Return to Welcome, Book 1
by Bonnie Edwards
by Bonnie Edwards
Seriously? Return to Welcome? She’d rather chew rusty nails…
Mercy Talbot left Welcome on a high—a golden-girl beauty queen who stepped confidently into a bright, exciting future. But that was a long time ago and that girl is far, far, away. She’s failed in her career, failed in love, failed her family—and she’s dead broke.
All Mercy wants is to forget her failures and move forward into a new life with a fresh set of dreams—and get out of Welcome before it sucks her back in for good. But one look at her precocious niece who desperately needs her sends Mercy on a journey into her past that will change everyone’s future.
Clay Foster used to be Welcome’s bad boy, but marriage and his daughter Dilly have transformed him into a devoted father. Widowed now and struggling to be the daddy his child needs, Clay fights his sudden and unexpected attraction to Mercy. But, tempted as he is, Clay can’t afford to be taken in by a golden girl. Beautiful, talented women like Mercy always have an exit strategy and when her career beckons, Clay knows she’ll leave him and Dilly flat. His daughter has already lost her mother and he won’t put his little girl’s heart on the line.
When Mercy learns her tattered dreams and dead career have been reborn, will she leave the man and child who need her? Will Clay believe in their future and accept that Mercy has found there’s no place like home?
“Did you hear your sister-in-law’s back in town?”
Clay Foster’s receptionist watched for his reaction from her seat across the front counter of his veterinarian clinic.
This was his dead wife’s sister’s first trip home in two years. “She must have blown in for a quick visit.”
“Pfft, so much for making it big,” Sybil commented with a glance at her computer screen.
“Out with it, Sybil. You look too delighted for this to be anything but juicy gossip.” Mercy was a Hollywood success story. Everyone knew it.
Sybil crossed her arms and leaned forward. “She came home with boxes. Lots of boxes.” Sybil’s husband, Bud, worked at the bus depot and shared all the comings and goings of Welcome’s population.
Clay leaned in to glean every nuance of meaning from Sybil’s face. “Out with it,” he repeated.
She licked her lips as if each morsel of gossip was filet mignon. “When Bud asked if he could call her a cab, she said no, she couldn’t afford it.” She hefted a disbelieving sigh and muttered, “Of all the nonsense. So”—she stretched out the word because Sybil loved telling a good story—“Bud called Nate, who showed up half an hour later. Nate didn’t say a word, which, of course, is just like him, and tossed all the boxes into his pickup. Mercy didn’t explain a thing, just looked miserable, Bud said.”
He nodded, at a loss. It still came as a surprise that he was related, if only by marriage, to Mercy Talbot. Welcome High’s golden girl: the blond, beautiful, leggy, and untouchable Mercy Talbot. The Talbot daughter who’d made a real success of her life, unlike the one who’d ruined her life by marrying him, the town hell raiser.
“That Mercy is a real glamour girl. Dilly’s gonna love her. All that prettiness and sunshine wrapped up in one girl.” Sybil sighed as if just knowing Mercy Talbot had somehow blessed her.
At the mention of his daughter, Dilly, Clay frowned. “Mercy won’t be here long,” he said. “Dilly won’t get attached.” Women like Mercy always had an exit strategy and somewhere more important to be.
Mercy Talbot had been as angelically perfect as his wife, Janna, had been hell-bent on personal destruction. Two sisters: impossibly different, forever at odds. He used to wonder if Janna’s darkness was in counterpoint to Mercy’s bright flare. But none of that mattered anymore.
It was Dilly who mattered.
“What child wouldn’t get attached to a beautiful actress?”
A pulse pounded in his temple. He dreaded seeing Dilly’s eyes light up when Mercy played the caring auntie. But she’d barely held Dilly as a baby. He doubted she’d show any interest now.
“I have nothing to worry about,” he told Sybil.
“Still, makes you wonder why she’s back in town.”
Multi-published author Bonnie Edwards lives with her husband and pets on the rainy coast of British Columbia. Her earthy, irreverent, love stories sometimes have a paranormal twist, likes curses and ghosts, other times not. But her books always entertain and guarantee a happy ending.
With four ongoing romance series (Tales of Perdition, The Brantons and The Christmas Collection) and contemporary family novels in her newest series, Return to Welcome, she rarely spends a day without writing. She has written novels, novellas and short stories for Kensington Books, Harlequin Books, Carina Press, and Robinson (UK) although now she publishes her work herself. Look for more exciting releases throughout 2018…
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