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Excerpt: Her Hopes and Dreams by Terri Osburn


As a newly single mother, Carrie Farmer isn’t quite ready to jump back into the dating pool in Ardent Springs—especially since her last marriage was such a disaster. But if anyone could entice her to wade in a bit, it would be her hunky neighbor, Noah Winchester. He’s the perfect man: strong, protective, and smoking hot. But her eyes have deceived her before, and she’s no longer willing to hand over her heart so easily.

After completing several tours in the Middle East, Noah returns to his hometown a very different man. The former soldier’s plan to rest and relax is soon waylaid by the intriguing woman next door and her heart-stealing little girl. Something—or someone—put shadows in Carrie’s lovely eyes, and he’s determined to clear them away. But when hidden demons can no longer be ignored, the couple gets a reminder from an unexpected source that love truly can conquer all.


Noah hadn’t been surprised that his neighbor failed to pay him another visit the night before. Her reluctance to honor his request had been obvious, though he didn’t see what the harm would be. All he wanted to do was say hi to the little bugger and possibly catch a glimpse of his old friend in the man’s daughter. The funeral had come and gone long before Noah had heard the news. Years of watching his brothers-in-arms die way too young should have hardened him to the realities of death, but they hadn’t. At least his fellow soldiers knew what they’d signed up for. No one wanted to die, but they’d willingly walked into the fray.

Poor Patch had been outnumbered and likely overserved. Maybe if Noah had been home, he’d have been there to back his friend up.

He parked his bike in the last spot next to the fence that surrounded the supply yard. If the size of the equipment was any indication, Lowry Construction didn’t lack for work or capital. Propping his helmet on a mirror, he made his way to the entrance of the long metal building.

Stepping inside, he called out a hello, getting only silence in return. Blueprints covered the table to his right. The desk close to the back wall looked to be in use, though whoever occupied it was nowhere to be seen.

“Hello?” he called out again before checking the time on his cell. The text from his uncle had said to report at nine o’clock, and Noah was only five minutes early.

Assuming someone would show up soon, he slid the phone back into his pocket and perused the plans. The project appeared to be some kind of camp or dormitory, and if he was reading the lines right, most of the work would be cosmetic with a small addition on each end. Maybe Lowry wasn’t working on the scale Noah had assumed. As he shifted the papers, a woman squealed behind him. Noah spun and braced for a fight.

To his surprise, his neighbor stared back, pale and wide-eyed.

“How did you find me?” she asked.

The question seemed a little vain. Showing interest in meeting her daughter didn’t mean Noah would drive all over town looking for Carrie Farmer.

“I’m not here for you. I’m here for a job.” Sounding harsher than intended, he added, “Do you work here?”

Ignoring his question, she shuffled to the desk at the back of the space, holding her tongue until the metal piece of furniture sat between them. “I didn’t know Mike was hiring. Are you sure you’re in the right place?”

“Lowry Construction?” he said, knowing full well that’s what the sign on the building had read.

“That’s us.” Carrie hugged a delicate yellow sweater over her chest. “Like I said, I didn’t know we had a new hire. There’s coffee over on the cart. I’ll call to see where Mike is.”

“I don’t need any coffee, thanks.” Mrs. Farmer looked less than happy to see him. In fact, she looked downright agitated. “So are you the office girl?”

Jaw tight, her gloss-covered lips flattened into a thin line. “I’m the office manager of Lowry Construction. I run the schedules, track the jobs, and handle finances, including payroll. I also do human resources, which is why I’m surprised you’re here. Are you sure this isn’t just an interview?”

Unfazed by her tone, Noah smiled. “I’m sure.”

“Right.” Remaining on her feet, the glorified secretary appeared reluctant to take her eyes off of him. As if he might snap at any second and ransack the place. “Have a seat and I’ll call Mike.”

About the Author

Although born in the Ohio Valley, Terri Osburn found her true home between the covers of her favorite books. Classics like The Wizard of Oz and Little Women filled her childhood landscapes, and the romance genre beckoned during her teen years. In 2007, she put pen to paper to write her own. Just five years later, she became a 2012 finalist for the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award, and her debut novel was released a year later. To date, she has released eight novels, two novellas, and one short story. 

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