VISIONS OF PARADISE by Tianna Xander
Paradise Series Book 16
Can Milla finally settle down and have a family of her own or will the carnival be her life…forever?
Milla leaves the carnival where she made her living for twenty years, with visions of finding the perfect town where she could make a new life for herself. At forty-five years old, it’s too late to hope for children, but happiness is still within her reach. However, the owner of the carnival doesn’t want to lose his best fortuneteller. When he and his carnival follow Milla to Paradise, he discovers that his people aren’t the only ones with secrets.
Being bond mates never crossed Jonas’ and Mel’s minds. Hell, they don’t even like each other and barely get along. However, when they find a woman frightened and alone, they put their differences aside to help her secure the most basic of human, or shifter, rights—the freedom to choose.
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Milla stared at the tarot card and sighed. This was the fifth day in a row that she’d turned over the death card in her tarot spread. The storm outside grew fierce, the wind buffeting the walls of the small hotel. She resigned herself to the fact that she would have to leave this place.
“On the winds of change,” she said with a sigh.
Death never meant a physical death like so many people thought. It stood for change. Usually, it meant the death of something old and the birth of something new. In her case, it meant that she had to move…again. It wasn’t surprising. Had she thought she’d be able to stay, she would have rented a house instead of a hotel room. She would pack up her things today and head out in the morning.
For now, though, she wanted to hike up the mountain and look down at the town one last time. She had grown fond of Mason. Not as fond as she’d hoped, but, so far, this town had been the closest to what she’d been looking for in a place to finally put down some roots. It was too damned bad the cards had just told her to move on.
The storm over, the early morning sun broke through the clouds, the rays shining like a beacon, lighting up the spot on the mountain where she wanted to go. It was another sign. One that she interpreted as an indication that she’d made the right decision.
After hiking up the side of the mountain, Milla sat down on a fallen log. Moisture seeped through the seat of her pants, but she didn’t care. Closing her eyes, she leaned back and took a deep breath. “Now, that’s what I’m talking about,” she said with a sigh.
There was nothing like clean, crisp air to do a body good. There was just something about a fresh mountain breeze after a cleansing summer rain.
Mason was close to what she wanted in a hometown but not quite. Maybe that was why the cards indicated she should leave. Milla wanted a small town with small-town values. She wanted to see men open the doors for women. She wanted common courtesy and chivalry. Maybe, just maybe, she wanted the impossible.
“I was born in the wrong time. That’s my problem.” She gave the picturesque town one last look and headed back to her hotel. It was time to leave—today. Something told her that it was time to go. Now. It was the same strange foreboding that preceded the arrival of the carnies sent out to look for her. Why couldn’t they just leave her alone? It wasn’t as though she owed them money. In fact, they owed her. It was one of the reasons why she left in the first place. There was nothing like working for peanuts.
She hurried down the side of the mountain, the feeling of urgency growing stronger. They were close. It was only a matter of time before they caught up to her. She’d have to take the time to stop at the hotel, pick up her things and hit the grocery store for some sandwich stuff on her way out of town.
After that, she’d head west again. Sooner or later she would run into a town that suited her old-fashioned standards…she hoped.
Until then, she would just keep looking. Milla had been on the road for nearly a year searching for her vision of paradise. She knew the town of her dreams was out there somewhere. It was just a matter of finding it.
After packing, she began lugging her belongings from the room. The worst part of not having a home was living out of her SUV. She carried everything she needed with her, but loading the vehicle was a pain in the butt and growing more painful with every stop.
Every time she moved, she gathered a little more stuff for her dream home. Dish towels here, bath towels there. If she wasn’t careful, she’d fill her truck soon, and then where would she be? She’d have to buy a trailer and haul that around with her, too. Then what?
Out of breath, her heart pounding with exertion, she hauled her suitcase out to the SUV and attempted to lift it into the back.
“Here, let me help you with that.”
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