Reconstructing Roman is a brand new romantic suspense novel by Sandra S. Kerns. You can read my Goodreads review here, but I thought it might be nice to tease you with a little excerpt. Enjoy.
When Kaia hung up the few remaining doubts about her move vanished. Despite the money her family had, she had never belonged in that world. Grant understood that. His father didn’t.
Daniel Wentworth had fought her move every step of the way, even trying to have Grant talk her out of it. When Grant refused, even siding with her, his father had gone ballistic. When he found out she’d sold her apartment and rented a trailer, he’d finally accepted the truth.
Well, she thought he had, but now she had her doubts.
“Okay, Nicky. If we’re going to stay here, it’s time to call for some help.” Kaia grabbed her backpack from the floor and dug through several pockets before she found the card Daniel had given her. Nicky sat at her feet while she input the number.
Kaia was caught off guard by the older female voice that answered the phone. Daniel had said the caretaker was male and lived alone.
“Hello, this is Kaia Beecher. I’m–”
Before she could finish she heard a short startled scream and the person obviously dropped the phone. She called out hello a few times hoping to find out what happened.
“Who is this?”
The deep, angry, demanding male voice surprised Kaia as much as the original female voice. “Kaia Beecher. I was given this number if I had any trouble at my grandparents’ house. I’m looking for an Adam, um, just a minute.” In the shock of being yelled at, she’d dropped the card.
“Smirnosky,” the deep voice said. “Why would you be looking for Adam?”
The man didn’t sound angry anymore, but concerned. Kaia persevered. “The executor of my parents’ estate told me he was acting as a caretaker for the farm. Mr. Wentworth was supposed to call ahead and let Mr. Smirnosky know I was coming. I’m guessing he didn’t do that.”
Of course he didn’t. The man had no intention of making her life easy unless she married his son. Damn him.
“Just a minute,” deep voice said.
Kaia heard a click as if the phone had been set down. Then she heard the man’s deep voice speaking to someone in a much softer tone. The gentleness of his voice sent a shiver over her skin. The only time she’d ever heard a man’s voice sound like that was her father comforting her mother. Those two had been unbelievably, head-over-heels in love, even after thirty years.
“Miss Beecher, I’m sorry for the misunderstanding. We’ve had a rough week here. Adam isn’t available right now. He hadn’t mentioned taking care of your property to me, thus the confusion. Well, that and the fact that you sound just like your grandmother.”
“The lady who answered the phone was a good friend of your grandmother’s. When you said you were Kaia Beecher, Miss Hattie thought it was a ghost. It gave her a bit of a scare.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry. I never even thought about it.”
“It’s okay. I’m sure Miss Hattie will recover. What was it you need help with? I can try to take care of it.”
Kaia debated the wisdom of getting help from someone she didn’t know, hadn’t been recommended, and seemed to have a quick temper. Then again, she didn’t really know anyone here. Still–
“If it helps, I’m Adam’s brother. Actually, we met earlier today up at the Bury Patch. I’ve just come back to town and . . .”
“It’s been a rough week,” Kaia finished for him, her mouth pulling into a grin.
“Well, yeah, but actually, I was going to say, I probably know the property better than Adam. I used to help your grandfather out when I lived here.”
Deciding he sounded repentant for his earlier harsh tone, he was trying to help his brother, he used to work with her grandfather, and she had at least met, she would trust him. Her earlier thought about a boy who helped her grandfather returned. She wondered if this was the same person, but she wasn’t brave enough to ask.
“I just got back to the house before the rain hit. Since it stopped, I looked around for the main water valve and fuse box, but I can’t find either one.”
“I can take care of that for you. I’ll be over shortly.”
The man disconnected and Kaia found herself staring at the phone. She didn’t remember people out here being rude, but then she had only been a child. When she really thought about it, he hadn’t really been rude. He probably thought I’ll be over shortly was the same as saying goodbye. He’d also said things hadn’t been going well this week, so she should give him a break. As long as shortly didn’t turn out to be two hours or something. Until he got here she could start moving boxes to appropriate rooms, she thought.
She’d barely moved two boxes when Copernicus ran to the front door yipping and jumping up and down.
“What is it, boy?” she asked, emerging from the kitchen in back. “Do we have company?”
Kaia looked out the door and watched a familiar truck pull up behind her SUV. The cab door opened and a large work boot appeared below the door. She saw Roman’s dark hair above the door before he leaned back in the truck for something. Without thinking, she opened the screen door and Copernicus bolted through the opening. He ran to the man yipping all the way and jumping up against his calf.
“Hey there, Cujo,” the man said, reaching down and scooping him up in one hand. “We meet again.”
“Copernicus,” she chided the dog as she walked toward them.
“Uh-oh, I got you in trouble again,” the man said before meeting Kaia’s gaze.
“It is you.”
“It’s me, who?”
Kaia laughed though he looked serious. “The Roman I remember from when I visited here as a child and the man from the cemetery earlier today. That must be why Nicky ran to you, though he did run to you at the cemetery too. That’s odd. He doesn’t usually . . .”
“Guilty of the first two, but what doesn’t he usually do?” he asked, handing Nicky back to her.
She felt color suffuse her face and dipped her head as she answered. “Like men.”
Roman Smirnosky laughed. “Smart dog. Let me take care of the power for you first and then I’ll look into the water.”
With that, he turned and walked down the side of the house. Kaia watched him until he disappeared. “Okay, Nicky, I guess he’s in a hurry. Let’s go inside so we can let him know when it comes on.”
Walking inside, Kaia went to the kitchen. She looked out the window to see where Roman had gone. There was no sign of him. She knew he hadn’t come inside, so where the heck was the power box?
A minute later, the side door of the shed opened and he stepped out. She watched him lock the door and then pause. His head turned just a little as if he had heard something behind the shed. It was only a moment, but for some reason it gave her a sense of unease. Then, he turned and walked toward the back door. Remembering she’d locked it earlier, she rushed over, twisted the deadbolt and opened the door before stepping back.
“You’re letting your imagination get the best of you,” she said laughing at herself and shaking her head as he knocked on the back screen door. “Come on in.”
The moment he set foot inside, the rest of the room seemed to shrink. Copernicus ran straight for him. When he smiled and scooped the dog up again, Kaia lost all ability to breathe. He had a killer smile. He rubbed Nicky’s head before turning his gorgeous green eyes toward her.
“Are you and your resident astronomer staying here alone?”
A sliver of fear pierced Kaia’s mind. His angry accusation on the phone, and his obvious physical strength had alarm bells clanging in her ears. She was a woman alone in a town, hell a state, where she didn’t know anyone to call if she needed help. Then she noticed that he hadn’t moved any closer. He made no move to crowd her. And damn it, Nicky liked him.
You can find Reconstructing Roman online below. Love that dog.
The north and the south collided again when Sandra was born. Her parents relocated to New York from Kentucky shortly before she was born. Talk about worlds colliding; being the only official Yankee in a house full of rebels made life interesting to say the least. If you ever speak to her in person, don’t be surprised if a “y’all” pops out because she also spent a number of years in Mississippi. Sandra now lives in Northern Colorado where she writes her stories of love from a sweetheart-of-a-town. With the majestic Rocky Mountains, family, and friends to inspire her she never lacks for ideas.
Sandra has always loved words. By the seventh grade she should have known she would be a writer, when much to the regret of her classmates, she chose idiosyncrasies as a spelling word. One of the high points of her life was the first time she beat her mother at Scrabble! Yes, it’s still her favorite game.
Being a morning person allows her to get all her writing and other work done which leaves her time in the evenings for her suspense, thriller, sci-fi shows. While she enjoys the intricacies of figuring out the how, who, and why of crimes, her real love is for the relationships that bind the players together. The bonds between partners on and off the force. The dance between people at work, at play, and in their everyday settings. These are what keep Sandra writing her stories bringing suspense and romance together in a mutually satisfying conclusion.
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