Carly caught her husband on the couch that she searched for months to find when she was redecorating his office with his secretary. She was crushed. They divorced but she got the couch in the settlement. She had him bring it into the backyard and then she set it on fire. It was her way of trying to get rid of the bitter feelings. But she overdid it and set her shed on fire which led to her neighbor's shed being burned too. She paid her neighbor for the damage but she was still in trouble. She had a court date to settle the arson charge. Her lawyer and the asst. DA made a deal, but the judge would not accept it. He was making her do community service with the cop that was first on the scene of the fire. Carly took an immediate dislike to Chuck. But since they were forced to work together she was going to try to be civil.
But Carly and Chuck ended up really liking each other. But each avoided any serious relationships. Will they get over themselves and realize it's true love?
I liked this story. I needed a book that had "Valentine" words for a word search challenge. I may read others in this series.
From the author:
After Carly Lewis’s bitter divorce she feels as if she somehow faded. She knows she’s not as colorful as she was in college, that in the course of her marriage she’s lost herself. She wants to rediscover herself...find out what color she is now that she’s on her own. So Carly’s finishing college, working and studying for her nursing boards. She doesn’t have the time or inclination for love. Which makes the fact she’s planning Erie Elementary’s Valentine’s Dance more than a bit ironic. She doesn’t anticipate finding a spark with a man again, but when she meets Lieutenant Charles “Chuck” Jefferson, it’s not a mere spark, but a full-fledged blaze. Literally. Her shed and a neighbor’s shed are accidently burned down. She discovers that Chuck might just be the perfect man for her new life.
Lt. Charles “Chuck” Jefferson lets Carly know he doesn’t believe in love either...at least not for himself. He’s seen firsthand that long-term is hard to make work for cops. The longest any of his relationships lasted since he joined the force is around six weeks. That’s just perfect, as far as Carly’s concerned. But what they have quickly feels like more than a fling. Carly worries that she’s somehow losing herself again–just like she had with her ex–and she pulls back.
Chuck never thought he’d find a woman who'd be able to handle a cop’s erratic schedule and life. But Carly’s so independent, so able to stand on her own two feet, he’s pretty sure she can handle anything. But she’s shut him off. When he finally corners her, she starts talking about her color fading. Chuck’s a guy...he doesn’t follow her convoluted explanation, but he assures her that he doesn’t care what color she is. If she’s too busy for something, or doesn’t want to do it, all she has to do is say so. He just wants her. He loves her.
In Once Upon a Valentine’s, Carly’s got to learn that although the old adage once burned twice shy is a good one, sometimes a fire can just warm you not burn you at all. When you find the right man, you don’t fade...your color becomes more brilliant than ever.
Carly Lewis threw her books into her bag and hollered, “Sean. Rhiana. If you’re not in the car in two minutes I’m leaving without you.”
She heard hurried scuffle and groaned responses from upstairs and knew her two seventh graders believed her warning. She actually had followed through on this particular threat last year, right after she and the kids had moved from their upscale Millcreek subdivision to the small bungalow on Erie’s upper eastside. They’d been running late, and she’d had enough and had just left without them.
Of course, even though their school was within walking distance, she’d felt guilty seconds after she’d pulled out of the driveway so–soft-touch that she was–she’d simply circled the block. She’d pulled back in front of the house and found them standing there. They looked so much alike they could be actual twins rather than siblings born ten months apart. They’d appeared so forlorn and unsure. And as always, simply looking at the two of them melted her heart.
As they’d climbed into the car she’d warned them that next time she wasn’t coming back and they’d be forced to walk to school. They seemed to take the threat seriously, which helped with her rather hectic morning schedule. But she knew she’d always come back. That’s just what mother’s did.
“One minute,” she called as she surveyed her bag, hoping she’d remembered everything.
Thirty-two and finishing her degree–it’s not what she’d intended. Thankfully, almost all her old credits had carried over. If she could get through this last term, she’d have it made. She’d have her degree in December and in the new year she’d be ready to start a new life.
The life of a single, self-supporting college graduate and mother.
The phone rang.
Carly glanced at her watch. No one ever called at eight o’clock in the morning with good news. And even though she knew she shouldn’t, that a phone call this early was never good news and answering was probably a mistake, she picked the portable up. She wasn’t any more able to walk away from a ringing phone than she was able to drive away and leave her kids. “Hello?”
“Hi, Carly. It’s Heidi.”
Answering the phone wasn’t just a mistake, it was a huge, tactical error. One she might never recover from.
She didn’t have to ask Heidi who.
The PTA President for that last three years.
The perfect, terminally optimistic, sunny force of nature who practically ran Erie Elementary on the eastside of Erie, PA.
Read more here.
ebook, 224 pages
Published January 2nd 2009 by Harlequin American Romance
(first published January 1st 2009)