When life gets back on its bullshit, and I need a break, nothing says comfort read to me like a category romance. No one does category romance like Harlequin, and they are kicking off 2020 with some fabulous offerings from their series (category) romance collections. I’m excited to share an exclusive excerpt from Jo McNally’s February 1st release, Her Homecoming Wish. You’ll also notice Harlequin is stepping up their cover game. In a “ripped from the pages” feel, you’ll recognize the cover images from poignant scenes in the story.
I’m a long-time fan of author Jo McNally, and it’s not just because we live in the same state. She has a way of developing characters that resonate with me in a way that makes me want to be their friend when the book is over. McNally’s book, Her Homecoming Wish, is in Harlequin’s Special Edition line – that means it’s a story that is heartfelt, with real-life conflicts and complex characters. Harlequin’s Special Edition line is slightly longer than its other lines, and it immerses readers in the emotional lives of the hero and heroines. McNally’s book gives us one of my favorite storylines, a reunion romance with her older brother’s best friend. That old high school crush gets me in the feels every time!
About Her Homecoming Wish, out Feb. 1st:
She’s ready to shed her good-girl ways…
“You’re all about following the rules now?
Mackenzie Wallace hopes there’s still some bad boy lurking beneath single father Danny Adams’s upright exterior. Being the proverbial good girl left her brokenhearted and alone in the past. Now she’s back in town and wants excitement with her high school crush—not love. Dan knows their connection runs deep, despite Mackenzie’s protests. But will their new personas work together—especially when Dan’s secret is exposed?
Disarm the perpetrator. Subdue him. Restrain him.
Express extreme displeasure with the perp’s behavior.
Throw him in the car and haul him to jail.
And then the perpetrator spoke. A woman spoke. And claimed to be Carl’s daughter.
Well, son of a…
Carl only had one girl.
Dan reached up and tugged at the hood, uncovering a tumble of thick blond hair.
Mackenzie freakin’ Wallace.
He’d just held a nightstick to the head of Mackenzie Wallace. Little Mack. The sweet baby sister of his best friend in high school. She was still face-planted against the wall, probably afraid to move, even though he’d released her. That was when the old protective feeling kicked in, along with a flood of horror at how many ways this could have gone seriously wrong.
“Jeez, Mack, what the hell?” Dan turned her around. “I could have killed you. You know that, right? What the…what are you doing here?”
She stared at him, wide-eyed. “Danny? Danny Adams?”
He spread his hands. “I go by Deputy Sheriff Adams these days.”
That didn’t seem to compute.
“You’re a cop? You?”
As Dan studied the look on her face, he couldn’t blame her for whatever mix of anger and shock she was feeling. If he’d seen teenage him do some of the things she had seen growing up, he wouldn’t believe it, either. But that was a different time. A different Dan. He took another step back, but he had to ask.
“Mackenzie, seriously.” He looked down at long, bare legs. “Are you naked under that hoodie? What are you doing in here at two o’clock in the morning?”
Her voice chilled. “What are you doing in here at two o’clock in the morning, Deputy Sheriff Adams? Besides assaulting innocent women on their own damn property?”
He understood why she was ticked off. He’d scared her. But he hadn’t done anything wrong. “I drove by, saw someone moving around in here with a flashlight and investigated. Your dad gave me a key years ago. I had no idea you were back in town.”
“I didn’t know I had to check in with the sheriff when I arrived.” Sharp words, but some of the fire left her voice. Mackenzie rubbed her wrist, and Dan felt a stab of guilt.
“I’m sorry, Mack. You had the hood up, I had no way of knowing…”
“Was that a gun I felt against my neck?”
“Was that a baseball bat I saw swinging at my face?”
She gave a short laugh, and Dan felt something shift a little in his chest. It was the husky laughter of a grown woman, not the giggle of the cute little pigtailed girl from his memories. She nodded, running her fingers through her hair to push it off her face.
“Fair enough. I couldn’t get to sleep, and Dad didn’t have any good stuff upstairs. So I figured I’d pull a Ryan and help myself.”
“That’s definitely something your brother would do.” Dan frowned into the darkness. Ryan and Mack had always been as different as night and day, with Mackie being the Goody Two-shoes to Ryan’s wild ways.
“I don’t suppose you can join me while you’re on duty?”
“There’s an open bottle of very expensive scotch on the counter, just waiting for someone to enjoy it.” She laughed again, softly this time. “And I’d really like to hear the story of how Danger Dan turned into a lawman.”
Dan grimaced. He hated that stupid nickname Ryan made up, especially coming from Mack. Even if he had earned it back then.
“Is your husband waiting upstairs?” Dan wasn’t sure where that question came from, but, to be fair, all Mack ever talked about was leaving Gallant Lake, having a big wedding and a bigger house. The girl had goals, and from what he’d heard, she’d reached every one of them.
“I don’t have a husband anymore.” She brushed past him and headed toward the counter. “So are you joining me or not?”
Dan glanced at his watch, not sure how to digest that information. “I’m off duty in fifteen minutes.”
Her long hair swung back and forth as she walked ahead of him. So did her hips. Damn.
“And you’re all about following the rules now? You really have changed. Pity. I guess I’m drinking my first glass alone. You’ll just have to catch up.”
He frowned. Mackenzie had been strong willed, but never sassy. Never the type to sneak into her father’s store alone for an after-hours drink. Not the type to taunt him. Not the type to break the rules.
Looked like he wasn’t the only one who’d changed since high school.
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About the Author:
Jo McNally lives in coastal North Carolina with 100 pounds of dog and 200 pounds of husband – her slice of the bed is very small. When she’s not writing or reading romance novels (or clinging to the edge of the bed…), she can often be found on the back porch sipping wine with friends, listening to great music. If the weather is absolutely perfect, she’ll occasionally join her husband on the golf course, where she always feels far more competitive than her actual skill-level would suggest.