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Lost in New Falls: Lost in Love, #1

Lost in New Falls: Lost in Love, #1

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Lost in New Falls: Lost in Love, #1

Length:
269 pages
4 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Oct 10, 2013
ISBN:
9781386043317
Format:
Book

Description

Twenty-eight-year-old Kate Delaney left New Falls, Tennessee, heartbroken but determined to be a successful screenwriter. She's spent the last ten years in LA, but is back in town, fifty pounds lighter, California hotter, and she's written The End on a screenplay, which is movie magic in the making. Just one problem—a nerve-nuking thief runs-off with her laptop, attached USB back-up, and the contents of her underwear drawer—and as if that wasn't enough, the heartbreaker from ten years ago just walked through the door with a sheriff's badge and looking more hormone-carbonating than ever.

Quentin Taylor likes the new and improved Kate, but to be honest, his feelings aren't new. When a teen-aged Kate bloomed, her older brother Reese established a no-look, no-touch, no-anything else rule. Quentin figured it was the anything else that worried him most. Attractive then, now she was irresistible, and he needed to know one thing. Was touching her still off-limits?

Despite a meddling, matchmaking mother, a gossiping dispatcher/receptionist with an obsession for orange, and a small-town burglar who steals thimble collections, garden tools, and underwear, Quentin and Kate search for her missing script and try not to fall for each other as they get Lost in New Falls.

Publisher:
Released:
Oct 10, 2013
ISBN:
9781386043317
Format:
Book

About the author

It all started with an old-fashioned typewriter. When the family brought it home, all those stories and characters rolling around in her head could finally get out. The press and click of the keys satisfied in their own right, but when she pulled out a finished page, she knew this was for her. Since then, she's graduated to a laptop, but the stories still find a way out. She's a breast cancer survivor, a teacher, a wife, a mother, and from the very beginning—a storyteller. Always a hint humorous and honest to a fault, she loves to make people laugh and smile. Her goal in life is to achieve tact and stop procrastinating. The battle wages on.


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Lost in New Falls - Cherie Marks

Twenty-eight-year-old, Kate Delaney left New Falls, Tennessee, heartbroken and hell-bent for Hollywood.  She’s spent ten years in Los Angeles, but is back, fifty pounds lighter, California hotter, and she’s written The End on a screenplay, which a Hollywood mega-producer believes is movie magic.  Just one problem—a nerve-nuking thief absconds with her laptop, attached USB back-up, and the contents of her underwear drawer, and just in case that wasn’t enough, the heart-breaker from ten years ago just walked through the door wearing a sheriff’s badge and looking more hormone-carbonating than ever.

Quentin Taylor likes the new and improved Kate, but to be perfectly honest, his feelings aren’t new.  Unfortunately, when a teen-aged Kate bloomed, her older brother Reese established a no-look, no-touch, no-anything else rule.  Quentin figured it was the anything else that worried him most.  She’d been attractive then.  Now she was near irresistible, and he wanted to know one thing.  Did Reese’s dictate still stand?  Of course, he has more pressing problems—a meddling, matchmaking mother, a gossiping dispatcher/receptionist with an obsession for the color orange, and a small-town burglar who steals thimble collections, garden tools, and underwear, along with the usual electronics and jewelry.  Nevertheless, he agrees to help Kate find her missing script, and the time together sparks undeniable chemistry.

Yet, once Kate’s screenplay is back in her hands, will she return to L.A, leaving Quentin behind forever, or is their romance destined to be a blockbuster?

Lost in New Falls

By

Cherie Marks

This is a work of fiction. names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

Lost in New Falls

COPYRIGHT© 2013 by Cherie Marks

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or except in the case

of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Contact Information: authorcheriemarks@gmail.com

For more interesting reads, visit the author at http://www.cheriemarks.blogspot.com

Published in the United States of America by Cherie Marks

Thank you for downloading this ebook. This book is the copyrighted property of the author, and may not be reproduced, copied and distributed for commercial or non-commercial purposes. If you enjoyed this book, please put a review at your favorite online book retailer and encourage your friends to download their own copy, where they can also discover other works by this author. Thank you for your support.

Dedication

For my BFF’s forever. Thank you, Christy R., Cassie S., Kristie F., Andrea O., Shonda C., and Tracy R. You encouraged my imagination in so many ways. Days of play will always be dear and so will you.

Acknowledgements

Thank you, Teresa, for being my editor. You are the best.

Thank you, Donna McDonald, for all the encouragement and information you tirelessly give. We are all better for your good heart and dedication to others. Your generosity with your time and advice is greatly appreciated. You regularly go above and beyond.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Epilogue

About the Author

Other Books by Cherie Marks

Chapter 1

OVER...SO OVER. Her life was over. Her career was over. As the sheriff’s deputies tromped around the little cabin her grandfather deeded to her last year, they catalogued missing items, but all Kate Delaney could focus on was the one major electronic that was everything to her—her laptop. She wasn’t sure how she’d managed to swallow a barbell, but it felt like one was currently lodged in her chest. Gone. Her laptop was gone, along with all she’d written over the years. Her articles and essays, short stories and even a novel, but the one that hurt the most was her newly-finished, just-edited, ready-to-send screenplay. She’d finished it two weeks ahead of her deadline, and it was the one. Not like every other piece she’d written as a ghostwriter for other, bigger names, this one would cement her own name in the Hollywood community. Just one problem—along with her laptop, jewelry, MP3 player, a vase of flowers, and various other things, some infernal criminal had made off with it.

Did you notice anything missing from the bedroom, Ms. Delaney?

She unfolded her hands and lowered them from her mouth and nodded. She cleared her throat and bit her lip. It was a tad embarrassing. An alarm clock, a pillow, and...uh, well, whoever it was, cleared out my underwear drawer.

You had valuables hidden there?

If only. She took a deep breath, but the breath caught in her throat at the sight of the hulking man as he stepped through her door, one shoulder at a time. Anybody but him. Her heart began to pound. Quentin Taylor’s badge glinted on his shirt as he nodded to a few men in her kitchen, then he sauntered over to her and the young deputy standing beside her. His looks had grown more devastating over the past ten years, and now she had to tell him exactly what the thief had taken out of her underwear drawer. Whoever it was ran away with her silky lingerie, leaving her with only the bra and panties she currently wore. What in the world would a thief want with her skivvies? It was just a tad creepy, to say the least.

As he stopped before them, planting his hands on his hips and moved his gaze from Deputy Johnson to her, no light of recognition glowed, and she was almost relieved. Maybe he wouldn’t remember her. Sure, New Falls, Tennessee was as small a town as they came, but she had changed considerably over the ten years she’d been away. Considerably.

Frank, what’ve we got here?

His deep voice rolled over her like a beam of sun magnified through a window, and her abdomen twisted and fluttered with all the old nerves he’d inspired in her when she was a little younger. It really wasn’t fair that he still had all his light brown hair, smooth tanned skin, and a broad chest that narrowed to a lean waist. Was it too much to ask for him to have a pot belly, a receding hairline, anything that would make this humiliation less...well, humiliating? Instead, he looked the same. No, he looked even more gorgeous, and though it stung he didn’t recognize her, it would be best for all if he never remembered her and that embarrassing night so long ago.

Of course, the odds were in her favor. Where he’d remained pretty much the same, she’d changed—really changed. Back in high school, she’d been the funny, chubby girl—everyone’s friend, but no one’s girlfriend. She’d grown up here, so she’d played her role, not realizing another option was possible, but the minute the chance arrived, she left and reinvented herself. She’d gone to California, attended USC in Los Angeles, began eating better and exercising until she’d lost fifty pounds. And although she was far from rail-thin, she felt confident in her looks. At least until Quentin sauntered into her little writing cabin.

Well, Sheriff, someone waited until Ms. Delaney exited the premises and broke inside, taking various items that she’s currently listing for me. She was just going over the bedroom items. You were saying about your underwear drawer?

She could feel her cheeks heat, and she had a sudden nervous urge to reach for something unhealthy but oh-so-tasty. She’d left emotional eating behind long ago though, so instead, she inhaled deeply and answered, No valuables missing from the drawer, just the, she cleared her throat again, contents.

Both men went still, their faces frozen, mouths open and for the briefest of moments, Quentin’s gaze roamed down her body and back up, lingering in a couple places. She could almost revel in that until she recalled it was Quentin.

You mean they took your underwear?

She sighed and rolled her eyes. Do I have to spell it out for you? Panties, bras, and other lingerie all gone.

Their looks were laughable, but she just wasn’t in the mood to yuk it up when someone out there had her life’s work in his or her grubby hands, and her desperation to get it back ate at her just enough she was willing to work with Quentin. Once they closed their mouths, both suddenly became very interested in the report in the deputy’s hands. She had the irritating urge to roll her eyes and stomp her foot. This was getting them nowhere.

Kate Delaney? Your name is Kate?

Here it comes. Yes.

He studied her again, disbelief apparent in his golden-flecked green eyes. If he was waiting for her to confirm they knew each other, they’d be standing here until the cedar smell wore off the log walls around them. She wasn’t saying anything.

You can’t be the Katie Delaney I know.

Oh, she most certainly was, but some dark part of her wanted to hear him say why she couldn’t be the same girl. Was she too thin? Would he even go there?

She put it out there to see what he’d do with it. One and the same.

Wow! Look at you! You look amazing. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t so bad he recognized her, but appreciation for the moment couldn’t be enjoyed properly since her world was currently flipped upside down.

Thanks. I guess I’ve changed. She knew she had, and he could put his tongue back in his mouth any time now.

He seemed to gather himself and ran a hand over the back of his neck. Yeah, he definitely remembered her. Kate, you look amazing.

You said that already. The awkwardness grew, and as much as his uncomfortable clumsiness made her smile, this wasn’t going to help her get her laptop back. She had to get the focus back on the problem at hand. So, what’s the plan to find my stuff?

He stared at her for a few more minutes before shaking his head and glancing back over the report. We’ll investigate our usual places, and there’s always a chance in this small of a town, we’ll recover some of your stuff. But, the bad news is, it will take some time.

She pulled a hair tie from the pocket of her jeans and began to smooth her hair off her face, quickly pulling it off her neck in a high ponytail. "Look, I’ll be honest with you. Most of it is replaceable, and I couldn’t care less, but it is absolutely imperative you get one thing back for me. Without exception, I have to have my laptop."

We’ll do our best, Kate, but I wouldn’t hold my breath, if I were you.

Great! What now? Could she replace her laptop and re-type the script in two weeks? Ha! As if. She scrubbed her eyes and resisted the hopelessness welling up and threatening to dissolve into all-out tears. It was a little much to absorb on top of her grandfather’s illness. When the doctor informed her of her grandfather’s condition, she’d flown to Tennessee the next day. Fortunately, the Aaron Spelling-type TV show she’d written for rolled tape for good. It hadn’t seemed like a blessing at the time, but it freed her up to come back to New Falls just when her grandfather needed her and just when she needed time away from LA to mull over her future’s uncertainty. Once she was here, she’d kept a low profile, and finishing her script helped relieve the stress of watching her grandfather slip closer and closer to the end. Just this morning, she’d gone to the hospital, and he’d slept throughout her visit. They were managing his pain at this point with heavy drugs, so the moments were rare when she actually spoke with him. Now she was more stressed than ever.

They walked through the five rooms of the cabin until she didn’t notice anything else missing, and they had a tally of everything in her refrigerator, medicine cabinet, and closet. Quentin sent the deputies out and pulled her into the kitchen. His familiar spicy scent tickled her nose, and feelings she’d thought she’d suppressed years ago surfaced.

Arms crossed, backside leaning against the tiled countertop, he stared at her intensely, and she felt like a slice of decadent chocolate cake. Maybe that was just her former food-addiction speaking.

It’s been a long time. Crazy circumstances. Last I heard, you ran off to California, never to be seen or heard from again.

She shrugged. Had he wondered about her after she’d gone? Part of her thrilled at the idea, but before she got too excited, she reminded herself who was doing the wondering. My grandfather’s not doing well. I feel horrible about it, but he’s been in a nursing home the past three months, getting worse each day. The doctors don’t think he’ll last the week. I keep trying to get a hold of Reese, but he doesn’t answer my calls.

How is your brother?

Your guess is as good as mine. I haven’t talked to him in six months or more.

He went up to Chicago or somewhere, didn’t he?

Indianapolis. But now he’s mostly around D. C.

I’m sorry to hear about Bowden. Her grandfather had practically helped raise Quentin after his father left for good, so she knew his sympathy was sincere.

Thanks.

He shifted his feet, bracing them apart, meeting her gaze again. You alright staying here by yourself?

I’m a big girl, Sheriff. If I need you, I’ll call the station.

It’s just Quentin. We go back too far for anything else. She didn’t disagree but had no intention of getting on a first name basis with him ever again. He didn’t push the point. Well, just to be on the safe side, for a couple nights at least, I’ll have one of my deputies drive up this way and check on you a couple times a day.

Don’t bother. Whoever it was took all the good stuff. I don’t have anything else valuable for a return visit. Besides, the doctors made it clear my grandfather doesn’t have very long. I’ll head back to L. A. after my grandfather passes.

One side of his mouth lifted slightly, causing a flutter to sway deep in her belly. Do you think we’ll have time to catch up before you go?

She didn’t know whether to laugh or kick out at the closest body part. Really? Did he really think she wanted to catch up with the man she’d thrown herself at only to be completely rejected? Unless she caught some heretofore undiscovered crazy bug, she had no intention of catching up with Quentin Taylor, now or ever.

Fortunately, she wasn’t forced to decide because her cell phone vibrated with one of her favorite P!NK songs. She cringed as she glanced at the caller ID, which glowed with the number of her agent, Claire Strong. She hated to break bad news to people.

I have to take this.

Of course. If you need anything, here’s my number. He left a card on her countertop and moved toward the door with a grace that belied his muscular frame. She didn’t stop him, knew she wouldn't use his number, and felt confident it would be the last time she encountered him while here in New Falls. Yet, rather than the relief she expected, a weird sense of loss hit her instead. She chalked it up to her missing laptop. It had to be that. It had absolutely nothing to do with the ruggedly handsome man she watched walk out of the kitchen and out of sight. Absolutely nothing to do with him.

With a shake of her head, she listened for the click of the front door. She put her phone to her ear and answered, Hey, Claire. You won’t believe my luck today.

You’re luck is amazing from my end. Her familiar even-toned voice seemed more excited than usual.

What? What have you heard?

She avoided the question and asked one of her own. How’s the script?

Kate wanted to groan, but sighed instead. Finished.

That’s great news because I got Mark Samson ready to take a look. I’ve set up a meeting in two weeks, so the sooner you can e-mail me a copy, the better.

"The Mark Samson? The mega producer?"

That’s the one.

Tension gripped Kate and her head began to throb. Funny thing. Remember how you were thinking my luck was good. Maybe not so much. I got robbed.

What? Are you okay?

I’m fine, but my laptop, with my saved script, is gone.

Choking sounds came from the phone, and Kate worried the other woman might have undisclosed health issues. Although she was her professional agent, she was also her friend, and she didn’t want to be responsible for an untimely heart attack. Claire, everything okay?

Oh, Kate, please tell me you backed it up somewhere else.

Of course I did. It’s saved on my USB drive too.

Thank goodness. So get yourself to any available computer station and let’s make this deal.

Yeah, except the USB was still attached to the laptop when it was taken. Do you still have the original I sent you? You know, with all the needed changes marked?

No, remember when my computer crashed last month. The techies weren’t able to recover everything. Your screenplay was one of the casualties.

A loud sigh came from her end before she went on, This is a disaster. After the crash, I told you about one of those online websites that back up your work. You didn’t by chance listen to me, did you?

A fuzzy memory of that conversation came back to Kate, and she mentally kicked herself for not checking into the opportunity when Claire first mentioned it. Hindsight was twenty-twenty.

Wait! Why didn’t I think of it? I’ve got a hard copy. I printed the whole thing a week ago to edit it. It’s messy, but I could probably pretty it up.

Okay, this can work. It’s a little old school, but as long as I get it in a few days, the situation can be salvaged. Run, don’t walk, to the nearest computer scanner, fax machine, post office, UPS, or whatever and send me that hard copy.

Ha! Computer scanner? UPS here? I’ll have to use the post office. Consider it done.

Any chance you could deliver it personally? Fly back tomorrow or something?

Kate hadn’t shared her grandfather’s situation with Claire, and now it felt awkward just blurting it out. For a moment, she considered telling her the whole story, but decided against it. Not that she didn’t want a close friend involved, but it was probably too much to lay on Claire right now. One crisis at a time was probably best.

Not tomorrow. I don’t know how long I’ll be, but I need to be here right now. Besides, my work output has never been better.

Yeah, yeah, small town means no distractions.

No distractions until Sheriff Taylor strolled into her cabin. Now her nerves tingled at just the thought of his masculine presence filling her tiny kitchen. She hadn’t seen him in at least ten years, and in a matter of minutes, all the old longing had assailed her. She needed her laptop in a bad way. Writing was as necessary to her life as breathing. It was her outlet when life didn’t go as expected. During times like this, she re-wrote the situation, made it turn out the way it should have in the first place.

And the thing about her script, it was the story of how things should have worked out between Quentin and her. Instead of her cross-country move and his short-lived marriage to the wrong girl, she’d written their story with the lakeside encounter ten years ago and a happy ending. She didn’t like the fact that someone else now had access to the deeply personal story.

Kate, you still there?

Yeah. I’ve got to call the insurance company and try to get some replacement items, but I’ll head to the post office first chance I get.

Good because I don’t think I could line up this level of producer again. We can’t mess this up.

What else could go wrong?

She cringed. Did she really just say that?

HOT AS SUMMER ASPHALT! Though he’d had his suspicions in their earlier days, Quentin Taylor had no idea Kate Delaney, younger sister of his childhood best friend, had hid such a stunner deep inside. For the longest time, he just saw her as a nuisance tagging after her brother Reese and him everywhere they went. But Bowden Delaney, their grandfather, didn’t like her underfoot any more than the boys did, and what he said went, so she dogged them for the longest time. Having her

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