Road Signs

Road Signs

4.0 5
by MJ Fredrick

Had she misread the signs?

Briefly captivated by the idea of romance and pretty, shiny weddings, Willow Hawkins agreed to meet her potential boyfriend's family and quickly realized she'd made a mistake. Stranded in small-town Nowhere, Willow calls her best friend, Cameron Trask, for an escape.

Even though he'll miss an important job


Had she misread the signs?

Briefly captivated by the idea of romance and pretty, shiny weddings, Willow Hawkins agreed to meet her potential boyfriend's family and quickly realized she'd made a mistake. Stranded in small-town Nowhere, Willow calls her best friend, Cameron Trask, for an escape.

Even though he'll miss an important job interview, Cam comes to her rescue. When Willow starts to see Cam with new eyes, she wonders how she's never made the connection from best friend to best lover. Willow has one chance to help the man she loves—join him on a cross-country road trip to get to the interview on time. On the way they'll face a jealous puppy, an unreliable automobile and weather that threatens to trap them alone...together.

The biggest roadblock she'll come up against? If Cam gets his dream job, Willow may lose him for good.

49,100 words

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Carina Press
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"So, what do you think?" Patricia DiNorio folded her arms on the split-rail fence and turned her hopeful expression to Willow.

Willow Hawkins opened and closed her mouth a few times, not certain she had understood the woman correctly. "Jerry is going to live here?" She gestured to the three-story Victorian home in front of her. Would a son want to live right next door to his mother? Not any man she knew.

"You and Jerry," Patricia clarified. "Won't it be wonderful? We've already spoken to the bank and gotten preapproved for the loan. Wait until you see inside! There are a few things that need fixing, of course, in a house this old, but I'm sure Jerry can do a lot of the work himself." She must have seen the doubt in Willow's expression, because she added, "This is every girl's dream home."

Not hers. Not a Victorian monster with gingerbread trim. No, she liked sleek and modern, and if she was going to buy a house, she was going to pick it out herself, damn it.

"Just close your eyes," Mrs. DiNorio urged.

Willow did what she was told out of instinct more than any desire to humor the woman's delusions.

"Now, imagine yourself ten years down the road, your husband and children playing in the yard. Can't you see it?"

Ten years down the road. She did want a husband, and children, but the nameless, faceless man she imagined giving piggyback rides to a little blond boy or pushing a little blonde girl wasn't slender, pale Jerry. No, he was tall, and dark-haired, strong but gentle. Familiar somehow.

Willow felt herself shaking her head, and opened her eyes. She couldn't be certain if the woman was serious—after all, she'd only met her a few hours ago, when Willow and Jerry had arrived early for Thanksgiving. This could all be a big joke, right? Mrs. DiNorio had never even spoken to Willow until today. How could she presume to know her taste?

And for heaven's sake, though they worked together, Willow had only been on a few dates with Jerry, including one to her friend Judith's wedding. She admitted to being charmed by him, and maybe a little swept away by wedding fever after seeing how happy Judith was. But no way was she ready to buy a house with Jerry. She shouldn't even have come home with him for Thanksgiving, she realized now. Her best friend, Cam, had warned her visiting Jerry's family could be misconstrued. But she'd had no other options, with her mother in Vermont with her new boyfriend, and Cam's family off to Minnesota to celebrate with his very pregnant sister. Cam had stayed behind, but hadn't told her why. Nor had he suggested they do Thanksgiving on their own. At loose ends, she'd accepted Jerry's invitation and now his mother wanted to buy her a house. Was Jerry that hard up for dates?

She took a step back from Mrs. DiNorio's too-cheerful face, toward the DiNorio home. Jerry would talk some sense into his mother, no doubt. "You know, I think Jerry mentioned meeting up with some of his friends before dinner," she said. "I should get ready."

"Don't you want to see the inside of the house? I have the key." Mrs. DiNorio dangled it in front of her.

Meet the Author

MJ Fredrick knows about chasing dreams. Twelve years after she completed her first novel, she signed her first publishing contract. Now she divides her days between teaching fourth grade students how to write, and diving into her own writing—traveling everywhere in her mind, from Belize to Honduras to Africa to the past.

She's a four-time Golden Heart Award finalist, and she won the 2009 Eppie Award with Hot Shot. Her romantic suspense titles include Hot Shot, Breaking Daylight, Beneath the Surface and Don't Look Back. Her first book was a contemporary romance, Where There's Smoke.

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Road Signs 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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LASR_Reviews More than 1 year ago
For its sheer volume of sexual tension and wonderfully colorful descriptions alone, Road Signs is worth reading. Friends-to-lovers is always a tough row to hoe - best friends never want to screw things up and the fact that they're both still single proves that relationships don't always last. So, what's to make theirs any different? Cameron Trask is absolutely the most perfect man a person could want. Maybe he's not hugely into taking risks, and a little too conservative environmentally (he doesn't own a car, for instance, and won't accept his take-out in Styrofoam ever), but he's thoughtful, loving and incredibly selfless. Anyone but his best friend (and girl he's loved forever) Willow would jump at the chance to be with him. Willow is the product of being raised by a single mother who constantly looked for a man to take care of her. As a result, Willow's overly independent and a bit gun-shy about relationships. So, why she'd go to her newest beau's family's place for Thanksgiving when they'd only been dating a short time was a bit suspect. She blamed it on the romance of a wedding she'd attended, but I admit to being a little surprised by her actions. Still, the story hinged on them and really it wasn't that hard to suspend my belief. I enjoyed Ms. Fredrick's vivid characterizations and wonderfully detailed writing. In places, it might have been a little too detailed - for instance, I finally found a book with a dog I truly disliked and who had a strong character all her own - but it really plopped me right into the story. She finds the little things to describe and add to make the scenes as clear as though I were watching pictures on a screen instead of reading plain old black and white type. The tension she builds between our protagonists as the traveled cross country together, sharing hotel rooms and close quarters and becoming more and more aware of little frissions of attraction between them. I nearly broke a sweat waiting for that first kiss... but the wait was well worth it. This was a story that's just pure fun and romance. A story that makes you smile (when you don't want to smack the dog) and makes your heart beat a little faster every time the hero looks at the heroine. It has a solid plot, and a happy ending with a man who every woman should want to take home. A winner! Originally posted at The Long and Short of It Romance Reviews
Anonymous More than 1 year ago