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Authors: Helen Brenna

The Pursuit of Jesse

BOOK: The Pursuit of Jesse
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Wonderful reviews for award-winning author Helen Brenna

“Brenna combines nonstop action and great sexual tension for a story readers won’t want to put down.”

—RT Book Reviews
The Moon That Night,
nominated for a Reviewer’s Choice award for Best Harlequin Superomance of 2010

“I’ve found a new series romance writer to put on the auto-buy list.”

—All About Romance
Along Came a Husband

“One book you must have on your list…don’t miss it!”

—Romance Reviews Today
Along Came a Husband

“In this touching story about the power love has to heal all wounds, Brenna’s characters have terrifically real depth and emotional appeal.”

—RT Book Reviews
Then Comes Baby

“A talented storyteller, Brenna has a gift for writing category romance. She understands how to create intimate, heart-touching stories with the kind of vigorous writing that makes a series romance a satisfying little peek into the lives and loves of unique people and families. If you don’t know her work,
Next Comes Love
is a nice place to start.”

—Michelle Buonfiglio,

“Highlighting the eternal tension between safety and risk and the familiar and the unknown, this poignant, sweet, gently humorous story focuses on a pair of deeply conflicted protagonists and nicely sets the stage for the Mirabelle Island books to come.”

—Library Journal
First Come Twins


Dear Reader,

Wow. Number five in the An Island to Remember series. It’s finally Sarah’s turn!

The first time Garrett Taylor popped into my mind for book two,
Next Comes Love,
I had this feeling he had brothers, and by book three I knew at least one of them was going to make his way to Mirabelle. Jesse, though, was a truly larger-than-life surprise.

Sarah and Jesse. Jesse and Sarah. No matter how I look at it, these two simply belong together. I hope you enjoy the journey of them discovering what was so clear to me from page one.

Two more An Island to Remember stories are coming in August and September 2011. I promise
Her Sure Thing
will shake up the life of entirely-too-content Dr. Sean Griffin. And
Redemption at Mirabelle
has Missy Charms’s sister, Marin Camden, getting a little more than she bargained for when she comes to the island for some R & R.

Without giving too much away, Mirabelle Island itself is going to face its toughest challenge yet in the midst of these three stories, so keep reading! And check out my website at I’ll be adding pages of Mirabelle Island detail, pictures, maps and a character chart.

I love hearing from readers. You can contact me at [email protected], or P.O. Box 24107, Minneapolis, MN 55424.

My best,

Helen Brenna

The Pursuit of Jesse
Helen Brenna


Helen Brenna grew up in central Minnesota, the seventh of eight children. Although she never dreamed of writing books, she’s always been a voracious reader. So after taking a break from her accounting career to be an at-home mom, she tried her hand at writing the romances she loves to read. Since she was first published in 2007, her books have won many awards, including the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA
RT Book Reviews
Reviewer’s Choice Award, the HOLT Medallion, the Book Buyers’ Best Award and the National Readers’ Choice Award.

Helen lives happily ever after with her family in Minnesota. She’d love hearing from you. Email her at [email protected] or send mail to P.O. Box 24107, Minneapolis, MN 55424. Visit her website at or chat with Helen and other authors at
Riding With The Top Down.

Books by Helen Brenna













For Johanna Raisanen
Thanks for making that first big leap of faith!


He doesn’t yet know this, but I have to thank Adam Gadach, once again, for inspiring me to write this story. He’s a real live hero who truly knows how to forgive.

Adam was hit by a drunk driver one night and, as a result, lost his leg.

The man who hit him was Adam Lunn, and I do need to thank him, too, for showing me how a man starts to find the courage to face his mistakes.

Believe it or not, these two men stand side by side and talk to DWI offenders about their experience, hoping to make a difference, hoping to save lives. I have to believe they’ve saved more than one.

My best to you both, Helen

“To err is human, to forgive divine.”
—Alexander Pope


the tundra?” Jesse Taylor chuckled as he glanced through the windshield of the four-wheel-drive SUV and into a blinding swirl of white. The bus had only taken him as far as Bayfield. From there, he’d hired a taxi.

“Oh, heck, this ain’t nothing,” the driver said, his voice cutting through the twang of an old country-and-western song playing on the radio. “We’re only gettin’ six inches of snow today. I remember once we got eighteen in a coupla hours.”

Six inches or eighteen didn’t make a bit of difference to Jesse. It’d been a long time since he’d experienced a Midwestern blizzard. Frost built in the corners of the windows and wind twirled the snow, obscuring visibility and causing dangerous drifts. Black ice formed on the frozen road.

“Dang, it’s cold out.” Even for January. He flipped up the collar of what was proving to be a woefully inadequate jean jacket and hunkered down for the ride.

His skin prickled with more than goose bumps as a sense of uneasiness spread through him. Instinct screamed at him to head south and get as far away from the state of Wisconsin as his thumb would carry him. Nothing here for him except snow and cold. And the past. Reality was, though, he needed some traveling
cash, and a job, he hoped, was waiting for him at the end of the line.

“Here.” The driver grabbed a knit cap from his center console and tossed it toward Jesse. “Keep your head warm, anyway.”

Jesse glanced at the hat and stiffened. In his world, at least the world he’d been living in for the past three years, ten months and sixteen days, there was no such thing as something for nothing.

Relax, man. He doesn’t want anything from you.

Carefully taking the hat, Jesse pulled it down over his frozen ears. “Thanks.”

“Thought you said you was from Chicago. Heck, you should be used to this kind of weather.”

“I’ve been…away for a few years.”

Simple. Evasive. Good job, Jess.

Suddenly, it looked to Jesse as if the road was ending at the shoreline, but the driver wasn’t slowing down. “You planning on going right across the lake? I didn’t think Lake Superior froze over completely.”

“It don’t. Chequamegon Bay does most winters, though.”

winters?” The old truck bounced over an icy ridge and headed out onto the snow-covered ice. “Let’s hope this is one of them.”

“Don’t worry.” The man smiled. “I’ll get you to Mirabelle Island in one piece.”

It wasn’t long before the SUV approached a dark blur getting larger by the minute. “That the island?”


It was bigger than Jesse had expected and more isolated. A cluster of homes and businesses occupied only one corner of the island. The rest of the land appeared undeveloped and thickly wooded with hardwoods and
tall, stately pines heavily laded with snow. A winter wonderland kind of place.

“You got someone meeting you at the pier?”

“Yeah.” Jesse sighed. “My brother.”

“That’s good.”

Not necessarily. When their father died a long while back, Jesse’s oldest brother had snubbed the family patriarch role, but now that he’d gotten married and settled down, he’d become damned near insufferable.

The driver reached Mirabelle’s shore. He slowed, put the vehicle in low gear and then drove right up an embankment and into a parking lot. “There you be.”

“Thanks.” Jesse hesitated. The weather he’d find a way to tolerate, but his brother’s cold disapproval would be another thing entirely. Not to mention that this town looked about as welcoming as the frigid temperature. Despite the fact that it wasn’t even dinnertime yet, there was absolutely no sign of activity. Only the dim interior lights of a nearby restaurant, the Bayside Café, were any indication there was life on this island.

“You want to wait in my truck for a few minutes? At least until your brother shows up?”

“A little snow never hurt anyone.” He’d arrived a bit earlier than he’d expected, but he had an address. He could hike up the hill, if necessary. Even so, he couldn’t seem to make himself move.

“Well? You getting out or what?”

Jesse glanced through the falling snow. Quaint little town. Most likely nice people. A community, where everyone knew everyone else. He might’ve been better off in a city where he could be anonymous.

“Mister? You okay?”

The bottom line was he had no place else to go. “Yeah. Sorry. Thanks for the ride.” He handed the
guy a twenty, one of only two in his wallet. “Keep the change.” Then he took a deep breath and opened the door.

As he stepped into several inches of light snow, wind whipped up the legs of his jeans and up the back of his jacket. He grabbed his bag and slammed the door. The truck pulled away and headed to the mainland, leaving him alone on this apparently deserted chunk of snow and ice. How his brother had ended up here in the north country was anyone’s guess, but he sure sounded as if he was here to stay.

“Well, hell,” Jesse muttered to himself. “Time to face the music.”

He’d taken no more than a few steps when the drone of a small, noisy engine sounded from a short distance away. Seconds later, a snowmobile zipped around the corner and came straight for him. The driver, dressed in an insulated one-piece suit and stocking cap, wasn’t wearing a helmet. Jesse took one look at the man and stopped in his tracks.

The machine pulled up next to him and the driver hopped off. “Hello, Jesse.” There wasn’t even a glimmer of a smile in the man’s tough eyes or in the severe set to his lips, but then he was the chief of police. Having a guy like Jesse for a brother sure as hell wasn’t a feather in his cap.

“Garrett,” Jesse said, reaching out his hand. He realized belatedly that he would’ve liked a hug, some kind of more meaningful human contact after all these years, but it didn’t look as if that was about to happen. “Good to see you.”

Garrett stood there for a moment and then he reached out and shook Jesse’s hand. “Good to see you, too, Jesse.”

A knot formed in Jesse’s throat, but he sucked the emotion back into his chest and grinned. “I hope you got a coat I can borrow, ’cause I’m freezing my ass off here.”

“Come on.” Garrett gave him a half smile. “We’ll stop at the station and find you something.”

Garrett hopped onto his snowmobile, and Jesse climbed on behind him and held on as they drove a couple blocks into town. Crossing what looked like the main avenue, given the shop fronts and ornate black lampposts. The first thing Jesse noticed were the three bars located within a two-block stretch.

Immediately, the skin on the back of his neck broke out into a cold sweat.
Oh, for crying out loud. Lighten up, Jess. Just because you don’t drink anymore doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun while you’re here.

Garrett turned down a side street and stopped in front of an historic-looking white clapboard building. The police station. This place was a laugh a minute.

He followed his brother through the front doors and suffered through introductions to Renee, the receptionist, a well-preserved middle-aged woman, and Herman, a lanky old deputy, all the while swallowing the knot of apprehension growing tighter in his chest. He couldn’t believe his own brother had become a cop.

They went to the corner office, and Garrett opened up a closet. “Here.” He tossed Jesse a winter coat. “Keep it. I got a couple others.”

Jesse held out the heavy parka. There was no doubt he was going to need something warm and serviceable, but handouts didn’t sit well. “You got anything in red? Or black?” he joked. “Military green has never been my color.”

Garrett ignored Jesse’s meager attempt at humor and
glanced at his watch. “Before we head up to the house to get you settled, I need to make a stop at that job I told you about.”

“Right now?”

“Yep. Sarah will be waiting for us.”

“Sarah, huh?” Jesse grinned. “Pretty? Single? Available?”

“All of the above.” Garrett frowned. “And a good friend of mine. That’s exactly why you’ll be steering clear of her and all the rest of the single women on this island. And with the influx of new residents we’ve had over the last couple of years, there are quite a few.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence.”

“Look,” Garrett said. “I don’t want any trouble.”

“Trouble’s my middle name, big bro. You know that,” Jesse said, trying to make light. From the time he’d been a little boy, he’d been the comic relief. You could always count on Jesse to lighten any tense situation. Bad habit, he knew, but a tough one to break.

“I mean it, Jesse.”

“Don’t worry.” Jesse spun around, wanting out of here as quickly as possible. “Your precious island’s safe from me.”


There is no wave without wind.
Jesse repeated his mantra.
Don’t cause a wind, you won’t have the waves.
He turned and forced out a grin despite the fact his skin felt as if it might crack.

“Don’t pull any stunts here on Mirabelle,” Garrett whispered, his tone deathly serious. “Brother or not, you screw up and I
put you back in jail.”

Jesse refused to let his smile dim. “Wouldn’t expect anything less from you, Garrett.”

BOOK: The Pursuit of Jesse
11.08Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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