Hometown Girl Again
Hometown Series Book 5
by Kirsten Fullmer
How did I end up so broken? It’s a question Katherine can’t answer. First, a surprise inheritance tipped her life upside-down, and now her new RV park is a muddy mess of half-restored trailers. To make matters worse, she’s falling for her first crush all over again. The only thing she’s sure of at this point is a full-blown identity crisis.
Alex came home after a life-threatening wound ended his Army career. Now Katie is back too, and she’s building something called a glamping park? He feels like he let her down years ago, can he make it up to her now? Or are his own problems too much to handle?
Fate brought Katherine and Alex back to Smithville, and the town-folk want to see them together again. Will the couple be able to cope with the locals well-intentioned meddling, or did their chance at love disappear a long time ago...
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Relieved to have found all the items on her list, Katherine offered the clerk a shy smile and collected her bags. The place was really more of a small town mercantile than a hardware store, being the only store in town that offered more than groceries, and she was glad they saw fit to carry a bit of everything.
When she reached the door, lugging her supplies, she was surprised to see Alex through the glass. He was heading across the parking lot toward her, carrying a small black and white dog, and his characteristic swagger looked more like a limp as he wrestled with the puppy.
Jumping back, her head whipped from one side to the other, looking for a place to hide.
Alex marched into the store, and she ducked behind a rack of men’s overalls. Holding her breath, she crouched and peeked between the overall straps. The little black dog had an adorable smiling face, and her heart melted, but then she noticed Alex’s blustery expression. The puppy wriggled in his grip, and he turned her way.
Her arm shot out to grab a straw hat from the rack, and she plopped it on her head, hoping it would hide her sweaty, lopsided bun.
The dog barked and squirmed, and it was obvious that Alex needed help, but Katherine knew she was a sweaty mess, and she probably looked like she’d just rolled out of bed, since she had, not to mention she smelled like gasoline after spilling on her grubby pants when she filled her can at the gas station earlier.
She’d made a big enough fool of herself already, and she wasn’t eager to repeat the disgrace, so she hunched lower behind the rack, watching with only one eye showing from under the hat
Alex was far too busy wrestling the dog to notice her, so she stayed silent, watching as they passed. Before she could make her move toward the door, however, the dog escaped Alex’s arms and bound down the aisle. Alex reached out, scrambling for the puppy, but lost his balance and fell sideways into a rack of garden trowels that clattered and crashed to the floor.
Dropping her bags, Katherine hurried to his side to see if he was okay. When she reached him, his expression was dark as the devil, so she hesitated, pulling her hand back. “Want me to get the dog?” she asked timidly, and he nodded, so she turned away. Worried about Alex, she glanced nervously over her shoulder, but he was already back on his feet, righting the rack, so she hurried after the puppy.
The little dog hadn’t gone far when she spotted him assaulting a display of chips and other snacks. By the time she reached his side, the puppy had a package of jerky in his mouth.
She scooped up the dog, unable to keep from laughing at his antics. “You’re a naughty one, aren’t you!” she chided, watching the puppy chew on jerky. As cute as he was, she had to wonder why Alex had brought him to the store, and without a leash. “I didn’t take Alex for the dog type,” she mumbled to herself.
“I’m not,” Alex growled, from behind her, causing her to whirl around in surprise. He reached for the dog.
She handed over the puppy, appraising Alex’s face and mood. “Can I help?” she asked before her brain clicked into gear. Here she’d been relieved that he hadn’t seen her, and now she couldn’t help but jump square into his business.
“You don’t— need to do that,” he assured her, his words jarred and interrupted by the wriggling dog. Then over the dog, he eyed her in question with one brow raised.
She squared her shoulders. She knew she looked a sight, but he was being flat out rude. “Would he sit in a shopping cart?” she wondered out loud.
Alex glanced toward the front of the store, then back. “I don’t know.”
“I’ll grab you one,” she offered, then hurried away without waiting for his reply. By the time she returned, Alex looked ready to strangle the puppy with his bare hands, so Katherine reached out and took the dog, and put him in the cart.
At first, the little dog seemed confused and frightened, but once he got his bearings and put his front paws on the end of the cart, he seemed happy enough. His oversized ears perked with curiosity and his tongue lolled from the side of his mouth, accentuating his goofy grin.
Alex stared at the dog, obviously unhappy, then his gaze turned to her. “Nice hat.”
Horrified that she was still wearing the stupid straw hat, she yanked it off her head and tossed it onto a shelf. “How old is he?” she asked, motioning toward the dog, hoping to take Alex’s attention away from her.
“Hell if I know,” he grumbled, glaring down at the puppy.
Her questioning glance swung from the puppy back to his face.
“I just got him yesterday. From my nieces.”
“Oh,” she replied, wondering why someone would give a dog to a person who didn’t want one.
For a moment it looked as if Alex would explain, but his mouth clamped closed, and his brows lowered into a glower, so she left it alone. Taking a step back, she motioned toward the door. “I better get moving, but…” she hesitated, then continued. “Feel free to bring him out to the RV park if you need to. I’m sure we can find a place for him to play while you work.”
“I’m here to get him a leash and a play yard, but,” Alex ‘s gaze came to hers, and her discomfort caused his expression to soften, “I appreciate the offer. I wasn’t sure what to do with him, to be honest.”
She was relieved to see him calm down. “It’s not a problem; I’ll see you in a while then.” With a wave she turned away and headed toward the door, hoping he didn’t see her collect her things from behind the overalls.
Other Books in the Series:
Hometown Girl at Heart
Hometown Series Book 1
Hometown Girl After All
Hometown Series Book 2
Hometown Girl Forever
Hometown Series Book 3
Christmas in Smithville
The Hometown Series Book 4
Kirsten grew up in the Western US and graduated from high school in 1984. She married soon there after and quickly built a family. With three young children and number four on the way, she returned to college in 1992. Her career as a draftsman included many settings ranging from a steel fabrication shops to prestigious engineering firms. Balancing family life with the workplace forced her to become the queen of multitasking. In 2001, bored with the cubical life, she moved on to teach drafting in technical college, then to opening her own consulting firm teaching 3D engineering software. Due to health problems, Kirsten retired in 2012 to travel with her husband for his job. She now works writing romance novels and enjoys spoiling her three grandchildren. Since 2017 Kirsten has lived and worked full time in a 40' travel trailer with her husband and her little dog Bingo.
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