Lara Van Hulzen
Love at Meg's Diner
She’s running from her past…
As a former firefighter, Meg Malone lives by one rule: no dating firemen. The dangers of the job are too high, and she’s already lost too much. So, she returns home to Silver Bay, California, to take over her dad’s diner, hiding her scars and pretending she’s fine. Life is perfectly routine, predictable, and most of all, safe. Until the unpredictable happens in the form of a perfectly patient, definitely intriguing fireman.
He’s chasing a future…
Chet Endicott moved to Silver Bay to escape the expectations of his burdensome family name. Intrigued by the beautiful owner of Meg’s Diner, he can’t help but want to peel back the layers she protects herself with, but no one gets under Meg’s skin. Especially him, it seems.
When they are thrown together by their mutual passion for running, Chet sees a glimpse of the fire under all Meg’s ice, and he’s determined to fan those flames. But can Meg truly trust her heart? Or will this be the fire that consumes her?
“Love gets real. Chet and Meg push the boundaries of emotion. Love at Meg's Diner is not always beautiful. From heartbreaking to insightful, Van Hulzen makes you think. With a rawness that is beautiful, profound and haunting. These characters and their journey speaks to more than the heart.”
“...a sweet and heartwarming and just a delightful romance.”
“It was fun to return to Silver Bay and visit with old friends again.”
“This is a sweet story about taking a chance at love. It’s about embracing those feelings when a certain person affects you in a way nobody else does, instead of running from those feelings.”
—ALL IN GOOD TIME BLOG
“...a sweet, heartwarming, emotional and fun read.”
“It’s a story about finding that one person that will make one feel safe. Someone to trust. It’s also a story about second chances in life and love.”
“Great start to a new series ... A totally sweet, heartwarming story.”
—PW READER, AMAZON
“I loved returning this quaint little town."
What turned out to be an extremely large dog turned toward Meg. Its tail was wagging and its face looked as if it was smiling, but the sheer size of it intimidated her so much she couldn’t get her limbs to move.
A tall, muscular body stepped in front of her. “Good girl.”
At almost six feet, Meg was taller than most people. Not this guy. He wore black sport shorts, a black T-shirt, and running shoes. His hair was dark and cut short. Not military short, but he looked like someone not afraid of a disciplined lifestyle. How much workout time did it take to get shoulders like that?
The man turned and smiled at her. “I’m so sorry. I hope she didn’t scare you too much.”
Meg looked up and into the lightest blue eyes she’d ever seen. Were they twinkling? Or was the sun rising behind him playing tricks with her vision? She lifted her hand to shield her eyes.
The man looked down at the dog, now sitting obediently by his side, its tongue hanging out one side of its mouth. “This is Dottie. I rescued her recently, and she’s still just a pup, so we’re working on her training.”
The dog’s head almost reached his hand. She was spotted like a dalmatian, but far too big to be that breed.
“She’s a puppy?” She was the most beautiful dog Meg had ever seen.
“Well, she’s almost a year, so close to full grown, but yes. Still a pup. I think she’ll always be one at heart. She has that kind of temperament.” He rubbed the dog’s head and scratched behind her ears. Her eyes closed and the look on her face was sheer bliss. She was panting from having run, causing her to look like she was smiling.
Meg couldn’t stop staring. “What kind of dog is she?” She put her hand out slowly for the dog to sniff, who did so with vigor, licking Meg’s fingers as well.
“She’s a harlequin Great Dane.”
“She’s absolutely gorgeous.” The dog had now tucked her head under Meg’s hand, begging Meg to pet her. Meg obliged. “Her name is Dottie?”
“Yes. It’s not the most creative name, but it’s actually for the black dot in the center of her pink nose, not her coat.” The man chuckled. “The guys at the firehouse thought it fit so I went with it. I really am sorry she ran in front of you like that, Meg. I hope she didn’t startle you too badly.”
She could see his face clearly now and recognized him.
At least, that’s what the women in town called him. He came into the diner from time to time, and her friend Baylee liked to tease Meg that Chet had a crush on her.
“Um. No,” Meg replied, blinking as she snapped out of her thoughts. “I mean, she caught me off guard, but I’m fine.”
“I like to bring her out here early before there are too many people around so we can work on training.” He smiled down again at the dog and rubbed her head.
“She’s not really built to run long distances, so I go for my own run later in the morning.”
Hence the shape he was in—a part of the job, for sure, but clearly a requirement he took seriously. Meg jogged early specifically to avoid running into people.
She reached out for more of Dottie’s kisses. “She really is beautiful. I imagine she’s a handful.”
“Honestly, Danes are an easy breed,” Chet said. “She’ll run around here with me and then sleep on a sofa all day at the firehouse or at my house. They’re pretty lazy, actually. Not a lot of work, they’re just big.”
Something about his smile made her insides all squirrelly. What was that about?
She began running in place, needing to move on and process her feelings. “Have a good day, Chet. Gonna keep running.” She pointed down the path with her thumb. “Nice to meet you, Dottie.”
“Good to see you, Meg,” she heard as she jogged away. She turned just enough to catch another glimpse of that smile.
She found her pace again, her feet hitting the pavement to the chant of No, Meg. No.