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Feel-Good Fiction Books from Elana Johnson

Mav eBook

Mav eBook

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Meet Maverik Young, the cowboy country music star ready to hang up his guitar strings in favor of being a father.

Oh, and he’d like a good woman to settle down with in Coral Canyon too, please. 🙂

When Mav meets Danielle Simpson in a diner in Louisville, where she lives, works, and is raising her six-year-old son alone, he’s smitten.

He travels all over with his family band of brothers, and he invites Dani and her son to come on tour with them that summer. He’ll have his five-year-old, and he really wants to see if this online dating experience can become real.

Dani’s not so sure, but she agrees to hand over the reins of her flower shop to her partner, pack up her son, and travel with Mav and his band.

Can Mav and Dani take their summer romance into happily-forever-after?

 Start here! This is the prequel novella to the Coral Canyon Cowboys series! 

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Sample Chapter 1 Now!

Maverik Young turned without using his blinker, a fact that nagged at him enough to make him flip the lever, though he’d already nearly rounded the corner. His nerves shouted at him, and he muttered back at them, “You don’t owe anyone an explanation. You’re allowed to leave your trailer and go to dinner by yourself.”

If he wanted to, which he never really had before. Tonight, though, the sun had already started to set over the western horizon here in Louisville, and Mav had been in this city often enough to know his way around.

Perhaps not as well as the woman he hoped waited for him at The Spot, but good enough to get there on time. His stomach writhed, and he told himself it was because he hadn’t eaten since lunchtime, hours ago.

He’d spent plenty of nights alone in his own trailer while four of his brothers plucked through chords and argued about lyrics in another trailer parked a few paces from his. They each had their own as well, especially once the band set up in a city. The five of them traveled on the same bus, and sometimes those close quarters were enough to drive Mav back to his parents and Coral Canyon.

The trailers pulled in later the same night, and Mav did like his privacy then. He usually ate with Tex or Otis, and usually both. Mav had eight brothers, but he’d spent the majority of his adult life with the members of the band—Tex, Otis, Luke, and Trace. 

Tex played lead guitar and sang lead vocals. His name was the best known in the world, and Mav was content to hide behind him and the others. In fact, they all hid behind the name Country Quad, but almost all the fans knew Tex’s name. The die-hards that had been following them from their early days knew all of the band members’ names, and out of all of them, Otis was the most talented.

He wrote the majority of Country Quads’ lyrics, and he played harmony on a variety of stringed instruments to Tex’s big ole classical country guitar. Luke played drums and sang amazingly low notes, and Trace played the bass guitar, keyboards, and matched Tex with his rich tenor.

Mav managed everything for the band, and that meant a great deal of travel, maps, timelines, deadlines, and dealing with personalities. Not only his brothers’, but all of the venue directors, marketing professionals, media members, and more. He loved his job, but he’d be lying if he said it hadn’t started to take its toll on him.

He pulled into The Spot and took a parking spot. He’d arrived too early, and he dialed his mother’s cell, by saying, “Call Cecily Young—Mom.” Sometimes she answered, and sometimes she didn’t. If she didn’t, Mav would call his father. He called his parents every single day, and whomever he got on the line would simply put him on speaker, and he’d talk to both of them.

Sometimes they got going in their own conversation, and Mav would yell, “I’m hanging up now!” and let them keep talking. He’d done it a couple of times where his parents hadn’t heard him and then called him back a while later, thinking he’d been there the whole time.

He smiled just thinking about them as his mother’s line rang, and that grin only widened when she said, “Mav,” in her aging voice. “How’s Louisville?”

“Amazing,” he said, watching the entrance to the diner. The Spot boasted the best burgers in Kentucky, a fact Mav knew well. People also came and went rapidly, and he craved that busyness tonight as well. “How’s Coral Canyon?”

“They’re saying it might snow again,” Mom said with a sigh.

“Well, it’s not June yet,” Mav said with a smile. He’d grown up in Coral Canyon, a small mountain town at the base of the Grand Tetons. They held snow on their peaks all year round, and the weather in Wyoming could be brutal. Mav still missed it, and he sucked back the sigh threatening to out him.

“What are you doing tonight? When’s the first show?”

“The first show was on Tuesday,” he said as a couple went up the steps and into The Spot. He wasn’t looking for a couple, but a single woman. A woman he was meeting there tonight for the first time.

His heartbeat tripped over itself, and he was glad he wasn’t speaking at the moment. 

“Oh,” Mom said. “Jerry, the first show was on Tuesday.”

“I thought it was tonight,” Dad said.

“Hey, Dad,” Mav said, reaching to turn up his radio volume. “How’s Indigo?”

“She’s great,” Dad said. “Sittin’ right here beside me.”

“Is she still pulling on the leash?” Mav asked. His father had just gotten a new puppy, and Mom had been complaining about the lack of sleep for a few weeks now.

“She did real good today,” Dad said, and Mav nodded.

“How long is the five going to be in Louisville?” Mom asked.

Mav closed his eyes and leaned his head back. “Until next Wednesday. Then we break set, pack up, and we’ll be in Nashville on Friday night.”

“Oh, that’s an easy drive.”

“Just a few hours,” he said. “So we’ll travel on Thursday. Get settled. Sing on the weekend there. Three shows.” Mav had already worked out all the final, finer details of Nashville, but he did need to call the venue managers in Texas, which was their next state on the tour. Texans loved their country music stars, and Country Quad always played to sold-out crowds all over Texas.

He opened his eyes, and they immediately caught on a woman already at the top of the steps. She wore a high ponytail the color of dirty cornsilk, and Mav reached to turn off his truck. “I have to go, Momma. I love you guys.”

“Tell Luke he needs to call Belinda,” Dad said quickly. “And Tex—”

“You have their numbers, Dad,” Mav said, frustrated as The Spot swallowed his date. “You text ’em and tell ’em.”

“Where are you off to, dear?” Mom asked, and Mav could just see her knitting needles going as she talked to him like he hadn’t just said he needed to go.

“Just dinner,” he said. “It’s my turn to go in.” He shook his head. “Back. I have to go.” He reached to end the call as his mom and dad both called goodbye. A quick check to the dashboard clock told him he wasn’t late yet, and he reached casually for his phone.

Except his fingers shaking was anything but casual. He flicked open his dating app and quickly tapped on his envelope in the top right. He’d been messaging a woman named Danielle Simpson for months now—since the last time he’d been in Nashville and the app had matched him with her.

He’d come to finalize the venues and do walk-throughs before signing documents committing Country Quad to perform in the city for over a week, and he and Danielle had been talking since. She owned a flower shop here in the city, and he could’ve driven by it on his way over. He’d decided not to, because he wasn’t fifteen, and he wasn’t a stalker. He thought those were two very good reasons. 

He also wanted to meet Danielle for the first time, face-to-face, somewhere warm and cozy, and when she’d suggested The Spot, he’d agreed immediately. He wouldn’t want to meet her while he raced around backstage, busy with all the different aspect of his job, so he hadn’t driven by the flower shop. 

He did reach over to the bouquet he’d purchased at a different shop twenty minutes ago, and he lifted the blooms to his nose. “It’s go-time,” he told himself. Tex always said that before he burst onto the stage, ready to charm legions of people with his vocal cords and his fingers plucking chords.

Mav got out of the truck and made his way over to the steps. Up he went, and the door chimed as he opened it. A metal podium stood there, with a cute young woman behind it, her The Spot T-shirt too small. Mav didn’t care, because he was already searching for Danielle.

His heartbeat deafened him, and he couldn’t hear the girl ask him whatever she’d asked him. Her mouth moved, but Mav didn’t answer. 

He’d spotted Danielle, and she’d seen him. He lifted the bouquet of flowers, his smile spreading across his face like slow, warm honey. She’d sent him a picture of herself, which was how he’d recognized her as she’d entered the diner, and he’d told her he’d bring her flowers.

She stepped out of the booth where she’d been sitting—right in front of a waitress carrying a tray full of drinks. Mav could only watch in horror as the collision happened, as Danielle went down, as glass after glass tumbled to the ground and soda, sweet tea, and water splashed the ground, tables, chairs, and people.

A cry rose up, and Mav found himself right in the middle of all of it. With the flowers clutched in one hand, he wrapped the other around Danielle’s wrist. “Are you okay?” 

His eyes met hers, and wow, Mav felt the whole earth sway. He’d once stayed in a beach house in Galveston, and during a bad winter storm, the house had rocked back and forth in the wind.

He felt like he’d re-entered that house and that storm, and all he could do now was hold on for dear life.

Danielle’s deep blue eyes hooked into his, filled with surprise and humiliation. A light laugh got forced out of her mouth. “Yeah,” she said, her voice like sweet bells on Christmas Day. 

She’d fallen all the way to the floor, and Mav helped her up while various employees descended onto the disaster that was Diet Coke and sweet tea. “I’m so sorry,” she said, shaking her hands. Mav saw the droplets of liquid fly from them and then continue to drip once she stilled.

Their eyes met again, and he had no idea what to say. “I’ll be right back,” she said, looking down at her clothes. The drinks had definitely splashed onto everything she wore, and when she looked back up at him, pure horror lived in her eyes. “Maybe I…maybe we should reschedule.”

The waitress stacked the fallen cups on the tray, which now sat on the empty table across from the booth Danielle had been sitting in. Mav didn’t want to reschedule. The band was playing three straight shows in a row, and that meant he wouldn’t be able to see her again until Monday. And he’d have to come up with another reason to sneak off by himself, and that had been hard enough tonight.

He’d mentioned to no one that he’d started to feel restless managing Country Quad. He missed his parents in Coral Canyon. Most of all, his daughter had turned five a few months ago, and she’d be starting kindergarten in the fall. He was missing her and her life, and he needed to make some hard decisions.

Tex had a teenage son he saw as often as possible, but Mav didn’t want his ex-wife to raise their daughter without him. She lived in Jackson Hole, about an hour from Coral Canyon, and Mav saw both of them whenever he wasn’t on the road.

He’d already spoken to Beth and Portia that day already, because he talked to the two of them every single day too.

“We don’t need to reschedule,” he said, thinking fast and reaching for the half-full cup of dark brown liquid. Taking a steeling breath, he splashed it against his abdomen. “Now I have soda all over me too. No big deal.”

Danielle blinked at him, her eyes wide as the moon. Then they crinkled at the edges as she started to giggle and then laugh. “Let me wash my hands then. I’ll be right back.”

Mav looked down at his wet, dripping shirt, then the waiters and waitresses standing there. “All right,” he said as Danielle turned and walked toward the ladies’ room. “I’ll be here.” He indicated the booth. “I’m with her.”

The waitress she’d stepped in front of smiled and tucked her hair behind her ears. “I can see that.” 

A man with a mop and bucket arrived, and Mav decided to get all the way out of the way. He slid into the booth and took the wet rag the waitress handed him. She also put an empty cup at the edge of the table and said, “For the flowers.”

He wiped his hands and his shirt and gave it back, then settled the floral arrangement in the simple, plastic diner cup and waited for Danielle to return so their first date could officially begin.

What Readers are Saying

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "I loved reading Mav and can’t wait to read the other books in this series! It is such a blessing to read a book that not only has no profanity but the characters are open about their faith in God and spend time in prayer talking about life events and decisions." ~Sue L.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "This story about MAV is very exciting, with a country band and lots of traveling, as it takes lots to keep such a thing moving. In an astounding way, Liz makes this tale of each family member working hard to keep their band together, while making time for loved ones like their kids included in their activities after being divorced. Almost every one out of the 9 brothers has split from their wives. Being popular, and on the road most of the time, makes any relationship hard. With the various ups and downs I am pleased to have Mav and Dani find a happy ending." ~Judy S.

Customer Reviews

Based on 20 reviews
Jan N.

Loved how you got to see how Mac met Dani and how they fell in love. It just goes to show that there are still good men out there. Having read other Young brothers stories, it was nice to see Mac's story.

Is it forever or not?

Really enjoyed the love story

Ramona S.

I’ve enjoyed it and it is very good and easy to read. I have all of your Coral Canyon books from Tex to Bryce. Very good books. 👍


Fun read!

Christine J.

Another story by Liz I have enjoyed them all so far

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