Hometown Dad by P-HarlequinEnterpri


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									Hometown Dad
Author: Merrillee Whren

A pair of rowdy boys would be exhausting for two parents—little wonder single mom Melanie Drake feels
overwhelmed. Her sons are her world, but she knows she needs a helping hand to keep them in line.
Enter Nathan Keller—respected banker, descendant of the town's founding father...and baseball coach.
Melanie knows he's out of her league, but as her sons learn to love Coach Nathan, Melanie starts falling
for him, too. With the whole town rooting for happily ever after, it won't be long before this hometown dad
joins their family for good.

Anxiety knotted Melanie Drake's stomach as she pushed open the heavy glass door leading into the
Kellerville National Bank. Her seven- and eight-year-old sons, Andrew and Ryan, raced ahead, chasing
each other around the deposit counter in the middle of the floor. As she tried to corral them, their laughter
and the slap of their tennis shoes on the marble floor seemed to echo off the walls of the cavernous lobby
with its cherry paneling and granite columns. Their misbehavior did nothing to soothe her frazzled
mind.Melanie grabbed each of the boys by an arm and pulled them to a stop. Letting go to adjust the
satchel she'd slung over her shoulder, she leaned down and looked them in the eye. She forced herself
not to raise her voice. "You two, settle down. Now."When a teller gave them a disapproving look, Melanie
feared her harsh whisper hadn't been as quiet as she'd intended. Staring at her wide-eyed, the boys
nodded and said nothing."Okay, then." She tried to put on a happy face, even though nothing was going
as planned today. She guided the boys to a couple of navy leather chairs situated against a wall near the
bank offices. "Sit here."Andrew and Ryan settled on the oversized chairs, andshe handed them each a
book. Ryan surveyed the book, then looked up, wrinkling his nose. "Do I have to read this? It looks
boring.""I'll read it." Andrew snatched it from Ryan's hand."Hey, I want that." Ryan grabbed it back.While
Melanie tried to take charge of her warring sons, a stern-faced woman approached. "May we help
you?"Melanie took a calming breath and met the woman's critical gaze. "Yes, I'm Melanie Drake and I
have an appointment with Nathan Keller at three-thirty.""Mr. Keller should be with you shortly." The
woman glanced at her watch, then toward the office where Nathan Keller was clearly visible through the
large window. She looked down her nose at the boys before turning her attention back to Melanie. "You're
welcome to wait right here.""Thanks." Melanie sat on one of the chairs opposite Ryan and Andrew and
breathed a sigh of relief as the unsmiling woman resumed her position behind a desk at the far side of the
lobby."Mom, he touched me." Ryan pushed Andrew's arm.Standing, Melanie glared at her sons and
pointed to the chair next to hers. "Ryan, over here.""Okay." Ryan jumped up and obeyed her orders.After
he was seated, she hunkered down between them. "I know you guys don't want to be here, but if you
can't behave while I have this meeting, I won't hesitate to make my excuses and leave. You'll both be
grounded, and I won't unground you until I see improvement in your behavior. Do you understand?"They
nodded, their little faces solemn, but Melanie wasn't sure they believed her. She sat down and plucked a
paperback novel from her satchel. Although she tried to read, her thoughts wandered to her children.
Some of their bad behavior was the result of her lax discipline since their father haddied. She was working
on being a better disciplinarian, but sometimes she found the task difficult. She knew how much her little
boys missed their father and hated to make them feel worse by scolding them.A single mom, she had all
of the parental responsibilities, making for extra stress in her life. People from church stepped in from
time to time to help her out, but it wasn't the same as having Tim there to share the parenting duties. She
tried to remember that God was with her and would see her through, but she sometimes forgot that one
important truth.Every day was another step toward learning to deal with her grief....
Author Bio
Merrillee Whren
Merrillee was born on her mother's birthday, July 3. Sharing birthdays seems to run in her family. Her two
daughters were born a year apart on June 18, the birthday of a great-great grandfather. Her girls are now
grown. The older one lives in Baltimore and the younger one in Boston.Not long after she was born in
Rapid City, South Dakota, her parents moved to Helena, Montana. This would be the first of many moves
in her life. While growing up, she also lived in Billings, Montana, and Huron, South Dakota. She
graduated from high school while her family lived in Spokane, Washington. She went back to Huron,
South Dakota, to attend Dakota Bible College. Then she went on for more schooling at Milligan College in
Tennessee. After graduating, she got a teaching job near Cincinnati, Ohio, where she met her husband
two years later. They were married on Valentine's Day and had their wedding reception in Loveland, Ohio.
No wonder Merrillee became a romance writer.Her many moves as a child prepared her well for life with
her husband. They started their married life in Greenfield, Ohio. Merrillee taught elementary school and
her husband was a pharmacist at the local pharmacy. However, his work would eventually take them on a
journey from small-town Ohio where their girls were born, to the cities of Atlanta, Boston, Dallas and
Chicago. When her husband decided to start his own company, they moved to a resort area in Florida, a
vacation paradise with the beach, tennis and golf right out her back door or just down the street. When
Merrillee is not writing, she enjoys walking on the beach, playing tennis or doing a little yard work.Living
in so many different places has given Merrillee the opportunity to visit all fifty states. She traveled to her
last state several years ago when she and her husband celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary
with an Alaskan cruise. Now maybe you're wondering where her writing fits into all that moving and
traveling. The moves have given her a

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