What happens when two of Tidal Falls’ most beloved citizens have second thoughts just before they get married?
Jared Martin can’t wait to tie the knot with the woman of his dreams and become a real father to his son, Chris.
Annie Campbell is finally going to marry the man she’s loved for most of her adult life and she couldn’t be more excited–and anxious.
An unforeseen event will test their devotion to each other and bring the entire town in on the action. Will Jared and Annie’s love stand the test, or is their relationship doomed?
With This Heart
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She yanked the door open and then jumped backward with a shriek as a brown and white shape hurtled through the gap and stumbled in the drive.
“Dad, save Bambi,” Chris cried from inside the cab.
“What was that?” Annie whispered, hands clenched to her chest.
Jared was torn between taking her into his arms or checking on the injured animal for his son. A further cry from Chris as he scrambled to get out of the pickup cemented his decision. He sent a quick glance Annie’s way before hurrying to kneel beside the fawn and stop its frantic movements. “Son, bring that blanket with you. His scent is on it now, it may reassure him some.”
“Is he okay?” Chris hopped down from the crew cab, tugging the blanket behind him. “Hi, Mom,” he chirped on his way by, “guess what Jared did? He hit a baby deer.” The last was said with a mix of nervous tension.
Jared looked up in time to see Annie’s scowl turn to concern. He held out his hand for the quilt. “Here, I’ll cover him up and then you keep him still while I call the vet. Deal?”
“Deal,” Chris agreed, plopping onto the grass and startling the fawn. He scrunched his shoulders and shrugged. “Sorry.”
Jared smiled. “Just take it easy around him for the first few days. You have to remember he’s not used to people. This is all very strange for him.” He wrapped the trembling body, careful to avoid the bad leg. “Pet his head like I showed you before and I’ll be right back, okay?”
Chris nodded without looking away from the delicate face of the deer. “Sure, we’re friends already, see?” He proceeded to rub between the fawn’s ears. “He likes me.”
“Well, sure he does. What’s not to like?” Jared rumpled his son’s red hair—so like his mother’s—and rose. After making sure the fawn was content, he turned to Annie. “Sorry we couldn’t call. Reception was bad out there.”
“What if you’d been injured?” Annie sniped under her breath so as not to alert Chris. “I had no idea where you’d gone. Where to search. It was an irresponsible thing to do.” She folded defensive arms across her chest.
“Whoa, where is this coming from?” Jared grasped her forearm and pulled her resisting body to the front of the truck. “Sweetheart, it’s not like I planned on driving home in the dark and clipping a fawn during our first father-son road trip. You’re not being fair.”
“Fair?” she cried. “Chris is my son, Jared. I have the right to know he’s safe.”
Stunned, he released her arm. “Actually, I thought he was our son. What’s going on, Annie?”
She stared up at him with tear-drenched eyes. “Maybe we’re a mistake.” She looked at his dented vehicle, and at Chris caring for the injured deer, before meeting his gaze with a defiant lift of her chin. “I don’t think I can marry you anymore.”