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Countin’ on Jesse Book Excerpt!

About the Book

Book: Countin’ On Jesse

Author: Mary Pat Johns

Genre: (Inspirational) Contemporary Romance

Release Date: September 12, 2023

Peeps’ gym owner Jesse seeks accreditation. Accountant Brenna wants to help Jesse reach his goal. They’re a great team, but can she count on him when trouble strikes?

Accountant BRENNA MCKINLEY only wants what’s best for Peeps, the wildly popular gym in Valiant, Texas. But when money goes missing, and she’s the obvious suspect, will she be able to clear her name or face criminal charges? Keeping her dream job matters, but falling in love with her boss isn’t part of the plan. Neither is the creepy guy stalking her.

Young veteran JESSE JACOBS manages and co-owns Peeps, an exercise facility in Valiant, Texas. He needs help to gain accreditation for the gym, and his new accountant is all in. But is she who she seems? Too bad he’s falling for her like a man with no parachute. When the pressure builds, PTSD renders him moody and volatile, risking everything he loves.

Book Excerpt

Ramon moved his head a centimeter, warning her not to disagree. The injustice iced her veins. “Yes, sir.” She didn’t know if the cryptic words meant she was done for tonight or done as in forever. Rats! She longed for a better job, but spilling salad all over a customer wasn’t the way to go about it.

Minutes later, Brenna trudged through the potholed employee parking spaces. The foul reek of the dumpster summed up the premature end to her shift. However, tiny stars dodged the darkness and twinkled with hope. An incoming text chimed. Brenna dug her phone out and stared at the screen. Sweet Paige. Probably wondering if Brenna still had her job.

A mental image of Mr. Handsome covered in salad fixings popped into her mind. How had she landed in his lap? Heat crept up her neck again.

Job interview lined up for you. Monday, 9:00 a.m, Peoples’ Gym. Dress conservatively.

What was this? Her last full-time job had been at a gym—a miserable experience.

Brenna texted back.

Not working at another gym!


Full-time work and this boss will be different. What happened to desperate and willing to try anything?


Anything but another gym!


Appt at 9:00. I’ll text physical address/office# later. Modest dress.


I know how to dress!

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About the Author

Mary Pat Johns’ writing career began once she retired from years of teaching speech and writing. She’s written devotions for an online publication and had short stories published by Chicken Soup for the Soul. She currently writes a biweekly faith column for the local newspaper.

Countin’ On Jesse is her debut novel, and she’s hard at work on the rest of the Valiant series. God put it in her heart to tell stories of brave veterans and their reintegration into civilian life after suffering the traumas of war. As she kept writing, her focus generalized to include ordinary people who learn how to move forward after devastating events. Her writing has a strong spiritual thread since she considers a return to faith in God the solution for what ails the civilized world.

She lives in South Texas with her husband and their two dapple dachshunds. Her grown children and five grandchildren are useful sorts who keep her grounded with her reading/writing obsession. You can find her at the gym, at her computer, or reading a good book.

Countin’ On Jesse placed second in inspirational contemporary romance in the TARA contest. It was also a finalist in the Crown and the Maggie contests for unpublished authors.