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Proud Mari

Paradise isn't always perfect, especially when it's a run down fishing resort held together by a tough but vulnerable widow, three contentious kids and a grandmother who always manages to get the last word. Throw an overdue mortgage, cranky guests and a crooked politician into the mix, and the only thing that can save Fisherman's Paradise is the proverbial white knight in shining armor. Unfortunately, Marigold Adams gets Tom Soebieski: a burned out, know-it-all middle school teacher. His armor isn't merely tarnished, it's non-existent, but whether Mari knows it or not, Tom's exactly what she needs.

A Hard Shell Word Factory Release


Kathryn North

     Minnesotan Kathryn North started writing--shoot 'em up westerns--at age twelve, her literature choice the result of reading her father's Zane Grey and Luke Short novels. Marriage to her high school sweetheart, two sons and daughters-in-law, and three grandchildren later, she is still writing and still a fan of cowboys and all things Western, but writes about people closer to home. Her stories are set mainly in the small town Midwest and peopled with characters who worry about the really important things, such as how does an umpire regain control of a softball game when he's just been attacked and kissed by the shortstop, or where to buy sexy underwear if one is a plus-size woman. Kathryn's first novel, Proud Mari, was also published by Hard Shell Word Factory.

Reviews

"Throw in an ex-wife, three children, some politician, and a fishing derby and you have a great mix. This was a fast and enjoyable read. There was more biting in this lake than the fish! Silver Star!"

Bridges Romance Magazine

"Kathryn North's tale is one of strength and character. You'll like Mari with her determination to be a good mother and keep her family together and understand her reluctance to put her trust in another man. And you'll love Tom, the kind of man we'd all like to find at our doorstep. North's characters are well rounded and very real. This book is a keeper."

Scribes World Reviews

"I thoroughly enjoyed Proud Mari for its vivid portrayal of characters that we care deeply about, for the realistic problems a single mother experiences in raising teenagers, for its accurate description of running a lake resort in northern Minnesota, and for the developing romance between Mari and Tom that was written with passion, tenderness, and humor. Looking for a welcome break from winter? Read Proud Mari and savor an escape that will melt your heart!"

Jeanne Allen -- Knowbetter.com
Excerpt

Prologue

WHAT WILL the kids and I do if I lose Fisherman's Paradise? Marigold Adams never cried, but now she felt tears stinging behind her eyelids.

"Eight thousand dollars, Liz," she said. "Eight thousand dollars, due in August. Only weeks away. How could Eddie have done this to me? Where did he think we'd raise so much money?"

Liz MacDonald, a rake-thin dishwater blonde dressed in jeans and a windbreaker, waved off the approaching waitress before replying. "You know the answer to that."

"Oh, yeah. Remember what he always said? When God asked if I wanted brains, I thought he said rains, so I said, not as long as the fish are biting. He figured it was a big joke." Mari wrapped her hands around her coffee cup, trying to dispel the chill she'd felt ever since she talked to the loan officer. "Eddie wasn't a bad man, but he'd never face up to any unpleasantness, any consequences. Nothing was going to happen to him. He was going to live forever."

She tried to laugh. "I'm sorry. I sound like a witch, don't I? He was my husband. I loved him. I miss him. But I'm so scared... and even though I wish I wasn't, I'm angry."

Liz wordlessly reached across the gleaming wood-grained tabletop and touched Mari's hand.

"If just once he could have done the sensible thing," Mari continued. "He had to go snowmobiling that night. He'd just bought a fast new machine. Of course he always took a bottle along, to keep out the cold. Oh, Liz, why didn't I stop him?"

Liz's unadorned lips thinned. "Because he was an adult?"

It was a good answer. It just didn't apply to Eddie. Mari knew he'd never been good at being an adult. She'd always been the strong one, the one who held it all together. It was what he and the kids expected from her. It was what she expected from herself.

Somehow, over the years it had become a matter of pride.

She set the cup down on the booth's varnished tabletop. "Sorry, Liz. I didn't mean to cry on your shoulder."

"Don't worry about it. That's what friends are for."

Mari stood and hitched her purse strap over her shoulder. "I've gotta go. I still have to pick up groceries and then I'd better be getting back to Fisherman's. A new guest is coming in today."

"A guest? Just one person, vacationing alone?"

"Yeah. We get them at Fisherman's once in a while. A guy. He'll probably spend all day, every day, out on the lake fishing. You know the type. He'll arrive with a tackle box the size of a rowboat and only come in off the lake when it's pitch dark."

"Hey, don't knock it. They're my favorite kind of guest. They pay their rent. You never see them. Then they go home. No fuss. No muss. No bother. I bet you won't even know he's there."