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Virgin River

Recently widowed and full of heartache, Melinda Monroe, 32, answers a want ad seeking a midwife in tiny Virgin River, CA. In her former life, Melinda was a successful nurse, and her husband was an ER doctor. His death, a violent one, has left her desperate for change. But within an hour of arriving in the remote mountain town, she gets a dose of reality: Her rent-free cabin is in shambles, and the local doctor doesn’t exactly exude small-town charm. Yet on her way out of town, she meets Jack, a handsome bartender, and then makes a surprising discovery that changes her mind and, quite possibly, her life.

Robyn Carr

When I was looking for change, I shouldn’t have made such a drastic one. This is kind of like going cold turkey. I might have to downsize a little more gradually. Maybe try out a town with a couple hundred thousand people and a Starbucks.”

“You aren’t going to tell me Starbucks can beat that coffee you’re drinking,” he said, nodding at her cup.

She gave a short laugh. “Coffee’s great.” She favored him with a pleasant smile, deciding that this guy was OK. “I should’ve considered the roads. To think I left the terror of Los Angeles freeways for the heart-stopping curves and cliffs in these hills…whew.” A tremor ran through her. “If I did stay in a place like this, it would be for your food.”

He leaned toward her, bracing his hands on the bar. Rich brown eyes glowed warm under serious hooded brows. “I can get that cabin put right for you in no time,” he said.

“Yeah, I’ve heard that before.” She put out a hand and he took it. She felt his calluses as he gently squeezed her hand; he was a man who did hard, physical work.

“Thanks, Jack. Your bar was the only part of this experiment I enjoyed.” She stood and began fishing for her wallet in her purse. “What do I owe you?”

“On the house. The least I could do.”

“Come on, Jack — none of this was your doing.”

“Fine. I’ll send Hope a bill.”

At that moment Preacher came out of the kitchen with a covered dish wrapped in a towel. He handed it to Jack.

“Doc’s breakfast. I’ll walk out with you.”

“All right,” she said.

At her car, he said, “No kidding. I wish you’d think about it.”

“Sorry, Jack. This isn’t for me.”

“Well, damn. There’s a real dearth of beautiful young women around here. Have a safe drive.”

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August 2019