If you enjoy novels featuring strong women, this is a book you are sure to enjoy!
Winnie is content in her role as the reining matriarch of Smithville, but when a letter arrives from a long-lost friend, memories draw her back to 1968. Those were turbulent but exciting days, her college days; a time filled with people and events she hasn’t allowed herself to recall.
Tara appreciates Winnie’s help with little Bella, she could never manage motherhood and running her Inn without help. Even though she’s preoccupied and busy she’s noticed a difference in her husband, Justin. He’s up to something and her gut tells her there’s more to it than just busy schedules. Not one to sit still, she’s determined to find out what is going on.
Join in the fun as Smithville’s leading ladies unite in this charming, must-read novel filled with love; past, present, and future.
Book trailer: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zKihRBjmJxU
Justin put Bella in her chair and scooted her up to the table, then scooped a spoonful of stew into her plastic bowl. “I told you I didn’t think asking Winnie to watch Bella was a good idea. She’s getting old, and I worry about her.”
Tara pulled a face. “Nothing I do is a good idea anymore. Besides, she isn’t as old as I thought.”
He paused, halfway through cutting meat chunks and tossed her a look. “What does that mean?”
“Which? Winnie being old or my bad ideas?”
“Never mind,” she muttered, scooping up stew for herself. This was just another typical evening. They’d disagree about everything though dinner, and then head off to bed.
She used to look forward to her time with Justin. He was funny and smart and very sexy. Maybe they’d always sparred and enjoyed the battle but… she glanced down. Unlike her, Justin didn’t have stretch marks or that last five pounds of baby weight that stubbornly refused to come off. Gravity hadn’t left his chest worse for wear after nursing a baby. He still looked as good as he had the day they met. Maybe even better.
“Drink!” Bella said, reaching for a cup.
As she filled the sippy cup, Tara wondered why every conversation with Justin turned into a fight. They’d always disagreed on most things, but that had somehow added spice to the relationship — another point of view, a challenge. Now their time together felt like a nonstop disagreement. Where had the spark gone? Was this what happened to marriages as they fell apart?
“That new project over in Waynesburg is a go,” Justin offered as he handed Bella her stew.
“That’s good news,” Tara said, willing to change the topic, but her heart wasn’t in it.
He looked up, eyeing her speculatively, watching her reaction. “Elliot is excited about the design; it’s the most progressive we’ve done.”
She must be overtired or hormonal or something, because she wanted to toss down her spoon and snap at him. He’d always been this way, preferring new and innovative projects. Why was it grating on her tonight? Justin’s desire to make everything modern had always been an issue between them, but she thought she’d learned to roll with it. Evidently not, because now she was angry. She’d suggested more than once that they rehab the old feed store for that project, but no, they had to come up with some fancy new thing and tear down all the historical buildings to make it happen. That was Justin, Mister Tear It Down and Start Over.
“Between the windmill and solar, it will make all its own…” his voice faded. “What?”
She shrugged and stuffed a spoonful of stew in her mouth.
He watched her chew, his expression darkening.
Silence settled over the table like a dark cloud. Bella belched and a grinned. “Scooze-ee,” she said, looking from one parent to the other for approval.
“Winnie suggested I hire a manager for the Inn today,” Tara blurted, then shoveled another bite in her mouth. Now she was adding inadequacy on top of anger. Perfect.
Justin’s spoon stopped halfway to his mouth. “Is that what you want to do?”
She chewed, lifting one shoulder in response. Her mouthful was all that kept her from blurting out how unhappy and frazzled she was. Why couldn’t he see that she was struggling? He always seemed to keep an even keel. Why did he have to be so damn calm?
His spoon lowered to his bowl, and his gaze wandered off into the distance. “You have been overworked, so that’s not a bad idea.”
Her brow puckered. Her lack of ability to run the Inn and handle Bella overcame her grumpiness, and she floundered. The whole thing made her feel like such a loser. She should be able to manage her career and a baby. She was a smart lady. A competent person. She just needed to try harder. She could do more, cope better.
“That’s not an insult, Tara,” he said, his eyes now back on her face. “We agreed before Bella was born that you’d manage the Inn as long as it didn’t interfere with being a mom. If we need to adjust now—”
“So how does that work?” She blurted. “I’m supposed to let some stranger waltz in here and manage the house that we live in?” She’d already given up managing the boutique and her real estate business. Now, she’d have to let the Inn and the spa go as well? Was it her lot in life to bust her butt building a business and then turn it over to someone else?
At one point in time, she’d been in charge of her career and her finances. She’d been successful. Now, she was doing well just to get through the day.
Justin frowned. “It is kind of weird that we live here, I’ll give you that.”
Bella’s spoon fell on the floor, splashing stew along with it. “Spoon!” she cried.
Tara handed Bella the spare spoon she’d brought to the table earlier. What exactly would this new manager person do? Tara liked greeting guests and welcoming them into her home. It made her feel better to have that connection with people who would be guests under her roof.
Would a manager handle the paperwork? True, she hated bookkeeping, but how would she know if they were on track financially if she didn’t see the flow of money?
A cleaning crew would be helpful, maybe she could deal with that. But they would have to use the same laundry room. Would that person be handling Justin’s underwear so they could put sheets in the dryer? He’d hate that!
“You seem tired and stressed,” Justin said, loading stew onto his spoon, “and Bella needs lots of attention.”
Tara watched dispassionately as he took another bite. It was so easy for him to calmly state her inadequacies. Now she felt like a solid failure as a mother as well. She knew Bella deserved a calm, happy mom. And Justin deserved a wife who wasn’t a moody, exhausted mess. “I’m a wreck,” she admitted.
“You do great, don’t say that,” he brushed off the comment. Then his thoughts wandered again. “We always figured we’d have our kids close together. Have you considered what will happen when we have another baby?”
Tara’s heart sank and lodged firmly in her stomach. Yes, of course she’d considered having another baby, but the thought of the morning sickness, the swollen figure, the fatigue…
Any time that she’d hoped to find with Justin, any connection they could have regained, would be completely lost. And if she couldn’t manage a career now, she’d certainly never be able to manage with another baby. Was she ready to let her career go completely? Tears stung at the back of her eyes.
Hometown Girl Memories
by Kirsten Fullmer
Publication date: October 1st 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Kirsten is a dreamer with an eye for art and design. She worked in the engineering field, taught college, and consulted free lance. Due to health problems, she retired in 2012 to travel with her husband. They live and work full time in a 40′ travel trailer with their little dog Bingo. Besides writing romance novels, she enjoys selling art on Etsy and spoiling their three grandchildren.
As a writer, Kirsten’s goal is to create strong female characters who face challenging, painful, and sometimes comical situations. She believes that the best way to deal with struggle, is through friendship and women helping women. She knows good stories are based on interesting and relatable characters.
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