Nora Roberts Land

By: Ava Miles


“I called your assistant three times this morning. When she finally said she couldn’t reach you, I decided to try your cell.”

She leaned against a display. The sound of his smooth, charming voice made her knees shake. It was the first time she’d spoken to him in a year. “You bastard. You broke our agreement.”

“Well, it couldn’t be avoided. Voters want to know. I was as charming as I could be. I praised you to high heavens, but the writer didn’t choose to include those quotes.”

Clorox couldn’t clean the bullshit off that one. “I’ll bet.”

“So, I’m calling to touch base. I don’t think too many reporters will call you now that I’ve announced I’m forming an exploratory committee, but I’d appreciate it if you’d keep your statements short and sweet. You can say what a great guy I am, and think I’d be a great senator even though we couldn’t make it work as man and wife.”

The nerve. She saw red for reasons other than a lack of oxygen. “You bastard.”

“Now, Meredith…”

“No, you stop right there! You didn’t call earlier because you knew I’d object. You’re selfish to the last.”

A few people browsing raised their eyebrows at her and hustled by.

“Dammit. I hoped you wouldn’t be like this. I gave you a generous settlement for Christ’s sake.”

Money was one of his many tools of manipulation. “It was never about the money. God. I loved you!” She ground her teeth for control. Two could play this game. She had tools of her own. “Were you hoping to buy my silence?”

“Meredith—”

“Shut up. You know what I know, and if you don’t leave me alone and out of your…bullshit public servant messages, I can’t be held accountable for my actions, just like someone else I know.”

“Don’t threaten me.”

“Don’t manage me! You don’t have any right to tell me what to do, and if you try, I swear I’ll make you regret it. Goodbye, Richard.”

She hit the off button so hard she broke a nail. Her head buzzed like a swarm of bees had found honey in her hair. She stomped over to the Romance section.

She was not letting him control her anymore.

Her feet rushed forward, and before she knew it, she was holding Nora’s newest hardcover in her hands. She caressed the spine. Traced the NR logo. Took deep breaths to calm her pounding heart.

How could she have ever bought into Rick-the-Dick’s accusation?

He was full of shit—a whole crock of it.

Their divorce didn’t have anything to do with some highfalutin image of romance and marriage. It had ended because she’d been married to a cheating, megalomaniacal asshole.

God, she had to get over this, over him. She was not going to let him ruin the rest of her life.

She pressed the book to her chest. Her racing heart calmed. She could feel a warm embrace from Divorcée Woman.

Nora’s books lifted the human spirit, making her readers hope for the best—romance, hot sex, love, independence, family, and good conquering evil. Nora Roberts Land. She wanted to believe in that again.

No, she needed to believe in that again.

She walked through the stacks to pick up the other books released since her divorce—especially the ones Nora published under the pen name J.D. Robb. She needed a Roarke fix big-time. Maybe someday she’d find her own version of him.

Her eyes fell on Nora’s anthology Going Home. It reminded her of Jill asking her to come home and help their family. What was more important than that? If she remembered the story right, that’s what Nora’s heroine had done in the title story. And in so doing, she’d found Mr. Right.

So, what would a Nora heroine do right now?

The question was a whisper in her head. She tapped her fingernail on the book, thinking.

A Nora heroine…would face her greatest fears head-on, without making excuses.

Meredith’s mind cleared, and with it, the threads of a brilliant idea emerged. A new purpose.

I don’t know if I’m ready for it, she thought, but I’m going to give love another try. She was going to march back to her office and tell her boss she needed to go home to help her family’s newspaper. But while she was there, she’d also be working on an article for The Daily Herald—a personal-interest story about a divorced woman returning to her small town to find Mr. Right and a new happily ever after, aka Nora Roberts Land.

Her family could pick up her salary while she worked for them, so budget wouldn’t be an issue. Karen knew she brought something special to the paper and would hold her position while she was away. If she didn’t, well, Meredith could find another job. The Hale name opened doors, and she’d built her own reputation across town. Plus, she’d write the hell out of this story, however it turned out. Who wouldn’t want to read about a scorned woman trying to believe in the power of love again?

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