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Here's an excerpt from my story, All Roads Lead to Shepherd Grove.
She took a fortifying breath and stepped inside Pearl’s Diner, not sure of what to expect. It too had been updated with new black and white checkered floor tiles, red booths, tables and chairs. She observed servers taking orders using computer tablets instead of paper order pads. Probably also Mattie’s doing. The delectable aroma of Pearl’s burgers and fresh cut fries made Melissa’s mouth water.
The diner was filled to capacity with many faces Melissa recognized and many she didn’t. She zeroed in on two tables that had been pushed together where Daisy, Mattie, and her childhood friends Becca Swift, Charlene Baker, and Kelly Bishop sat.
Daisy looked adorable in a flowered, summer maternity dress. Her blonde hair was flowing around her shoulders and her skin was radiant. She had that pregnancy glow everyone referred to.
When Mattie noticed her, he smiled wide. He resembled his older brother so much, her heart ached. “There she is!”
Melissa raced to their table as everyone in the diner who knew her squealed or made a fuss. “Becca! Charlene! Kelly! I had no idea you’d be here today.”
“We wouldn’t miss your homecoming, Missy,” Becca said as they gathered in a silly four way hug and giggled like school girls.
Melissa hugged Daisy as best as she could and backed away quickly when she felt something push against her stomach. “Did Holly Ann just kick me?”
Daisy shrugged. “She’s excited to finally meet her Auntie Missy.”
She caught up with old friends and met new residents. It did her heart a world of good considering the circumstances in which she had left. Maybe these few days in town would be just what she needed, even though at some point things would become contentious when she’d face off with Noah and his parents. For now focus on Daisy and the baby shower.
Melissa stood, facing away from the diner’s entrance, but she sensed the moment Noah walked in. Around her, the good-natured chatter died down. Her traitorous body heated, and her heart fluttered.
She turned slowly to face Noah Shepherd. The man she’d been forced to give up ten years ago to protect her family. The years had transformed the good looking boy into the most handsome man she’d ever seen. Thick blond hair and a chiseled jawline with a dusting of stubble. A wide muscular chest in a button-down shirt that brought out the blue in his eyes and slim hips in snug jeans was enough to make any woman’s mouth water.
When Noah made slow work of appraising her, it didn’t bother her like it had with Todd. She knew she looked pretty. His eyes widened when his gaze landed on her navy blue plaid shirt. So he recognized that she was wearing his shirt.