Her Hometown Hero (Love Inspired Series)

Her Hometown Hero (Love Inspired Series)

by Margaret Daley

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Overview

Her Hometown Hero (Love Inspired Series) by Margaret Daley

Home to a Cowboy 

In a split second, a tragic accident ends Kathleen Somers's ballet career. Her dreams shattered, she returns home to the Soaring S ranch…and her first love. Suddenly the local veterinarian, Dr. Nate Sterling, goes from her ex to her champion. With the help of a lively poodle therapy dog, the cowboy vet sets out to challenge Kathleen's strength and heal her heart. He'll show her there's life beyond dance, even if it means she leaves town again. But maybe, just maybe, he'll convince her there's only one thing in life worth having…and he's standing right in front of her. 

Caring Canines: Loving and loyal, these dogs mend hearts.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781460339237
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 09/01/2014
Series: Caring Canines
Sold by: HARLEQUIN
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 198,593
File size: 281 KB

About the Author

Margaret Daley, an award-winning author of eighty-three books, has been married for over forty years and is a firm believer in romance and love. When she isn’t traveling, she’s writing love stories, often with a suspense thread, and corralling her three cats that think they rule her household. To find out more about Margaret visit her website at http://www.margaretdaley.com.

Read an Excerpt

Coming home should be filled with joy, but Kathleen Somers felt nothing. Numb, she was beyond caring where she lived so long as she could be by herself. She stared unseeing out the window of her older brother's Ford F-150 as Howard turned into the family ranch outside of Cimarron City, Oklahoma. Green pastures were scattered with cattle grazing peacefully, their world not rocked like hers. To my very foundation, whispered through her thoughts.

In New York she'd been following her dream to become a principal ballerina in a major ballet company. She'd been close—a step away until she was hit by a car crossing the street on her way to the dress rehearsal for her big chance. As she remembered, her heartbeat slowed to a painful throb.

The motion of the Ford came to a halt. "We're home, Kit," her brother's deep gravelly voice pierced through the emotions deluging her. "Beth hoped you would join us for an early dinner before going to the cabin."

Kathleen slowly opened her eyes, not used to hearing her old nickname. In New York she was Kathleen, and it seemed to fit a ballerina who was on the rise in the dance world. She turned her head toward Howard. "I'd rather settle in first."

"That's fine. We can hold dinner. Give you the time you need."

"I don't think—"

"I know you're hurting, but Beth has gone to a lot of trouble to make one of your favorite foods, and the kids are excited to see you again." His eyes softened on her face. "Please."

"I don't want any special treatment. I'm tired…" Her voice trailed off into the silence when she took in her brother's worried expression. "I'm going to be all right." If I say it enough, maybe it will happen.

"Don't forget I've known you ever since you were born twenty-six years ago. I know all your moods and probably what you're thinking right now."

Why had she decided to come home to the Soaring S Ranch? She should have known Howard would do this. Demand she become part of the family when all she wanted to do was hide and mourn the loss of the lower part of her leg—not to mention her career and her dreams. "Fine. I'll come for a little while, but I really am tired and want to go to bed early. I'll come up to the house after I freshen up."

"Promise?" Determination mixed with the concern in Howard's gray eyes.

She knew that look. He would get his way somehow. Anger seeped into the numbness. "I said I would."

He grinned, purposefully ignoring the frown on her face. "Good."

After restarting the truck, he backed away from the house and continued on the road toward the black barn. Kathleen's gaze latched on to a new shiny red pickup parked by the paddock on the right side.

"Did Bud finally get a new pickup?" Howard's foreman had needed a new truck for years, but somehow this vehicle didn't seem his style.

"Nah, he's still set in his ways and refuses to get a new truck. That's the vet's. He's here checking on Cinnamon."

She looked toward Howard. "What's wrong with my horse?"

"Colic."

"Is it serious?"

"I'll know after he checks her out."

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"Because I wanted to get the diagnosis first. But for what it's worth, I don't think she's in extreme pain." Howard steered around the curve in the road.

That was when she saw the cabin. It stood a hundred feet away on the opposite side of the road from the barn, nestled among a yardful of flowers in bloom that her grandmother had loved to tend to. Childhood memories flooded her of spending time at the two-bedroom log cabin with her grandparents. She remembered helping Granny plant her garden out back every year, then picking the vegetables at the right time, often eating a few before taking them inside for her grandmother. The house had been empty since Granny died three years ago, not long after her grandpa had passed away and her mother had remarried and moved to Arizona.

She pushed away that sad memory of losing her grandmother and concentrated on the riot of different colored roses along the front of the cabin. Red, yellow and pink ones swayed in the breeze as though waving a welcome. "You all must be having a warm spring. The roses are blooming early. I didn't usually see them this full-blown until the end of May."

"Yes, which probably means a hot summer." Howard pulled up to the cabin and switched the engine off.

"It wouldn't be Oklahoma without a hot summer." Kathleen pushed open the truck door and started to exit.

"Hold it. I'll help you down."

She swiveled around. "No. I can do this. I'm not an invalid." She hated that word and was determined to take care of herself.

Her brother's face tensed. "I didn't say that. It's a big step, you're petite and you said yourself that you're still getting used to your artificial leg."

She didn't respond to him, but instead scooted to the edge and put her good leg on the running board, then eased out of the cab to the ground, clutching the door for support. As she made her way toward the porch steps, Howard hovered nearby, one of her suitcases in his hand. Being tall and lanky, he had to slow his normally fast pace.

She glanced at the two rocking chairs with a white wicker table between them to the right. To the left was the porch swing. Many evenings she used to sit with Granny and talk about her day. She'd tell her any problems she had, and her grandmother would give her advice or her opinion. Over the years Kathleen had grown to realize Granny was a very wise woman. She had also been full of faith—a faith Kathleen was no longer certain she shared. Where was the Lord now when she needed Him the most?

Nothing is impossible for the Lord. Granny's words taunted her when contrasted with the impossibility of Kathleen being able to dance again.

Howard opened the front door, a wooden one carved by her grandfather not long before he passed away. Kathleen moved inside, her fingers tracing the grooves in the piece of oak that formed a picture of horses grazing in a pasture. A work of art to match the carving of the rearing stallion in front of the main house.

A few feet inside, she paused and scanned the familiar surroundings. A warm chocolate-brown leather couch and two lounge chairs were grouped around a wood-and-glass coffee table on the right side of the cabin. To the left was a full kitchen separated from the dining area by a counter with four stools. On its beige ceramic countertop sat a bouquet of fresh flowers.

"I see Beth has been here." Kathleen took a deep breath of the fresh air laced with the scents of apples and cinnamon as if her grandmother had just removed one of her special pies from the oven and was letting it cool on the stove top.

"She wanted to make sure everything was clean for your return."

"I don't want you all to go to any trouble for me. I can take care of myself."

"I know that. We would have done the same thing for anyone staying here after it has been closed up for three years."

"Who tends to the gardens out front?"

"Bud. Granny was like a second mother to him. He knows how much the gardens meant to her." Howard placed the suitcase on the floor. "I'll bring in the rest of your luggage. Are you having things from your apartment shipped here?"

"No." She kept her back to him as she walked toward the hallway that led to the two bedrooms and bath. "I sublet my apartment furnished, and then sold or gave away everything else except what is in my three suitcases."

"Kit—"

She stopped and glanced back at her brother. "Don't say it. I don't need any reminders of my life in New York."

"But you kept your apartment."

"As an investment for the time being."

"Are you sure that's the only reason?"

"Yes." She frowned. "What else could it be?"

"Not moving on. You're keeping that tie to New York."

She lifted her chin. "Because I might go back one day? I might…" What? Return to her career? Emotions crammed her throat, and she couldn't continue.

Sorrow in his eyes, Howard took a step toward her.

She held up her hand to stop him, shaking her head. If he hugged her at this moment, she would fall apart.

He respected her request, but still said, "I'm here for you," before he pivoted and left the cabin.

She'd hurt his feeling by not letting him comfort her, but she couldn't deal with it at the moment. This was all so hard on her. Leaving the life she'd had in New York. Getting on the plane this morning. Landing here. Coming to the ranch, the place where her dream had begun.

With a deep sigh, Kathleen continued her trek to the bedroom she used to use when she slept over at Granny's. That was the one she would continue to use now, although the other room was a lot bigger. Pausing in the doorway, she took in the double-size brass bed with one end table and lamp beside it. The only other pieces of furniture were a six-drawer dresser and a Queen Anne chair of rose brocade that blended with the flowered coverlet on the bed.

Home. She suddenly felt more at home here than she had in the six years she'd lived in New York City. The feeling took her by surprise.

"Where do you want me to put these?" Howard asked behind her in the hallway.

"In here."

"Why not the larger bedroom?"

"That will always be Papa Keith and Granny's room to me. This is mine." She ignored the ache in her leg and crossed to the bed to hoist the piece of luggage she carried. "When do you need me at the main house?"

"Will an hour be long enough?"

She nodded and opened her first suitcase. Whenever she traveled, she always liked to put her clothes and belongings away before doing whatever else she had to do. It gave her a settled feeling and right now she needed that.

"See you then. Carrie and Jacob are excited about you being here. Coming home at Christmas just isn't enough for them, especially Carrie. You know that she wants to be you one day."

Not anymore if she knew what happened to her. Carrie's budding love of dance, much like hers at an early age, had been a bond between them even from a distance. The loss of the connection from their shared dreams was just one more thing the accident had taken away from her.

She opened her mouth to say something to her brother, but he was already gone. Her shoulders sagging, she sank onto the bed to rest a moment.

She loved her niece and nephew, but she wasn't sure about seeing them and answering all the questions they most likely would pepper her with. They were curious and would want to know everything about what happened four months ago. They knew she'd had an accident but from what Howard had said, it was clear that they didn't know she'd lost her leg. She would give them just enough information without a lot of detail or she would never be able to end the evening at a reasonable hour. She was thankful they would be going to school for at least a few more weeks. That would give her the time to decide if she wanted to stay or…

Or nothing. She was adrift, going wherever the current took her. No plans. No goals. So different from what she was used to, and what she needed in her life—a direction. She'd always had one—her dream to dance. The settlement from the insurance company of the man who had hit her allowed her to be financially solvent, and she was thankful for that, but the accident left a void she wasn't sure she could ever fill.

She blew a breath of air out through pursed lips, then set about emptying her suitcases. For the time being, she stored her luggage in the closet in the other bedroom. When she glanced at the clock on the oven, she was surprised she still had thirty minutes. She was tired and could lie down for fifteen minutes, but she was afraid she would go to sleep. Maybe she'd check on Cinnamon before heading for the main house. She hoped the vet was gone and no one was in the barn. Dr. Harris had been their vet for as long as she could remember, and she felt good that her quarter horse was in his capable hands. But that didn't mean she wanted to make conversation—with the doctor or with anyone else.

As Nate Sterling walked through the barn, he couldn't stop thinking of the glimpse he'd gotten of Kit entering the cabin thirty minutes ago. Beth had told him she was coming to stay for a while, but it had still been jarring to see her. Kit's sister-in-law had mentioned Kit had been injured and was recuperating here. He couldn't see her staying long. Her life was in New York. He'd discovered that the painful way when Kit chose to pursue her career over marrying him. His love hadn't been enough.

Reaching the doorway of the barn, he looked over to the cabin's porch. He hadn't seen her in years and yet physically she hadn't changed. Her reddish brown hair was still long and pulled back in a ponytail, her favorite way to wear it unless she was dancing, then it was in a bun. He loved it when she let it down loose, a mass of curls about her face and shoulders. The memory of running his fingers through the thick strands made him clench his hand. He shoved the memory away.

But another image flooded him. Kit the last time he saw her, with excitement on her face from the news she'd received about being accepted into a New York ballet company. Her large, expressive blue eyes, fringed in long dark lashes, lit with a look he'd wished had been for him. That was when he knew even if he'd transferred to New York for college, it wouldn't work.

"How's Cinnamon?" a gruff voice asked behind Nate.

He tore his gaze away from the cabin and swung around to face Bud, the ranch's foreman. "She should recover fine. I see Kit arrived."

"Yeah, Howard and Beth have been working for days on the cabin to get it ready." Bud's sharp regard studied Nate.

Bud had come upon Nate not long after he and Kit had parted all those years ago at Christmas. Nate had ridden back to this barn while Kit had stayed up on the rise that overlooked the ranch. The older man had taken one look at Nate's face and immediately asked if everything was all right.

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Her Hometown Hero 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Janine_S More than 1 year ago
“Her Hometown Hero” by Margaret Daley is the third book in her 'Caring Canines' but never fear this is a fantastic stand alone book. Sure there are connections to the prior two books but not to the point where one feels left out, for it was more as if the prior characters are just minor characters in the book. This is a story that is a wonderful story that shows regardless what happens in life, with the three “F's” (faith, family and friends) nothing is impossible. What Kathleen goes through after the accident that ends her career is something that is not easy and her struggles are so understandable and realistic. My heart went out to Kathleen because in some ways I understand what she was going through while other times her emotions are written so well that I couldn't help but empathize with her completely. Kathleen went through a lot of changes throughout the story and what changes they are. I thought that with the way Kathleen's journey is written that it was hard not to shout with her when her dreams all came true. Nate is a man who is willing to help out who he can, even someone who hurt him in the past. His heart is there for all to be seen, or at least for the reader to see, and though it is understandable some of his reactions. I was happy to see that past didn't seem to have a huge hold over him like some might have for this showed his truly caring side. I truly found this story of overcoming adversity truly outstanding. This was not a simple story either but one of struggle and learning to adjust that adversity. I found that it was that overcoming of adversity that really made this story so outstanding, though I know that it is not the same for everyone. Some take longer to get to certain points while other can move through the stages a bit quicker, but no matter what we all can do anything we put our minds to it with plenty of support. I don't feel as if I am giving away the ending of the book after all this is a fictional book, so of course there is going to be a positive ending. The romance itself was done in such a way that it was sweet and tender, to where it almost seemed as if it crept up on everyone. The romance was not really part of the conflict for there was enough conflict with the adversity that I mentioned above, which made it kind of nice. This story is truly a wonderful story that I hope all who read this story enjoys it as much I did. A story full of so many emotions that I found myself crying and laughing, sighing and rolling my eyes, and everything in between. It is really worth the read.
LizD1 More than 1 year ago
Her Hometown Hero ( love Inspired \ Caring Canines ) By: Margaret Daley This is a wonderful Inspiration Romance by Margaret Daley. She did an awesome job in the story of Kathleen (Kit) Somers. I had no trouble following the story or the characters. I found myself in tears for Kathleen. I felt so sorry for her. Ballet was Kathleen's life since she was a small girl. She chose ballet as a career over her ex-boyfriend Nate Sterling. Kathleen's ballet career came to a tragic halt when she crossed the street and met with an accident. While back at the soaring S ranch with family to try and heal kit finds herself again with Nate, now Veterinarian, Dr. Nate Sterling. He lost his heart to Kit once when she chose ballet over him. He can't get close to Kit and have the same thing happen again. The cowboy Vet just wants to kelp Kit's heart to heal. Ballet was first in Kit's life, could he show her there is life other than ballet. kathleen's heart is broken, can it ever be healed again after her whole world has been crushed.. There is this little lively poodle therapy dog, Lexie, that I just wanted to pick up and give a great big hug. You will love her too. this is a sweet clean romance, broken hearts, trusting God and healing. I loved Kit and Nate's story and I know you will too. I was given a copy of this book by the author for my honest review, and I have given it.
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
Her Hometown Hero is such a touching and heartwarming read. I thought the story to be inspiring, unique, and emotional. I loved how Kit's doggie companion played a role in the book. I think this was a really great read. I loved it. 5 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't think it was as good as the first two books in the series--at least not at first. But by the end of the book, you hate to see it end. But I really didn't see what the difference was between a therapy dog and a regular pet in this book. In her earlier books in the series, the author would show us how a therapy dog can help those suffering from PTSD or visit patients in the hospital or nursing homes to help cheer up patients and improve morale, in this book, there wasn't much demonstration of how the dog helped their person other than just being a companion like most pets are. I guess I was just hoping to see more of what I had come to expect in earlier books. Other than that, it was a nice book. I didn't like Kit at first, but after the first couple of chapters, I finally grew to like her and understand her better. Like I said earlier, this wasn't one of Daley's better stories, but it was a nice book. It was nice to be reunited with characters fron her earlier books and see how their lives have progressed
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amigagal More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this latest book from Margaret in her Caring Canine series. You can see from the cover that the dog is adorable and the setting is a ranch! Kit (or Kathleen) has wanted to be a ballerina her whole life, even though she grew up on a ranch. She is finally at that level, living in New York City when she is hit by a car and her injuries have devastating consequences. She has to give up her life-long dreams and comes home to the ranch, where her brother's family lives but she feel like she's a burden. She is shocked to discover the new vet in town is her former boyfriend who was never going to make their hometown HIS hometown. Nate doesn't think Kit is going to stick around because she never wanted to live in this small town anyway so he's not going to let him heart get broken again! He wants to help her get over the shock of losing her dream but that's it! Then, she'll move on, like he knows she will. One of the reasons I liked this story so much is the realism. The characters and the emotions were portrayed in a realistic manner, as they would happen in real life! Kit was discouraged, disappointed, angry and felt burdened. Anyone in her position would feel the same. I don't want to give away the reason she feels as she does but she feels like she can't be the person or the woman that Nate needs anymore. When she gets a therapy dog, it helps her immensely in a way that therapy dogs do! So many things that happen in this book are what could happen in real life. I enjoyed it very much and would recommend it highly!
poodlelover More than 1 year ago
Her Hometown Hero from the Caring Canines Series by Margaret Daley is a heartwarming, inspirational romance with a sweet, white poodle named Lexie, who is a loving, loyal therapy dog, and she stole my heart! Kathleen (Kit) Somers’ ballet career comes to an abrupt, unplanned end after a tragic accident, and she comes home to the Soaring S Ranch to mend shutting herself off from her family and a former teenage love, local veterinarian, Dr. Nate Sterling. As Kit adjusts to her new circumstances as an amputee, her family and Nate work hard to encourage her. Kit wants nothing to do with their help instead feeling sorry for herself. As Kit works through new emotions, will she shut everyone out including Nate, who is protecting his heart? He’s been hurt by Kit once and will not allow himself to get involved with Kit again, but is Nate content to be just a friend? As with all of the books I’ve read by Margaret Daley, this is a quick read because you can’t put it down. I highly recommend this series especially for dog lovers! I was given a copy of this book by the author for my honest review and I have given it.
BrittanyMc More than 1 year ago
Her Hometown Hero is the third book in the Caring Canines series, however, it can be read as a stand alone book. I really enjoyed this sweet story that revolves around two people who were once in love. Nate is pretty much the ultimate leading man. He is strong, caring, and sensitive to Kit’s needs. He is amazingly patient, but is also trying to guard his heart. Kit left him once before, choosing a career in ballet over a life with him. Kit is a woman trying to find her way. She doesn’t know what she is going to do with her life now that the career in ballet she worked so hard for is no longer an option. She does not even know what she is capable of or if she wants to remain in the hometown she has returned to. She once loved Nate. Can she allow herself to love him again? Great characters and a wonderful plot make for a very enjoyable story. Nate and Kit must really question what God has planned for them and what He wants for their lives. They must each let go of their fears and learn to trust in Him. Great story! My thanks to the author, who provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.
lindyLW More than 1 year ago
Kit has a tragic accident and comes home to her home town, Margaret, does such a great job with the story and Kit`s feelings. It is a heart warming story and you feel like you are a friend who is going threw this with her. An old boyfriend gets her a therapy dog and I would love to have it it is so sweet and just what she needs. It is a very well written book, I`m sure you will enjoy