One of the very best days in an author’s life is the day the mail carrier or the UPS person drops a box on the porch that’s full of the first print copies of your soon-to-be-released novel. Last week I had a great day! This arrived early this week and suddenly Jo and Alex’s story felt real.
Jo and Alex’s story is dear to my heart because these are two people who have so much stuff to work through and yet somehow, they manage to find each other. Alex is a scientist and a type 1 diabetic who only longs to find a cure, and Jo has a sad secret in her past that has affected every dating choice she’s ever made. Alex is from a very rich and powerful hotel family and Jo is a boat mechanic in a small Ohio River marina. This isn’t just an opposites attract story, it’s also a story of self-discovery and healing. And, there’s a little magic that I hope you’ll love.
Meet Me in River’s Edge releases on August 17, but it is currently available for pre-order.
Jo Weaver loves her job as a boat mechanic for her family’s marina in River’s Edge, Indiana. But when she’s pulled away from her high school reunion with her sisters to fix a stranded yacht, she can’t restrain her irritation. Jo doesn’t like wealthy men who think they can have whatever they want, and she has no intention of falling for rich and charming again.
Born into the international Briggs Hotels empire, Alex Briggs has never felt comfortable with his life of privilege. Abandoning his family’s business to pursue medical research, he’s far more at home in his lab. When the yacht he restored himself breaks down on the way to an important conference, Alex begrudgingly goes in search of a boat mechanic and falls, literally, into Jo Weaver’s arms. The fireworks he feels are impossible to ignore.
Jo does her best to keep Alex in the business zone, but he keeps slipping into something more. Can she trust her fragile heart, especially when Alex and his life-altering research are so far from River’s Edge?
She took a deep breath, opening her eyes to the light changing, and drove on, managing to keep her voice cool. “Did you leave plenty of lights on so other craft can see you?” She pulled onto Main, which turned into Riverview Road.
“Yes. There are other people on the boat, too, and they’re keeping watch.” Alex’s knee was jiggling and he was clenching and unclenching his fists.
“Don’t worry about it, then. Barge pilots are pretty aware. They won’t ram you.”
He didn’t respond, merely craning his neck as the river came into view and rolling down the window to stick his head out as they passed the drive into Aidan Flaherty’s River Queen showboat lot. “Looks like the showboat is gone. They must have gotten past me okay.” His teeth—gleaming white in the dim cab of the truck—worried his lower lip. “Should we maybe contact them? Make sure everything is all right?”
She held back a snicker. Yeah, this guy was most likely harmless, just entitled, which irritated Jo no end, but didn’t surprise her. “No, we don’t need to do that. I imagine Clyde gave them a heads-up after he dropped you off. I’m sure they’re fine and I’m sure your boat is, too.”
He touched her arm. “Don’t you want to turn there so we can grab my dinghy?”
She jerked away from his light touch. “No. Look at me. I’m not getting into a rubber dinghy dressed like this. We’re heading to the marina—I’ve got a coverall and deck shoes there; we can go out to your boat in our MasterCraft.”
“But my dinghy’s tied up at the showboat landing.” His tone wasn’t whiny, not at all, although the slight undercurrent of anxiety that he’d clearly been trying to stave off since he’d fallen into the party at the winery was starting to show.
Jo’s sympathy grew slightly since his concern seemed to be for other boaters and not strictly himself, and he was a customer—a potential customer—so she gave him a smile. “Chill. It’s safe there, and I’ll take you to get it once we figure out what’s going on.” She pulled into the gravel drive and then stopped the truck in the parking lot by the marina shop.
Alex’s brow furrowed as she opened her door. “Are you going to call the mechanic to come out with us?”
She held back the retort that immediately rose to her lips and instead merely replied, “The mechanic is already here.” He had no way of knowing, after all.
Alex hopped out of the truck. “I don’t see any other cars and the place is dark.”
“I’m the mechanic, Mr. Briggs.” Jo slammed her door harder than was probably necessary, but it eased her urge to smack him.
His jaw dropped. “You?”
She hit the remote locks on the truck and strode to the service door, punching in the key code and tapping the light switch before giving him a cool stare. “I promise it’ll be more believable once I get into my coveralls and hat and collect some tools.” She turned, deliberately not holding the door open for him.
Alex had to rush to catch it before it shut in his face, which gave her a smidgen of satisfaction. “Look, I’m sorry. I got no problem with a girl mechanic. I’m a millennial—we’re open to anything.”
Jo stopped in the middle of the shop and spun around, hands on her hips. This guy was something else. “A girl mechanic? Did you seriously just say you had no problem with a girl mechanic?”
Defensively, he raised both hands, managing to look innocent as a lamb and rocket-hot all at the same time. Damn him. “Don’t shoot me. I’ve never met a woman boat mechanic before. It’s . . . unexpected, that’s all.” Somehow, his open expression reminded her of a golden retriever, all eager and wide-eyed and trying desperately to please, so he could get what he wanted.
She shook her head.
Don’t try to disarm me, buddy. I’m immune to river rat charm.
“Well, that’s who you’ve got tonight.” She held up her hand. “Wait here. I’ll go throw on my coveralls and grab some tools.”
So there we go… Jo and Alex are two of my very favorite characters! They both just have so much work to do on themselves and it was such fun to watch them work it out together.
Gratitude for this week: Grandboy’s birthday was lovely. The weather has been dry, but spectacular with blue skies and lots of sun. Boat’s in the water and we had a lovely ride last night. I’m writing. Great to see lake buddy, Moe.
Stay well, stay safe, go ahead and pre-order a copy of Meet Me in River’s Edge, smile at someone (you’ll make their day), and most all, mes amies, stay grateful,