When Love Chimes

When Love Chimes (Broken Valor #1) $1.99 Re-releases April 7th on retailers and April 12th on Amazon.  Available for pre-order

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When Love Chimes was inspired by Charles Dickens’ story The Chimes

He’s the right man at the wrong time with an unwanted Christmas proposal.

As if cocktail waitress and horse trainer Lynzie Mullins didn’t have enough problems, she discovers she’s pregnant just as her high school crush rides back into town in time for Christmas. He’s a constant reminder of the happily ever after she’d always dreamed of instead of the mess she’s in now.

Cowboy veteran Ryan Crawford reluctantly returns to Lucasville to help his grandfather sell his place. The town has changed and so has Lynzie—from an awkward teenager to an attractive young woman with a caring heart.

Despite his best efforts, Lynzie’s not interested in leaving Lucasville, so Ryan offers her what she wants—his heart. Unfortunately, that proves not to be enough. Now he has a decision to make. Give up his dream farm or his dream girl.

Excerpt from When Love Chimes (Broken Valor #1)

Chapter One

“I’m pregnant.” Lynzie Mullins stared at the word “yes” on the home pregnancy test-strip. Joy, fear, and anger collided inside her.

“Are you sure?” Her best friend, Coco Baker, grabbed the stick out of her hand. “Oh boy, that makes it pretty clear, but I’ve heard that you should get a real test done by a doctor. These aren’t always accurate.”

Lynzie took the stick back, still stunned. How could this have happened? Sure, she wanted children someday, but she’d like to have a husband first. Cocktail waitressing wasn’t the most lucrative profession, and the only horse farm in town was falling apart, so training horses was out.

“You aren’t going to tell him, are you?” Coco’s question pulled her back from her worried thoughts.

“Who?”

Coco rolled her eyes. “Andrew. Who else? Unless you’ve been sleeping with someone other than him. I thought you guys use protection.”

“We do.” But she’d stopped taking the pill because of the expense. Besides, Andrew could afford the really good condoms. She flopped down on the couch. Would Andrew help with child support? Would he insist on a DNA test? How much would that cost? Maybe he’d ask her to marry him.

Who was she kidding? He was nice and he liked getting into bed with her, but she knew he considered himself above her. He came from the new section of Lucasville.

They had fun together. It wasn’t as if they were in love and while she hadn’t slept with anyone while with him, she was pretty sure he had a few other women he saw on a regular basis. A perk of having money.

Coco sat down next to her. “What are you going to do?” Her friend’s eyes were honestly concerned. Coco had too soft a heart. She also had a weird ability to recognize people who were soulmates, though she never volunteered that information.

Maybe Lynzie should ask Coco if she and Andrew were soulmates, but she swore she’d never to do that. Everyone bothered Coco about that and as her best friend, she refused to do the same. Besides, she knew the answer already—no. “I don’t know. I just found out. I’m still reeling a bit.”

“A bit? If it was me, I think I’d faint.” Coco laid back over the arm of the couch with the back of her hand on her forehead.

Lynzie smiled. She appreciated her friend trying to cheer her up. “I think I’ll do what you said, go to a doctor. In the meantime, let’s keep this between us.”

Coco sat up and nodded. “Of course.”

They sat in silence a few minutes, Lynzie still staring at the word “yes.” It probably wasn’t going to magically change to a “no” just because she wanted it to. Sighing, she rose and threw it away.

Coco crossed and re-crossed her legs. She didn’t like silence very much. “Not to change the subject, but I’m guessing you won’t mind too much if I do. Did you hear that Ryan Crawford came back to town last night?”

Lynzie’s heart sped up at the very mention of her old high school crush. “No, I didn’t hear.”

Coco nodded. “According to Antony, Ryan has come back to help his grandpa sell his old horse farm. I haven’t seen him yet, but I hear he looks a lot different.”

Just great. “Why? Does he have a limp, burn scars, a big belly? He looked pretty good to me when we were in school.”

Coco laughed. “You were the only one who thought so. I think you mixed up his kindness with his looks. That boy was a nerd before they even had a term for it.”

She leaned on the counter separating her kitchenette from her living room. “He wasn’t that bad. He didn’t even wear glasses.”

“Well, from what I hear, he’s looking mighty fine now. I guess he went into the Army.”

“Really? Now how did you find out about that if he just came in last night?”

Coco winked. “I ran into Margot and she said Ryan called Antony about some part-time work at the Love Garage. Want to take a walk and see if we bump into him? You don’t have to work until later.”

She must be an idiot because she actually considered Coco’s idea. “No. I’m sure we’ll connect eventually.”

“Suit yourself.”

If she’d suited herself, she would have run away with Ryan when he first left town. At this point in her life, she wasn’t sure if she could handle meeting his wife and kids, if he had them. “Maybe I should—”

A knock at her door stopped her. She stood to answer it, and Coco put her finger to her lips. If it was Andrew, she’d keep the baby stuff to herself…until she’d had a doctor’s visit.

She opened the door. “Hello?”

A man with dark hair and a white cowboy hat stood there filling out his blue t-shirt to its max, the outline of his pectorals clear as day. Her entire body took notice.

He smiled, his white teeth gleaming against his tan skin. “Hi, Lynzie.”

Huh? A customer from the bar maybe? She would have never missed such a hot hunk of a man. “I’m sorry, do I know you?”

“I hope so, it’s me. Ryan Crawford.”

She opened her mouth, but nothing came out. She couldn’t stop herself from cataloging everything about him from his very short haircut, to his bulging biceps to the breadth of his chest. “Ryan Crawford?”

He grinned. “Yeah, I’ve been getting a lot of that today.”

 

Romance inspired by the classics