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About Minty’s Kiss – When Molly retreats to North Carolina with Gracie, her ten-year-old daughter, she’s surprised to find her childhood crush, Nick, still living in the area. Months before her retreat, Molly’s husband announces he’s leaving to sail around the world with his best friend. She divorces him and takes Gracie and Harold, her seventeen-year-old cat, to the Smoky Mountains where she spent many happy childhood vacations. The morning after her arrival, Nick shows up on her porch, and he is even more handsome than she remembered. She feels the flush of her adolescent crush heating up. Minty’s Kiss is a sweet romantic novella, filled with holiday cheer brought to life by an adorable kitten.
“Mommy, Harold isn’t here.”
Molly’s daughter Gracie jumped onto her bed, forcing her eyes open. It felt as if she’d only been sleeping for a few minutes. Molly sat up, rubbing her eyes.
“He’s probably hiding in a closet or under a bed.”
“No, he’s out in the woods somewhere. He ran outside when I opened the door to go out on the porch.”
Molly wondered how Harold managed to run anywhere these days, but he’d always been a bolter when a door opened. He loved being outside, particularly when he came to the mountains where he’d been born.
“He won’t go far. He’s too slow these days.”
“He wasn’t slow when he pushed past me and jumped off the porch.”
Molly got out of bed and pulled on her sweats that she’d peeled off the night before, dead tired after an eight-hour drive to the cabin from Jacksonville, Florida. Pulling a trailer behind her truck proved to be more challenging than she imagined. But they’d made it back to the place where Molly first fell in love and always felt safe. She inherited the cabin when her father died in May. When Molly’s husband announced a few months later that sailing the world with his best friend was more important than being a father to their daughter and a husband to her, the cabin provided Molly a lifeline. So she’d done what her own mother had done eighteen years earlier and moved her daughter and herself back to the cabin in North Carolina after her divorce. She vowed not to follow her mother’s example and kept her bitterness at Derek’s abandonment from Gracie. Besides, she loved Murphy, the mountains, and the small cabin that her father had neglected during his years of battling cancer. And more importantly, Molly made the decision to divorce Derek once she gazed into the huge gap in how each envisioned their relationship. Often on the drive from Jacksonville to Murphy, she wondered about Nick. She hadn’t seen him since she was a teenager, and he had girls his own age hanging all over him. He was probably married with two kids, so she put him out of her mind.
Molly walked out to the broad porch that ran the length of the cabin. She breathed in the mountain air and looked out at the fog masking the view of the Smokies. She’d always loved watching the “smoke” glide away in wisps of clouds, slowly revealing the tree-covered mountains.
“Harold, here kitty. Come on, Harold. Breakfast time.” She whistled her special call, which usually brought the old cat rambling in his walk of old age to find out what the fuss was.
Molly turned sharply toward the driveway and watched as a tall man with blonde hair walked around the trailer she’d driven from Jacksonville. She knew instantly who it was, and immediately she felt safe. Nick Johnson. Her one-time best friend and childhood crush. The man she vowed to marry one day.
“Nick? Is it really you?” He took the four steps up to the porch in one giant leap and then he engulfed her in his arms.
“You’re all grown up, Molly, but I’d recognize you anywhere.”
“Same for you. It’s good to see you.”
“I heard about your dad. He was a good man.”
“Thank you. He was sick for a long time with cancer, so it was really a blessing when he passed.”
Nick nodded. “Did I hear you calling for Harold? You still have Harold?”
“Sure do. He’s an old man now, but he made the trip with us.”
Just then the front door opened, and Gracie came out onto the porch.
“Mommy, did he come back?”