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Book 6: The Chief's Catch (Fuller Family in Brush Creek Romance)

Book 6: The Chief's Catch (Fuller Family in Brush Creek Romance)

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Visit quaint, small-town Brush Creek and fall in love as the Fuller Family does! With hometown heroes like detectives, firemen, paramedics, and the Chief of Police, there's always an opportunity to swoon only a page away.

About THE CHIEF'S CATCH: Can the youngest Fuller sister tame the beast of a Police Chief? Or will their romance fizzle because of his temper? Can Cole shelve his pride and apologize? Or will it be too little too late for Berlin?

A modern-day retelling of Beauty and the Beast!

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Read Chapter 1 Now!

Berlin Fuller looked at herself in the mirror, Starlee standing behind her. The stylist kept running her hands through Berlin’s dark blonde hair, waiting for her to give her directions.

“What are we doing today?” shouldn’t be such a hard question. Especially because Caitlyn and Scotty were loitering only a few feet away, also waiting.

Berlin switched her gaze to Caitlyn’s. A preschool teacher who’d taken the day off for Berlin’s transformation, she lifted her eyebrows as if to say, Go on already.

Scotty checked her phone, smiling at the screen.

“I want a new look,” Berlin said, her voice strong and probably too loud for the nearly empty salon. “Darker hair. Shorter. Make me look…different.”

Berlin was tired of her current life, and she was only twenty-seven-years-old. She’d taken as many online courses in accounting that she could, finally finishing her degree a couple of years ago by leaving Brush Creek for Colorado Springs.

She’d dated a couple of guys there, but nothing had stuck. That was how she felt about every man she went out with. Like she was some sort of Teflon and they wouldn’t stick around no matter what.

“Darker?” Starlee asked, still combing her fingers through Berlin’s locks. “Y’know, most women want to go lighter, not darker.”

“Not too short,” Caitlyn said, stepping closer. “Still brushing her shoulders. But nothing she can put in a ponytail.” She met Berlin’s gaze with a meaningful look in her eye. “We’re not doing ponytails anymore, remember?”

Starlee looked between the friends. “Is this a hair change or a life change?”

“Life,” Berlin said, squaring her shoulders. She’d just had another birthday and it was so exhausting to attend the Fuller family dinners as a singleton. Sometimes she brought Caitlyn along, but now she had a boyfriend. Scotty worked up at the horse farm at the top of the canyon, and she didn’t make it down during the week that often.

She put her phone in her back pocket and stepped forward to join the conversation. “We’re taking her to the summer fair tonight.” Scotty leaned over Berlin’s shoulder, her smile wide and beautiful. She wouldn’t have any trouble getting a date tonight, not after she curled her miles of dark hair and put on her rodeo makeup. The woman was a former barrel racer, and she had a new man on her arm every weekend. She claimed to like the revolving door of male attention, but Berlin had tired of it quickly.

And at this point, she just wanted a date at all. If she had to go into the empty office for another weekend in a row so she wouldn’t have to stay home alone, she might paint the whole thing bright pink. And boy, would that make Wren mad….

“She’s not leavin’ until she has a date.” Scotty giggled. “So darker. Spruced up. Berlin’s doing everything different now.”

Berlin’s doing everything different.

The words echoed through her head. She had told her friends that, maybe in a moment of weakness. Starlee met her eyes and said, “So darker?”

Berlin nodded, her pulse skipping just a little inside her veins.

“What color are you thinking?”

“Something like Scotty’s,” Berlin said. “Do you think that would work?”

“I just got a new ashy black. Want to try that?”

Ashy black sounded dangerous, deadly, different.

Berlin swallowed and nodded again. She wasn’t sure how easy it was to undo something like ashy black, but she suspected it wouldn’t be easy.

“I’ll go mix up.” Starlee left before Berlin could change her mind.

And you don’t want to change your mind anyway, she reminded herself as her friends retreated to find magazines and settle in while the first leg of the transformation began.

* * *

Hours later, with the new do, ten times more makeup than Berlin normally wore, and with the blouse Scotty had found at the only department store in town falling off her right shoulder, she slipped her feet into a pair of ankle boots.

The jean skirt was a little too tight, and Berlin wouldn’t wear it in front of her mother. But her mother wouldn’t be at the summer fair tonight. Heck, Berlin shouldn’t even be going. Friday night at the fair was usually filled with hormonal teenagers, all looking for someone to sneak away in the dark with.

Berlin’s stomach swooped. She didn’t want a summer fling. She wanted to meet an interesting man, and the summer fair was the perfect place to show up with her new look.

“So we get to choose,” Caitlyn said as if she hadn’t reminded Berlin of their bet at least a dozen times since they’d met for breakfast that morning. She had the whole plan laid out, from the salon appointment to the fake eyelashes to the amount of time they could spend shopping.

“I know.” Berlin tugged on the hem of her skirt.

“We get an hour to find an appropriate man.” Caitlyn folded her list and tucked it in her pocket. “And whoever we choose, you have to get to ask you out. That’s the deal.”

“All the boys are comin’ down from the horse farm tonight.” Scotty looked up from her phone, her smile so wide and infectious Berlin felt herself relaxing.

“I don’t like cowboys,” she said.

Scotty scoffed as if the idea of not liking cowboys was utterly ridiculous. “They’re not all married.”

Berlin pressed her lips together, the soft pink gloss Caitlyn had insisted on a bit sticky. It would do no good to argue with Scotty. Berlin had agreed to the terms of their deal, and all she could hope for was that Caitlyn would find someone more concerned about people than he was about his mare.

“All right. Let’s go.” Caitlyn tucked Berlin’s hair behind her ear and then flipped it out again. “You look great.”

Her hair was indeed an ashy black which reflected the light strangely in different situations. She liked it a lot more out in direct sunlight, but the fair would be full of fluorescent lights in shades of orange. She shuddered just thinking about what color her hair would be then.

But she couldn’t stop the inevitable, and she reminded herself—again—that she wanted to do everything backward than what she normally did. After all, her previous attempts at dating had her going on a double date with a man whose last name she’d never learned, and then a forty-year-old detective who her family had disapproved of because of the fifteen-year age difference.

She’d really liked Gray, but in the end, they were just too different. On two different ends of the life spectrum. And his fourteen-year-old daughter had been a real problem.

“Remember, no one with kids,” she told her friends.

“That might be hard,” Caitlyn said though she’d readily agreed to it before. “And it won’t matter if they’re…what?” She peered at Berlin as she drove toward the park. “Under ten?”

“Under eight,” Berlin said. One of her sisters had married a widower with a seven-year-old daughter, and Dawn had been brilliant at the insta-mom thing. Berlin wasn’t sure she could take on a child at only age twenty-seven, and she certainly hadn’t clicked with Gray’s daughter. Last she’d heard, he’d started dating an older woman with a couple of teenagers herself. A pang of loneliness hit her, and she pushed Gray out of her mind.

“No cops,” she told her friends as Caitlyn found a parking spot and swung the car into it.

“Oh, no,” Caitlyn said. “That wasn’t part of the deal. You just said no men with teenagers.”

Berlin opened her mouth to argue, but Scotty squealed in a volume that could burst eardrums and launched herself out of the backseat. A couple of cowboys loitered by the fence that ran along the walking path in the park, and she threw herself at one of them. He caught her around the waist and twirled her.

The carefree nature of the exchange had Berlin swallowing back a sour jealousy she wished she could never feel again. And yet, she asked, “Who’s that?” anyway.

“Him? That’s Branch. Her brother. He’s been in Montana for years. She said he was going to try to make it.”

“Branch isn’t a name,” Berlin grumbled. “That’s another one. Only men with real names.”

Caitlyn tipped her head back and laughed. “I have no control over that.”

“You know everyone in this town.”

“Please. That would be you.” Caitlyn hipped Berlin, who stumbled sideways for a step as they approached the two cowboys. Scotty made the introductions and everyone started walking toward the festivities on the other side of the lake.

Bright lights lifted into the dark night, staining the sky with light pollution, and the din of noise could be heard from hundreds of yards away.

“An hour,” Caitlyn said, skipping ahead and linking her arm through Scotty’s. “C’mon, girl. We have work to do before we find guys of our own.”

Berlin watched them giggle and hurry ahead, leaving her with Branch and his buddy, Henry. “Drinks are on me, boys.”

They were at least smart cowboys, because neither of them argued with her. Scotty had said she’d provide a way that no one else would hit on Berlin until they’d picked out her man, and apparently that came in the form of two cowboys flanking her.

She bought sodas for them and flavored lemonade for herself, and together they camped out on the edge of the fair. The scent of hot oil filled the air, along with laughter and the dinging of bells as boyfriends won stuffed animals for their girls.

Only twenty-four minutes later—Berlin may have put a timer on her phone—Caitlyn and Scotty came pushing through the crowd.

“Got ‘im.” Caitlyn drew in a big breath, her chest heaving. Whether from excitement or because she needed to spend a bit more time on the treadmill, Berlin wasn’t sure.

Her stomach coiled and recoiled, getting ready to strike like an angry snake. She took one more gulp of the sour lemonade and said, “Okay. I can do this.”

Scotty gripped her shoulders with both hands and looked right into Berlin’s eyes. “You can do this. Different. Dark.” She giggled again and glanced at Caitlyn. “You’re going to love him.”

“I just have to get him to ask me out,” Berlin said. No one had said anything about falling in love, though Berlin yearned to do that. Have someone to hold hands with, whisper secrets to, fall into a kiss with the way her sisters did.

She drew in a deep breath and said, “Point him out.”

Caitlyn and Scotty turned back to the crowd, slipping to Berlin’s side and pushing the cowboys out. “He’s not a cowboy,” Caitlyn said. “So don’t let the hat fool you.” She pointed toward the milk bottles. “There he is. Black hat.”

Berlin scanned the crowd, but there were literally a dozen black hatted men near the milk bottles. Her heart pitted and patted and hopped around like a frog on caffeine.

“Police uniform,” Scotty added. “Oh, he just laughed.”

Berlin’s heart sank all the way to her cute little boots. “The Chief of Police?” She turned toward Caitlyn. “You want me to get Cole Fairbanks to ask me out?”

“He’s perfect for you,” Caitlyn purred, giving her a little shove.

Berlin’s jaw tightened and she gave a tight little shake of her head. “He doesn’t date,” she said. “I’m never going to get him to ask me out.” As if she even wanted to. Cole had come to town two years ago when Chief Rasband retired. He was devilishly handsome, sure. A double hit to the heart with that uniform and that cowboy hat, definitely.

And Berlin would not be the first female to try to charm the man since he’d come to town. As she watched a bubbly blonde named Tiffany approach and flirt with the man, she realized she wouldn’t even be the first woman to attempt to get his attention tonight.

“Go on,” Caitlyn hissed and gave her another push.

Berlin was going to fail miserably, but a deal was a deal.

Help me, she prayed with every step toward the carnival games. Give me the right words. Make him like brunettes with ashy black hair. Just get me through this deal.

After all, if she lost, her friends had dreamed up a terrible consequence for her, and she would not give them the satisfaction of setting her up on a dozen blind dates.

What Readers are Saying

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "This series as with all of the stories that Liz writes give us a wholesome, funny, anxious, and heartfelt stories of love and the trials of real reps that God as an anchor. Thank you for reminding us of the importance of having a center to hold on to in good and bad times.” ~Leslie

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "Loved the way Cole and Berlin kept messing up, but kept trying again. Persistence worked in their relationship. Berlin lacked confidence being the baby of a big family, but she figured it out. The beast did also!” ~Trudy D.

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Join the Fuller Family in Brush Creek!

Whether you're drawn to the slower pace of Western life, the charm of small-town camaraderie, or the simple joy of wholesome romance, the Fuller Family in Brush Creek offers a cozy retreat into a world where love always finds a way.

Saddle up for a series that promises to fill your heart with hope and your soul with the spirit of romance!