After escaping an abusive ex-husband, Jenny Clark focuses on making ends meet from one day to the next. Then she meets her new apartment building manager, and the passion in his kisses dare her to believe she could have a second chance at love.
At a crossroads in his life, Grant Walker returns from New York to manage his apartment building in Redemption. He didn't expect to meet the woman of his dreams and find everything he never knew he wanted in small town Wisconsin.
But someone doesn't want either of them to be happy, and even as menacing acts of vandalism pull Jenny and Grant closer together, a harbored secret could destroy all hope of their happily ever after.
He was just thinking about checking out Memorial Day sales to purchase a car or truck when the ring of his cell phone interrupted his thoughts. A glance at the caller ID didn't list a name or number, but he answered anyway while opening the car door. "Walker."
"Yes, it is." The female voice sounded vaguely familiar, but his memory had no success matching it with a name.
"Any relation to Frank Walker?"
"He's my uncle." Grant quickly checked the caller ID again as his stomach bottomed out. "Are you calling from the hospital? Is he okay?"
"No. I mean, no I'm not from the hospital," the woman quickly clarified, sounding flustered. "I live at Wayside Apartments, and I'm calling because I'd really like to send him a card. Do you mind giving me the name of the hospital he's at?"
That's why she sounds familiar. She must be the girl who woke me up this morning.
"How'd you get this number?"
"It's listed as a back-up contact in my apartment's welcome packet."
He'd been too tired and crabby to notice this morning, but now he found himself thinking she had a nice voice. Closing his eyes, he leaned on the open car door and tried to recall details of the rest of her. Hair in a ponytail. Shorter, maybe five-five. Casually dressed.
Brown eyes or blue? That fact remained unclear in his memory.
"Mr. Walker, are you still there?"
"Yes." He opened his eyes again and slid behind the steering wheel of the rental.
"Do you have the name of the hospital your uncle is at?"
"Yes, sorry. He's at Saint Elizabeth's in Manhattan."
"Thank you. And I'm glad to hear he's going to be okay. He's a very nice man."
"May I ask your name?"
"Jenny A--Clark. Jenny Clark. I live in apartment two-thirteen."
Second floor studio above Uncle Frank's--well, his apartment now. He remembered that from the renovation blueprints.
"Can I ask you something else?" Her voice held a note of hesitation that reminded him of her timid personality earlier.
"Go ahead," he encouraged.
"The new guy you hired to replace Frank..."
Grant smiled, wondering where the question would lead. When the silence dragged, he prompted, "Yes?"
"Um...I'm just wondering about his references. Did he...um...check out okay?"
Not what he was expecting. A little jab of indignation had him straightening in the seat. "Do you think I'd have hired him if he hadn't?"
"No," she said quickly. "I didn't mean to question your decision, I--"
"And yet you did. But let me assure you, Ms. Clark, he's perfectly reliable and trustworthy."
What the hell? He was talking about himself!
"I apologize," Jenny said, her voice soft.
Before he could tell her the new guy and himself were one and the same, he heard an indrawn breath, muttering he couldn't make out, and then clear words in a stiff, formal tone.
"Actually, no I don't. I had every right to ask about the man's references. He's rude, by the way. But thank you for answering me, thank you for the hospital name, and good bye."
Grant's automatic, "Good bye," floated in dead air. If he wasn't a morning person, apparently she wasn't an afternoon person.
"He's rude, by the way."
Things would definitely be interesting next time they met.
If you enjoy the Welcome To Redemption series, check out Stacey's USA Today bestselling, award-winning ROMANCING WISCONSIN series as well. Books 1-6 are available now.