The Universe has completely dumped on High School senior Kelsey Quinn’s life. Credit card at Nordstrom’s? Deactivated. Honda Accord? Sold. Life in the burbs of Chicago? Gone. And it’s all her sister’s fault. Yep. Drugs, alcohol, and getting caught with the boss’s son was all it took. Dad loses job, family loses money, and the next thing she knows she’s crammed in a cell on wheels for the next two days as they make their way to a dilapidated farmhouse in Texas. But Kelsey doesn’t just leave the good life in Chicago. She leaves the boy who-has-it-all, Drew Montgomery.
Hillside senior, quarterback, Austin McCoy works for Kelsey’s dad at the feed store and helps with the farm chores in the morning. He sees through Kelsey’s surly attitude to the girl whose eyes light up when she’s with the animals. He is determined to help Kelsey see that not only does she love the Farmville life, but that the guy she really wants is him.
Will Austin convince Kelsey he’s the guy she wants? Will Kelsey embrace the simple life and find forgiveness for her sister?
She looked at her reflection in the mirror. Mascara puddled at the corners of her eyes and beneath her lower lashes. She jerked a tissue from a half-smashed box and dabbed at the black stains. No way was she going to let anybody know she’d cried, but the makeup was not cooperating.
Tossing the tissue aside, Kelsey padded across the hall to the bathroom and scrubbed her face clean. She held the bottle of foundation in her hand and regarded her reflection again. She’d never let Drew see her without the benefit of even skin tones and lightly dusted cheeks and eyes. It was a time-consuming ritual. What about now, what about here? Who cared if she didn’t wear makeup?
The last thing she wanted was to look as though she belonged to this place, and she’d bet her forty-dollar bottle of foundation that the local girls didn’t know the first thing about creating the natural look.
She brushed foundation across her skin, covering the imperfections. By the time she’d constructed the perfect face, she felt better. She was still angry with her parents, but at least now she could get through the rest of the day feeling good about herself. She fluffed her hair and noticed curls had begun to sneak back into her über-straight style. She shouldn’t have missed the flatiron step this morning. She shook her head and looked in the mirror again. She kind of liked the way her hair bounced with the curl.
“Kelsey! Come on, it’s time to load up for the feed store,” Dad yelled from downstairs.
She flicked the bathroom light off and moved toward the stairs. “Seriously, Dad—load up?” When she turned the corner of the landing she stopped.
Austin stood on the threshold of the front door, staring up at her. The screen banged his back, but he didn’t seem to notice.
She wanted to look aloof to the Texan hulking in the doorway, but a tiny smile forced itself to the surface anyway.
Dad said, “Can I help you, son?”
Following a career as a nursing instructor, award-winning author, Mary Karlik earned an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania. A native Texan, Mary loves horses, dogs, cats, country music, and small town diners. Although she has recently relocated in northern New Mexico, her heart remains in the Lone Star state.