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Elizabeth Kelly Books

Redeeming Harmony Book Four (EBOOK)

Redeeming Harmony Book Four (EBOOK)

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The art of love is messy.

Harper’s life goal never included returning to Harmony Falls a failure.

If her art career flopping wasn’t depressing enough, her father selling his vet clinic to the intelligent and way-too-sexy-for-his-own-good, Nathan Henshaw spoils Harper’s sense of security. 

Harper’s life may be a complete disaster but sparring and sleeping with Nathan is the perfect distraction.  She just needs to keep those pesky feelings for him at bay.

Nathan doesn’t have time for Harper and her spoiled brat routine, even if he’s a little too obsessed with her smart mouth, thorny attitude, and perfect body.  He needs to focus on his new clinic.

Only, there’s much more to Harper that he finds irresistible.

And the growing attraction between them proves impossible to ignore.

When gossip and rumours leave the clinic facing financial ruin, he and Harper must work together to regain the town’s trust while navigating falling in love.

But when Harper’s insecurities threaten her artistic dreams and her relationship with Nathan, can he show her she’s worthy of love or will Harper push him away?

Author's Note:  This is book four in the Harmony Falls Series, but can be read as a stand alone.



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Read an excerpt

Harper cursed and wiped the condensation off the windshield. The weather was getting worse, with the rain bouncing off the windshield until, even with the wipers on full blast, she could barely see more than a few feet in front of her. She slowed to a crawl and squinted through the glass. Her hands clenched around the steering wheel, and the beginnings of a tension headache lurked behind her forehead.

Sheets of water poured from the angry, dark sky. It was almost eleven, and Harper cursed again, wishing she had stopped at the motel a few hours back. Anxious to see her dad and just wanting to be home, she’d decided to push forward… a decision she was regretting.

She was barely doing twenty miles an hour and considered pulling over and waiting for the rain to abate when bright headlights shone behind her. The driver honked two long, loud blasts, but Harper ignored him until the car pulled around and flew past her with a screech of tires and the gunning of his engine. She caught a quick glimpse of his angry, red face before he sped past and dipped back into her lane, narrowly missing her front bumper.

“You smelly taint crotch hound!” Harper shouted as his taillights disappeared into the stormy darkness. A few minutes later, she breathed a sigh of relief. The rain was letting up a little, and she could see the dark, winding road in front of her. After another twenty minutes or so, she would be at her dad’s place. Hell, she could almost taste the strong, dark coffee he made.

She breasted a small hill and slammed on the brakes. The brakes, way past their prime, squealed in protest but did their job. She stopped inches from the back bumper of the dark car that had sped around her earlier. It was stopped in the middle of the road, its engine idling roughly.

“What the hell?” She threw the car into park and picked up her phone, ready to dial 9-1-1 if the asshole even took one step out of his car. With a squeal of tires and a belch of dirty smoke from the tailpipe, the vehicle took off down the road. Harper shook her head and shifted back into drive. She had just stepped on the gas when her headlights caught the reflection of eyes in the ditch beside the road.


She parked her car well onto the side of the road before grabbing the silk scarf she’d been wearing earlier off the passenger seat. She stepped out into the pouring rain, not bothering to grab her jacket from the back seat. She was soaked to the skin instantly by the pelting rain. Goosebumps screamed to life all over her body, and her blonde hair was plastered to her skull within seconds. She slipped and slid into the ditch, wincing as the ankle-deep water soaked her tennis shoes.

The dog lying in the ditch whimpered pitifully as she approached it.

“Easy, boy,” she said. Holding the scarf in one hand, she approached the whining dog.

It tried to get to its feet, and Harper winced when it fell back on its side with a bone-jarring thud. She crouched beside its prone body and rested a hand on its thin side, squinting as she waited for her eyes to adjust to the darkness. The dog returned her stare, its body trembling under her palm. When it made no attempt to move, she cautiously moved her hand to scratch behind its ears.

He lay passively, and she scratched his cheek and under his chin. “Steady, boy.”

Moving slowly, she twirled the scarf into a rope and then eased it around his muzzle, wrapping it several times before tying it in a knot. It didn’t matter how friendly the dog was, an injury could make even the sweetest dog bite. Muzzling an injured dog to minimize the risk was one of the first lessons her father had taught her.

“Steady, boy,” she repeated before running her hands over its thin sides. The dog whimpered again but didn’t try to get up. Water had soaked into his thick fur, and his body was shivering as wildly as hers. She moved her hands down to his back leg, and he made a sharp yelp of pain that pierced her heart. He tried to lurch to his feet before sinking into the rain and mud-soaked ditch.

“It’s okay, big guy. It’s okay.” Keeping one hand on the mutt’s flank, she sat back on her heels and tried to decide what to do. It was impossible to confirm what type of dog it was in the darkness and pouring rain, but she suspected it was a shepherd or at least a shepherd cross. She could feel every rib with chilling clarity. He was obviously a stray, but even in his emancipated state, he was still much too big for her to carry to her car. She was small but strong and knew how to handle animals, thanks to working at her father’s vet clinic for years. However, even she could recognize the impossibility of the task in front of her.

“Hold on, buddy. I’m going to get my phone and call Dad,” she said to the dog.

She stood, pausing when headlights splashed across the road behind her. She squinted at the truck as it stopped behind her car, and the driver climbed out. He jogged over to her, and she stood protectively in front of the dog.

“I just want to help,” he said.

Harper stared up at him in the pouring rain. Even cold and worried about the injured dog, she couldn’t help but notice his body's lean, hard length or the – sweet baby Jeebus – sexiest lips she’d ever seen. There was no way this guy was from Harmony Falls. She wouldn’t ever forget a mouth like that.

Harper! Now is not the time, her inner voice chastised.

She stepped aside, crouching next to the stranger when he kneeled beside the dog and ran his hand over its flank. He made his own murmured reassurances to the dog before running his hand over his hind leg. The dog whined, lifting its head to give them a weary, accusing look of pain before dropping it with a squishy thud against the wet ground.

“Did you muzzle the dog?”

Harper nodded. “Yeah. I didn’t want him biting me.”

“Smart. Is it your dog?”

“No. There was an asshole driving like a moron in front of me. I think it hit the dog and then took off. He looks like a stray to me.”

The stranger nodded as his large hands moved quickly over the rest of the dog’s body, searching for obvious injuries.

The rain had slowed to a drizzle, and Harper jumped when there was a big boom of thunder, and the rain became a torrential downpour again. Shivering, water dripping from her nose and chin, she leaned forward and spoke directly into his ear so he would hear her over the rain.

“I need you to help me carry him to my car. There’s a vet about ten minutes from here.”

He turned his head, and Harper blinked at the closeness of his face to hers. She caught a glimpse of his dark eyes and tanned face before he tilted his head and spoke into her ear. “We’ll take my truck. There’s more room.”

His biceps bulging against his t-shirt, he carefully picked up the stray, cradling it against his chest as he headed toward his truck. She splashed ahead of him and opened the passenger door. The truck was high, and she felt like a little kid, stepping onto the running board and using the handles to help herself climb in before scooting over to the middle. The man eased the shivering, whimpering dog into the truck until his head rested on Harper’s lap.

The dog cried out again when the man shifted his back leg into a more secure position before closing the door. He slid behind the wheel and slammed the door shut. Now that she was sitting beside him, she was acutely aware of how big Mr. Sexy Lips was.

He was lean but well over six feet, and the hands gripping the steering wheel were twice the size of hers. She could feel every brush of his thigh against hers as he started the truck and drove down the road, peering through the windshield.

Both of them were shivering, and he turned the heat to high. She enjoyed the warm air blasting against her body for a few seconds before reaching across and angling the vent to blow directly onto the trembling dog draped in her lap.

“Steady, boy. Steady.” She rubbed the thick, wet fur of his forehead and neck when he shifted and yelped.

“I’m Nathan.”

“Harper.” She peered out the windshield into the darkness. “You’re going to take your next right in about five minutes. It’s a long, winding driveway. Try to go slow. There are lots of potholes.”

She glanced up at Nathan. “Can I use your cell phone? I left mine in my car.”

He pointed to the phone mounted on the dashboard, and she grabbed it.

“Code is 175636,” Nathan said.

She punched it in and then dialed the number from memory, smiling a little as she held the phone to her ear. Her dad and Addie’s numbers were the only ones she knew.

Her father’s voice on the phone chased away some of the chill she felt. “Hey, it’s me. I’m about three minutes away, and I have a dog just hit by a car. Maybe a broken hind leg or some internal injuries. Can you meet me at the clinic?”

“Yes. See you soon, sweetheart.”

Her dad ended the call without asking other questions, and her smile grew. God, she loved him.

She stuck the phone back in its holder on the dashboard. “Once you reach the top of the driveway, take a left. You’ll see a brick building you can park in front of.”

He nodded but didn’t say anything. She petted the injured dog, her teeth clacking together and her body quaking from the cold. She was tempted to lean into Nathan to try to leech some of his body heat, but he was just as wet as she was and wouldn’t provide much warmth.

He turned right and drove slowly down the bumpy gravel driveway. Harper held the injured dog and tried to minimize his movements, breathing a sigh of relief when they parked in front of the clinic. It was already lit with light, and a sense of being home covered Harper like a warm blanket, chasing away some of the chill she felt.
Nathan jumped out and hurried around to the other side of the truck, opening the door and easing the dog out, doing his best not to bump the injured leg as he shifted him in his arms. Harper slid across the seat towards the door and jumped the considerable distance to the ground. She slammed the door shut as the door to the clinic opened.

Leaving Nathan and the injured dog behind, she hugged her father, burying her face in his shoulder. He smelled the same, a combination of antiseptic and coffee, and her throat started to burn as she blinked back tears. God, she’d missed him. She hadn’t been home in the last year, and he’d only visited her once in the year she’d been gone.

“Hi, sweetheart.”

“Hi, Dad.” She kissed his cheek and scooted past him into the clinic, her sneakers making rubber squeaks on the tile floor with every step.

Harper crossed the foyer to the swinging door that separated the waiting area and exam rooms from the clinic’s treatment area. She held the door open as Nathan and her father walked through. A green blanket covered one of the steel examination tables, and Nathan eased the dog onto it as her father brought over a muzzle.

He untied Harper’s scarf, setting it on the long counter that held the lab equipment, before petting the old dog’s cheek and chin. He slipped the muzzle on and secured it, then examined the dog’s eyes and ears.

“Pupils look normal. Harper, step around here and hold his head while I examine him, please.”

How many times had she done this before? Too many to count. It might have been over a year since she’d last helped her father in the clinic, but she fell into the familiar routine without missing a step. She buried her fingers in the shaggy fur of the dog’s throat and scratched gently.

She was right. The dog was a shepherd cross. He was horribly thin. His hip bones and ribs stuck out, and he had lost large clumps of fur across his body. She wondered idly when he had eaten last as he made a low sigh and closed his eyes.

She watched her father’s hands, crisscrossed with large blue veins, ease their way down the dog’s body. He prodded the dog’s stomach, and when the dog whined, he said, “Steady, boy. Steady.”

She rubbed the dog’s head again, picking out small burrs and twigs from his fur, murmuring soft assurances to the frightened animal. The initial warmth of the clinic had faded, and she clenched her jaw to keep her teeth from chattering as water dripped from her hair down the back of her neck.

Nathan stood slightly behind her, and she was more aware of his body than she should have been. Man, how tall was the guy anyway?

Her father hummed softly to himself, muttering small, unintelligible words to the dog as he pressed around the dog’s back hips.

The dog whimpered and tried to sit up. Harper pressed against his head and shoulders, but the dog was starting to slip free despite how emancipated and weak he was. Before she could shout a warning to her father, she felt the hard, warm bulk of Nathan press up against her. His big hand pushed against the dog’s shoulders next to hers, his other hand bracing the dog’s head against the table.

The dog struggled for a few seconds longer before giving up the fight. With Nathan holding him down, Harper could pet and scratch the dog’s neck.

“Good boy. That’s a good boy,” she said when he whimpered again.

The dog settled, and she was suddenly much too aware of Nathan’s body against hers, of his warm breath on the side of her neck. His chest brushed lightly against her back, but he kept his lower body away from hers. She should have been pleased that he wasn’t using her need for his assistance as an excuse to be a total perv. Instead, she wished his crotch was pressed up against her ass, wished that grinding up against a complete stranger in front of her father was a perfectly a-okay move to make.

Who’s the perv now? her inner voice asked.

She was. With a capital P. Still, his politeness wouldn’t stop her from asking out Mr. Tall, Dark, and Sexy Lips the minute she had a chance. He would be a nice distraction from her life's current mess.

“Okay. You can ease up now,” her father said.

Nathan stepped away, and she mourned the loss of his warmth. She cautiously stepped back from the dog, waiting to see if he would try to get up. He didn’t move, keeping his head on the blanket and his eyes closed.
“No break in the leg, but that hip’s dislocated,” her father said. “We’ll sedate him, do some x-rays and then pop the hip back in. Nathan, can you stay and help?”

“Wait, what?” Harper stared at her father. “You know this guy?”

Her father nodded as Nathan stuck his hand out. “Hi, Harper. I’m Nathan Henshaw. I work with your dad. I’ve heard a lot about you.”

Harper stared mutely at him.

Mr. Tall, Dark, and Sexy Lips was Dr. Henshaw.

The asshole veterinarian who was trying to steal her father’s practice and send him into early retirement.

The man she’d never met but already hated.

Well, shit.

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