Arizona Forever by Jaclyn M. Hawkes Dr. Jessie Benn has everything—except Mr. Right. There’s only one problem. The one guy who intrigues her is completely wrong. She’s a veterinarian specializing in horses with a thriving practice nestled between her family’s Arizona ranches, looking for a nice, dependable guy who can take her to the eternities. He’s a visiting Australian business tycoon who’s just a touch bitter, a touch wild, and way more than a touch fascinating. What’s a girl to do?
Excerpt - Arizona Forever
PrologueSix year old Jessie Benjamin did what she always did when she was afraid—she ran to her big brothers. Hurrying, she went two doors down the hall to Josh’s room where her other brothers, Brennan and McCade, would most likely be as well. It was where the four of them usually met whenever there was something wrong. Only this time, she knew something was really wrong because her brothers didn’t smile and tease her before they gathered around her like they usually did. They swallowed her into their jostling group hug, but this time there was the same scary feeling here in Josh’s room that she could hear in her parents’ raised voices coming from their room further down the hall. She couldn’t tell what they were fighting about. She only heard a word here or there, her mother’s voice loud and angry, while her dad’s had calmed down to sad and almost pleading. This bickering had been going on for a couple of days now, but nothing like tonight’s fighting. It was so strange. Her mother got fussy pretty often, but her dad never got like this. Ever. He was typically calm and soft spoken. Even when someone did something big, like when Brennan broke the garage window, he never got too riled. Whatever this bortion thing was her mother was hollering about had made him truly upset. Jessie looked up into the serious faces of her brothers and hid her own face against Josh’s chest. She wished her mother would calm down. That shouting couldn’t be good for the baby in her mom’s tummy. They’d just found out she was expecting. Jessie was praying it was a girl and couldn’t have been more excited for anything! Ever since she was little, she’d imagined she had this little blonde sister named Jennifer who did everything with her. She’d even dreamed about her and it felt like she’d waited forever. Even a baby brother would be wonderful! The fighting spilled out of their parents’ room into the hallway and her father almost seemed to be begging as he said, “Please, Clara, don’t do this. Just hang in there four more months. Even three and a half. Then you can leave and won’t ever even have to see it. I know it’s your body, but please . . . It’s my baby too.” Storming past Josh’s bedroom door, her mother shouted something they all clearly heard, “I’ll do what I want! It’s my body! In four months I’ll have missed the two biggest shows of the season. I missed shows for years to get the four we have. They’re plenty. It’s too much to ask that I do it again. This was your mistake, Ken—not mine! I shouldn’t have to pay for it and you can’t make me!” The front door slammed and a moment later Jessie heard a car squeal away and then there was only silence. For some reason, that scared her more than the arguing. Finally, her dad went into his office and stayed on the phone with someone for a long time and when he came out, he actually looked like he’d been crying. Of course, that couldn’t have been true. Dads didn’t cry. But he looked like it. That night, after everyone else was gone to bed, Jessie snuck into Josh’s room and sat on his bed and whispered, “Josh, what are they fighting about? What does bortion mean?” He was almost ten. He would know. At her question, Josh began to cry. He pulled Jessie into a gentle hug. When he could finally speak, he said so softly and so sadly that Jessie could hardly hear the words that shattered her world into pieces, “Dad says it means Mom’s going to have the baby taken out of her tummy and then it will die, Jessie.”
Author Jaclyn M. Hawkes grew up in Utah with 6 sisters, 4 brothers and any number of pets. (It was never boring!) She got a bachelor’s degree, had a career and traveled extensively before settling down to her life’s work of being the mother of four magnificent and sometimes challenging children. She loves shellfish, pizza, the out of doors, the youth, and hearing her children laugh. She and her incredibly handsome husband, their younger children, and their happy dogs now live in a mountain valley in northern Utah, where it smells like heaven and kids still move sprinkler pipe.
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