Read You Are Here Online

Authors: Liz Fichera

You Are Here

More Than Words:

Bestselling authors and real-life
heroines

Every year, Harlequin’s More Than Words award is given to
three real-life heroines, women whose courage and vision have helped change
people’s lives for the better. Once again, three bestselling Harlequin authors
have written stories inspired by these remarkable women.

In
You Are Here
, sixteen-year-old
Jennifer Whitman wishes she could just disappear. After her father’s death, her
family lost everything, including their home and comfortable way of life. With
the help of a local charity, they’ve relocated to downtown Phoenix. But Jenn has
unfinished business back in Paradise Valley.

Sixty-six days ago, Jenn fell in love with seventeen-year-old
cowboy William Finnigan...and then he shattered her heart. She’s been avoiding
him ever since. But if Jenn wants to reclaim her beloved horse, she’ll have to
stop running. Jenn needs to face Finn one last time so she can put her past
behind her and truly start over.

Look for all three ebooks inspired by real-life heroines:
Red at Night
by Katie McGarry,
You Are Here
by Liz Fichera and
The Gift of a Good Start
by Earl Sewell. Visit the Harlequin More
Than Words website, at
www.HarlequinMoreThanWords.com
, or your favorite ebook retailer to
download these free novellas today.

LIZ FICHERA

More Than Words

You Are Here

Dear Reader,

For a decade, Harlequin has been a leader in supporting and bringing awareness to women’s charitable efforts. Through Harlequin More Than Words we have had the opportunity to celebrate and encourage women who are actively working to improve their communities. Each year we honor three women who have made extraordinary differences in the lives of others, and a donation of $45,000 is divided equally among their charitable causes.

We are also pleased to spotlight the current Harlequin More Than Words recipients by enlisting three talented Harlequin authors who have written fictional stories inspired by these remarkable women and the charities they support. All three ebooks—Katie McGarry’s
Red at Night
, Liz Fichera’s
You Are Here
and Earl Sewell’s
The Gift of a Good Start
—are free to download at
HarlequinMoreThanWords.com
and other e-tailers.

In addition,
More Than Words:
Acts of Kindness
brings together three of the most popular More Than Words stories by three bestselling authors for the first time.
Whispers of the Heart
by Brenda Jackson,
It’s Not About the Dress
by Stephanie Bond and
The Princess Shoes
by Maureen Child will be available at
Harlequin.com
or on the shelves of your favorite bookstore in March 2014
.

All six of these stories are beautiful tributes to current and past Harlequin More Than Words recipients, and we hope they will inspire the real-life heroine in you.

For more information on how you can get involved, please visit our website at
HarlequinMoreThanWords.com
.

Together we can build strong communities!

Sincerely,

Loriana Sacilotto
Executive Vice President, Editorial
Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.

Jubilee Women’s Center

Name
: Cheryl Sesnon
Hometown
: Seattle, Washington
Recipient’s
Related
Charity
: Jubilee Women’s Center (JWC)
Website
:
www.JWCenter.org

How
Cheryl
inspires
others
:

In 2010, when Cheryl Sesnon learned that Jubilee Women’s Center in Seattle needed a new executive director, she sat down and thought about what she should do. At that point Cheryl had been involved in the nonprofit sector since 1994 at every level imaginable. She had earned her master’s degree in nonprofit leadership and was already the executive director of a highly regarded microfinance training organization.

Cheryl thought about Jubilee’s mission to help women experiencing poverty build sustainable and fulfilling futures for themselves. Then she thought about the similar struggles she had faced in her own life and why she originally became involved with nonprofit work. Finally, when she looked five years into her future and could only see herself helping homeless women get back on their feet, she knew it was not a hard choice at all.

Women seek aid and shelter at JWC for a variety of reasons, and Jubilee’s purpose is to provide them all with a better life by the time they leave. JWC achieves this, not only by providing a safe and stable housing environment, but also by offering case management, classes, workshops and support groups, and by fostering an overall sense of community and support among the women who live at the center. Women are encouraged to stay as long as necessary to improve their self-confidence and skill sets before getting their independent, stable housing.

After seeing countless women turn their lives around thanks to Jubilee, Cheryl knows without a doubt that joining JWC was the best decision she’s ever made.

About the Author

Liz
Fichera
likes to write stories about ordinary teens who do extraordinary things. Born in Park Ridge, Illinois, Liz moved to the American Southwest after college, never expecting to live more than one year among cacti and people who’d never seen snow. She was wrong. To learn more about Liz and her debut YA novel,
Hooked
, along with her new release,
Played
, please visit
www.lizfichera.com
.

Dedication

For Cheryl Sesnon and the Jubilee Women’s Center and all hardworking and dedicated people like them who make the world a better place.

And for anyone who’s hit rock bottom but has found her way back.

Chapter 1

Yesterday

T
he fluorescent-orange flyers were everywhere and each one had my picture on it. They were taped to utility poles and bus stops and mailboxes. I found them inside grocery stores and on corkboards in coffee shops. There was even one stapled on a crowded bulletin board right above the free real-estate magazines at the Circle K in my new neighborhood. The bright paper drew people like horses to water. And to think I could have almost bumped into him inside the Circle K while he was papering my world. I shuddered to think that only five minutes or an hour ago, we shared the same air.

Bright flyers littering neighborhoods usually asked for help finding a lost puppy or kitten. This orange one always said the same thing right below my high school junior-year class picture, the one taken just five months ago. The one I gave him for his wallet. “If you see Jennifer, please contact Finn immediately. No questions asked. Reward offered.” Followed by a familiar cell phone number.

But that was before.

I was no longer the Jennifer in that school photo with shoulder-length brown hair and eager eyes. I was light-years from that girl. Jennifer and I may have shared the same features but the distance reflected in our eyes could span continents. Now I went by my middle name, Abigail—Abby, my preference. And unlike a puppy or kitten, I wasn’t ready to be found. No, scratch that. I didn’t
want
to be found. Period.

So I ripped down the orange flyer from the board and stuffed it in my pocket. Then I pulled my gray hoodie over my head as people brushed my elbows with their gas receipts, lottery tickets and giant soda cups. I tightened the string on my hood even though the afternoon sun shimmered above the pavement like water. Then I walked outside and blended in with the traffic noise and car horns.

You’d think in Phoenix, the sixth largest city in the United States, it would be easy to disappear among two million people in a place with roads and highways that stretched forever in every direction, surrounded by enough wide-open desert to swallow up an ocean.

You’d be wrong.

Chapter 2

Sixty-Six Days Before

I
was riding my quarter horse, Honey, in the corral when I spotted the boy looking in my direction, all six foot two of him. Again.

He’d been staring at me for the past few weeks and whenever I’d return his stare with a disinterested lift of my brow, he’d turn and pretend to be occupied with the intricacies of a rope knot or polishing a saddle. But I wasn’t blind.

His name was William Finnigan but everyone around here called him Finn. His family owned the Finnigan Boarding Stables, the place where we’d boarded since the day my parents surprised me with a horse for my twelfth birthday. Well, Honey really wasn’t a surprise. I’d begged my parents for a horse and riding lessons after I’d devoured
Black Beauty.
Back then,
ask and you shall receive
pretty much defined my reality. It turned out that horses weren’t a short-lived hobby for me. I loved Honey more than just about anything else, even school, after I got over my initial fear of getting bucked off.

I was guiding Honey between hay bales and over low exercise hurdles, feeling pretty feisty about my riding skills and happy that my newest suede cowboy hat stayed perfectly in place. There were two other riders in the corral, another kid younger than I was, struggling with an ornery black pony, and a woman as old as my mom, riding a gorgeous chestnut stallion, but there was plenty of riding room for everybody.

Finn stood outside the corral with the red barn behind him. It framed him like a postcard. In my periphery, he leaned against the white wooden fence that surrounded the corral, one dusty brown boot propped on the first slat. His tanned arms slung over the front of the fence, his biceps pressing against the slat. His cowboy hat hid his eyes and mop of blond hair but I knew his eyes were as piercingly blue as the desert sky. Funny how only a year ago I wouldn’t have given him a second thought. Somehow when I wasn’t looking, Finn had turned into a man.

I took a chance and rode closer to where he stood as I wove Honey in and around a line of hay bales. Maybe it was the way the corner of his mouth fought back a curious smile. Maybe it was the way he’d become bolder about staring at me. Maybe I was feeling braver, too, but I knew today had to be different. I rode so close that I could kick him in the head if I wanted to and knock some sense into him.

“You wanna go for a ride?” Finn said, surprising me, when my boot got to within kicking distance.

My breathing hitched as I pulled back on the reins.
Say what?
After a respectable
one one thousand
,
two one thousand
, I answered. “With who?” I said with Academy Award–worthy nonchalance, turning from side to side, as though another boy with an equally adorable smile would magically appear.

But Finn’s invitation pounded inside my chest.

He spread his arms. “You’re looking at him.”

My eyes narrowed. I wanted him to beg a little. “Where would we ride?”

“Around here?” He said it as if I were crazy for asking. He tipped his hat higher on his forehead with a forefinger. “I know trails that the rattlesnakes and roadrunners don’t know about.”

“Snakes don’t scare me.”

“Never said they did.” He crossed his arms and squinted up at me, waiting.

“Where’s your horse?” I knew that he had two. They had their stalls on either side of Honey in the Finnigans’ barn. Sometimes Finn would muck their stalls at exactly the same time I mucked Honey’s but he never said a word to me when he worked, pretending I wasn’t around, no doubt, pretending to be Aloof Stable Guy. Finn had a tan stallion named Buster and a copper-colored quarter horse that he brought to rodeos most weekends. I’d overhear Finn and his little brother talking about them inside the barn, where everyone’s voices echoed, boasting about the barrel-racing medals he’d won or the team-roping ribbons. Sometimes I was pretty sure he talked loud enough so that I’d have no choice but to hear every detail. He’d even pin his ribbons to the walls in his stalls, which I supposed wasn’t all that unusual. The stalls belonged to his family and he could do whatever he wanted. But still. Of course, only if tortured would I ever freely admit that I watched all of his rodeo competitions on YouTube.

“Got Buster all saddled and ready to go,” Finn said.

I scoffed. “What? So you figured I’d say
yes?

He flashed a smile, an unapologetic one this time. The kind that could curl my toes because of the mystery behind it. I wasn’t sure where his smile would take me but I definitely wanted to find out. “Wasn’t expecting. Just hoping,” he said.

I waited another respectable ten seconds, hoping he’d squirm a little more.

Finn hooked his thumbs in his front belt loops, looking up at me with a tilt of his head.

Finally I said, “Well, go get Buster. What are you waiting for?” I clucked to Honey and snapped the reins as Finn opened up the corral gate to let me out.

A smile broke across my face the second I passed him. I felt as if I could fly across the desert.

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