An Everyday Hero: A Heart of a Hero #2 by Laura Trentham

An Everyday Hero: A Heart of a Hero #2 by Laura Trentham

Laura Trentham comes to the blog with the second in A Heart of a Hero series, this one full of redemption, second chances and acceptance with

An Everyday Hero

Everyone in this story has something to overcome or deal with – and the romance, while there, is background in a ‘coupled up’ sense, to allow the characters to find their own joys again, rebuild confidence and improve their relationships. Greer lost everything she thought she had, and after one bad decision after the next finds herself back with her parents and assigned to volunteer with a group that serves the military and their families – through a court decision. She’s totally at a loose end when thinking of this – because she feels her music failed her, and there is nothing she has to offer. Particularly not to a fifteen year old girl who lost her father in Afghanistan, and is acting out in her grief. Greer is thinking she’ll put in the hours and do the ‘work’ while she plans something different and perhaps a new career.

Seeing much of herself in Ally (the teen), and finding a talent there: Greer decides that she can help Ally and nurture her talent while steering the young girl away from the pitfalls that she danced through without thinking. When she sees that she’d managed to get through to Ally – and their relationship is improving as Ally learns to deal with her anger and grief over her father’s death, she’s given the task of approaching an old school mate, recently returned from war. Emmett was the golden boy in town, and Greer finds that he’s not only unwilling to engage – but doesn’t believe that he’s worth anyone taking time to help him. He’s angry, frustrated and scared, and while he knows Greer from school and the town, he doesn’t expect her stubborn refusal to ‘go away’ and forget about him. She’s feeling more confident with the success she’s had with Ally, and she’s determined that Emmett has more to share.

Everyone here has some steps to take in their own journey of self-discovery, and no one is more surprised than Greer to find that everything she thought was lost, and could never be found were returning – slowly but surely. And there’s even a delicate dance with Emmett – one that both are not entirely sure they are ready for, but want to take that chance anyway. As previously stated, the romance here is really one of “friends” and “self” as everyone finds a better way to move forward and acknowledge their own issues, work on them, and learn to rely on other people to listen, understand, accept and support.

Please read down to get a ‘sample’ of the title from Chapter One….

 

An Everyday Hero: A Heart of a Hero #2 by Laura Trentham

Title: An Everyday Hero
Author: Laura Trentham
Series: A Heart of a Hero #2
Genre: Coming of Age, Contemporary Military Romance, Family Saga, Friendship, Grief, Humor elements, Romantic Elements, Second Chance, Small Town, Southern
Published by: St. Martin's Griffin
ISBN: 1250145554
Published on: 4 February, 2020
Format:eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 336
Audio Length: 10 Hours: 7 minutes
Rated: four-stars
Heat: One FlameOne FlameHalf a Flame

Get Your Copy: Amazon Barnes&Noble iTunes Kobo Downpour IndieBound GoogleAudibleDirect from Publisher
See this Title on Goodreads

From award-winning author Laura Trentham comes an emotionally layered novel about redemption, second chances and discovering that life is worth fighting for.

At thirty, Greer Hadley never expected to be forced home to Madison, Tennessee with her life and dreams of being a songwriter up in flames. To make matters worse, a series of bad decisions and even crappier luck lands her community service hours at a nonprofit organization that aids veterans and their families. Greer cannot fathom how she’s supposed to use music to help anyone deal with their trauma and loss when the one thing that brought her joy has failed her.

When Greer meets fifteen-year-old Ally Martinez, her plans to stay detached and do as little as possible get thrown away. New to town and dealing with the death of her father in action, she hides her emotions behind a mask of bitterness and sarcasm, but Greer is able to see past it and recognizes pieces of who she once was in Ally. The raw and obvious talent she possesses could take her to the top and Greer vows to make sure life’s negativities don’t derail Ally’s potential.

After Greer is assigned a veteran to help, she’s not surprised Emmett Lawson, the town’s golden boy, followed his family’s legacy. What leaves her shocked is the shell of a man who believes he doesn’t deserve anyone’s help. A breakthrough with Ally reminds Greer that no one is worth giving up on. So she shows up one day with his old guitar, and meets Emmett’s rage head on with her stubbornness. When a situation with Ally becomes dire, the two of them must become a team to save her—and along the way they might just save themselves too.

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

 

 

Chapter 1

“Disorderly conduct. Public intoxication. Resisting arrest.” Judge Duckett put down the paper, linked his hands, and stared over his reading glasses from his perch behind the bench with a combination of exasperation and fatherly disapproval.

Greer Hadley shifted in her sensible heels and smoothed the skirt of the light pink suit she’d borrowed from her mama for the occasion. “I’ll give you the first two, Uncle Bill—” The judge cleared his throat and narrowed his eyes. “Excuse me—Judge Duckett—but I did not resist arrest.”

“That you recall.” Deputy Wayne Peeler drawled the words out in the most sarcastic, unprofessional manner possible.

She fisted her hands and took a deep breath. The impulse to punch Wayne in the face simmered below the surface like a volcano no longer at rest. But ten o’clock on a Monday morning during her arraignment was not the smartest time to lose her temper, and she’d promised herself not to add to her string of bad decisions.

She sweetened her voice and bared her teeth at Wayne in the facsimile of a smile. “I recall plenty, thank you very much.”

Truth was she didn’t recall the minute details, but the shock of Wayne’s whispered offer on Saturday night to make her troubles go away for a price had done more to sober her up than the couple of hours spent in lockup waiting for her parents.

Dressed in his tan uniform, Wayne adjusted his heavy gun belt so often she imagined he got off every night by rubbing his gun. Giving him a badge had only empowered the part of him desperate for respect and approval. His nickname in high school, “the Weasel,” had been well earned.

Unfortunately, she was the unreliable narrator of her life at the moment and no one would trust her recollections. Judge Duckett, her uncle Bill by marriage until he and her aunt Tonya had divorced, rustled papers from his desk.

The ethics of her former uncle acting as her judge were questionable, especially considering they had remained close even after he’d remarried, but if nepotism is what it took to make this nightmare go away, then she wouldn’t be the one to lodge a complaint.

“A witness claimed you were sitting quietly at the end of the bar until a song played on the jukebox. What was the song?” Her uncle glanced at her over his glasses again, which made him look like a stern teacher.

“‘Before He Cheats’ by Carrie Underwood.” She forced her chin up.

His mouth opened, closed, and he dropped his gaze back to the paper. A murmur broke out behind her.

She would not cry. She wouldn’t. She blinked like her life depended on a tear not falling. Later, in the privacy of her childhood bedroom, she would bury her face in the eyelet-covered pillow and let loose.

Beau Williams, her cheating ex-boyfriend, was only partially to blame for her embarrassing behavior. It was a confluence of setbacks that had had her holding down the end of the bar. Hearing Carrie’s revenge anthem had hit a nerve exposed by the shots of Jack. Rage had quickened the effects of the alcohol, and that’s when things got fuzzy.

“Yes, well. That is a rather … Let’s move on, shall we? The witness also claims after a heartfelt, albeit slurred speech about the vagaries of relationships and how the moral fiber of the Junior League of Madison was frayed, you fed five dollars into the jukebox and played the same song for over an hour. ‘Crazy’ by Patsy Cline, was it?”

Ugh. She didn’t recall how much money she’d fed the machine, but it sounded like something she would do. “Crazy” was one of her favorite songs. A master class in conveying emotion through simple lyrics. She was just sorry she’d wasted five dollars on Beau. He didn’t deserve her money, her heart, or Patsy.

“No one can fault my taste in the classics.” Greer tried a smile, but her lips quivered and she pressed them together.

Her uncle continued to read from the witness statement, “You proceeded to throw two glasses on the floor, shattering them, and attempted to break a chair across the jukebox.”

She swallowed hard. A vague picture of a frustratingly sturdy chair surfaced. The fact the chair remained intact while she was falling apart had sent her anger soaring higher and hotter. A glance from her uncle Bill over the paper had her giving him a nod. She couldn’t deny it.

He continued, “A patron called 911. When Deputy Peeler arrived, he pulled you away from the jukebox and forced you outside. That’s where, he claims, you kicked him … well, you know where.”

“Wayne dragged me down the stairs—”

“Deputy Peeler, if you please.” Wayne sniffed loudly.

“As Deputy Peeler escorted me down the stairs, I lost my balance and fell. The heel of my shoe jabbed into his crotch. Sorry.” Greer didn’t make an attempt to mask her not-sorry voice with fake respect.

If she accused Wayne of misbehavior on the job, he would deny it and spin it somehow to make her look even more irresponsible. Lord knows, she’d embarrassed her parents enough for a lifetime. Anyway, seeing him rolling on the ground and cupping his crotch had been sweet payback.

“I sustained an injury where that spike you call a heel caught me.” Wayne half turned toward her.

Instead of playing it smart and soothing his delicate male ego, she batted her eyes at him. “I’m sure that’s left the ladies of Madison real upset.”

Wayne took a step toward her. “You are such a—”

The gavel knocked against the bench and her uncle stood, looming over them. “I’ve heard enough, Deputy. Sit down.”

Wayne turned on his heel and left Greer to face her uncle Bill. This was where she would promise such a thing would never happen again, and he would give her a stern warning before dismissing all charges.

“I’m striking the resisting arrest charge. It was an accident.”

Greer forced herself not to look over her shoulder and stick her tongue out at Wayne. That left only two misdemeanors, which her uncle could expunge with a swipe of his pen.

He settled behind the bench and picked up his pen, his gaze on the papers. “You will pay for any damages.”

“I’ve already reimbursed Becky.” Technically, she’d had to use her parents’ money, considering she’d crawled home from Nashville broke. “And apologized profusely. You can be assured there will not be a repeat performance. I’ve learned my lesson.”

“Good. As for the other charges…”

Her deep breath cleansed a portion of the tension across her shoulders, and a smile born of relief appeared.

“You will perform fifty hours of community service.”

Her smile froze on her face. It sounded like a lot, but she’d been stupid and immature and deserved punishment. “I understand. Clean roads are important.”

“Litter pickup? Goodness no.” He took his glasses off and smiled at her for the first time, but it wasn’t the jolly-uncle smile she was familiar with. “You have talents that would be wasted on the side of the road picking up trash, Ms. Hadley. You will spend your fifty hours working at the Music Tree Foundation.”

“I’m not familiar with it.” She swallowed. The mention of music set her stomach roiling. “Highway 45 was in terrible shape on my drive in last week.”

“The foundation is a nonprofit music program that focuses on helping military veterans and their families cope with the trauma they’ve endured serving our country. They’re in need of volunteer songwriters and musicians.”

“I can’t write or play anymore.” Her dream of hearing one of her songs on the radio had died. Not in a blaze of glory but from a slow, torturous starvation of hope. At thirty, she was resigned to finding a real job and cobbling together a normal life in the place she’d tried to leave behind.

“My decision is final. As far as I can determine, your brain—despite this lapse in judgment—is in fine working order. You can and will help these men and women heal through your gift of music. Unless you’d rather spend thirty days in county lockup?”

Would her uncle actually throw her in jail? For a month? “No, Your Honor, I don’t want to go to county lockup.”

“Good. Once you turn in your log with all your hours signed off by the foundation’s manager, your record with this court will be cleared.” He handed her file to a clerk. “Case closed. Next up is docket number fourteen.”

She stood there until he met her gaze with his unflinching one. “Go home, Greer.”

Her parents were waiting at the door to the courtroom. While they’d faced the horror of having to bail their only child out of jail stoically, her mother’s embarrassment and disappointment were ripe and all-encompassing. Greer wilted and trailed her parents out of the courthouse.

She felt like a child. An incompetent, needy child living in her old bedroom and dependent on her parents for emotional and financial support. She thought she’d hit rock bottom many times over the years, but her situation now had revealed new lows.

The silence in the car built into a painful crescendo.

“The tiger lilies are lovely this year, don’t you think?” Her mother’s attempt at normalcy was strained but welcome.

Her father’s hands squeaked along the steering wheel as an answer.

Greer huddled in the backseat and stared out the window, the clumps of flowers on the side of the road an orange blur. As a teenager, she’d chafed at her parents’ protectiveness and had wanted nothing more than to escape to Nashville, where she’d been convinced glory and fame awaited. Now she was home and a disappointment not only to her parents but to herself. Even worse, she hadn’t come up with a plan to turn her life around.

“Ira Jenkins is back in the hospital. I thought I’d run by and check on him. Since Sarah passed, he seems a shell of the man he once was.” Her mother turned to face the backseat. “Would you like to come with me? I’m sure he’d be happy to see you.”

“He won’t remember me, Mama.”

“I’m sure he will.”

 

About Laura Trentham

An award-winning author, Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she was convinced an English degree equated to starvation. She chose the next most logical major—Chemical Engineering—and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years.

She writes sexy, small town contemporaries and smoking hot Regency historicals. The first two books of her Falcon Football series were named Top Picks by RT Book Reviews magazine. When not lost in a cozy Southern town or Regency England, she's shuttling kids to soccer, helping with homework, and avoiding the Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry that is almost as large as the to-be-read pile of books on her nightstand.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.