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Title: Secondhand Heart
Author: Kristen Strassel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Daisy Mangold thought she had her life figured out until a roadside bomb in Afghanistan changed everything. Now a twenty-one-year-old military widow, Daisy moves back home to start over.
Cam Hunter won the reality show The Spotlight, and thought he was on his way to becoming the next big country star. But when whispers of how he won begin to surface, Nashville is less than welcoming. After he loses his record deal, Cam heads back home to open a country bar.
When Daisy meets Cam, she isn’t sure she’s ready to let go of the ghosts from her past. Cam’s ex-wife isn’t ready to move on either, and the tragedy she causes will expose Cam’s secrets and shatter Daisy’s family.
Will Daisy be able to follow her heart into a future with Cam, or will her grief keep her trapped in a past that no longer exists?
Bree was my best friend, but she couldn’t keep a secret for shit. That’s how I knew that my sister Evelyn’s surprise plans for my twenty-first birthday couldn’t have been that exciting. Bree hadn’t slipped at all. And she loved gossip. Any time I had news I didn’t want to share with the world, I simply didn’t tell her.
“What did you do last night?” Ev laughed at me when I rolled down the stairs at the crack of noon. Her skin was glowing, probably from sunrise yoga or something. I still had sleep crumbs in my eyes. “Did you have a date?”
“Shh.” Perfect example. I let Bree sign me up for an online dating site a few weeks ago, and of course, she told Ev. I got way more hits than I expected, and certainly more than I wanted. Turns out older dudes are really into chubby chicks. Some of them I talked to, because I didn’t want to look like an asshole, but I always blew them off before we could actually go out. “I didn’t go anywhere. I watched baseball with Dad and drank a six pack of blueberry beer.”
I didn’t have to tell her that I spent the night missing Jordan, my husband. She knew. He’d been killed in the line of duty a year ago in Afghanistan. That roadside bomb took everything from me. His dog tags clanked against the counter as I made my coffee. I never took them off.
“Oooh. Bunker Hill?” Ev asked and I nodded. “I love that stuff. But it’s got a higher alcohol content than the swill Dad likes to drink, so it will kick your ass if you’re not careful. No wonder you look like hell. I figured you’d be out partying it up.”
“Thanks a lot.” I ran my finger under my eyes, not remembering if I washed off my makeup last night. I’m sure I’d cried it all off, anyway. I needed grease to kill this hangover. I pulled out the frying pan and cracked some eggs.
“We have a birthday cake shake, Daisy,” my mom almost sang as she danced around me making my eggs and toast. Now that Mom worked for Lifedrinks, a weight loss shake that among other things, promised world peace, she judged everything I put in my mouth. “All you need is skim milk, chocolate pudding mix—“
I couldn’t take this shit before my coffee. “Why would I want that when I can have real birthday cake for my birthday?” Wait a minute. “In what universe is pudding better for you than eggs?”
I didn’t have to turn away from the frying pan to know that my mother was sputtering. Ev giggled. I’d asked her something that wasn’t covered in the sales brochure. “It’s about feeling satisfied. And in control.”
“Ma, stop it. It’s Daisy’s birthday weekend.” Ev shook her head. Mom’s sales pitches had been making us bristle for years. She’d run the gamut of home party products, including sex toys, which I’d discovered, much to my horror, when I moved back home. I hoped she didn’t hear Ev ask me about having a date. I didn’t need her butting her nose into that. Or making suggestions.
About the Author
Kristen shares a birthday with Steven Tyler and Diana Ross. She spends each day striving to be half as fabulous as they are. She’s worn many hats, none as flattering as her cowboy hat: banker, retail manager, fledgling web designer, world’s worst cocktail waitress, panty slinger, now makeup artist and author. She loves sunshine, live music, the middle of nowhere, and finding new things to put in her house.