Family Bonds- Ava & Seth

Dr. Ava Mills always knew she’d end up on Amore Island, the island her family founded and built. She was just waiting for the position to open up to slide right in. And when it does, the transition is anything but smooth when her identity is stolen and her assets and funds frozen with her reputation on the line.

Seth Young moved to Amore Island to have his mother help him raise his daughter after the loss of his wife and unborn child. He’s worked closely with most members of the Bond family at the bank where he is President, just not Ava Mills. And when she applies for a mortgage, he has to break the news that her credit is shot. She needs help and he’s going to give it to her…just maybe not the help either of them had planned.

Fierce-Devin…Chapter One

Chapter One

Not Falling For It

Devin was in his office checking off production schedules when there was a knock at the door. “Hey, Mason,” he said to his cousin, one of the five owners of Fierce-The Brewery. He looked at the clock and saw it was seven. “You’re in early.”

“Couldn’t sleep,” he said. “I’ve got an idea for a new beer and wanted to talk with Ben about it before he got knee deep in other things.”

Ben was one of the brewmasters that worked the closest to Mason. There were plenty of them with the size of the brewery, but Mason seemed to go to Ben the most.

“Checking in on inventory control?” Mason asked. Devin oversaw production and distribution. Not a desk job completely, but a hands-on one too. He liked splitting his time. He worked four twelve-hours shifts and rotated his nights as he saw fit with Mason’s approval to assure everything was working properly on the night shift when the big guys weren’t around.

One could say he was the big guy at night, though he never felt that way. He might be a first cousin to the Fierce Five, but his last name was Andrews.

“How did it turn out?” Mason asked.

“Good. No issues or shortages. I’ll sit down with you at some point about storage and maybe rearranging things, but for now we are good.”

“Glad to know,” Mason said. “It’s one less headache I’ve got knowing everything is under control. I still can’t thank you enough for wanting to work here.”

“I should be thanking you for offering me the job,” he said.

A year ago Devin was living in Georgia working as a distribution manager for a large manufacturing company. He was the middleman getting shit on by those above and below him and he’d had enough. When Mason called and offered him a position he was creating, he’d jumped on it knowing he needed the out. Things were heating up and he was already in the crossfire. Not a good place to be in his position. Union workers weren’t happy and he wasn’t one of them even though they reported to him.

“It’s working out for both of us, and it takes the pressure off of me. Sometimes I look around here and can’t believe how big it’s gotten and I know it’s going to continue to expand. Which we need to talk about.”

Devin started to laugh. “You’re getting more requests from out of state?”

“I am. I’m ready to move into a few more, but we need to work out drivers and shipments and get vendors, figure the trucks out and the list goes on and on.”

“You get me the vendors, I’ll figure out shipping and the drivers, those schedules, you know that.”

“Good. Hope has been getting a lot of calls and putting things together. Maybe I’ll have you meet with her soon and it will give you an idea.”

“Sounds good,” he said. Hope Hall took care of all the orders for the brewery. She was a one-woman show taking calls, tracking down shipments, and dealing with any customer or vendor complaints. He suspected Mason might have to add some more staff on soon, but since that was her only job from a created position not that long ago, he’d already seen the writing on the wall for more expansion.

He went back to work when Mason walked out, would finish up his paperwork, then go down and talk to the guys on first shift once they were settled.

Coming in at ten at night and working until ten in the morning allowed him to communicate with staff on all three shifts. But since Mason and many others were here during the day, he wasn’t needed as much as someone to watch out at night.

When ten rolled around, he’d already had his office locked up and was heading up to remind Mason he’d be off tonight. His four-night weeks were normally Sunday through Wednesday, but he was closing on the house he was buying tomorrow morning and would need the night off to sleep and deal with his move.

“Heading out?” Mason asked him when he popped his head in. Talk about the prime office location. Mason got to look out over the floor of the brewery on a daily basis.

“I am. Just remember, I won’t be in until Wednesday night, so I’ll see you Thursday morning.”

“Oh yeah. Your house closing. Congrats again on that.”

“Thanks. Apartment living was getting to me, though I’m not sure I’m ready to be a homeowner and handle all the work that comes with it.”

“It’s not so bad and well worth the privacy.”

“Living in a development isn’t as private as I would have liked, but since it’s gated and they take care of the lawn maintenance, that was a major selling point.”

Mason laughed. “I enjoy riding the lawnmower on the weekend. It’s my quiet time.”

“Daddy!”

Devin turned to see Jacob and Jeremy come running into the office, followed by Jessica, Mason’s wife. “Mason doesn’t let me mow the lawn,” Jessica said. “I’ve begged him, but he says it’s his first baby and no one touches the tractor.”

“You just want to leave me with these two monkeys,” Mason said, as his twins were climbing in his lap with one reaching for the mouse on the computer, the other pulling at papers. They were a few months shy of three and quite the handful.

“I should have brought some bananas in with me,” Devin said.

“I don’t like bananas,” Jeremy said, jumping down and running toward him for a high five. Not to be outdone, Jacob did the same.

“Are they going to be here all day with you or are you getting stuff to work from home?” Mason asked his wife.

“Your mom is on her way to get them here. She had something to do this morning. I would have come in earlier, but they are wound for sound and I’m not sure I could handle them. She’d said ten.”

“Run,” Mason said to his cousin.

He was ready to turn and leave, but his Aunt Jolene was one foot in the doorway. “Devin,” she said. “How is my favorite nephew? My sister tells me every day how happy she is you are back in town.”

“I’m doing good, Aunt Jolene. Just telling Mason I’d see him Thursday.”

“Your house closing is tomorrow, right?” Aunt Jolene asked.

“It is. I need to sleep tonight and make sure I’m not half awake and signing the wrong papers.”

She laughed at him and then started to dance around in a circle with her grandsons. His aunt never sat still and was always moving fast. Which was why he needed to get out of here before she started to bring up another topic he hadn’t been able to outrun.

“We wouldn’t want that. Maybe once you’re settled, you wouldn’t mind me introducing you to a friend’s daughter. Kaylee is a sweetheart. I know you two would hit it right off.”

He looked at Mason and caught the smirk. “I’m good, Aunt Jolene. I can find my own woman.”

“All my boys said the same thing,” she said, “but we know how that turned out.”

“I’m thankful for Jolene’s interference every day,” Jessica said. “But I’m more thankful when she takes my wild children off my hands so I can get some work done.”

Mason moved toward Jessica and pulled her into his arms, then gave her a kiss. “Work? I was hoping we could play hooky for an hour or so.”

“See how well I did?” his aunt said.

“Yep, you did,” Devin said. “But I’m a big boy.”

“I told you to run,” Mason said. “You’re not fast enough.”

“No one is as fast as me,” Aunt Jolene said. “Just remember that.”

“I don’t need to be fast,” he said. “I need to be aware. And I am. Sorry, but I’m not falling for it.”

She pursed her lips and shook her head. “Ella said that too.”

“And we all know Uncle Gavin was responsible for her.”

“Oh, you better start moving,” Mason said. “Mom hates to be reminded that she didn’t have a hand in Ella’s. That’s why she set Jade up first because she couldn’t not have her finger on the pulse of a girl setup.”

Jade Fierce was Jolene’s niece on the Fierce side of the family. The daughter of one of Gavin’s brothers.

Devin and his brother Ivan and his cousins Liam and Faith O’Malley were Jolene’s kin. And they were all fully aware their parents were now trying to seek the help of Jolene in getting them to settle down.

Not happening.

When his time came, it was going to be of his own choosing. If he wanted it. Because he still wasn’t sure he was hardwired for love. If he was, then why was he almost thirty-five and had never fallen once?

He’d told his mother plenty of times he could find his own woman. He’d told his Aunt Jolene the same.

What he didn’t understand was why no one believed him or would leave him alone.

He decided it was time to escape while he still had some skin on his back after that burn for his aunt. He started to walk down the stairs and toward the offices in the back when he heard his name called.

“Hi, Hope.”

“Sorry to bother you,” she said. “I know you’re on your way out. Mason mentioned that he’d like the two of us to meet at some point to go over expansion into other states.”

“No bother. He talked to me about it this morning. I’m off tonight and will be back Wednesday night, so maybe we can talk Thursday morning? Send me an email of who and where he’s looking to ship to if you can.”

“I will. Thanks. See you in a few days. And congrats on your house closing.”

“Thanks,” he said, not aware she knew. As much as he liked to stop in and talk to her, she always kept it short and sweet no matter how much he lingered.

She turned and he watched her walk away. Her petite frame that barely came up to his shoulders with her brown hair resting against the middle of her back. He figured her to be about five foot two. He was six foot even and fine with it. He wasn’t as tall as his four male Fierce cousins, but being a few inches shorter wasn’t a big deal. Nor was he as big as Brody or Mason. He was built more like Cade, even though he didn’t sit behind a desk full time like Cade did. And he wasn’t as pretty or high fashion as Cade and that was fine with him too.

He was a regular old blue collar worker that put a lot of time in to get where he was.

He’d never be able to compete with his cousins and didn’t want to. Not like so many thought.

He wouldn’t begrudge them all their wealth and success. He wasn’t a jealous person.

He was happy with what he had in life and reminded himself daily.

If he was wishing he wasn’t going home alone at times, he wasn’t admitting it to anyone, least of all his Aunt Jolene.

He said he could get his own woman and he planned on it when he was ready.

Too bad the woman he wanted to get to know better just walked away from him and didn’t seem to be interested in anything other than a work meeting.

Fierce-Devin…Prologue

Prologue

Hope picked her phone up and saw the text from a coworker asking her to sign into work and help out for a power outage an hour away. She’d expected the call to come in since her boyfriend, Sean, who was a lineman for the utility company they both worked for, was just dispatched out.

When she moved here several months ago to be with Sean, he’d helped her get the job as a customer service rep. Because they didn’t work in the same building, let alone the same department, it wasn’t a conflict.

She grabbed her laptop and headset. Though she was done for the day, the OT would be nice. Sean paid for their apartment, but she tried to pay for the rest of the expenses so she didn’t feel too guilty. She didn’t care what her family said; she didn’t expect a man to take care of her. Not financially at least.

She started to swear when her computer decided to do an update when she opened it up and saw it’d be at least thirty minutes.

With her phone in her hand, she was ready to text her supervisor and explain when she caught sight of Sean’s computer on the kitchen counter. Maybe she could try his first.

She walked over and lifted the top and saw a screen for a password. Crap. She should have figured, even though she didn’t password protect hers. Knowing he was busy and wouldn’t get her text asking him what it was, she decided to try to guess it. He was a simple person. There was no way his password would be hard.

By the third try she’d gotten it with SexyMan1 and wanted to do a palm slap to her forehead. He was always walking around calling himself sexy or referring to himself as Sexy Man.

She might have done that move anyway when almost immediately messages started popping up in the lower right-hand corner of his screen. She wasn’t trying to be nosy, but it’s not like she could turn her head away from them once she’d seen the username LilyLove. What the hell?

After shaking her head, wondering if this was a dream—more like a nightmare—she realized it was a chat box for Tinder.

Work was forgotten, and since the message was up, she figured he was signed in and clicked his app and…jackpot. That piece of shit had been hooking up with women for years. And the entire time they’d been together!

Tears began rolling down her face and she wondered why he even asked her to move in with him if he was doing this. Why he said he loved her. Why he told her time and again he wanted a future with her.

Hope pulled her phone out and took snapshots of some of his chats to have as proof, not that she needed them to end things with him. Then went to the fridge and got a tub of ice cream and started to bawl her eyes out while she made a plan on how to get the hell out of here.

Fierce-Devin

The Fierce women are at it again! Jolene, Carolyn, and Diane have gotten their children settled and it’s time to move on to their nieces, nephews, and friends of their kids. Secretly…of course.

Devin Andrews loves his job at Fierce-The Brewery and working for his cousin Mason. What he doesn’t love is that his Aunt Jolene has set her sights on making him the next target of her matchmaking scheme. But he’s onto her and has no plans on falling prey like her unsuspecting children did. Besides, he’s not sure he has what it takes to fall in love since he never has before, even being the oldest of the family.

Hope Hall picked up her life and moved to Charlotte for a man. She should have listened to her family when they cautioned her against it, reminding her that she was too spontaneous with everything in life…even men. After being blind, stupid, and naive once again, she doesn’t want to go home and listen to them say they were right. Instead she is trying to make a life for herself—one without a man in it—and prove she can do it on her own.

Challenging Colt- Enemies to Lovers…Prologue

Prologue

“Have you talked to Stan Brewster yet?”

Colt Baxter looked up at Janet Steele standing in his doorway. She was a partner in the firm he’d been employed with since he’d passed the bar. He had high hopes of moving up and becoming a partner here and in the past few years they’d been squashed more than a kid’s fist hitting their first birthday cake.

Dangling the carrot in front of his face? Yep, been going on for longer than he cared to admit. If he could work up the nerve, he’d leave this all behind him, but starting over was daunting too.

“No. It’s on my list of things to do this week.”

“You need to do it today. Put some pressure on them.”

He put the pen down that was in his hand and stared at Janet. She was probably in her fifties and attractive. Hard not to be with the amount of work she’d had done over the years.

She’d gotten to the top by being ruthless, heartless, and finding a lot of bedmates.

She’d wanted Colt to be in that bed of hers at one point and it’d been a tricky situation to get out of, with her casually hinting his partnership was on the horizon.

That was almost two years ago and he’d managed to slip away without ruffling too many feathers.

Or so he thought until he started to get handed what he felt were some cases challenging his morals. It was one thing he’d never wanted to do in his career and lately it seemed like it was all he did.

“This is getting out of hand,” he said. “Did it ever occur to you that there was a reason Stan was representing himself?”

“Partnerships are offered to those that bring in the money. This was an easy cash cow in your name,” she said, smirking at him.

So she thought she was doing him a favor? Hardly. More like she knew he hated frivolous lawsuits and this was one that was killing him inside. Was it a punishment for not warming her sheets? He had no clue and didn’t want to even think of it now.

“It’s not easy when it’s the guy’s livelihood. He’s representing himself because he can’t afford a lawyer.”

“Colt,” she said in that condescending voice of hers, then moved into his office and took a seat across from him. “There is no reason to go to court for this. That is what his insurance is for. Easy peasy and move onto the next.”

“He doesn’t want his rates to go up or to go bankrupt trying to pay this out,” Colt said. “He’s barely holding it together with the bad press now.”

“And he wouldn’t have had the bad press if he’d just settled months ago when this happened. You knew our client was going to leak this if Stan held out too long.”

He narrowed his eyes. “At your suggestion.”

“If it gets the case closed then it does. You should have been the one to do that. He’s our client and yet you sound like you are working for the Brewsters.”

“I know who I’m working for,” he said. “Now, let me get it done.”

Janet got up and walked out of his office with a shit-eating grin on her face, knowing she got her way. Like she always did.

But unless he wanted to walk out on his job, he had to do it. When had he become such a coward afraid to take that risk? Had he gotten so comfortable here? Or was it the thought of losing everything he’d worked for, all the progress he’d made toward that partnership where he’d be able to choose his own cases?

He picked the phone up and placed the call to the man he dreaded talking to because the truth was, he wished he were working for the Brewsters and could nail his own firm’s ass to the wall for this bullshit. He wondered how much longer he could go on like this when he hated everything this place seemed to stand for.

Challenging Colt- Enemies to Lovers

Enemies to Lovers Hot Hunks Steamy Romance Collection Book 1 of 7

Colt Baxter had an idea and goal of what he wanted out of his career. Champion of the underdog? Protector of the innocent? Guardian of the law? Yeah, all of those things. Instead he finds himself fitting the mold of what most people hate about lawyers. Including the one woman he wants to get to know better.

Nikki Brewster has worked hard her whole life right alongside her father. And when his retirement career as a pub owner is in jeopardy from a frivolous lawsuit, she goes into battle mode. No one stands in her way at those times. It is just her and her father and that’s all she’s ever known. The last thing she has time for is the slick lawyer representing those trying to take everything away from the only man she’s ever loved.

A look. A judgment. A string of words. Bitter rivals and sworn enemies have been around since the beginning of time. But make no mistake, once the spark is ignited and the fuse is lit, the fine line between love and hate will go up in flames. So stand back or cross over, but be prepared to strap in for the ride.

Seven USA Today and bestselling authors are bringing you the next in the line of Hot Hunks. Enemies to Lovers, where tempers flash, messy situations erupt, and mouths and hands seek each other.

Natalie Ann- USA Today Bestselling Author- Challenging Colt
Suzanne Jenkins- USA Today Bestselling Author- Desiring Dylan
Jen Talty- USA Today Bestselling Author- Tempting Tavor
Angela Stevens- Bestselling Author- Forgiving Flynn
Katie O’Sullivan- Bestselling Author- Battling Benjamin
Stephanie Morris- USA Bestselling Author- Enticing Eason
Alicia Street- USA Bestselling Author- Taming Tristan

Believe In Me…Prologue

Prologue

“This is going to be a record year for you, Caden,” Mike Chambers, one of the partners at their firm, said slapping him on the back as he took a seat at the table.

“It seems that way,” Caden said. He’d blown by last year’s earnings last quarter. With most of the month of December to go, he was closing in on the top earner.

“You’ve got the magic touch it seems. Knowing what to buy and when. What’s you’re secret?” Kyle Roberts asked, another partner at the firm. The two men he looked up to the most. The two that took him under their wing when he started.

He knew he was asked here to this dinner with the big guys because he was pulling in major revenue at just thirty-five years old. “Lack of sleep,” he said, grinning.

Mike and Kyle laughed and Caden decided to not tell them it was the truth.

He was working himself into the ground just like he’d done most of his life from the day his mother brought him to a modeling agency. He hadn’t really thought much of it back then even though he knew he was good looking. It wasn’t as if he’d never looked in the mirror.

It hadn’t taken long for him to get signed, and the need to make more money and keep going to be the best filled his blood with adrenaline.

But he’d also been in the running for valedictorian and couldn’t let that slide. Protein, energy drinks, and exercise kept his body in good shape for the modeling, and his brain awake and alert for school.

Bad habits started young and they just carried over into adulthood, only worse. He hadn’t slowed down once.

“Keep up the good work, but don’t burn yourself out,” Mike said. “I’ve seen it happen to one too many.”

Too late, he wanted to say. The waiter came over and poured them all a glass of wine. He hadn’t eaten much more than a protein bar around noon and several cups of coffee that he’d exchanged for those energy drinks years ago. He reached for the glass and took a sip hoping it’d ease the burning he was feeling in his stomach from hunger.

When the wine didn’t work, he went for the water and hoped some bread was brought out soon. The lightheadedness was getting to him too.

“That’s why I do research when I’m working out,” he said. “Live and breathe it.” The TV was always playing tech news and trends when he was home. He never shut it off and never really tried either.

He was still grinning and his two bosses were shaking their heads at him, but continued to smile too. They probably didn’t care too much about his habits if he brought in the clients and kept them all flush.

“As long as you’re still breathing,” Mike said. “I’m starving. I’ve had a big steak on my mind all day.”

Caden picked the menu up. Steak sounded good. Protein always helped him. But when he was looking over the menu, his eyes started to glaze over and his heart was pounding so hard it was almost as if he could hear every beat. Not good at all.

He picked up his ice water and took another sip and realized his hand was shaking.

“Are you all right?” Kyle asked him. “Your face is flush.”

“Just a little warm,” he said. “I haven’t eaten much today.”

Mike lifted his arm and pointed to the breadbasket the waitress was bringing to another table. “Can we get one here too?”

“Sure can,” the waitress said, moving over to grab one and bring it back. She knew she’d get tipped well in a place like this with big spenders. Not only that, Mike and Kyle were regulars.

“Here,” Kyle said. “Get some food in you, then we can talk shop.”

He picked up a piece of bread and took a bite, chewed and swallowed. It tasted good. Almost too good for just bread, telling him he had to stop doing this to himself. There was no reason he couldn’t take fifteen minutes a few times a day to eat a damn meal.

When the bread was gone, he drank some more water. “So, what did you two want to talk to me about?” he asked, hoping for a big promotion.

That’s what all this work was for. He kept telling himself that once he got that corner office he could slow down.

Of course he’d been doing that his whole life. Saying once he’d met his goal he’d cut back. But another goal would pop up and another.

Infinite achiever was a good description of him.

“Let’s get dinner out of the way first,” Kyle said. “We’ve got plenty of time.”

“Sure,” Caden said, resisting the urge to look at his watch. He could be researching stocks right now and reading up on trends. Then he reminded himself this was still work and all part of it.

He picked his water up again, deciding to forgo the wine when his stomach started to burn. Guess the bread didn’t help much and he wished he had his bottle of antacids with him that he went through like candy at his desk like little kids did on Halloween night—only for him it was daily.

By the time the waitress came over, he was ready to order his dinner, but when he opened his mouth, nothing came out and all he saw was blackness.

Believe In Me

Caden Finley has been the success story that dreams were made of. A model in his teens, valedictorian of his class, graduated the top five from Carnegie Mellon and landed a job right on Wall Street where he continued to make a name for himself. Too bad all that work landed him in the hospital. Embarrassment over his health leads him to relocate to upstate New York and a slower lifestyle. He’s out of his element and frustrated with it, but determined to keep his past mistakes where they belong…hidden.

Sarah Walker has always been second behind her professional baseball player brother Harris. She was totally fine with it too. Until she realized that was the only reason half the men she dated wanted to be with her. Fed up with never being first in someone’s life, she’s decided it was time for a change. Time to put herself first and foremost and if she ended up single, then so be it. If she was happy, that is all that mattered…or so she tried to convince herself and her insecurities.

One More Chance…Prologue

Prologue

Taryn Miles was rubbing her hands together. She wasn’t sure if it was anticipation, excitement, or fear. Probably a combination of them all.

Here she was ready to tell her family she was moving to Florida a few short months after graduating from college.

She hadn’t been able to find a job and it was driving her insane. It shouldn’t be this hard, but it’s not like many jobs were flowing around her unless it was in tourism and she was going for accounting. Boring, just like everyone said she was.

But she’d gone to Tampa with a few friends for two weeks and got back to town three days ago. She’d had so much fun there, more than she’d ever had here. She’d looked at her life and realized it was pretty quiet and dull and maybe it was time for a change. An adventure of sorts.

She was young yet. Now or never, she’d been telling herself.

She squared her shoulders and marched out of her bedroom that she’d shared with her sister, Kennedy, growing up. Kennedy was living with friends in an apartment in town and working as a massage therapist. Kennedy had always known what she wanted and had no problem lining up a job when she was ready. She’d own her own place someday because Kennedy said she would and she always followed through.

Her brother, Trevor, was home for another week and then would be going back to God only knows where in the Army where he was a Ranger. At twenty-two years old, Taryn really didn’t want to live home with her father, the chief of police, and her mother who was a nurse.

Being the baby of the group, she always had them hovering over her more than the others. It was time to move onto something better. Something more exciting.

Anything other than Lake Placid where everyone knew and questioned her.

She saw her family was relaxing out back on the deck, and decided to join them. A Sunday dinner like she’d had so much growing up.

“Are you ready to tell us what is going on?” her mother asked. She should have known there was no hiding this, so she just decided to jump right in.

“I got a job.”

“You did?” her father said. “That’s great. I know you’ve been dying to get out there to work, but you’re going to be working your whole life.”

“I know. I just hate sitting around doing nothing. It’s driving me crazy.”

“Why sit around when there is a ton to do here,” Kennedy said. “But you don’t care to be outdoors that much and never did.”

“It’s not that,” she said. “I’m just not so much into nature and hikes or hunting. You like that stuff. I don’t mind swimming and being on the lake, but there is only so much I can do of that too.” She’d always found it calming to sit on the dock and stare at the lake.

“If you want to meet a guy you’ve got to get out of the house,” Kennedy said, winking.

That was another problem here. Slim pickings for men. Not that she dated much, but she wanted to. Most guys in this area had issues dating the chief of police’s daughter.

“Leave your sister alone,” Trevor said. “If she wants to date that’s fine, but he has to pass my test.”

She narrowed her eyes at Trevor. “No, thank you. It’s bad enough being the daughter of the chief of police. I don’t tell many my brother is in the Army.” And very few he was an elite Ranger. And almost no one but family knew he was a sniper.

“So where did you get a job?” her mother asked.

Here goes nothing. “Tampa.”

“There’s a company called Tampa around here?” her father asked, with an odd look. He’d never think she’d leave, she knew that.

“No. In Tampa,” she said. There was dead silence. “One night I was just looking online when we were in the hotel and I decided to apply for kicks and giggles. I never expected to get called in for an interview the next day. Then a second one after that. They called me on my last day and offered me the job.”

“You’re moving to Florida?” Kennedy asked her with a big grin on her face.

“Yes. What’s so funny?”

“Nothing. Good for you. It’s no secret you don’t like being here. I guess I just didn’t think you’d do this. It’s kind of sudden.”

Her mother had tears in her eyes. “It is sudden. Are you sure you’ve decided?”

“You’re not going to try to talk me out of it?” she asked, shocked.

“You’ve always been pretty independent and determined once you set your mind on something,” her mom said. “I’m not sure there is much I can say if this is what you want. Nor do I want you to have regrets if you don’t go, even if you’re my baby and it’d kill me to watch you drive away.”

She didn’t think they’d take this so well. But she looked at her father and saw he was struggling. She was a bit of a Daddy’s girl. “When do you start?”

“In three weeks.”

“Where are you going to live?” her mother asked. “Or did you find a place already?”

“I want to know that it’s safe,” her father said. “I want to know the name of the place to check out myself.”

She expected as much and wouldn’t fight them on it. “I don’t have my own place yet. Jami’s cousin that we were visiting offered to let me stay with her until I got settled and found a place. She’s in a two-bedroom apartment and said she could use the money.”

Her parents were looking at each other. “How much do you know about this person? What’s her name again?”

“Ellen, and you’ve known Jami my whole life. You know her parents. You like Jami and her parents. Ellen is nice. She’s a year older and been on her own about six months. She’s making ends meet but would like some breathing room. It’d be cheaper for me to just split the rent with her too now.”

“Tell us about this job,” Kennedy said.

She was happy Kennedy was changing the subject for the moment. “It’s a staff accountant at a law office. The pay is really good. It might be more than I would have made here and the cost of living isn’t as high there either.”

Her mother started to cry and came forward to hug her. “I know there is no talking you out of something when your mind is set on it, but we’ll support you and help you get set up. If you want, your father and I can help move you.”

She nodded her head. “Thank you. I’d appreciate that. I don’t have much and just figured I’d take a few days to drive my car down there.”

“Your car isn’t in that great of shape,” her father said. “We’ll help you get set up like your mother said, but let me look the car over first.”

“Thanks, guys,” she said, going to her father and hugging him too. “This means the world to me.”

“Just remember,” her mother said. “You can always come home with no questions asked.”

She nodded again and wiped at her tears. She knew that but had no plans on returning. She was getting out of here and couldn’t wait.

One More Chance

Taryn Miles decided to give Lake Placid one more chance after leaving home after college. Greener pastures were in her future. Or so she thought. What should have been a better life turned out to not be much different than what she had.

Justin Cambridge and his father’s relationship changed the moment he said he had no interest in taking over the family golf resort in little old Lake Placid. What he wanted was an exciting career in emergency medicine in a big city. But when his father falls ill, he decides to bury the hatchet and return home to help care for him and maybe mend the relationship before it’s too late. Staying there long term wasn’t an option…only he should know by now that saying of the best laid plans…