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Violet L. Ryan
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Ann Mason is a gumboot-shod, overall-wearing, shotgun-toting Tennessee woman who became strong and self reliant after surviving an abusive father and a brutal husband. Jackson Barrister, a spoiled Midwestern playboy, is banished to Tennessee to learn the family business from the ground up, and hopefully mature into manhood. They meet in a clash over Barrister’s plans to build a resort on property bordering Ann’s—and sparks fly. Soon Jack is neck deep in the mystery surrounding Red Mason’s death five years before. Given the helpfulness of an old black man named Haber Judd, a huge, ferocious dog named Peanut, and Ann’s lifelong distrust of men, what are the chances love will bloom in the “Tennessee Moonlight?”
When moonlight bathes the Tennessee night with its luminous rays, the glow is like a soft morning sun peeking from behind the mountains. On a night like that, Ann Mason slipped out the back door of her little mountain cabin, leaving a drunken husband looking for his favorite punching bag. She had managed to avoid Red’s fists for the last hour, and she knew he stood on the verge of passing out. That was always the most dangerous time, the time when he usually did the most damage, the time when she tried to make herself scarce.
She didn’t always succeed. Many times she spent several days with a face that looked like hamburger, not to mention all the bruises hidden beneath her clothing. Once, she ended up in the doctor’s office so he could set a broken arm. She had a lot of scars. Most of them were on the inside, and they were deeper and uglier than the ones on the outside.
She’d sweet-talked Red’s dog into the house and gave the ferocious mutt her own meager supper, which she’d saved for just that purpose. She escaped into the night before he finished wolfing down his rare treat. That’s how she managed to sneak out. That dog had given her away more times than she could count. Brutus hated her almost as much as Red did, except when he wanted something to eat. Like master, like dog.
She had her dog with her now. She’d raised Peanut, the only thing in the world that loved her, from a pup. The night she found him, she’d ventured out for a moonlit walk. Along the road, she heard a car and ducked out of sight because she didn’t want anyone seeing her new bruises. She caught a glimpse of something flying out the door of a moving vehicle. After the automobile passed, she heard pitiful puppy cries and moved to investigate. He seemed so little when she first saw him, ergo the name, but he grew into a big strong dog that even Brutus gave way to.
He was almost six months older than Red’s dog; otherwise, he probably wouldn’t have survived puppyhood. Red taught Brutus viciousness from the day he brought him home, whereas she raised Peanut to love and protect. Of course, she encouraged those traits without Red’s awareness. He would never have allowed her to succeed if he’d known. Peanut stood up to Brutus and showed him he would fight if necessary, and win, so Brutus respected him.
Now they were moving quickly and quietly through territory Ann had known since childhood. She’d lived there all her life, first with her father, Jessie Randall, who’d also been an abuser, then with her husband, Red, the man her father gave her to. Her mother died when she was very young. Ann strongly suspected Jessie beat her to death, but as far as she knew, he’d never been accused of the crime.
They were near the old lake road when Peanut stopped and stood dead still. She followed suit, completely trusting her dog’s instincts and hearing, knowing they were much keener than hers. As they silently listened, Ann heard the faint, but unmistakable sounds of scuffling, then fists hitting flesh and groans of pain.
As her ears tuned in to the night sounds, she could hear heavy breathing, a sound she often heard from Red as he exerted himself to beat the crap out of her. Then she heard mocking laughter, the same kind that came from Red when he finished pounding on her and she was only semi-conscious. Someone was getting a beating!
Her eyes were adjusting just as her ears were. Through brush and weeds as tall as her head, she made out a group of men moving, arms and fists raised and lowered with speed as feet kicked viciously. She felt sick. Peanut recognized the sounds as well and emitted a low growl. Ann put her hand on him and shushed him almost silently, afraid she might be heard. She didn’t want the wrath of these vile brutes falling on her head.
“Ann was attempting to escape her abusive husband when she witnessed the brutal beating of a man. Jack could not tolerate an unsolved puzzle. He wanted to know Ann’s story. Each time he saw her, he became a bit more enchanted with her, a bit more in love. To win her love, Jack must break down the walls Ann has erected for protection and must fend off Gina, an old girlfriend.
Tennessee Moonlight is aptly named, for Jack first saw her by moonlight. My heart ached for sweet Ann and the abuse she faced. My heart swelled over the love she and Jack shared. Violet L. Ryan has a talent for drawing reader into her stories. I felt as though I was there to watch this story unfold. Fans of romance will enjoy Tennessee Moonlight.” 4 Stars! Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for ReviewYourBook.com
"Talented author Violet L. Ryan has crafted a tale about two very different people who come from totally opposite backgrounds. Many women will identify Ann as someone they know who shares her former misery and inbuilt distrust of the world at large while hoping she finds peace too. These two main characters are well drawn and above the usual stereotypes often used in romance. They have a depth of character that makes this a fun read.Recommended for any romantic at heart. Enjoy. I did." Anne K. Edwards, Mysteryfiction.net
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 194
Paper Weight (lb): 8.4
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