Mercy Mountain Series
When the road you’re on turns rocky you could end up nestled in the foothills above Ashnee Valley, Colorado near the Mercy Mountain Lodge. Owned by the Mannis family, the dilapidated resort is in need of tender loving care. So are the lives of the women who arrive there. Each woman brings her unique charms and strength influencing the evolution of the lodge over time and a blossoming of romances through the generations of Mercy Mountain.
A little east coast meets western. A little big city meets small town. A whole lot of resilience, new beginnings and lasting love
Firefly Duet is the second novel in the Mercy Mountain Series
Sofia Russo enjoys a charmed life with a loving family, a prosperous photography career and a bevy of good friends. That is, until life takes a crushing turn and then goes from sad to worse. Nearly killed during a violent crime, she nurses one man’s wounds while appearing to let a second man die. Overnight, Sofia is christened a Sexy Florence Nightingale by the press, sparking both praise and death threats on social media.
Ask anyone if Jim Mannis is a success in the years since he left his hometown of Ashnee Valley, Colorado and they’ll say yes. Three tours in Afghanistan. Three years as a NYPD officer. Three days since he rescued a woman during a bank robbery. Yet, none of these heroics matter to him now that he’s on the verge of leaving New York to fulfill a promise to his aging father. Come home son. I need your help to restore Mercy Mountain Lodge.
When authorities urge Sofia to temporarily leave the city under protection, she reluctantly agrees. In steps the cop that just saved her life. Less than twenty-four hours later as Jim heads home to Colorado, the beautiful and intriguing Sofia is by his side.
One endures the sharp edge of grief. The other bears the ache of timeworn loss. Can Jim and Sofia find resilience together and create a new beginning?
“Tell me about the day your brother died.”
Sofia Russo pressed her forehead against the floor-to-ceiling window of her psychiatrist’s seventeenth story office.
“I don’t have time.” She scanned the Manhattan skyline. “I have to stop at the bank then get to work.” She pulled her yellow cashmere wrap tighter. “Your office is freezing, by the way.” Her tone softened, deadened. “Anthony was always cold once his cancer progressed.”
Dr. Patricia Platt leaned back in her chair. “We could talk about that on Friday.”
“Yes.” Sofia crossed the room and picked up her bag from the couch. “Okay.”
“I’ll make sure the office is warmer next visit.” Dr. Platt walked her to the door, her hand gently settling on Sofia’s shoulder. “We’ll work through this together. You didn’t do anything wrong, no matter what anyone said. He was sick, Sofia. There wasn’t anything you could do, or not do, that would have prevented his death.”
Sofia tapped the side of her head. “I know that here.” She tapped her heart. “Not here.”
“Yet,” Dr. Platt reassured. “You don’t know it in your heart, yet. It’s only been six weeks. Grief travels its own timeline, and the path is different for everyone.”
In the elevator, Sofia placed her bag on the floor and, leaning down, dug through its contents to pull her wallet from beneath her camera equipment. The bank was close, just a short distance across the small courtyard ahead. After the bank, she’d have to take a cab to her photo shoot at the theater to make it on time.
Outside, the hot, humid August air felt good after the chilly office. She hurried along, her new sling-back pumps forming blisters on blisters with every step. In the vestibule of the bank lobby, she stopped at the ATM and inserted her debit card. With shaking hands, she put Anthony’s last paycheck as football coach at Port Vincent High School in the deposit envelope and fed it into the machine.
In a couple weeks, Anthony’s players would start a new season. Autumn had once been her favorite — windy days, leaves blowing off the trees, and the scent of apple cider. The best part of the fall was sitting in the stands with her parents and her brother’s girlfriend for Friday night games.
She shook her head, forcing her thoughts back to the present. Pressing another button, she extracted the receipt from the machine and stuffed it in her wallet. The door to the bank crashed open, slamming into her side and almost tossing her on her ass.
“Ouch! Take it easy.” Looking up she met dark brown eyes, the only visible features surrounded by a ski mask.