Title: I Found My Heart In West Virginia
Authors: Chelsea Falin & Cory Hammond
Genre: New Age Contemporary Romance
Release Date: Late Fall/Early Winter 2013
Cheyenne, or Shy as she is better known, makes the huge decision to move her and her four young children to the mountains of West Virginia. Despite coming from a small town in west-central Florida, she had been living in upstate New York with her ex-husband...had been, those were the key words. After finding out her ex-husband was having an affair with a childless eighteen year old girl, Shy calls it quits. West Virginia had long ago found a special place in her heart. The mountains are beautiful, the people are friendly, and you can find a piece of the old life hidden out in the hollers. It doesn't hurt that Cheyenne's favorite cousin, Jace, and his family abide there either. Nor does the cheap property prices. Shy hopes she will find a new life for her and her children. She wants freedom, and a simpler way of life. What she doesn't expect to find is a rough-around-the-edges backwoods boy with plenty of troubles of his own to entrap her heart so quickly after the end of her marriage...or ever, come to think of it.
Cheyenne/Shy's Point of View
Shaking her head, the judge looked up from her papers. “Mr. Carter, is this all of the paperwork you have for me?”
“Yes ma'am.” He answered. I wonder where he dug out those manners from because I certainly had never seen them.
“Mrs. Akers, you also?”
“Yes ma'am.” I answered.
She nodded her head. “Okay, this case is simple. I'm throwing out both of your claims and starting from scratch. “ Both of us cringed. Neither of us knew whether this would be a good thing or a bad thing and for who. “Here's the deal: I am extremely surprised that you are paying only $600 a month for the care of four children, Mr. Carter. This is absolutely unacceptable.”
“But, your honor...” He began to protest.
“No, hush. This is ridiculous. Do you really think $400 a month would cover the expenses? No. Now, Mrs. Akers. Here is what I am going to tell you. I can grant you the $800 a month today, or you can go back and refile your claim without a set amount. Simply refile with all of this information and say that you want the claim disputed. You can get much, much more than what you are currently receiving.” My heart was thumping at what she was saying, but I couldn't help but wonder how much longer that would leave me in the hole, without any form of support besides the money I currently made. I voiced my question. The judge took a deep breath. “Well, that depends. I see you live in West Virginia now. Since you're here in New York now, I suggest you go to the department of children and families and refile. It takes four to six weeks to process, and then they will set you a court date within four weeks of the time they decide to allow your case to go through. You may be without child support for two months, but I think it would be well worth it to you.”
“Your honor, if you don't mind me askin', how much money do you believe I could receive?”
She snorted. “I wouldn't be surprised if you got at least $500-$600 every two weeks, plus,of course, you'll get a lump back payment.”
“That's ridiculous!” David cried out. “Her and her kids aren't worth $600 every paycheck!”
David was going to curse his outburst, and while I felt so bad for my poor children, I enjoyed hearing what the judge's next words were. “Mr. Carter, it is people like you that make me sick to my stomach. These are not her children. She did not immaculately conceive them all by herself. You provided the sperm and I'm assuming not much else. If you hadn't dragged her to this court today, demanding you pay even less than the ridiculously low amount you already pay, she probably wouldn't have ever filed for more. I know her type, and she is going to do just fine for her kids all by herself. I hope she wrings you're sorry ass dry in court, and I pray I get the case so I can have the pleasure of helping her do it.”
“You can't talk to me like that!” David sputtered, his face turning red and the veins in his neck bulging.
“I just did. Case dismissed.” The judge, who was now my hero, banged her mallet and whisked herself out of the court. I couldn't help but smile as I made my way out of the court room. It had been a private hearing, so Jace was waiting just outside of the doors for me. Although there were chairs available for him to sit in, he had chosen to lean up against the wall.
“How'd it go?” He asked me anxiously as soon as I came out of the court room holding my little folder tight against my chest.
“Good, with a tiny bit of bad news.” I looked up and saw David storming towards us. “But I'll tell you all about it later.”
“You had better not take this thing back to the courts, do you hear me?” David sputtered. His face was still bright red. He wasn't taking this very well.
“No, sorry, I didn't hear you. I was thinking about going down to the department of children and families.” I said, careful not to raise my voice. I was going to rise above him and his petty yelling. I no longer disliked him...I loathed the very thought of him.
“You do and you'll regret it! Trust me one this one!” He threatened.
I was about to reply with a smart remark when Jace stepped up. “Why don't you just back off before I put you in the ground?” His voice was soft, but it was lined with steel. He meant what he said.
“You can't threaten me! I'll have you thrown in jail you backwards hillbilly!” David never did know when to keep his mouth shut.
Jace only laughed. “That's hypocritical, ain't it fella? I seem to remember you doin' some threatenin' yourself just a second ago.”
“I...you...ugh!” David stuttered. He had always let his anger get the best of him, and his tongue couldn't keep up with his foul mind. He stormed off without a backwards glance, leaving his threats behind him. Truth be told, he was probably scared of my cousin. I know I would have been if I were in his shoes.
Jace and I looked at one other and we burst out laughing. David looked so funny fuming and fussing like a toddler, and I was ecstatic about the way things had gone today. “C'mon, let's go Jace.” I said.
Willy's point of view
I saw the girls- all four of them- headin' back out of the woods, soaking wet. I whistled and yelled, “Woo wee ladies, y'all are lookin' like some hot messes.” The guys laughed, and I saw Cheyenne blush. The other three girls only rolled their eyes. They did this kind of thing all of the time, but it would seem as though Jace's cousin did not.
I hadn't been drinking all that much, shocking though that might be, but I grinned at the girls like a bobcat. My second go at getting a good look at that girl was just as good- if not better- than the first time around. Looking at her now, in nothing but a blank tank top stuck close to her body and a pair of ripped jeans, I felt about ready to burst. Later, after some subtle prompting by Jace, she ended up beside me, but we didn't talk much at all. It was nice, though, I gotta admit, just being next to her.
Time went by, and around midnight, we all called it quits for the night. I only had two beers under my belt, so I drove Jace's truck home. His cousin sat in the front seat, looking just a bit shiny in the eyes. Jace was nearly passed out and Josh was holding his stomach. Those two had drunk more than their fair share.
I looked back at Cheyenne...or did she like being called Shy better? Eh, who knew. “So how many'd you drink little girl?”
She looked at me. “First, I'm not a little girl, honey. Second, I only had about six or something.”
and here I was thinking that she was, as her name implied, shy. Seemed to me now that she was feistier than she acted. “Well, excu-use me darlin'.”
She half-laughed,half-snorted at me, rolling her eyes as she did. “How many'd you drink then?”
“Two.” She laughed at me. “I figured someone'd better be the designated driver and caretaker, after all.”
“I thought designated drivers didn't drink anything at all.” She retorted. She didn't look at me though. She stared out of the passenger side window. Maybe she was shy and it was just the alcohol doing the talking. Either way, I didn't care. I was going to take advantage of her being pulled out of the little bubble she had seemed wrapped in until she downed her six beers.
Laughing, I said, “Well, you must not be from around here honey, because drinkin' two beers is like drinkin' a bunch of water to me.”
“Does that mean your an alcoholic?”
I snorted. “Hell nah it don't. I just like to have fun I guess. I'm a mite bigger than you to boot.”
She shrugged, and kept looking out the window. We pulled up to the Aker's house in silence, and between me and her, we got the other two inside. I wasn't sure what to do with Josh, so I dumped him on the floor in Jace's bedroom and covered him with a blanket. When I came back into the living room I caught the butt end of a conversation between Cheyenne and Miss Debbie.
“Oh no, honey, I'm sure they're fine. I'd be glad to watch 'em. I promised them me and Jack would take them to go get ice cream in the morning anyways. You go on home and rest.”
“Well, I don't think I can really drive myself...” she started.
Before I knew it, my big mouth had gotten me into something, “I can take you home.”
Miss Debbie smiled at me and looked down at her niece. “See? Jace can bring your truck back to you tomorrow, no worries.”
A few more protests and Cheyenne turned to me. “You sure you don't mind? It's a good twenty minutes or so to my place.”
I shrugged. “I offered, didn't I?”
She shrugged. “Yeah, I guess...thanks.”
We got outside, and I said to her, “Uh, we're just gonna have to walk down to my place to get my truck is all.”
She looked a little nervous. “How far is your place?”
Joking, I said, “Close enough they can hear you scream.”
She laughed genuinely for the first time since I'd met her and followed me up the holler, which was lit only by the pale light of a full moon. It was an unusually beautiful night. Or maybe the company I was in just made it seem that way. I wasn't but four or five houses down the road, and we made it in plenty of time. I opened up the front door, unlocked as usual, and told her that she could come on inside while I got the keys. Matt was sitting on the couch watching television when we came in.
“Hey boy, what do you think you're still doing up?” I asked him.
He just shrugged. “It's not a school night.”
“Uh huh,well I gotta drive her home and when I get back, your butt better be in bed, ya hear me?”
Matt laughed. “Uh huh. Got it.”
Cheyenne just stood there staring at us, the shine of alcohol was slowly leaving her eyes but it was pretty obvious she was still buzzed. I grabbed the keys, told Matt I'd be home in an hour or so, and then I herded Cheyenne out towards my old beat up truck. It was an ancient red Toyota, but it had served me well so far. She still seemed anxious as we pulled out of my short driveway and down the holler toward what served as the main road in these parts. I looked over at her a few times,one hand on the wheel and one arm resting on the open window. When she never said anything, I decided to try and strike up a conversation. She might be one of the most gorgeous things I had ever seen, and I might not be inclined to getting involved with anyone, but a guy could be friendly, right?
Cory Hammond is currently working on her first independent title, but has co-written one previous book with Chelsea (Southern Jokes: Funny But True). This will be her second co-authoring pursuit. Cory is a recent high school graduate and will be starting college in the fall where she will be pursing her AA Degree. Her hobbies and interests include: writing, fishing (particularly cast netting), football, reading, music, and World War II history.
Chelsea Falin is the independent author of twelve current titles. This will be her thirteenth title. Her previous works include the 'Growing Roots Series' and the 'Benson Family Chronicles.' She has wanted to be an author since a very young girl, and finally made that dream come true about four years ago. In her personal life, Chelsea is a wife of almost five years, the mother of a four year old daughter, and a freelance blog/article writer. Her hobbies and interests include: fishing, writing, reading, football, hiking, traveling, cooking and history.
Chelsea Falin and Cory Hammond are sister-in-laws who first met over five years ago when Chelsea began seeing Cory's brother. The two have since become best friends and their similar personalities paired with their unique writing styles make all of their joint writing endeavors appear seamless.