled back in time as the sights and scents of the place filled her senses. Every square inch of space was in use. From barrels full to overflowing with peanuts still in their shells to Coca-Cola placards on the walls to antique household items sitting on thick wooden beams, it was almost too much to take in as she wandered down an aisle full of toys. She pressed the top of a jack-in-the-box and jumped back when the tightly sprung toy leaped out at her.
“May I help you find something?” a cheerful woman asked.
Cameron purposely didn’t look her way so she wouldn’t have to explain her injured face. “I’m just looking. Thanks.”
“Enjoy. I’ll be up front if you need any help.”
The toys gave way to rows of health and beauty items and a table that held bushel baskets of fragrant handmade soaps in a variety of colors and shapes. Cameron picked up a square of tan soap and breathed in the spicy scent before returning it to the basket. She took a sample of one of the lotions that bore a VERMONT MADE sticker and rubbed it into her hands, absorbing yet another appealing scent, this one lavender.
Shelves were filled with kitchen tools, baking pans, modern mixed in with practical, gadgets she’d never seen before and wouldn’t know what to do with, spices and cornmeal and pancake mixes in brown paper sacks with colorful VERMONT MADE labels. An entire wall was devoted to jugs of maple syrup, which apparently came in a staggering array of colors and grades. Cameron, who’d never been a fan of syrup, took a minute nonetheless to read the sign next to the display that gave a brief overview of the sugaring process that resulted in maple syrup.
She picked one of the jugs off the shelf, noted the Abbott label and realized the syrup came from Will’s brother’s sugaring facility. Which brother was that? She couldn’t recall. She’d have to write down all their names if she got the job.
On the back of the jug was a photo of a man who resembled Will in the face except he had a beard the same color as his long golden-brown hair. Despite the overabundance of facial hair, he had the same sexy, rugged appeal as his older brother. Our guarantee of the finest maple syrup you’ll find anywhere, or your money back.—Colton Abbott, Abbott Family Farms. Below Colton’s signature the words Sealed in accordance with Vermont laws were bolded. A gold foil sticker on the front of the jug said VERMONT FANCY GRADE. Whatever that meant.
Cameron was suddenly very curious about what that meant. She wanted to know how the syrup was made, what the different grades were about and what “Vermont Fancy Grade” was, too.
She returned the jug to the shelf and moved farther into the store. Smack in the middle of the building, a cast-iron potbelly woodstove cast a cozy glow over a wooden checkerboard. Two older men were bent over the board, engaged in a fierce battle of black versus red and didn’t pay her any notice.
Around another corner the pungent odor of cheese greeted her. A refrigerator case held every type and flavor of cheese imaginable, most bearing the VERMONT MADE label she was coming to recognize.
Another whole case was devoted to Vermont cheddar. A cheeseaholic through and through, Cameron would be taking some of that home with her.
She turned to head for the clothing area and nearly crashed into a red flannel-clad chest.
Will reached out to steady her and managed to save the coffee that jostled precariously between them.
“Oh, good save,” she said as he handed the cup back to her.
He took a long look at her battered face, but his expression never changed, scoring him a point or two in her book. Without the knit cap he’d worn the night before, she could see that his hair was the same honey color as Colton’s. He wore it on the longish side, and without the length to weigh it down it might’ve been curly. “You’re big on crashing into things, huh?”
“Only things that get in my way,” she retorted, annoyed to realize he was even more stunningly beautiful in the light of day than he’d been the night before.
Freshly shaven cheeks; full, sexy lips; golden-brown eyes and, judging from what she’d landed against, a rock-hard chest made entirely of muscle. And then he smiled and ruined everything. Oh. My. God. Cameron, who lived in a city full of extraordinarily good-looking men, had never seen one quite like him. Beautiful, sexy and rugged. Who knew that rugged was so appealing? Not her. Not before now anyway.
And then she remembered she looked hideous and was suddenly extremely self-conscious about her face. Her hand came up to cover her swollen upper lip.
Excerpted from "All You Need is Love"
Copyright © 2014 Marie Force.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
What People are Saying About This
Praise for the McCarthys of Gansett Island series:
“With the McCarthy’s of Gansett Island, Marie Force makes you believe in the power of true love and happily ever after. Over and over again.” —Carly Phillips, New York Times Bestselling Author
“This is one sexy story…Hang out with Evan and Grace and you'll want to stay on Gansett Island, too!”—USA Today
“This is another beautifully written love story. It draws you in and stays with you after you are done reading.”—Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
“Marie Force…is quickly becoming one of my Favorite Romance Series Writers.”—Lissa’s Book Reviews
“As always, Force's writing is wonderfully entertaining…. Marie Force hits a home run with Season for Love and her entire Gansett Island series.”—Ravishing Romances
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Marie's books are an addiction! It's the kind of addiction that doesn't let you go to sleep until you finish the next chapter and the next, etc. The kind of addiction that makes you tell all your friends your skipping the lunchroom at work today because you're meeting a friend, when in actually you want to spend your lunch hour hiding in your car so you can read your book. It's the kind of addiction, that even if you are on a strict budget, you will allow yourself this one indulgence! Marie's books are magic and make you believe in all that's good! They are fun and sexy and take your breath away. They are about love; love for your mate, love for your family, love for your friends, love for the place where you were born and that things that shaped you! I cannot say enough good things about Marie and her books! I have read them all and can say without hesitation that if were to invest in a writer, she would be the one! I hope you will buy this book, read this book and the discover all her other books because they make life just so much better!
Great book from an author who does a really good job of making you fall in love with the characters in Butler, Vermont. You will lve Will and Cameron's story and enjoy watching their love develop. Marie Force has quickly become one of my favorite authors whether on Gansett Island or now Vermont.
Thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this new series! The Abbott's are as entertaining as the McCarthy's and I can not wait until June for the next book to come out. Love all of Marie's books.
Great start to a new Marie Force series. It's witty, funny and just plain and simply fun! If you're new to Marie Force I encourage you to check out her Fatal series and her Gansett Island series with the McCarthy's. Absolutely great books. My favorite thus far has been the McCarthy's. But, I think the Abbotts and their mountain may have moved Marie Force to my number one and Marie Force to my number 2 and 3 favorite author series. She's that good. The synopsis tells you what you need to know about the story. You have to ready the book and start the journey with the Abbott family, all 10 siblings. You won't be able to put it down. Thank you for a new series, Marie, and I look forward to the journey for all 10 siblings.
So Marie got me hooked!! Cam and Will are the sweetest, cutest couple! I can't stop reading this series now!! What an amazing family. My sister read the first two books and had us taking a trip to Vermont to visit the country store!! Marie pulls you in and makes you want more!
Marie Force does is again! Weaving us in and around this beautiful family love story combinded with the the intensity of the love found between Cam and Will. Marie draws her readers to the happily ever after we all want in a way that we never want the story to end. Thankfully, this is just the beginning! One wonders who will befall the Fred effect next!!
Loved the new series! Marie Force just gets better all the time. Can't wait for book #2 and #3. Don't miss out on this hit! JR
I love all of Marie Force's books including this one. However I am getting tired of the descriptions, like the one above for this book saying the book has 368 when in fact it has only 285 pages, and that includes the advertisements on the last few pages. B & N can you explain the difference in the amount of pages in this situation?
Marie Force has done it again. I can't wait for hannah and nolan's story
Beautiful love story, great scenic descriptions, great love scenes. Beautiful love.
Love this book!
The most interesting character in this story is Fred, the town moose. I kept scrolling to see if anything interesting happens, like an avalanche. This is a standard romance with lots of soul searching and dithering about do I love him/her or don't I but not much else. I'll take a pass on the rest of the series.
LOVED THIS BOOK! GREAT STORY FULL OF HUMOR AND LOVE! NOW, ON TO BOOK 2.
Another great story by Marie force. I fell in love with the Abbott family. I can't wait to read the next book. and find out more about Green Mountain. 5 stars
Loved all the booksabout the McCarthy's, this is a great new series with just as interesting a family. Can't wait to read more!
Cameron and Will's story warmed my heart. And with nine sibling. So glad to read that this book by Marie Force is a part of a series.
I love Marie Force and this series is just as awesome as every other book she writes. Highly recommend this author.
Enjoyed getting to know the characters and how this family interacts with each other. Loved the advice Elmer bestowed on the youngsters!
Great story! Love this book. Will have you laughing out loud.
I cant put down any books wrote by Marie Force amazing author!!!! I cant wait to keep reading this series.