General Fiction (cozy small town fiction)
Date Published: August, 2019
Publisher: Pen & Key Publishing
A tiny town. A broken tavern. And one woman searching for a place to
Logan Cole is used to getting her way and what she wants more than anything
is for her father to get out of jail and restore her old life in New York.
All she has to do is wait for his scandals to fade and the online rancor
against her family to subside. Low on cash and out of options, she takes a
bus north looking for anonymity and stops in the smallest town she can find:
When she stumbles into Helen’s Tavern, she finds a place in need of a
make-over and a grandmotherly woman who could use some help. Soon, she finds
herself growing fond of the bar, Helen, and the town. She’s even found
a friend in Grey, the local plumber. The tiny town puts her at a crossroads:
keep hiding her identity to preserve her new reputation or let down her
guard and reveal her true self to the people she’s grown to love. But
the choice is ripped from her hands when tragedy strikes the bar and saving
it requires every tool at her disposal.
Can Logan find a true home among the people of Ramsbolt Maine?
The Collected Stories of Ramsbolt is a series by Jennifer M. Lane,
award-winning author Of Metal and Earth and Stick Figures from Ramsbolt.
Fresh and heart-warming, the series tells the stories of a small town
looking for belonging.
Logan Cole had never been on a bus in her life. As she stretched her legs
and stumbled onto the sidewalk at the tip of Maine, she cursed the eight
hour learning experience and swore never to do it again.
The last stop before the border was less like a terminal and more like a
dead end. No benches, no depot, no ticketing window. And no taxis. Just a
little yellow house with leaning porch surrounded by scruffy blueberry
shrubs. At least it wasn’t sweltering out.
She yanked her black Rimowa suitcase, one of the few things the FBI let her
keep, from the bottom of the bus. She gave the driver a wry smile and
thanked him for the trip. It wasn’t his fault a woman coughed and
crinkled candy wrappers the whole way, and that guy with his earbuds in
behind her never learned to sing.
“Six hundred miles better be far enough.” She mumbled to
herself as she dragged the suitcase down the sidewalk, fumbling for her
phone in her purse. It was a habit she still hadn’t broken, opening
apps to fill a void, but she’d deleted Twitter, Facebook, and the rest
of them when the threats started pouring in. Eight months, four court cases,
a thousand stories in the news, and she still hadn’t gotten used to
being without social media. Being disconnected was better than scrolling
through contempt, though.
“Battery’s almost dead. Map won’t load. Damn it.”
She walked back the way she’d come, past quaint little houses and
blueberry bushes, back to the bar she’d seen a mile or so before. It
was across from a cheap motel with moldy siding and mildewed plastic chairs.
The bar itself was windowless and brick. Definitely not the kind of place
where someone would look for one of the wealthiest people in the country. Or
someone who used to be.
She paused at an intersection and started a text to her mom, a quick note
to say she was far from the gossip and rumors, safe from tabloid headlines
squawking about a Cole Curse, and nowhere near the internet trolls who
flooded her notifications with threats, saying they knew where to find her
and what they would do to her when they did. All because of her
She waited among the cigarette butts and rusted beer caps while her text
bounced its way to France.
Delivered. Three dots appeared. Her mother’s reply came slow.
Good luck. Lay low. I’ll send money if I can. Try to blend in.
Logan sent back a smiley face and a greeting for her aunt and uncle.
Letting her phone fall back in her purse, she swallowed hard and tugged hem
of her T-shirt down over her jeans. Her heart pounded so loud she
wouldn’t be able to hear traffic if there’d been any. But the
intersection was dead. The only other animate object in that town was the
little orange hand blinking on the stop light, telling her not to
The light changed and a little white man blinked, urging her to cross the
street before it was too late. By the look of the town nothing was urgent.
The only signs of life were two cars in the bar’s parking lot. They
could be abandoned for all she knew.
A countdown timer marked off the seconds. Eleven. Ten.
Left to the motel. Straight to the bar. Neither option looked all that
For the first time since she left New York, rage, hot as the surface of the
sun, boiled within her. She was supposed to be in an air conditioned office
somewhere, running a foundation. Sipping a latte that came from cart. Logan
kicked a beer cap into the street, and it skittered into a pothole.
The little man on the pedestrian signal had his whole life together. He had
purpose and goals and a job. He had an identity, and everyone knew who he
was. Logan had all of that until her father screwed up, and the government
charged him with money laundering and took it all away. All she had left
were some comfy pants shoved in a suitcase and a cell phone plan she
couldn’t afford. She squeezed the handle of her suitcase so tight her
knuckles turned white.
The Do Not Walk signal blinked, and she crossed the street defiant.
The sidewalk rippled. Uneven slabs of concrete were mere islands, broken by
the freeze and thaw of ice, lost in a sea of weeds and road dirt. She faced
When she opened that door, she would find herself in a whole new world.
There would be questions. What was her name? Where did she come from? Maybe
they would recognize her right away from the newspapers, the tabloids,
Twitter. She wasn’t prepared for any of it, and she never would be.
She didn’t even know how to fill out a job application. What was she
supposed to say? I’m a Yale graduate with a degree in Art History, the
daughter of a felon, and I’ve come to scrub your bathroom?
The sun would set in a few hours, and that motel did not look hospitable.
The keys to a job and a cheap apartment were somewhere in that bar.
Taking in a shaky breath of Maine air, she held it in until her lungs
soaked it up, then let out a steady stream of all she had left.
“Get in there and prove your mother wrong. You are still a Cole and
Coles do not give up. We don’t stand on the sidewalk and talk to
Her whole future lay ahead of her. She just had to get by until her dad set
it right. Shoulders back, head up, she opened
About the Author
A Maryland native and Pennsylvanian at heart, Jennifer M. Lane holds a
bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Barton College and a master’s in
liberal arts with a focus on museum studies from the University of Delaware,
where she wrote her thesis on the material culture of roadside memorials.
She is the author of the award-winning novel Of Metal and Earth, of Stick
Figures from Rockport, and the series of stand-alone novels from The
Collected Stories of Ramsbolt, including Blood and Sand. Visit her website
at https: //www.jennifermlanewrites.com/