Sometimes, what looks like a dead end, is really a new beginning.
A horrific accident changed everything for Parker Wilson. Unable to find solid footing in his disrupted life, he returns to his family’s ranch, a place he thought he’d left behind for good. The scars on his face are a daily reminder of all he’s lost, yet his mom still insists he needs to stop hiding and live his life again. The beautiful new employee she hires is the last thing he needs, despite his mom’s best intentions, and he’ll do whatever it takes to make the girl quit and regain the peace and quiet he prefers.
Nothing short of desperation would force Chelsea Blake to work on a local cattle ranch. But if she’s going to avoid her parents’ judgment when they arrive in three weeks, she must turn the temporary job into a permanent one. Between dodging mud, feeding longhorn cattle, and dealing with a handsome boss who keeps giving her the cold shoulder, staying gainfully employed is proving to be a challenge. Chelsea may not be cut out for ranch life, but her determination to succeed is stronger than Parker’s efforts at forcing her to leave.
Unprepared to discover all they have in common, if they set aside their initial dislike, they just might find joy beyond measure.
Finding Joy Excerpt
Chelsea nodded slowly. “That makes sense. It hurts when people don’t see us for who we really are.”
Parker recognized the sadness in her eyes. “Are things still not going well with your parents?”
She gave a half shrug. “I don’t know why it always surprises me. You’d think I’d be used to it by now. You were right, though. My parents never knew me.” She took a long drink. “I’ve always been their daughter and Laurie’s sister. Never Chelsea. I’m not even sure I know who I really am.”
“Well, I do.” Parker reached across the table and cradled her hand in his. Not even the hot drink had warmed her skin after being outside. He covered it with his other hand. “You, Chelsea Blake, are a beautiful, intelligent woman. You never give up, no matter how many obstacles get in your way. You were willing to fly in the face of what your parents expected of you in order to find your own direction in this world.” She was blushing furiously now, but he wasn’t done. “And you were able to single-handedly drag a grumpy man out of his misery with a broken bottle of tea and your stubbornness.”
Chelsea laughed then and covered her face with her hands. Her eyes brimmed with tears as she shook her head. “You’re something else.”
“Oh? A good something, or a bad something?” He hiked one eyebrow at her.
“Good.” She peeked at him from beneath her lashes.
Someone else came into the coffee shop, bringing with him a blast of cool air. As much as Parker didn’t want his time with Chelsea to end, he kept in mind the area of town she lived in. It was nearly dark, and he’d rather she got home sooner than later.
Chelsea sighed and reached for her coat, apparently realizing the same thing.
Parker escorted her to her car and held the door open. Chelsea started the engine and cranked the heat up all the way. Instead of retreating, he waited, one hand on the roof of the car and the other on top of the door.
She turned toward him, lifting her chin. “Thanks for the hot chocolate.”
“You’re welcome.” He leaned down, his face inches from hers. “Chelsea?”
He placed a light kiss to the corner of her mouth. “I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve missed you, too, Parker.” Chelsea bit her lip.
It took all Parker had to give her some space, when what he wanted to do was hold her in his arms and kiss her until they were both breathless. “Good night. Be safe, okay?”
She nodded, closed the door, and eased out of the parking space.
Everything he told her in the coffee shop was true. But none of it mattered until she believed it herself. He prayed she would someday realize just how special she was.
Check out the entire Love’s Compass Series and experience the stories of faith, love, and family.
About Author Melanie D. Snitker
Melanie D. Snitker has enjoyed writing for as long as she can remember. She started out writing episodes of cartoon shows that she wanted to see as a child and her love of writing grew from there. She and her husband live in Texas with their two children who keep their lives full of adventure, and two dogs who add a dash of mischief to the family dynamics. In her spare time, Melanie enjoys photography, reading, crochet, baking, archery, target shooting, learning about essential oils, and hanging out with family and friends.