Release date: December 15, 2014
There are crazier ways to spend a holiday. At least that’s what journalist Janey Turner keeps telling herself when she agrees to spend Thanksgiving with the editor she’s never met in person before…who lives three hundred fifty miles away.
The recently divorced mom hopes the trip to Casper, Wyoming, will be a welcome distraction on her first single holiday, and a great chance to pick the boss’s brain on how to get a front-page byline.
But the chemistry that flares between her and Joe Argenti is as hot and unexpected as the lightning strike that soon ignites Casper Mountain. When a massive wildfire erupts, it’s
Janey’s big chance to get ahead—but only if she’s willing to risk this budding relationship. Will her professional dreams cost her a merry Christmas?
by Mary Billiter
Mary Billiter is a published author, weekly newspaper columnist, and college instructor who has four amazing kids, two stepkids, and a man for all seasons. She does her best writing (in her head) on her daily walks in wild, romantic, beautiful Wyoming.
An excerpt from A Man for All Seasons:
“This is Mark’s year to have the twins,” I told my best friend Kris. “Actually, it’s our first year to ever do this. When we got divorced in January, I didn’t think how the holidays would actually be. They seemed so far off. Now, they’re almost here and … ”
“Working will be a good distraction.”
“Yup. So if Joe has a story assignment, the best thing I could do is work and not be alone on my first holiday without my kids.”
“Or … ”
The shift in her tone made me grin like the Cheshire Cat because I knew she was up to something mischievous. “Or what, Kris?”
“You could go to where the stories are.”
I shook my head. “What do you mean?”
“Well, if Jackson doesn’t have anything hopping, I’m sure Casper does.”
I half-laughed. “Yeah, and how do I make that happen? They’ve already got reporters stationed in Casper.”
“Yes, but like you said, it’s the holiday. Won’t the full-time staff reporters be off?”
“Maybe. Most likely.”
“So it’s the perfect opportunity for you to show your mettle and move up in the ranks.”
I wrapped my fingers around my cup. “And how exactly do I go about this?”
“That’s easy,” Kris said. “Invite yourself over to Joe’s for dinner.”
If I weren’t sitting down, I would have slipped off my seat. “Yeah, I don’t see that ever happening.”
“Okay, seriously, don’t make me bring up the obvious attraction you and Joe have for each other.”
I felt my cheeks burn. “We have a mutual respect for each other’s work.” I sounded as rehearsed as when I’d practiced, in case the question ever arose with anyone other than my BFF. “Joe is my editor. We have a professional, working relationship. The fact that any time his emails arrive in my inbox I light up like a Christmas tree, well, that’s my issue.”
“Uh-huh. You’ve checked out his profile page on the Wyoming Frontier website and showed it to me.”
“The newspaper has everyone’s picture, from the lowly part-timers like me, to the full-time staff writers. But they’re in black and white and about the size of a dime. You saw it. It’s hard to really know what he looks like. I don’t even know the color of his eyes. And our social media policy freaked everyone out about having a personal Facebook page, so it’s not like I can check him out there.”
“But you would if you could.”
“Of course. I want to see what he does when he’s not being a statewide editor. I mean, I know what he does because he’s told me he hangs out with his son, Sam, but, yeah, I’d like to see that other side of him. But at the end of the day, he’s in the newsroom and I’m not.”
“But, Janey, you don’t have to be in the newsroom to know him. You worked with him before your divorce and after. It’s clear that he respects your work. And from the long emails he sends back to you, I think he likes you. And I think you like him, too.”
“I like that he’s nice and we seem to get each other. He’s divorced and … ” I shrugged. “I dunno—he just understands what it’s like. Or maybe he’s being kind.”
“Why would you say that?” Her concern came from seeing me through the worst year of my life. From the divorce and finding a new home to Mark’s remarriage and reentering the dating scene, it had been hellish.
“I have a lousy track record with dating. And dating my boss? Oh my hell. That doesn’t seem right on multiple levels. Shall I count the ways?”
“Okay, okay. But I don’t think it’s out of the question for you to let Joe know that you’ll be home alone for Thanksgiving and that you’re available to cover a story assignment in Jackson or Casper. I’m sure the paper would cover the cost of a hotel room if they placed you on assignment away from home.”
Her logic made sense. The only way my work was going to truly get noticed was by having a front-page story—something I hadn’t been able to achieve with the local news I was covering in Jackson. I watched the panes on my kitchen window begin to frost. Snowflake-like patterns covered the glass and created a lacy design. Even though it limited my visibility, it suddenly seemed crystal clear.
“Janey? You okay?”
“Actually, I’ve never been better.” I started to giggle. “Now, I’ve just got to figure out how I’m going to invite myself to Joe’s for Thanksgiving.”