Read an Excerpt
The Bride Wore Blue Jeans
By Marie Ferrarella
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
Copyright © 2003
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
He missed them.
Kevin Quintano carefully placed the framed eight-by-ten photograph he'd been looking at for the past ten minutes back
on his coffee table and sighed. He could almost hear the laughter in that photograph, taken at Jimmy's graduation from
medical school. It was of the four of them. Alison, Lily, Jimmy and him.
He truly missed them.
Missed the sound of their voices, missed the good-natured bickering between his younger siblings that he'd once thought
would send him up a wall. Missed life the way it used to be.
There were times when the silence became overwhelming. To get away from it, he'd turned on a radio or a television set
in every room of the house, just to hear people talking, just to see images.
But the silence wasn't the worst of it. The loneliness was.
You'd think now, at thirty-seven, with no debts and more money than he knew what to do with, for the very first time in
his life he'd kick back and enjoy himself.
"Damn, Kevin, you can live the high life now," Nathan had said enviously at his recent farewell party. The big,
strapping black man and the other cab drivers who used to work for him had come together and thrown a party just for
Trouble was, Kevin mused, moving into the kitchen to prepare a lunch he had no desire to eat, he had neither wanted the
high life, nor known what to do with it should he ever wind up stumbling across it.
What he wanted was the busy life. The life that barely gave him enough time to draw two breaths together in succession.
Kevin stared into the refrigerator. It was nearly empty. He'd forgotten to go grocery shopping. Again. Lily used to
take care of that for him because he was always too busy to do it himself.
That's the way it had been ever since he'd turned seventeen and, through some creative doctoring of his birth
certificate, had gotten himself placed in charge of his orphaned brother and sisters. Overnight he'd become both mother
and father to three kids without the comforting benefit of having a spouse or ever having procreated.
And now, he thought, he was experiencing the empty-nest syndrome under the same set of circumstances.
That was probably why, in a moment of weakness - because Nathan and Joe had talked him into thinking that perhaps a
huge change might shake him out of his doldrums - he'd sold his taxicab service. The very same service that had seen
his fledgling family through the hard times. The same service that had allowed him to put food on the table and take
out a loan so that Jimmy could go to medical school and graduate as something more than a pauper with an incredible
debt to repay.
It was Kevin who had shouldered the debt. And he who'd been so damn proud of his brother at graduation.
In its time, the taxicab service had also allowed him to put Alison, the baby of the family, through nursing school and
to set Lily up in her very first restaurant when they'd all decided that she had an incredible gift for creating meals
but no capacity for taking orders.
And where had all that loan-incurring finally gotten him?
Alone, that's where.
Alone while the rest of them, the three people who mattered most in his life, had gone off, one by one, to live in
Alaska, in some godforsaken place aptly labeled Hades.
Wandering back into the living room, Kevin dropped down into the sofa and stared blankly at a woman trying vainly to
escape a horde of rampaging twelve-foot spiders. Midday programs were hellish, too.
That was where he felt he was right now. In hell. And he'd discovered something these past few weeks. It wasn't fire
and brimstone that created a hell, it was bare-bones loneliness. Loneliness comprised of slick, glasslike walls that
sent him sliding back to the ground no matter how quickly he tried to scale them.
He knew he should be proud of his siblings and the selflessness they'd exhibited to varying degrees. Alison had gone
first, because Hades needed a nurse and she needed to get certified as a nurse-practitioner by putting time in a place
Only problem was, she'd put in her heart as well and so had remained.
When Jimmy had gone to visit her, he'd lost his heart as well. Not to the region, but to April Yearling, the
granddaughter of Hades's postmistress. Hades and the surrounding region badly needed another doctor and Jimmy had found
his true calling.
Lily's broken engagement had brought her to the same place to recover, Alaska being the only place that could withstand
the heat of her anger without frying to a crisp. Intending to stay only two weeks, Lily found solace for her wounded
pride and chipped heart with Hades sheriff, Max Yearling, who just happened to be April's brother.
It was as if the Fates were conspiring to bring his family to a place that spent six months of
every year in a deep freeze, cut off from civilization except by air travel.
Excerpted from The Bride Wore Blue Jeans
by Marie Ferrarella
Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd..
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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