Currently viewing the category: "Mackenzie McKade"

Sand Angel by Mackenzie McKade

Sand Angel

by Mackenzie McKade

Samhain Publishing

eBook ISBN: 978-1-61921-284-8

Ever since the day Drew made his choice, supercross/freestyle rider Zoë Davis has walked a tightrope of danger, hell-bent on driving his memory out of her head. Speed, and sometimes pain, are the only things that ease the gut-wrenching pain of his rejection, but she can’t ride fast or far enough to forget his touch, his kiss.

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Echoes From Heaven by Mackenzie McKade

Echoes From Heaven
by Mackenzie McKade

Mackenzie McKade LLC

eBook ISBN: 978-1-45249-865-2

Celena, a Christmas angel, has been given the devil of an assignment — to teach Lon Townsend how to love again. But the man is bad to the bone — a playboy to the nth degree—with no desire to change his wicked ways. Not to mention he makes her incorporeal body burn with desire, which is wrong on so many levels.

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Tingle All The Way
Magic Moments, Book 2
by Mackenzie McKade

Ellora’s Cave

eBook ISBN: 978-1-41993-837-5

High-profile attorney Kayla Jones thinks she just might be losing her mind when Hector, a mischievous wood faery, appears before her. Are the martinis to blame? Or has her loneliness pushed her over the edge? And if her subconscious must create an imaginary man for the holidays, why can’t it be the good-looking prosecutor who visits her nightly dreams?

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A Very Faery Christmas by Mackenzie McKade

A Very Faery Christmas
Magic Moments, Book 1
by Mackenzie McKade

Mackenzie McKade LLC

eBook ISBN: 978-1-45248-885-1

Christmas and faeries and floggers… oh, my!

When a mischievous wood faery pops out of her newly purchased Christmas tree, Candice Lowry knows this Christmas will be…special. Under the bossy faery’s guidance, Candice gets a makeover and learns the power of her own sexuality. Maybe now she can attract her handsome new neighbor…

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Second Chance Christmas by Mackenzie McKade

Second Chance Christmas
The Perfect Gift Anthology
by Mackenzie McKade

Samhain Publishing

eBook ISBN: 9781599987118
Print ISBN: 9781599986616

They say cowboys don’t cry… Apparently they don’t forgive and forget either. After four years, Lori Dayton is returning to Safford, Arizona to spend Christmas with her family and face her past. She has reservations about seeing Dean Wilcox again. But time hasn’t changed her. She still loves Dean more than ever.

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Merry Christmas, Paige by Mackenzie McKade

Merry Christmas, Paige
by Mackenzie McKade

Samhain Publishing

eBook ISBN: 978-1-60504-698-3
Print ISBN: 978-1-60504-863-5

Nathan Cross can’t believe his eyes. The emergency room doctor tending to his daughter’s cut foot is the woman he’s dreamed about every night since he was forced to walk out of her life. He should have been prepared for her indifference, but he’s blindsided by the need to hold her in his arms. Just one more time.

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Bold
Whispering Cove, Book 5
by Mackenzie McKade

Samhain Publishing

eBook ISBN: 978-1-61921-147-6

Reece’s best friend’s sister sets his pulse racing, but she’s an itch better left unscratched. The attraction that flares between them is hot and undeniable, but getting close means risking a friendship he values and a lifestyle he cherishes. Is crossing that boundary worth the price he’ll have to pay?

Note: Prologue omitted.
Chapter One

Laughter, music and chatter blended with the hum of power saws and drills, pounding hammers, and the occasional creak of wrenches being turned. The scent of sawdust joined culinary delights drifting from nearby restaurants. Attractions and booths like the one Reece McGrath erected, aligned the long, narrow cobbled street. The entire town was in a state of excitement with the upcoming Fall Festival that would open in two and a half days.
He swiped the back of his leather glove across his sweaty forehead, accidently knocking back the bill of his ball cap. Flipping the hat backward, he straightened it over his damp hair before gazing up the street.
Colorful storefronts encroached upon the walkways, displaying knickknacks and items to entice tourists and locals to come take a look at their wares. In the distance, the cries of several fish market vendors hawking their daily catches rose. He inhaled the heavenly aromas of flatbread pizza and something containing heavy garlic that filtered through the open doors of Papa Vita’s Pizza Parlor. His stomach growled. It was nearing noon, lunchtime.
Perched high atop a ladder, he paused to peer over a multitude of red, blue and gray tiled and shingled roofs to see large white sails billowing in the bay in the distance, while the roar of motors and sailors’ voices swept over the coastal village. Above him a cloudless blue sky hung. The early October breeze was rather warm but perfect for sailing, whale watching and sun bathing. He thought a moment of the sandy beaches lined with scantily covered women before he stripped out of his T-shirt and hung it across a step. With tourist season in full swing, Whispering Cove’s Fall Festival should prove to be a huge success. That is, if he and his crew could finish the last two booths in the remaining time available. The thought urged him back to work.
Thirty minutes passed and he paused, smiling when he realized his hammer beat to the rhythm of a country song playing on the radio. Even his right boot tapped on the metal rung to the happy tune, until a baritone voice below him attempting a high note made him cringe. The harsh wail reminded him of a feisty seagull after a coot. The humorous image of the large bird chasing the small black-and-white one, squawking furiously, forced his head back. He released a loud burst of laughter that grabbed his oldest and dearest friend’s attention.
Devon Taylor stopped sawing the two-by-four laid across two sawhorses and glanced up. He grinned, squinting into the afternoon sun as he tossed his shoulder-length dark hair out of his gray eyes. “Not everyone is gifted with the voice of a nightingale like you.”
“Nightingale? Uh.” Reece’s brows pulled together. “Was that a compliment or insult?”
“Your singin’ is just so darn purrty,” Dev said, adding a western twang to his Downeast accent.
Another howl of laughter burst from Reece. Flicking a bent nail at his friend, he chuckled. “Get back to work.” He reached into a pocket of his utility belt and retrieved another nail.
The need to succeed had diluted Reece’s dialect. He had learned to speak much slower than his fellow easterners and to enunciate his words, which just happened to come out in a drawl that Devon loved to tease him about. It didn’t help that Reece enjoyed country music.
And it was true—he could sing.
A talent he had never pursued, much to his mother’s disappointment. On rare occasions he would sing for an audience and in church when his mom dragged him there. And there was also that card game last week where he’d lost a bet to Hauk Michaelson, the owner of the Seaside Pub. That would ensure his vocal talents were known throughout the festival since he had to sing at least one song at the pub for a week and maybe once at the festival. But most of the time Reece preferred not to be the center of attention, unlike his older brother.
Brody was sheriff here in this part of Maine. His wife Andie, a native of the town, used to be a big-shot Los Angeles attorney. Now she contracted with the city and carried the next generation of the McGraths tucked away in the largest belly he had ever seen. And for good measure she had a double batch baking in the oven, two boys who made their father beam with pride every time someone mentioned his babies.
Reece physically shuddered with the thought. He was a diehard bachelor, not that there was anything wrong with children, but marriage was not for him. Too bad his mother didn’t realize it. The five-foot nothing woman nagged him insistently, even more so of late. Why couldn’t she see his only goal in life was to be the best damn architect around the world? One thing she was right about was that no matter his growing success, the ocean and Whispering Cove called him home.
A salty breeze wafted across his heated face like a lover’s caress. He tipped his chin higher, accepting her welcoming touch when his stomach growled again. Damn, he was hungry. Aligning another nail in the beam, he slammed his hammer down, eager to finish this structure. He had two booths left to design and construct before the opening ceremony, which would be noon on Friday. All proceeds from the festival went to the local community center. But the funds for erecting booths were dwindling and all his ideas had been stretched tighter than the city’s pocketbook. The chairman of the booths, Harold Adair, assured him last evening there was nothing to worry about. Apparently he had a secret weapon. When Reece had quizzed his brother’s grandfather-in-law about this secret weapon, the old gent had flashed him a knowing grin and closed his mouth tighter than a lobster trap.
The twangy notes of a steel guitar brought Reece back to the fact he had to get his ass in gear, and it announced the beginning of another song.
Devon’s whistling was a little better than his singing as he forced breaths through his puckered lips. The man was a happy bastard. In fact, the entire Taylor family was easy-going, a little wild, but the most hospitable and honest people in town.
A smirk slid across Reece’s face as he thought of Devon’s three younger sisters, especially the eldest. Even though five years separated his and Tabatha Taylor’s ages, she used to follow him and Devon around like a puppy. There wasn’t anything she wouldn’t try.
“Hungry, cowboy?”
The sexy female voice at the bottom of the ladder had him missing the next rung. He bumped his chin on the upper step as he caught his balance, saving him from tumbling to the ground. When he looked down, his eyes nearly popped from their sockets. Damn if he hadn’t conjured the little minx, but her mere presence wasn’t what held him enthralled. The tomboy had turned into a beautiful young woman, hotter than hell, with a killer five-foot-five body that attracted every man between the ages of sixteen and ninety-two.
Her full plump lips were parted by a self-satisfied smirk. “Whoa there. I never thought I’d see a ladder buck the great Reece McGrath off.” She batted long eyelashes the same sooty color of her elbow-length hair.
Seconds passed and he still hadn’t found his tongue. Instead he continued to stare, and it wasn’t at her heart-shaped lips, because they weren’t the only plump items on her curvy body. No. Her low-cut, skin-tight T-shirt molded a perfect set of D-cups and a deep cleavage a man could get lost in.
He swiped another gloved hand over his damp forehead and inhaled her exotic perfume, something flowery and untamed, uniquely Tabby. There was nothing like the scent of a woman to distract him and his appetite, because all he could think about was feasting on her delectable breasts.
Whoa. Heat singed his neck, flaring across his face. Where that thought came from he had no idea, but it would be best for him to remember she was off-limits.
Fighting male instinct, he forced his gaze to meet hers. “Hey, Tabby.”
“Hey, yourself.”
Her feminine tone softened into a glide of silk that smoothed across his nerve endings like the light caress of delicate fingertips against his heated skin. His cock twitched, his mind going places best not visited as he reminded himself exactly who Tabby was. Hell. He had known her all her life. Yet each year it had gotten harder and harder not to appreciate the woman she had become.
And she didn’t make it easy. Like now, with those come-hither looks she flashed at him every time they were within twelve feet of each other. Her childhood crush on him had turned into something more and it was damned hard not to fall into the little vixen’s snare.
“Is that pizza?” Devon’s question sliced through his wonderings.
“Yes.” The corner of Tabby’s perfect lips curved up, revealing she knew she had rattled Reece. To add insult to injury, she dragged her sultry gaze slowly down his six-foot frame, boldly stopping at the bulge in his pants.
He choked, nearly falling in an attempt to spin around to hide his willful erection. Behind him her tinkling laughter teased, a ghost of humor following him down each step of the ladder.
What could he say? He was a man, and the wildcat was such a brat. What she needed was a good spanking. Instead of visualizing a wayward child, he saw a grown woman laid across his lap, naked. Those big blue eyes that used to follow him around, gazed up at him, smoky and aroused. He shook his head, driving the scene out of his mind. Up until recently he had been able to keep himself in check, but since she returned from college, her eyes had turned into the dreamiest fuck-me eyes he had ever seen. In fact, a man could drown in them.
“Leave him alone, Tabby, and give me something to eat.”
“Geesh, Devon, are you always thinking with your stomach?”
He pulled off his gloves and tossed them on a sawhorse. “Right now I am. I’m hungry. Did you bring me a beer?”
“I brought a six-pack.”
Reece heard the hiss of a bottle cap twist open. When his boots struck the ground, he turned and was greeted with a beer and a drop-dead smile.
“Looking good, Reece,” she purred, stroking his bare chest with a hungry gaze.
Desire sang through his blood. Her alluring scent and their height differences allowed him to look straight down her shirt at those mouth-watering breasts. Briefly closing his eyes, he took a hesitant step back, placing much needed distance between them.
“Dammit, Tabby, you’re a shameless flirt. Some day you’ll tip that pert nose of yours at the wrong man and there’ll be hell to pay.” Devon chomped down on a greasy, cheesy piece of pizza before taking a long pull from his bottle. “I’d hate to beat the shit out of some innocent guy just because he looked your way.”
And that was Devon in a nutshell. Easygoing, but when one of his sisters was threatened, that even-tempered demeanor flew out the window. Reece was usually in the vicinity to assist with the fallout. It didn’t help that Katrina and Heidi were developing along the same lines as Tabby. Devon definitely had his hands full.
Hell. Even Reece felt overprotective when it came to the girls, but lately Tabby—
“And what if I want to be ravished?” She shoved a napkin and a slice of pizza out of the box into Reece’s hands. “Both of you have to stop thinking of me as a child.” Her glare turned icy. “Don’t forget last month I turned twenty-one. I plan to make the most of this festival and I don’t want you interfering.”
Yikes. That didn’t sound good. If anyone could stir up trouble, it was the missy standing before him. Steadying his drink on a rung of the ladder, he placed the napkin and pizza beside it before he jerked off his gloves and shoved them in his back pocket. Then he picked up the beer and took a chug. The ale flowed smoothly down his parched throat, and then he released an “Ahhh. Thanks, Tabby.”
“Welcome.” Her actions were short and angry as she reached for another beer and wrenched the cap open. Before her brother could interject, she took a quick swig.
“Tabby.”
“Back off, Devon,” she growled. With a flick of her head, she tossed her thick black mane of hair over a shoulder.
“I’m just saying it’s too early for you to be drinking,” he muttered, taking another bite of pizza.
Her neatly plucked brows rose so quickly Reece half expected them to touch her hairline. To make a point, she held the bottle to those luscious lips and tipped the beer. Watching her throat muscles move up and down put shameful thoughts in his randy head.
What else could she do with that wicked mouth?
As if she read his mind, she widened her lips, taking the bottle deeper and chugging until not a drop of alcohol remained.
Devon scowled. “Fuck. Tabby. Did you have to do that?”
When she reached for another beer, Reece jutted his hand out, catching her wrist. “Darlin’, you’ve made your point.” The last thing he needed was for this little piece of dynamite to get even more audacious.
“Foolish lad.” Harold Adair smirked, his bushy gray eyebrows furrowing. The young man didn’t have a shot in hell against Tabatha Taylor. He raised his glass and sipped the amber liquor with satisfaction. Nothing like a shot of rum on a brisk afternoon to get the blood circulating.
“Wha’ya gabberwocking about?” Errol Wilson knocked his cane against Harold’s wooden chair. He shook his head, looking across the red-and-white- checked tablecloth toward their friend, Byron Mitchell.
Bryon straightened his tall, slender frame against the back of his chair. His gnarly arthritic fingers circled a half-empty glass of rum and brought it to his lips. “He seems to be talkin’ to himself more and more these days.”
They both broke into gales of laughter.
It was a beautiful day to be sitting outside of the rustic Seafarer, Harold thought, and watch the festival come together with his two best friends and partners in crime. The trio had been dubbed Whispering Cove’s matchmakers extraordinaire by the locals because of the success they had had with getting their own grandchildren hitched. Another bet was in the air and Harold planned to win it.
The rich buttery aroma of popcorn popping in a vendor’s machine down the street joined the scent of fried shrimp and hushpuppies from his half-eaten plate of food. He rested his hands on his full, rounded belly.
“Shut your traps.” He cocked his full head of gray hair in the direction of the local construction workers erecting a booth. “Take a gander over yonder and watch me girl at work.”
A couple of minutes ago, Tabatha Taylor had approached Reece McGrath while he was atop a ladder. When the lad looked down at the sexy lass, he misstepped, nearly losing his grip. Tabatha’s impressive cleavage could do that to a man, even an old fool like him. He chuckled beneath his breath. If his old eyes weren’t deceiving him, McGrath appeared paralyzed as he watched her demolish a beer with an expertise that surprised even Harold.
“Damn shame that little chickadee dropped out of college.” Byron’s lips parted into a smirk. “Still, a smart choice on your part, Harold. Looks like Errol will be buyin’ the rum for the next month.”
Errol grumbled something unintelligible.
This year’s bet hinged on getting couples hooked up, not necessarily married. Still, Byron’s couple looked as if they were on their way down the aisle. Hauk Michealson and Victoria Hayes had been an excellent choice since they had a history together and a joint interest in Hauk’s little girl. Of course, he wasn’t so sure about Errol’s couple. Adam, the local love-’em-and-leave-’em fireman, and the sweet schoolteacher, Josie Wells, were polar opposites.
Either way, it wouldn’t be Harold buying the rum, because as far as he was concerned, Tabatha was a sure bet. A man had to be blind not to fall for her charms. Besides, it was a piece of good fortune that Harold’s couple had a past too.
Tabatha had been mooning after Reece since she was a lassie in diapers. How much of that played into the reason she dropped out of interior design school he had no idea. But he was counting on Reece and Tabatha’s similar interests to close the gap between them. Reece had an architectural degree and a Masters in construction management. Together they could create magic.
He wouldn’t bet against a saucy creature like Tabatha once she had her sights set on someone.
Harold clunked his glass on the table and rose slowly, his joints aching in the process. He wasn’t as spry anymore, but neither were his friends. Age was catching up with them.
“Going somewhere?” Errol sat up straight, slicking a palm over the thinning hair plastered across the top of his shiny head.
“Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors or win bets. I think I’ll be raising the sail a foot and see if I’ll get ten feet of wind with these two.” He winked. “Time for me to stir up a storm.”
“You ol’ salty dog.” Errol pushed to his feet. “I won’t be allowing you to get the best of me. I’ve got some tricks up my sleeves too.”
Byron leaned back in his chair, a huge satisfying grin on his face. “Good luck, ye scurvy beasts.”
Casually, Harold wandered toward his prey. He overheard Devon, Tabatha’s brother, chastising her wild nature, and Harold inwardly smiled. The lassie had never heeded her brother’s words before. What made him think she would start now?
“So I see you met our secret weapon,” Harold said, joining them.
“Secret weapon?” A hint of wariness slipped into Reece’s voice.
“Tabatha has agreed to work with you on designing the remaining two booths.”
Her mouth curved, Reece’s fell, and Devon started laughing, which earned him a scowl from his sister.
“I’ve got this under control.” Reece finished the last of his beer and grabbed his gloves from his back pocket.
“Last night you didn’t appear so confident.” Harold eyed the young man’s apparent nervousness, deciding that it was a good thing. “So, what do you have in mind for the psychic’s and the tarot card reader’s booths?”
“Well, I thought…um…I was thinking—”
Harold turned away from the babbling idiot. “Tabatha, tell these lads what ye have in mind.”
Her blue eyes sparkled with excitement. “For the psychic’s booth I was thinking of long, draping curtains making up the exterior of the tent.” Her voice pitched with enthusiasm. “Multicolor scarves and pillows, flowing lengths of necklaces, pearls, jewels and golden trinkets skewed about. Soft lighting. A small knee-high table in the middle.” She took a quick breath before continuing. “For the tarot card reader I envisioned a small cottage with stairs and a functional porch where the readings would be conducted. Wind chimes, mystic crystals, and flowers—”
“Exactly how did you figure on financing these outrageous ideas? The Council has little to no money to spend on such extravagant daydreams.”
Tabby flinched at Reece’s steely outburst. But she regrouped quickly, turning her stubborn glare on him. “The cottage would be a shell used for physical appearance only. The structure could be built from used plywood and studs, and the porch of two by fours or sixes.” She looked around at the building materials cast aside.
“I have a door and a couple of extra windows you could use,” Harold added.
“With a thin coat of stucco, paint and some special touches, the cottage will be enthralling,” she finished.
“And how do you plan to come up with the material for panels and fake jewels for this so-called sultan’s tent?” Reece demanded to know.
Devon sneered. “Magic?”
Tabatha puffed up like a peacock with anger. Before she could retaliate, Harold took control of the situation. “The high school has offered their discarded theater curtains. There are also unused costumes that pillows could be made of.”
“As far as the strings of necklaces and jewels, the dollar store and craft stores sell them for a minimal cost. I’ll even absorb the cost,” Tabatha grumbled through clinched teeth. “All you have to do is the structure and electricity. I’ll do the rest.”
“Our pretty lassie is sure to wrestle the stucco and paint donations from some of our locals with her feminine charms.” Harold preened when his comment coerced an abrupt response from Reece.
“She won’t need to use her charms. I can get the materials—at no cost.”
“Then it’s a go?” Harold asked.
Through of veil of frustration, Reece nodded his acceptance.
“Great.” Harold dug into his pocket. “Devon, here’s a key to the vacant storefront I own down the street of the Seafarer. You’ll find the door and windows in the back room. Then you all can start with the cottage tomorrow.” Harold turned, hiding his pleasure as he strolled off.
Tomorrow would certainly be interesting.

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Wild
Whispering Cove, Book 1
by Mackenzie McKade

Samhain Publishing

eBook ISBN: 978-1-61921-167-4

Brody built a life without the woman of his dreams, but when the prowler he catches turns out to be Andie, he isn’t prepared for the onslaught of emotions. The old spark still burns, but love may not be enough to defeat her demons and allow her to live again.

Note: Prologue omitted.
Chapter One

Andrea Adair’s paralegal popped her head and her unruly mop of blonde hair around the door. “All work and no play makes Andie a dull girl.”
The twenty-two-year-old’s carefree laughter and obvious happiness in her light tone was the last thing Andrea needed right now. In fact, one more joke like that and Sharon might end up being her ex-paralegal.
Andrea rolled her head side to side, tendons stretching and joints popping as she attempted to ease the tension. It was Friday afternoon and she was still hard at work while everyone else was leaving early to start their weekend per a corporate edict for a job well done. Of course, it was by choice the stack of case files in her inbox rivaled those in her outbox. She subscribed to the notion that a rolling stone gathered no moss. Besides, if she kept busy there was no time to think.
Glancing up from the stack of papers and photographs before her, she murmured, “Have a good weekend.”
Before she could refocus on the folder in front of her, Sharon stepped into the room, smiling. “No date?”
Andrea raised an auburn brow that matched her shoulder-length hair. “Yeah. I’ve got them lined up for the weekend.” A little too much sarcasm bled through her words. She regretted it immediately when she saw Sharon’s chagrined expression.
“I’m sorry, Andie. I just meant—”
“No, Sharon. It’s me who should apologize.” Andrea rubbed her tired eyes. It wasn’t for a lack of invitations. She could have had a date tonight. Hell. She was pretty enough with a more than acceptable physique the gym had helped to carve into shape. But she deliberately shied away from men, as well as relationships. Sharon had worked for her over a year now and she knew nothing about the paralegal. Sad, but true.
Andrea gazed around her office devoid of any personal memorabilia. If it wasn’t for the nameplate on her desk and its messy contents, no one would have known someone occupied the space.
“I said, ‘Yes’ to the Broman’s case,” Andrea explained, “and now I’m fixating on how to approach it.” A ride at one of their client’s California theme parks had malfunctioned. It had taken almost two hours to get all the passengers down to safety. The Broman boy hadn’t been physically hurt, but he was having nightmares. His parents were suing for mental duress, one count for the boy, another for the child’s hysterical mother.
“You should just say no.” Sharon sounded like a commercial for the war on drugs. When Andrea didn’t reply, the woman shifted her feet. “Well…I guess there is no rest for the weary.”
Andrea gritted her teeth to keep from biting back a nasty response. What was wrong with her today?
“Do you want me to stay and help you?”
Andrea didn’t miss Sharon’s crestfallen expression. “Thanks, but no. You have a great weekend.” She pulled her attention back to the documents on her desk and began to thumb through them.
“If you’re sure?” The spark in Sharon’s voice had returned.
Without looking up, Andrea jokingly waved a hand through the air. “Go. Get out of here. Have fun.”
And she meant it until her assistant closed the door softly behind her. Then the walls in the room seemed to move, closing in on Andrea. It was her imagination. It was always her mind screwing with her. Inhaling a deep breath, she scented the tropical room freshener and trapped it in her lungs, waiting for the burn before she released the air in one steady stream.
Fun?
What kind of woman forgot how to enjoy herself or what friends were for? Because that’s the kind of woman Andrea had become. Work was what she lived for, exercising, eating and sleeping only when it was absolutely necessary. Some of it was self-induced while other times were mandated by nightmares. No amount of distance or counseling erased the events of the dreadful evening she lost her parents in a tragic boating accident.
Ten years. Why couldn’t she put the incident behind her? And why was she asking when she already knew the answer?
Andrea glanced at her laptop containing her response to the email she received regarding her ten-year high school reunion. Using a single finger, she drew the cursor over the send button and paused, re-reading the words she had written earlier.
Thank you for the invitation. I’m sorry to inform you that my current schedule will not allow my attendance at this year’s reunion. Please give everyone my best.
It was the same excuse she had given her grandfather each time he had called. Taking a deep breath, she clicked the mouse. The deed was done.
Tears suddenly welled in her eyes.
Dammit.
What was wrong with her? She didn’t want to attend the reunion. There wasn’t anything on God’s green earth that could get her back to Whispering Cove. The place held nothing but bad memories.
Taking a breath to steady herself, she picked up Mrs. Broman’s affidavit and started to read. Halfway through the first page her cell phone rang. The abrupt interruption startled her, jerking her from her thoughts. Frustrated, she glanced at the caller I.D. and her shoulders drooped.
“Not again.” She rolled her eyes toward the ceiling. This would be the second call today from her grandfather. Perhaps she wouldn’t answer, but that would be childish. She loved the old man.
No. This time she would be firm with him about not returning to Maine. Pressing the call button, she raised the telephone to her ear.
Silence greeted her, except for some scuffling and buzzers going off in the background. “Grandpa?” When no response came, concern slithered across her arms, raising goose bumps. “Grandpa? Are you there?”
“L-Laaa-ssie?” He sounded breathless with the effort it took him to call her by the endearment.
As she moved to the edge of her seat, tension crawled across her shoulders cramping her tendons and muscles. “Grandpa. What’s wrong?”
“H-hossss…pital,” he slurred. “But don’t be wah-wah-worrying yourself.”
The knot in her throat thickened. “Hospital?” Even as she repeated the word, she knew the signs of a stroke. Her grandfather hadn’t slurred a single word in his lifetime. Her fingers tightened around the phone. “Why are you in the hospital?”
More frustrating, nerve-wracking silence ensued. The longer it went on, the more her skin tightened with anxiety.
Oh God. A flood of uncontrollable tears began to stream down her cheeks. Don’t you do this to me. “Grandpa,” she choked.
“Andie, is that you?” Relief soared straight to her core when she heard Byron’s voice. Byron Mitchell was a member of her grandfather’s gruesome threesome. Along with Errol Wilson, the three men were inseparable and incorrigible. They’d be a menace to Whispering Cove, but everyone loved them and their antics, including Andrea.
She swallowed hard, fighting emotion that threatened to strangle her. “Is Grandpa okay?”
“Your grandfather needs you.”
Her grasp on the telephone tightened. “But is he okay?”
“They just took him in for more tests.” He spoke in a clipped, rushed manner. “I have to go.”
“Wait? Byron? Answer me first—”
Click.
The dial tone blaring in her ear was the last thing Andrea wanted or needed to hear. Pulse racing like a freight train roaring down the track, she tried to gather her senses. Her hands shook as she pressed the end call button. Surely if Byron knew anything he would have said something. If they were waiting for test results it wouldn’t do any good to call the hospital and speak to a doctor or nurse. Should she wait for another call? And what if the news was bad?
No. She couldn’t think that way.
Even still, she found herself pulling her laptop in front of her. Fingers flew over the keys as she typed in the city codes to search for the fastest way to get to Whispering Cove, Maine.
Ten minutes later she had booked a flight into Bar Harbor. Whispering Cove was an hour-plus trip by car, half the time if she chartered a boat. The mere thought of stepping onto a watercraft sent a tremor throughout her body that chilled her to the bone.
What would thirty minutes mean?
Possibly the difference between life or death.
Palm to her mouth, she sucked back an unexpected sob. She was being foolish. Boat. She would take a boat.
The one-way flight leaving from Los Angeles was scheduled to depart in two hours. The other attorneys in the firm would have to take several of her cases, some she could take with her. How much time should she plan for? Several days? A week, maybe two? Two weeks, she decided. Adjustments could be made after she knew more about her grandfather’s condition.

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