Skip to product information
1 of 1




A charming enemies-to-lovers romp: Unlucky-in-love Lena has found happiness running Holiday Junction’s beloved ice cream parlor. But Gage, the town’s nitpicky new sheriff, seems intent on disturbing her peace of mind! Soon, an all-out war breaks out between these two opposites…

Regular price $5.99 USD
Regular price Sale price $5.99 USD
SALE Sold out
Shipping calculated at checkout.

He goes by the book.

She bends the rules.

They might be perfect for each other…if they can just stop fighting long enough to find out.

Lena has never been lucky in love. After a string of bad relationships, she’s sworn off men altogether. When the new police chief, Gage Turner, blows into town, his teasing smile and easy charm may work on everyone else, but Lena’s not interested.

Not at all.

Okay, so he smells nice, and he’s kind of handsome, plus he’s got that whole man-in-uniform thing working for him, but the guy’s a stubborn and arrogant jerk. On top of that, he won’t stop writing Lena parking tickets.

This means war.

The battle of wills is on. Add in an adorable puppy, a group of nosy matchmakers, a no-holds-barred, town-wide scavenger hunt, and a car jammed full of packing peanuts, and it’s bound to be a wild ride.

FALLING FOR HER BIGGEST HEADACHE is the fun and flirty second book in the LOVE IN HOLIDAY JUNCTION series of standalone romances. If you love small town love stories with strong heroines, swoony heroes, and a quirky cast of characters, download today!

  • Instant Delivery
  • Read on Any Device
  • Help if You Need it!


“So, I think we're set. Tony, you'll bring the chains. Sarah has the padlocks.” Lena McKenna scanned the checklist before her. “And everyone is on slogan duty. Just email me if you think of a good one.”

“What about snacks?” Tony asked, pushing up his thick glasses. Tony Beltram was all about the snacks, no matter the occasion, as evidenced by the broad paunch beneath his short-sleeved, plaid shirt.

“I think it's best if everyone brings their own,” Lena replied. “We don't want a repeat of the Spotted Owl Twinkie Disaster.”

“How was I supposed to know that Sarah was allergic to cream filling?” Tony asked petulantly. “Who's allergic to cream filling?”

Sarah sniffed. “I can't do dairy.”

Lena was pretty sure there wasn't any actual dairy in a Twinkie's cream filling, but she held her hands up to stop the argument before it began. “Which is why snacks will be our own responsibility,” she said calmly. Across the table, her friend, Vi, pressed her lips together to keep from laughing.

“So, that's about it, I guess,” Lena said, tucking a lock of her long, brown hair behind her ear as she perused the list one last time. “We still have a couple of weeks until the protest—”

Tony held up a pale, freckled arm.

“Yes, Tony?” Lena managed not to sigh.

“I forgot, is it Friday or Saturday?”

“Friday,” Sarah replied, with more than a touch of exasperation. The two of them barely tolerated each other, but still ended up in Lena's core group of protesters whenever an important cause arose. Sarah shook out her sandy curls and glared at Tony. “First Friday of March. It's not that tough to remember. Put it in your phone, Tony.” She tapped a finger on the table next to his phone to emphasize the point and he picked it up and quickly jabbed the date into his calendar.

“Right, well.” Lena glanced out the front window of McKenna's Creamery, and stifled a yawn. She'd called the meeting after closing time, and it had been a long day at the family-owned ice cream shop she'd been running for the last few years. Mondays were always crazy, thanks to the buy-one-scoop-get-one-free special she ran every week. It was great for business. Not so great for her aching feet. Still, she turned back to the others with a smile. “As I was saying, we still have a couple weeks to recruit some more protesters, so I hope you'll all reach out to your friends and family.” With that, she adjourned the meeting and Sarah and Tony walked out the front door and into the night.

Vi watched them leave and leaned back into her chair.
“You know, I think those two are secretly madly in love.”

Lena snorted. “If so, they're doing a good job of keeping it a secret.”

“You think this protest will do any good?” Vi asked as she helped Lena clean up the mess from the meeting—a few water glasses and cookie crumbs to be swept off the table.

“I wouldn't do it if I didn't,” Lena replied. “Someone has to stand up for the town.”

“Protect the good people of Holiday Junction from the big, bad real estate developers?” Vi grinned at her.

“The old textile mill is a historical building.” Lena wiped off the table, scrubbing at a sticky bit of caramel. “And they want to tear it down to put up a shopping center and luxury condos? No thank you.”

“I know.” Vi held up her hands. “You're preaching to the choir, here. I get that it'll drive up property taxes.”

Lena tossed the wet towel into the sink. “Housing's all well and good, but we need homes that people who live here can actually afford. And have you seen the artist's rendering of that concrete and glass monstrosity?”

“We've all seen it, Lena,” her friend said indulgently. “And you're absolutely right. It does not fit with the small town image that's made HJ the town it is today.” She said it like she'd heard it a hundred times. Which she probably had.

Lena sighed, scrubbing her hands over her face. “Sorry, I don't mean to lecture you. I'm just tired.”

“I know.” Vi smiled at her as she put on her coat. “You're passionate about this town and you try to make a difference. It's nothing to apologize for. It's part of what makes you, you.” Vi crossed the room and gave her a quick hug. “Now, I've got to head home and grade about fifty Intro to Theater papers because that's what makes me, me.”

Lena laughed. “Good luck.”


Lena walked Vi to the door and locked it behind her, then took one last look around the shop, like she did every night before she left. Everything was where it should be, the chairs upturned on top of the tables, the checkered floor shiny from her mopping. The large front window sparkled, the painted McKenna's Creamery sign reversed but still glowing gold in the light from the street lamp outside. Lena smiled to herself as she headed out through the kitchen—also neat as a pin, bowls stacked on the shelf over the counter, the two commercial ice cream makers standing proudly near the freezer. She made a mental note to get more fresh raspberries for the next day's special, hung her apron on the hook by the door, kissed her fingertips, and hopped up to press them to the horseshoe over the door for luck. It had been there since the shop was first built, and Lena remembered her father lifting her as a small child to touch it.

“Good fortune comes from hard work,” he’d say with a twinkle in his eye. “But a bit o’ luck—it couldn’t hurt!”

Lena smiled at the memory, picked up the last bag of trash, and flipped off the lights. She emerged into the alley behind the shop and tossed the trash into the dumpster before locking the door. She always parked in the alley, not wanting to block the way for any potential customers out front. Holiday Junction wasn't a big town, but it did have its fair share of tourists, so the shop did well, generally speaking. Still, Lena didn't want to risk losing out on a sale just because she couldn't be bothered to park out of the way.

Flipping her keys around a finger, Lena made her way to the driver's side of her little blue sedan, and sighed heavily once she got in. All she wanted was a hot shower, a big sandwich, and a good night's sleep. But as she started the car, she froze, confused by the pink piece of paper sweeping across her windshield with the wipers. She turned them off and reached around to grab the paper, the corner ripping a little where it caught.

A parking ticket?

Lena frowned, not in anger, but in genuine confusion. She'd been parking in the alley since she took over the shop—no, since she got her driver's license when she was sixteen, more than twelve years ago—and her parents had parked there as long as she could remember.

She shrugged and stuffed it into the glove compartment. “Must be a mistake,” she said to herself, and she didn't give the ticket another thought.

Until three days later, when it happened again.

“Are you kidding me?” She plucked the ticket off her windshield.

“What's that?” Mrs. Katswopis asked, leaning against the door opening and holding a broom. Mrs. Katswopis had worked at the McKenna's since she was a teenager, for Lena's grandparents. She was a widow, in her seventies now, but still liked to come in a few days a week to help out. Lena never knew when she'd show up, but she couldn't bring herself to say anything about it. The older woman would hand in her hours on a neat sheet of paper, and Lena paid her. She really didn't mind. She could use the help, and Mrs. Katswopis knew the shop as well as Lena did.

“A ticket,” Lena mumbled, reading it carefully for the very first time. “For parking in a no-parking zone. I didn't even know we had parking tickets in Holiday Junction.” She flipped the paper over, trying to determine if it was counterfeit.

Mrs. Katswopis harrumphed. “That's ridiculous.” She set the broom aside and smoothed her white hair, always neatly pinned in a chignon. She wore an apron over her perfectly pressed white blouse and dark slacks, a pair of bright green sneakers finishing off the outfit.
Mrs. Katswopis had flat arches and claimed they were the only shoes she could wear comfortably.

“It is ridiculous!” Lena agreed, holding up the ticket and shaking it a little. “It doesn't make any sense.”

“Probably the new Chief,” Mrs. Katswopis said, peering over her wire-framed glasses. “That's what they get for letting an outsider in. Everything ends up in a tizzy.” She threw up her hands, shaking her head. “He's from a big city, you know. Probably doesn't know any better.”

Lena had heard they'd hired a new Chief of Police, although she hadn't really been paying much attention at the time. Chief Roscoe had retired almost three years ago, and they hadn't bothered to replace him in all that time. Holiday Junction was hardly a hotbed of crime, but of course, Mayor Kendricks would hire a big-city cop to fill the opening. He'd see it as a mark of distinguishment for the town.

She focused on the scribbled signature at the bottom. “G. Turner.”

“That's right,” said Mrs. Katswopis, snapping her fingers. “Turner. From Chicago, I believe.”

Lena folded the ticket and slid it into her purse. “Well, I believe Officer Turner needs a lesson in how we do things here in Holiday Junction.”

“You tell him, sweetie!” Mrs. Katswopis said, holding up a fist. “But could you get the napkins, first?”

“Yes, I'll swing by now,” Lena replied, getting into the car.

“And don't forget the vanilla!”


And after the trip to the post office, the restaurant supply store in the city, and the Adams' farm to get more honey on the way back, visiting Officer Turner, whoever he was, kind of slipped Lena's mind.

Until the next day.

Lena was taking out the trash, and about to head back inside when she spotted a familiar flash of pink on her car's windshield

“You have got to be kidding me!” she shouted to no one in particular, yanking the ticket out from under the wiper. “That's it! I'm taking care of this right now!”

She stalked back into the shop—empty at that moment—and flipped the sign on the door to Closed. Then, thinking better of it, she scrawled out a note—Off to fight injustice. Back in :30—and taped it next to the closed sign. Then she stomped back out into the alley, pausing only to touch the horseshoe for luck. She locked the back door of the shop, and got into her car, taking a deep breath to calm herself a bit before she drove out of the alley, turned right, then left onto Main Street.

Despite gray skies overhead, Holiday Junction was a riot of green. The town's decorations for Valentine's Day had disappeared, packed away until next year. In their place, shamrocks, top hats, and leprechauns were the order of the day. The ever-present twinkle lights overhead had been changed to green and white, and green bunting draped over the awnings of the shops in town. Even the fountain in front of City Hall had had been dyed for the occasion.

Lena pulled into the visitor parking and took another deep breath. She needed to get ahold of herself so she could talk to this man, Turner, calmly and rationally. Point out that the area behind her shop, although technically a No Parking Zone, according to the sign that had long ago been knocked down and now stood propped against the wall behind the dumpster, wasn't really . . . or at least it didn't apply to her, since she owned the shop. She needed to be friendly and win him over. That was the ticket.

Heh. The ticket.

Lena smirked and got out of her car. She walked into the City Hall lobby and smiled at the receptionist, ignoring her when she asked if she could be of assistance. She turned instead and walked through the glass doors leading to the Holiday Junction Police Department.
It was a large room, with industrial gray walls, broken by windows overlooking the parking lot, and vinyl tile floors, scarred and scuffed by scores of black-soled boots over the years. A large seal of the state of Washington was prominently featured on the wall opposite Lena, above cut-out metal letters reading Holiday Junction Police Department, Protection, Service, Courage, & Compassion. Metal desks and file cabinets were arranged around the room, leaving a path to the hallway at the back, which led past an office and break room, to a small holding area.

Lena may have spent some time back there during her misspent youth. Who knew Chief Roscoe would take it so personally when you TP’d his house?

“Hey, Lena.” Mark Andrews looked up from a file he was reading and smiled at her, his teeth bright white against his dark brown skin. “Can I help you with something?” he asked.

She crossed the room and plopped down in the chair next to him, slapping the ticket down on his desk. “This,” she said.

He arched a brow. “Hi, Mark. How are you, Mark?”

Lena sighed heavily. “Hi, Mark. How are you, Mark?”

“Well, I'm just fine, Lena. Thanks for asking.” He smiled at her again. “How are you?”

Lena huffed out a laugh. “I'd be fantastic if it wasn't for these stupid tickets,” she said, sliding it toward him.

Mark picked it up and scanned it. He'd rolled up the sleeves of his tan uniform shirt, and Lena could see the edge of a tattoo on his right arm. “Looks like you've been parking where you shouldn't be,” he said, smirking slightly.

Lena glared at him. “Oh, thanks ever so much for that clarification,” she said. “Your investigatory skills are top-notch. You'll make detective in no time!”

“Hey, don't get mad at me,” he said, holding up his large hands. “I didn't write it.”

She leaned on the desk, peering at him. “That's why I'm here. I'm looking for whoever did. Somebody named Turner?”

Mark's dark eyebrows shot up. “Yes, that would be the new Chief.”

“And where might I find this new Chief?”

He got up from his desk. “He's in his office. I'll introduce you.”

Lena stood up quickly and followed him toward the office. “Really? You're just going to let me back there?”

“Are you kidding?” He grinned at her. “This will probably be the most interesting thing to happen today.”


Gage Turner adjusted the framed diploma from Illinois State, hung on the faux wood-paneled wall between a picture of his parents, and one of him shaking the governor's hand in 2015. He'd received an award for being part of the task force that brought down a human trafficking ring. They'd saved a lot of lives. Gage knew that. But what he'd seen . . .

He shook his head and looked away from the picture. That had been the beginning of the end for Gage. All the violence, the brutality . . . the inhumanity he'd seen on the job had taken a toll, and eventually, he couldn't take it anymore. Call him a coward, but he needed a life of structure, order . . . peace. And eventually, that led him away from the streets of Chicago, and to the quiet country lanes of Holiday Junction, Washington.

Slowly, he walked over to the sole window in his new office, overlooking a grassy field, with the mountains in the distance. He could see the edge of town, off to the right, and he smiled, taking a deep, cleansing breath.

Peace was exactly what he'd found in Holiday Junction. Over the past week since he'd arrived, there's been no shootings. No domestic violence calls. No meth lab explosions. The most action he'd seen was a dispute between two neighbors over a branch that fell onto the fence between their homes.

Some would call it boring. Gage called it heaven.

He had just sat down, propping his booted feet up on the desk, when Mark Andrews knocked on his door frame.

“Chief?” he said, bowing ever so slightly. Andrews was tall, and forever bending over to avoid bumping his head. “Someone's here to see you.”

“Oh, yeah?” Gage sat up, tucking his legs under the desk. He wasn't sure who it might be, but he wanted to look professional, after all. He smoothed a hand over the front of his uniform shirt. “Who is it?”

Andrews stepped back, motioning whoever it was into the office. A young woman entered, and Gage's police experience immediately kicked in, taking in the details. Average height, about a head shorter than Andrews, so maybe five-five, five-six. Slender—about one-twenty, lithe with graceful limbs and a long neck, like a dancer. Long brown hair and—yep, brown eyes. No distinguishing marks. But then she smiled at him and he spotted dimples.

Cute. But that was obviously not a professional opinion.

“This is Lena McKenna,” Andrews said. “She runs McKenna's Creamery on Main Street.”

Gage got to his feet and held out a hand. “Ms. McKenna. Gage Turner. Nice to meet you.”

The woman smiled again, dimples flashing, and shook his hand. “Nice to meet you, too,” she said. “I guess there's a new sheriff in town.” She said it with a slow drawl, John Wayne-style.

“Well, Chief, actually, but . . .” He realized he was still holding her hand, shaking it slowly, and released it with a jolt.

“I'll leave you to it,” Andrews said with a smirk. “I'll just be out at my desk if you need me.”

Gage nodded at him, before turning back to the woman. “What can I do for you, Ms. McKenna?”

“Please, call me Lena,” she said. “Everybody does.”

“Lena, then.” He waved toward the chair opposite him. “Please sit down and tell me how I can help.”

He waited until she complied before taking his own seat, his hands folded on the desk before him. She fidgeted a little, her gaze drifting around the room, before she finally focused on him.

“It must be difficult coming to a new town,” she said.

Not what he expected, but he nodded slightly. “I suppose.”

“Getting to know everyone. How things work. How we do things around here.” She ran a finger along the edge of his desk. There was a crack in the laminate, he noticed.

Gage leaned back in his chair, eyeing her carefully. What was she getting to? “Are you referring to something specific, Ms. McKenna?”

“Lena.” She tucked a lock of brown hair behind her ear, dimples making a brief appearance. He had the sneaking suspicion she was trying to charm him, although he wasn't sure why.

“Lena,” he repeated. “Are you referring to something specific?”

“Well, yes. You see, there's the matter of this.” She placed a pink piece of paper onto his desk and slid it toward him, keeping one finger on the corner.

He glanced down at it briefly. “A parking ticket,” he said flatly. Seriously? She was trying to get out of a parking ticket? Gage's jaw tightened.

“Three, actually,” she said, finally releasing the ticket and crossing her arms.


“You've written me three parking tickets over the past week,” she said. “For parking in the alley behind my shop.”

“Ah, I see,” Gage said. He opened his desk drawer and pulled out a town map, smoothing it out on his desk. “Main Street, you say?”

“Yes, Main and Chamberlain,” she said, leaning forward to point out the shop on the map.

“Well, Lena, these areas marked in red are No Parking Zones.” He tapped the spot with a finger. “That includes the alley behind your shop, I'm afraid.”

He heard a hissing sound and realized Lena was inhaling deeply and blowing it out between her teeth. “I'm aware that technically it may be a No Parking Zone—”

“There's no technically about it,” he said with an apologetic shrug. “It is a No Parking Zone, so I'm sorry, but you'll have to find another place to park.”

Lena clutched her hands together, fingers twisting in her lap. “But I've been parking there for years. My parents—my grandparents always parked there. It's easier to unload supplies into the kitchen, and it leaves the spots in the front open for customers.”

Gage was starting to get irritated. “That may very well be, but the fact remains, parking is not allowed in the alley.”

“But that's ridiculous!”

“You're welcome to take up the issue with the town council,” he said. “Perhaps you can get them to change the zoning.”

Lena snorted. “That would take forever. They only take up zoning requests once a year!”

“I'm sorry, but there's nothing I can do,” Gage said abruptly. “It's the law.”

Lena jumped to her feet and planted her hands on the desk, looming over him. “The law is stupid!” she snapped. Then she closed her eyes and breathed in deeply once again. When she opened them, she smiled, dimples creasing her cheeks. “Couldn't you make an exception? I mean, nobody goes back there anyway.”


“And I'll keep my car out of sight of the street. No one would even know.” She widened her eyes, pouring on the innocence. “I promise.”

Gage got to his feet, smirking a little when she had to look up at him. “I'm afraid not,” he said. “The law's the law.” The idea that she thought she could manipulate him with big, brown doe-eyes and dimples was ludicrous. Gage would not be manipulated. Lena McKenna wasn't the first to try, and he was certain she wouldn't be the last.

Lena's eyes narrowed, her jaw twitched. “You're new in town, so I understand you're still making your way, but we tend to look out for each other around here. Help each other out. Couldn't you help me out with this?”

“There's nothing I can do.”

“Oh, you could,” she said. “You won't.”

“Look, Ms. McKenna,” he said, rounding the desk, his temper rising. “I understand that you think the law doesn't apply to you—”

She gasped. “I don't—”

“—but things are going to be different around here, starting now,” he said, crossing his arms over his chest. “The law will be enforced equally, for everyone, including spoiled, privileged girls who think they're above it.”

“Spoiled!” she sputtered. “How—Who do you think you are?”

He stood over her, eyes narrowed. “Like you said, there's a new sheriff in town.”

Lena stared up at him in shock, and Gage immediately felt bad for letting his temper get the best of him. “Look, I'm willing to forget the tickets you already have. Just don't park there again and we'll be good, okay?”

She glared at him. “Don't do me any favors,” she spat, grabbing up the ticket and crumpling it in her fist.

Gage shrugged. “Suit yourself.” He went to the door and opened it, waving her through. “Now if you don't mind, I have a lot of work to do.”

Lena huffed as she headed toward the door. “Oh, yes, I'm sure you do. So much crime in Holiday Junction. I'm sure you have hundreds of parking tickets to write!” She stumbled on the carpet and fell forward with a cry.
She crashed into him, and Gage caught her by the elbows as she fell into his chest. The scent of sugar and cream clung to her hair, soft against his neck, and his fingers tightened on her arms in reflex. Then, he gently pushed her away, holding her as she regained her balance.

She looked up at him, face flushed with embarrassment, and in that moment, she seemed so . . . soft. Sweet.

“Sorry,” she muttered.

“Are you all right?”

“Fine, thank you,” she said, shaking off his hands. The next time she met his gaze, her eyes were hard. “Just because I'm a little clumsy, don't think I'm weak,” she said.

“I didn't—”

“Because this isn't over.” She walked out into the hall, and whirled to glare back at him. “Not by a long shot.”

He arched a brow at her. “Are you threatening a member of law enforcement?”

She reddened, flustered. “No! I mean, not with anything illegal or anything—”

“Like parking in a No Parking Zone?”

She propped her fists on her hips, the parking ticket crinkling even more. “I'm simply saying that this is a small town. And it's nice to have friends. And it's hard to make them when you're kind of a jerk!”

He leaned toward her, hands on his own hips. “I have enough friends.”

Lena's eyes narrowed even further, but she said nothing. Instead, she turned on her heel and stalked out of the station. Gage watched her go, an amused smile on his face.

“Well, I'd ask if you got everything straightened out with Lena,” Andrews said. “But from the look on her face, I'd say the answer is clear.”

Gage laughed. “Yeah, that probably could have gone better.”

“Too bad for you,” Andrews said, shaking his head.

“Why do you say that?” he asked. “She have some big connections in town, or something?”

“Worse,” Andrews replied, swiveling in his chair a little. “She makes the best ice cream in the state. And it looks to me like you'll never get to taste it.”

“It can't be that good.” Gage leaned against the wall, crossing his arms. “It's just ice cream.”

“You keep telling yourself that, Chief,” Andrews replied. “But people come from miles around for her Colossal Sundaes.”

“Huh,” he said. “Well, I'm sure it will all work out, eventually.”

“I hope so.”

Andrews went back to work, and Gage walked back into his office, chewing on the inside of his cheek. To think he'd first thought Lena McKenna was cute.

That woman was no kitten. She was a mountain lion.


1. Complete Your Purchase.

2. Check your inbox for an email from

3. Follow the easy instructions to load the book onto your favorite reading device.

4. Start reading!



Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play Apple

View full details