Celestial Springs Salon, Book 1

Book Cover: Summer Burns
Part of the Celestial Springs Salon series:

The last thing military widow Summer Bettes wants in her life is a new man. Correction, a new military man, though they’re all over Barrum, Kansas.

She’s convinced herself she works hard enough between taking care of her daughter, trying to maintain control of her asthma, and styling hair in the salon her mother owns, she doesn’t need a man in the mix as well.

Then, Matthew Hennessey walks into her life–or rather, back into her life, she starts to question everything.

Her husband’s rival on the wrestling mat in high school, Hennessey knows who Summer is. Always has. And she always held a special place in his heart. So after serving with her husband overseas, it was only right that he pay his respects to the widow when he came back state-side. He only wants to do right by her.

Unfortunately his desires are eclipsing his logic, and doing right by Summer is harder than he thought.


After Henessey finished at work, he ran a few errands, and on his way home, decided to stop by Gregg’s, a local pizzeria to grab a slice for his dinner. He walked in, and the place was fairly crowded as he headed to the counter to order. Immediately his training kicked in, and he started scanning the crowd, looking for threats.

He forced himself to take a deep breath and remember where he was. This was a pizzeria, not a war zone. There weren’t enemies hiding in the corners, waiting to pounce.

It was just families. Families who were there getting some food.

Kids ran around–video games took up a back corner, and several kids were playing the noisy things.

Another breath.

In and out.



Hennessey didn’t have PTSD, as many of his friends had come home with, but there were moments when crowds and noise bothered him. Oh, he’d been to all the therapy he was supposed to go to, and they’d cleared him for active duty. However, considering the loss of his comrades from his last mission, he’d been kept state side.

This too shall pass.

Laughter made him turn, and he saw a young girl, hair cut to her shoulders, with bright green eyes, smiling up at her mother.

He paused.

He’d seen that face before. But in a helmet, and all grown up.

He blinked. And took a step toward the little girl. The little girl stopped laughing, and she stared back at him, her brow crinkled in a funny expression.

“Mama, who is that man?” she pointed right at him.

The girl’s mother turned.

It was Summer.

She smiled. “Hi there, Sergeant.”

He took a couple steps toward her. “Hi.” He kept staring at the little girl. It was uncanny. Really. Just incredible how much that little girl looked like Jake Bettes.

“Are you a friend?” the little girl asked.

He glanced to Summer, unsure how to answer. He’d never been around kids much.

“Sure he is.” She wiped her mouth with a napkin. “He worked with your daddy.”

“Oh.” The little girl seemed to process this for a moment. Then she turned her bright green eyes on him. “Well, my daddy’s in heaven now, so we have this extra chair here, if you want to sit down.”

“Thank you, miss,” he said, nodding to her. “But I was going to grab a slice and be on my way.”

Summer gestured to the pizza on their table, where only two pieces were gone. “Please, sit down. We have plenty. If you don’t mind pepperoni, anyway.”

“I wouldn’t want to impose.”

“Really, it’s no trouble. Take a seat.”

He hesitated. Not that he didn’t want the piece, the pie smelled great–hence the reason he came in. However, he felt a little strange taking a handout from his friend’s wife.

But as he looked into Summer’s blue eyes–strikingly different than her little girl’s–he couldn’t help himself, and sat in the open chair.

Summer Burns

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