Welcome Back to Rambling, Texas
by June Faver
Publication Date: 6/29/2021
Worlds collide when downhome girl Reggie Lee Stafford comes face-to-face with her high-school enemy...
Reggie Lee Stafford is a small town Texas hometown girl. She lives in Rambling, in Texas Hill Country where she was born. As a single mom, her world revolves around her young daughter and her beloved job at the local newspaper. But her peaceful life is turned upside down when Frank Bell—the bane of Reggie’s teenage existence—returns to town to claim his vast inheritance.
Frank is now the owner of a charming old Victorian house and the local paper where Reggie is employed. Although Frank had intended to sell everything, he takes the opportunity to act as publisher of the Gazette to get closer to Reggie. If he plays his cards right, he might be able to make up for all the hurt he caused her. But Reggie has more than her own reputation to protect this time, and Frank is going to have to pull out all the stops to prove he’s worth a second chance.
June Faver loves Texas, from the Gulf coast to the panhandle, from the Mexican border to the Piney Woods. Her novels embrace the heart and soul of the state and the larger-than-life Texans who romp across her pages. A former teacher and healthcare professional, she lives and writes in the Texas Hill Country.
“Reggie Lee?” Her father’s voice rose in timbre as she slipped inside the door and tip-toed across the hardwood floor.
She carried Shannon in her arms, her handbag slung over her shoulder. “Shh, Daddy. Shannon’s asleep.” Stumbling across the living room, she lowered her daughter to the sofa. She could feel her father’s protective scrutiny.
Shannon stirred and then curled on her side, her angelic expression tugging at Reggie Lee’s heartstrings. As upset as she was, she couldn’t allow her feelings to affect Shannon. Her daughter didn’t deserve that.
Henry Stafford peered at her over his glasses. “Are you all right?”
“I’m just peachy, Daddy. I saw Frank Bell today. He was at the Dairy Queen.”
“That boy you used to fight with in high school?” He pushed his glasses up on his head. “He has a right to be there. It’s a free country.”
Reggie crossed her arms over her bosom. “No, he has no right to be anywhere in my world.”
“Don’t get your panties in a wad. I don’t see how this Frank guy always manages to pull your strings.”
She turned away, angry. “He doesn’t pull my strings. He’s just the most infuriating, most aggravating, most...most...”
Her father chuckled. “I see.”
Reggie Lee shrugged, reluctant to admit how right he’d been. “Frank always manages to get under my skin.”
“You always let him get under your skin.” Henry sank into his favorite chair and reached for his glasses, settling them back on his nose. “It appears to me that this fellow has had your number from the start. I always thought maybe he liked you.”
Reggie Lee made a noise in the back of her throat. “Franklin Bell hated me on sight.”
Henry twinkled a grin at her. “So you say, but I was a boy once and I remember teasing your mother before I figured out I was sweet on her.”
She shook her head vehemently. “It wasn’t like that.” She recalled her mother laughing over Henry’s infatuation and the way he’d teased her. “We just despised each other immediately.”
Henry cleared his throat and unfolded his newspaper. “So you say.”
“Daddy! Don’t give me that smug expression. I do not like Frank Bell.” She turned and stomped out of the room.
In the kitchen she filled a glass with ice and reached for the pitcher of sweet tea. She watched the amber liquid fill the glass and twisted off a sprig of mint from her window herb assortment. The tea ritual was a part of her. It calmed her. It centered her. It did not keep her from envisioning Frank’s green eyes and the way they roamed over her body. She had always thought Frank’s insolent overtures were born of loathing. She sipped her tea and considered her father’s belief that Frank’s attentions might have been due to some attraction.
“No!” The sound of her own voice in the quiet room startled her. “No,” she whispered. There was no love lost between her and Frank. She set her glass on the tile counter top with a bang.
She recalled her first thoughts when she’d spied the grown up version of Frank in his sports car. She’d entertained a rush of lust that she hadn’t experienced in some time. Since her marriage ended, Reggie Lee had focused all her energies on raising Shannon, her job at the newspaper and keeping house for her daddy. She hadn’t spent much time or energy on her long-lost love life.
Of course, three of her best girlfriends had not married yet, but held much more hopeful attitudes toward the prospect of marriage.
Her friend, Lori Holloway, was a children’s book author and had moved to New York City. She was a big deal in the world of kiddie literature.
And Truly Nell Todd, the wonderfully wild and willful girl, had married a man who was quite well off and relocated to the big city,
Jill Garland, her best friend, and the daughter of the local sheriff, had never married, but she flexed her maternal instincts as the owner of the local day care. If it weren’t for Jill, Reggie Lee would have been at a loss for female friends.
Otherwise, Reggie Lee remained behind, abandoned and alone in the small town of Rambling, Texas, where it seemed that she would wither away without a true love...without a happily ever after.
Most of the good men in the area had married and the single men in her age bracket weren’t particularly attracted to nor attractive to Reggie Lee.
Pity that her own marriage had fallen apart. I sure can pick ‘em.
She drew in a breath. Not that the marriage had been much to begin with. The demise of her lackluster marital state had not come as a surprise. What had surprised her was that Kenny hadn’t seemed to want to continue his relationship with his daughter either. He had packed his belongings in his ten-year old Impala and headed out of town.
Excerpted from Welcome Back to Rambling, Texas by June Faver. © 2021 by June Faver. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.