ATH: MJ Fredrick - Melissa Schroeder

ATH: MJ Fredrick

Next up is MJ Fredrick!
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Taking chances is never easy–especially when the whole town is watching. 
Ellie Morgan is trying to stay below the radar in a small town. Her break-up with her football coach boyfriend and growing interest in her best friend’s 
widower are grist to the local gossip mill. Her friendship with the local psychic and the return of her prodigal mother are the cherries on the cake. 
Add a meddling preacher, a water-loving dog and a man trying to shake off his past, and Ellie’s got more than enough on her plate in her quest for 


A ripple of sound ran through the diner and attention turned toward the door. Beside him,
Matt murmured a warning. Slowly, Noah turned to see Trey–dressed in exercise gear–hit the stoop in a long-legged stride, brow furrowed, chin lowered.
Noah went on alert as Trey slammed the glass door open. Mel stopped it from hitting the wall and the room silenced once again. Trey scanned the room, focused on Noah, then swiveled to see Ellie, frozen with a coffee pot in her hand, her expression stricken.
“Trey.” She took a step forward, but he turned to Noah.
“You.” He pointed. “Outside.”
“Trey, no!” Ellie set the pot down hard and hissed when hot liquid sloshed over the side
onto her hand.
Noah leaned back in his chair with deceptive calm. “You don’t have a fight with me, Trey.”
Trey’s color darkened. “You don’t think so? She leaves me and three days later you’re on
the beach with her? You’re driving her car? How long have you been after her, man, or have you been with her all this time?”
Ellie was at Trey’s side now, her hand on his arm. Noah was unprepared for the stab of jealousy, seeing her long fingers on his bare skin, knowing Trey had known that touch everywhere. Trey barely acknowledged her as he tilted his head slightly in her direction to include her, but not taking his focus from Noah.
“I’m not poaching on your territory,” Noah repeated, but something in his face must have
betrayed his emotion because Trey leaned closer. Matt rose, but Noah stayed put.
“Coach,” Matt soothed.
“Outside,” Trey said through his teeth.
Noah pushed his chair back and stood slowly.
“Noah!” Ellie circled behind Trey and put a hand on Noah’s chest. He looked down at her hand, then at her face, turned up to him, her jaw tight, blue eyes dark with warning. All he could think about was how close she was, how good she smelled, how much he wanted to fold his arms around her.
Too late, he registered Trey’s fist swinging. He could have ducked, but that would have put Ellie in the line of fire, so he took the fist to the cheek, felt his skin split, his teeth loosen, and he stumbled into the table. Through the ringing in his ear, he heard people shouting.
And felt Ellie’s hands on the front of his shirt. She turned and said something sharp and angry to Trey. Noah regained his footing. The bell over the door rattled, then Trey was gone and Ellie’s fingers were on Noah’s cheek. He winced and ducked before he realized what he was doing.
“God, Noah, I’m sorry,” she murmured. “Are you okay?”
His hands cupped her elbows before he realized everyone was staring, and they would interpret the move as intimate. He backed away and ran his tongue over his teeth. All intact, but sore as hell. “Yeah. I’m okay.”
“I need to go talk to him.”
Why did the words hurt? He looked away. “Yeah, all right.”
She turned and left the diner. Slowly, he circled to see Mel and Matt setting the table to rights, then Mel crouched to pick up shards of broken coffee cups and plates. “Way to go.” She cast a dark look in his direction.

“You make a mess and chase off a waitress.” She straightened, the remains of his break

Up for grabs a ten dollar GC to the online bookstore of your choice. Let MJ know, what draws you to stories set in small towns?


Categories: Harmless

21 Comments on “ATH: MJ Fredrick

  1. I think it is because everyone knows everyone one in town. They are a close knit community. They help each other. This one sounds good!

  2. I like the small town feel of a story.everyone knowing everyone..They’re there if they need help,to lend a helping hand.Sometimes they’re to nosy but that adds to the story.

  3. I grew up in a rural Oklahoma town with 838 people. I like small town stories because of the sense of community. Everyone is usually related in some way either by blood or marriage. Everyone watches each others back. I’m not a fan of small town gossip but that goes with the territory.

    User1123 AT comcast DOT net

  4. It’s the sense of family that I love the most. They might drive you crazy, but they love and support you and always have your back.

    caity_mack at yahoo dot com

  5. I love small town life. Prefer it over city life.
    I watch the city I grew up in grow too big from the late 60’s when I was in 5th grade to way too large in 1995. We moved from Spokane to a little Idaho town with the pop at 1400. Loved it. Good people all the time. Small town life people look out for one another.
    I loved it. Now I’m in the Alaskan interior, and the tiny community is so people are just nice and help one another.
    Thanks for the contest!

    pommawolf @

  6. I enjoy small town stories because of the closeness the characters have with the people of the town… the slower pace of life, etc.

  7. It’s nice to read a story where all the characters know each other and have there’s such a sense of community.

    janie1215 AT excite DOT com

  8. I like the quirky secondary characters that inhabit small towns. It’s like a permanent extended family that cares about you and helps you make decisions.

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

  9. I like small town stories because there is a close knit community with unique characters that adds great depth to the plot.

  10. I love small towns because they always seem to have eccentric secondary characters. I love getting to know the whole community. I also like how the community usually rallies behind the characters.

    smurfettev AT gmail DOT com

  11. I love stories in small town, cause I live near three. Sometimes everyone knows everyone’s business and sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s bad. But if you need someone, they can be there for you.

  12. I like the idea of someone moving into a small town (especially if they are from a city) and being overwhelmed by the interest the entire town takes in them. Usually having more than one of the opposite sex take an interest in the “new” person in town. And then the continued interest (butting in) of town members once the hero and heroine take an interest in each other. Especially when it is the “town son/daughter” who hooks up with the newcomer.

  13. Small town stories appeal to me for two reasons: 1) totally different from my urban existence and 2) love the upside and downside of having everyone know your business.

  14. Ooh, I love that whole small-town vibe–the sense of community, everyone knowing everyone else for better or worse, and being up in everyone else’s business 😉 I love the sense of everyone having your back, knowing that it’s somewhat family-like in both good and bad ways 🙂

    Anyway, Something to Talk About sounds awesome, MJ!!

    f dot chen at comcast dot net

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