In this heartwarming second-chance romance, a woman returns home and discovers that, when it comes to finding love, there's no place like home . Rising-star reporter Dakota Jones is usually the one breaking the news---until an inadvertent scandal wrecks her career. The only place she can go to regroup is Holly Grove Island. But her small South Carolina hometown comes with a major catch: Dexter Roberts, the first man to break Dakota's heart, is her new boss. Working alongside Dexter, who is more attractive than he has a right to be, shows Dakota what might have been . . . but she isn't giving him another chance to break her heart. Dexter has always regretted the way things ended between him and Dakota. Her return could be his opportunity to finally make amends. But the more time he spends with Dakota, the more he realizes his feelings for her never went away. Now he has just a few months to convince her to give their love a second chance. But for Dakota to agree to stay, Dexter will have to reveal the devastating truth about why he let Dakota go all those years ago. Includes the bonus novella Kiss Me at Sweetwater Springs by Annie Rains!
Release date: December 1, 2020
Print pages: 432
* BingeBooks earns revenue from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate as well as from other retail partners.
Second Chance on Cypress Lane
Dakota Jones had learned three things in the past three months, during which she’d landed on the pages of Italian tabloids and Page Six, been labeled a homewrecker, and lost her job days before her promotion to weekend anchor was to be announced.
Lesson one: Run a background check on any guy who so much as says hello, let alone one who has a killer smile and a thick Italian accent that turns your knees to Jell-O.
Lesson two: Learn the native tongue of the man you’re dating. That way you’ll know whether he’s conversing with the wife you didn’t know he had.
Lesson three: Don’t blow all of your disposable income on things that are so…well, disposable.
Because now, instead of settling into her new job or making plans with friends for the long Fourth of July weekend in New York, she was crammed into a crowded, rickety old bus taking her far away from the city she’d called home for the past sixteen years.
Dakota had fallen in love with New York City when her mother had taken her to “the most amazing place in the world” for a shopping trip at the age of nine. “Couldn’t you just imagine living here one day?” her mother had mused as they stood in Times Square among the soaring buildings, bustling crowds, and glamorous people.
Mesmerized by her surroundings, Dakota could imagine it. And right there on that hot sidewalk, she’d declared that someday she would.
She’d built her entire career on the goal of becoming a lead news anchor in New York, so losing the weekend anchor gig that had brought her one step closer to that dream was devastating. Being left with no choice but to return to Holly Grove Island—the little town in the Outer Banks where she’d grown up and which she had been actively avoiding since the death of her mother five years ago—rubbed salt in the open wound that was once her career.
After eight hours and two bus changes, Dakota was finally deposited with a few of her fellow travelers at the gas station doubling as a bus stop in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, an hour away from Holly Grove Island.
Dakota rummaged in her overpriced designer crossbody bag for a tip for the driver. The bag was a gift from her now ex-boyfriend, Marcello Giovannetti. A token of his affection. She’d been thrilled when he’d given her the thoughtful but expensive gift. But now it was a bitter reminder of how gullible she’d been.
She was an investigative reporter who’d neglected to investigate the man who’d swept her off her feet. But everything about the night they’d met seemed so damn perfect. Like a fairy tale. And for once, it had been nice that there was some mystery to the relationship. That she didn’t know every detail about a man before they’d gone out.
And how’d that work out for you, genius?
Disastrously. But she’d gotten herself into this awful mess, so she would get herself out of it.
By running home to Daddy?
Dakota was really starting to hate the little voice in the back of her head. Her father had always predicted that her big-city adventure would go kaboom.
The city is a dangerous, cruel place, Kota. It’ll chew you up and spit you out.
Returning home with her tail between her legs would only prove her father right. He’d never say “I told you so,” but the words would always be hanging in the air between them.
Maybe there was a way she could go home and keep her dignity.
On the the long, grueling bus ride, during which her left butt cheek had fallen asleep more than once, she had devised a plan. She’d tell her father she lost her job at the news station because of cutbacks. He could relate to that. The same thing had happened to him ages ago when he worked at a factory. Before he’d gone into law enforcement and eventually become the chief of police on Holly Grove Island, a job he’d retired from a few years ago. This way, maybe her father would never have to know how royally she’d screwed up.
Then there was her other concern. In a town of fewer than a thousand year-round residents, running into Dexter Roberts—her high school sweetheart—was inevitable. Dakota had fallen hard for him. She’d been so sure they were meant to be together she was blindsided when he dumped her after his first semester of college.
After all this time, it still stung.
Marcello had been the first man she’d actually envisioned a future with since Dexter.
She could hear her late mother’s voice in that sweet, Eastern North Carolina drawl that Dakota had worked so hard to rid herself of.
You sure know how to pick ’em, sweetie.
Dakota collected her luggage, then moved to the little patio outside the convenience store to wait for her ride. She’d opted for the longer bus trip to give herself more time to prepare for the return home. And for the questions she’d inevitably be asked.
Yet as she stood on the platform awaiting her ride, she felt no more prepared than she’d been when she’d stepped onto the bus early that morning.
“Sinclair Buchanan.” An involuntary smile eased the tension in Dakota’s shoulders as she turned in the direction of that unmistakable twang. After the hell she’d been through the past few months, a genuine smile and a full heart felt…foreign. She dragged her oversize luggage behind her as she made her way toward her friend. “God, how long has it been?”
Sinclair was as beautiful as ever. Her tawny brown skin was flawless, and her natural, rich brown curls had been straightened and hung just past her shoulders, accented by honey-blond ombre waves. Her large hazel eyes practically glowed from within.
Sinclair embraced her so tightly she could barely breathe. “Too long, since your uppity behind decided you weren’t coming home anymore.” Sinclair finally released Dakota and met her gaze. “If I weren’t so happy to see you right now, Dakota Jones, I’d be tellin’ you about yourself.”
“Missed you, too, Sin.” Dakota grinned. “Thanks for picking me up. I know it was last minute and I had no right to ask.”
“You know I’d never pass up the chance to usher you back into town. And just in time for the big Fourth of July Festival. Always was your favorite event of the year.” Sinclair threaded her arm through Dakota’s. “C’mon. Let’s get you home. You must be exhausted.”
“Got you covered on that.” Sinclair clicked her alarm, and a shiny black Lexus SUV beeped in response. “I packed a little care package for you and your dad.”
Dakota turned toward the luxury SUV and cocked her head. “Is that you?”
“Business has been good.” Sinclair grinned proudly. “Things are a lot different on the island since you were last here, Dakota. I think you’re gonna like being back home.”
“I’m not staying, Sin.” It wasn’t what her friend wanted to hear, but Dakota wouldn’t give Sin false expectations. “This is a pit stop while I contemplate my next move.”
“You sure, hon?” Sinclair struggled to lift Dakota’s bag. “’Cause I swear you got everything you own in this bag, including the kitchen sink.”
“Sorry. Let me get that. I was dazed by your flashy new ride.” Dakota helped her friend lift the bag into the back of her truck. Sin slammed the rear hatch, and they climbed inside.
“Beats the hell out of that rusted-out Gremlin I drove when we were in high school.” Sin giggled. “It’s a wonder we survived that thing. Remember that board my daddy glued down to the floor? It was the only thing keeping our feet from touching the ground.”
“It was a chariot as far as I was concerned.” Dakota clicked her seat belt. “At least you had a car.”
Sin pulled out of the parking lot and headed toward the highway that would take them to Holly Grove Island. She chatted happily, catching Dakota up on the health of her family, her accidental path into real estate, and some of the changes to the island in the past five years.
They’d once been best friends—practically inseparable until Dakota had gone off to New York to follow her dreams. Within a few years, they’d fallen out of touch. Dakota had been afraid things would feel awkward between her and Sin after so many years apart. Instead, she found comfort in the familiar twang, the incessant chatter, and the irreverent humor of the woman whom she once felt she could tell anything. Even if she wasn’t ready to tell Sin everything right now.
“So, you wanna tell me why you didn’t want your father to know you were comin’?” Sin asked once they’d crossed over Fox Haven Sound and arrived on Main Street.
The question landed in her lap like a ticking time bomb. It was the reason Dakota had been tense, her belly in a knot, the entire bus ride. She didn’t like lying to her friends and family, but the truth was unbearably humiliating.
“I wanted to surprise him, that’s all.” Dakota turned away, focusing on the shops on Main Street as they flew by.
Most of the shops themselves were the same as the last time she’d been home: the bakery, the pharmacy, Myrna’s Salon, and Knitty Gritty—the local fiber shop. A used book store in the spot that was once the island’s video store. But everything looked brighter and fresher. The buildings were painted in complementary pastel colors and trimmed in crisp white. The windows sparkled, and each building was adorned with newer signs and awnings that amplified the picture-perfect small-town charm.
She could swear she’d stepped into one of her favorite Hallmark movies.
“I know we haven’t seen each other much since high school, but we’ve been best friends since we were in diapers. I know you, Dakota. So I know when something’s wrong,” Sin said after a brief silence. Dakota opened her mouth to object, but Sin waved a hand and continued. “You’re obviously not ready to share whatever it is that’s weighing on your chest like a ton of boulders. That’s fine. I get it. But if you ever do need someone to talk to, I’m here for you, Dakota. Like I’ve always been.”
Sin’s lips curved in a barely-there smile, but the light in her eyes dimmed. The sadness in her friend’s voice tightened something in Dakota’s chest. There it was—the elephant in the SUV that neither of them had wanted to address. Sin was hurt that Dakota had gone to New York and never returned. That she’d allowed their friendship to wither and die like an untended garden.
“I’ve been a terrible friend, Sinclair. And I’m sorry.” Guilt burned a hole in Dakota’s gut over Sin’s emails and text messages that had gone unanswered. Set aside to be dealt with later, only later never quite materialized. And eventually, Sin stopped sending them. “I never intended to shut you out. I just got so caught up in school and my career and—”
“And neither me nor this Podunk little town fit into your glamorous new life.” Sin grimaced, waving a hand before Dakota could launch into an explanation. “Honestly? If I’d had the opportunity, I probably would’ve left, too.”
“No, you wouldn’t have,” Dakota said warmly. “You love this place far too much to leave it. You always have and you always will.”
A genuine smile spread across Sin’s face. “Okay, so maybe you do still know me a little. I do love this place, and I’m gonna do everything in my power to help you realize how much you love it, too.” Sin glanced over at Dakota, before returning her gaze to the road. “And as far as I’m concerned, nothing’s changed between us. You Joneses are a proud, stubborn bunch, so I thought I’d get that out there, right off.”
Dakota’s heart squeezed. She was grateful for Sinclair’s undying friendship—loyalty she didn’t deserve. Sin was right; Dakota had chosen life in the glittering city over her best friend—a choice that had gnawed at her since her last trip home. “When I’m ready to talk, I promise to call you, Sin.”
“That’s good enough for me.” Sin beamed.
Dakota looked into the back seat. “Oh my God, what’s in that picnic basket? It smells incredible.”
Sin’s laugh made it clear that Dakota’s attempt to change the subject wasn’t lost on her. “A good old-fashioned Southern feast. Fried pork chops, fried okra, fried corn, macaroni and cheese, cornbread, and blackberry cobbler.”
“Even the aroma is decadent. I can feel my thighs expanding.” Dakota considered swiping a piece of cornbread from the wicker basket, but when she glanced up, Sin had turned onto Passionflower Avenue, then onto Cypress Lane, and there it was.
The sprawling, pale-pink, four-bedroom Victorian with white trim was way too big for her father. But Oliver Jones wouldn’t hear of selling the place. It was where he’d raised his family, and the place held too many memories.
Those memories, many of them painful, were the reason he needed to let the house go. Her father had always taken so much pride in caring for their home. But now the clapboard was overdue for a good paint job, the lawn looked neglected, and the flower bed was overgrown with weeds. The only thing that was exactly as it should be was her mother’s prized rosebush.
Dakota’s heart beat harder and faster, the sound of it filling her ears. Why was she so nervous? She was going to spend time with her father, whom she adored.
Sin pulled into the driveway and honked the horn twice. They both giggled, the way they had when they were schoolgirls. Her father had always hated it when her friends blew the horn rather than coming to the front door.
“You ready for this?” Sin turned off the engine and squeezed Dakota’s hand.
Dakota ignored the swirling butterflies in her belly. “I’m ready.”
They climbed out and unloaded Dakota’s luggage. Suddenly, the old wooden screen door slammed.
“Land sakes, Sinclair, what on earth is all this noise about?”
Dakota stepped out from behind Sin’s truck. “Hey, Dad.”
She searched his face, older and more tired than she remembered it. He’d always been her big, strong father. North of six feet tall, with broad shoulders and a strong jaw. Built like a Mack truck. But today he looked a few inches shorter and frail. Like he needed a good meal.
“Dakota?” His hands trembled as he inched toward the edge of the porch. As if he didn’t trust his vision.
“Yes, sir.” She stepped closer, barely able to see through the tears that had formed the instant she’d seen him. He was much slimmer than he’d been when he’d come to New York to spend Christmas with her six months ago. “It’s me.”
“It’s so good to see you, baby girl!” He stepped down from the porch carefully, limping a little and holding on to the railing. He opened his arms wide.
Dakota rushed into her father’s arms, her tears wetting his shirt. He smelled of Irish Spring soap and Old Spice aftershave.
At least that hasn’t changed.
“Why are you limping, Dad?” Dakota asked. “Is everything all right?”
“My right knee has been a little gimpy. Just part of old age. Nothing to worry about.” Her father held her at arm’s length, his eyes glistening. “Why didn’t you tell me you were coming? I would’ve fixed us some dinner and spruced up the place.”
“I wanted to surprise you.” She sniffled. “I hope that’s okay.”
“Of course it is!” He hugged her to him again. “I hope you plan on staying more than a day or two this time.”
“Actually, I thought I might stay for a few weeks.” She tucked her hair behind her ear. “The station made some cutbacks, and I lost my job. If it’s okay with you, I’d like to hang out here until I figure things out.”
“These big companies are cutting their workforces everywhere you look,” he grumbled, his wiry salt-and-pepper eyebrows gathering. His devastating layoff was still a sore subject for her father. “I’m sorry, Dakota. I know how much you loved that job.”
It was a gracious thing for her father to say since he’d never wanted her to move so far away or to go into television. He’d spent the majority of his life in their small town. His distrust of big cities had been solidified by his older sister’s death at the hands of a mugger a few years after she’d moved to Detroit. And he’d been worried about Dakota going into a male-dominated industry that relied so heavily upon one’s looks.
“Doesn’t matter what brought you here, Dakota. I’m just glad you’re home.”
“Ahem.” Sin cleared her throat as she lugged the large suitcase behind her with one arm and toted the heavy picnic basket with the other.
“Sorry, Sin.” Dakota grabbed the picnic basket, while her father grabbed her luggage.
He chuckled when he discovered how heavy it was. “Guess you weren’t joshing about staying for a while.” He turned to Sin and wrapped one arm around her shoulder. “Thank you for bringing my girl home. Best surprise I’ve had in a mighty long time.”
“I told you we’d get her back here eventually,” Sinclair whispered loudly.
“I can hear you two. You know that, right?” Dakota called over her shoulder as she climbed the porch stairs.
“Umm-hmm. And we don’t even care,” Sin taunted.
“Are those your famous fried pork chops and prize-winning blackberry cobbler I smell?” Oliver nodded toward the basket.
“The very same, sir,” Sin said proudly. “And I made Dakota’s favorite, too. Lemon meringue pie.”
“Then I hope you plan on staying to help us eat it.”
Dakota’s cheeks tightened in a big, genuine smile that she could feel all the way down to her toes. She exhaled, drinking in the sense of comfort that settled over her and eased the tension in her shoulders for the first time since her world had imploded three months earlier.
Her heart wasn’t racing and her teeth weren’t clenched. She felt centered and calm as she stood on the wraparound porch of the home where she’d grown up, despite the gentle teasing of her father and her childhood best friend.
She couldn’t hide out here forever, and she had no intention of giving up her dream of being the lead news anchor in a major market. But maybe spending a few weeks back on Holly Grove Island wouldn’t be so terrible after all.
Dakota’s eyes fluttered open as the sun warmed her face. Sunlight filtered through the curtains and danced around the room. She surveyed the space for a moment before it registered that she was back home in her old bedroom.
It was a separate suite on the third floor of the large Victorian home. Larger than her cozy little prewar apartment with original floors in the East Village that she’d been forced to sublet. The apartment had barely been as big as a postcard. But it had been all hers, and she’d adored it. Letting go of the place had broken Dakota’s heart.
An additional insult to the growing list of injuries.
She stretched and kicked one foot out from beneath the covers. At thirty-four she was living back home with her father, her career in shambles and her love life a complete disaster.
Terrific. She was really going places. Dakota sifted through her luggage, grabbed her toiletries and some fresh clothes, then headed for the bathroom.
After her shower, she took a half hour to check her LinkedIn profile and review the job alerts she’d set up on various career boards. Something she’d done nearly every morning since losing her job three months ago. A task that took much longer given the turtle speed of her father’s internet service. Then she made her way downstairs in a T-shirt, a pair of old shorts, and her bare feet. The smell of coffee, blueberry pancakes, and bacon wafted throughout the house. She smiled as she crossed the kitchen and kissed her father on the cheek.
“Everything looks good. Smells good, too. Since when do you cook?” The words struck her as soon as they’d left her mouth, and a pained look crinkled her father’s eyes. Her mother had done all of the cooking. What choice did her father have but to learn to cook for himself now that she was gone? “Dad, I’m sorry. I didn’t…I mean, I shouldn’t have—”
“It’s okay, baby girl.” Oliver smiled at her warmly. “I know what you meant. Go on and have a seat. I’ll fix you a plate.”
Dakota slid onto the kitchen chair, her cheeks stinging with heat as an uncomfortable silence settled around them.
Her father set her plate on the table and handed her a fork and knife. After he’d set down his own plate and silverware, he placed the blueberry maple syrup in front of her and a bottle of sugar-free syrup near his plate.
He sat down and nodded toward her still untouched food. “What, you don’t trust your old man’s culinary abilities?”
“Of course I do.” Dakota snickered, picking up her fork. She cut into the light, fluffy pancakes, and took a bite. The pancakes melted in her mouth, and a hint of lemon melded with the fresh blueberries. “Dad, this is really good. Like…”
“Mom’s?” Her father chuckled. “Well, that’s certainly the highest compliment I could hope for. Especially since your mom spent the months immediately following her diagnosis teaching me to cook. She insisted that a man living alone needed to be able to cook for himself. I think she was afraid I’d marry the first woman who showed up on my steps with a hot meal if I couldn’t.”
“Sounds like Mom. Determined to control things, even from the great beyond.”
Oliver laughed. “Your mother was a very organized and determined woman. That’s for sure. It’s one of the things I loved most about her. It’s one of the things I love most about you, too.” He winked at her.
“I thought my stubbornness drove you crazy.” Dakota recalled their last big argument.
He’d rented a U-Haul to collect her things from her college dorm and drive her home after her graduation ceremony. That was when she told him she’d landed a paid internship at a television station in New York, so she wouldn’t be returning home. She was moving into a tiny apartment with four roommates—two of whom were male. It was the angriest she’d ever seen her father. Still, she’d stuck to her resolve.
“Sometimes,” he acknowledged. “But even then I admired the trait. I was proud of you for making your own decisions. For your conviction and tenacity. I still am.”
Dakota bit her lip and her belly burned. If her father only knew what a mess she’d made of her life and career, it’d break his heart. She would have to tell him eventually, but it didn’t need to be today. She watched, one brow raised, as he poured the syrup on his pancakes. “Sugar free? That’s not like you.”
“Watching my figure.” He patted his belly, now practically gone, and chuckled. There was something concerning behind the smile, and his laughter felt forced. Besides, her father had always despised diet and sugar-free anything.
She was all for her father living a healthier lifestyle, but why the sudden change?
“You’re sure everything is okay?” she asked, unconvinced.
“Peachy.” He set the bottle down and sliced into his pancakes.
Dakota poured more blueberry syrup on her plate. Something was definitely going on with her father. And she would make it her business to find out what it was.
“Looking forward to the Fourth of July Festival?” He seemed eager to change the subject.
Dakota shrugged, her muscles tense. “I don’t know if I’m ready to be paraded around town. I thought I’d hang out here. Decompress. Do some job hunting.”
“But you’ve always loved the Fourth of July Festival. And it isn’t small-potatoes stuff anymore. The town goes all out. You should see it.”
Dakota could remember everything about the last Fourth of July Festival she’d attended on Holly Grove Island. The heat had been unbearable, and it was sticky and humid. But none of that had mattered to her because she and Dexter had been together. And she’d been head over heels in love with him.
In her head, she’d already mapped out their future together. They’d both go to Texas A&M and get married after she graduated. But they’d hold off on having children until they were both established in their careers. Him as a pro football player and her as a nightly news anchor.
Back then everything had seemed simple. She’d been so sure of what lay ahead for them. But here she was, seventeen years later, decidedly single and with no clue what her future held in store.
“I don’t know, Dad.”
“Look at it this way,” he said. “The festival will give you a chance to get all of those awkward hellos out of the way in a single day. If you don’t, you know what’ll happen.”
She did. If she didn’t make an appearance, everyone in town would eventually stop by. One by one.
“You’re right. I should get it over with.” She shoveled more pancakes into her mouth. They really were delicious. Her mother would be proud.
“That’s my girl.” Her father settled his big brown eyes on hers and grinned. “Now that you’re going to the festival…Lila Gayle has a favor to ask of you.”
“How’d Ms. Lila know I was…” Dakota shook her head and laughed. “Never mind. For a moment I forgot where I was.” Word of mouth traveled faster here than the high-speed internet she was already beginning to miss. “What’s the favor?”
“She was asked to sponsor and judge an event at the festival. But she needs someone to help cover the café booth during the event. She’ll have a cook there,” he added quickly, likely in response to the look of alarm on her face. “But she’s short waitstaff. She just needs you to take the orders, pour coffee. Stuff like that. Should be a walk in the park since you’ve worked the festival booth for her before.”
Dakota had been a server at Lila’s Café on weekends and during summers while in high school. So she’d also worked the booth during the Fourth of July Festival.
“She’d pay you, of course.”
Dakota waved off that bit of information. “I’m happy to help Ms. Lila out, Dad.”
“I’ll let her know.” Her father munched on a crispy piece of bacon triumphantly.
She had always liked Ms. Lila. It would be good to see her again. Besides, working the booth would ensure that any prying conversations remained short and sweet.
Still, the thought of seeing everyone in town made her a little queasy. In the months before she’d left for NYU to pursue a degree in journalism, her mother had cornered anyone who would listen and compared Dakota to icons like Ida B. Wells and Gwen Ifill, proclaiming that her baby girl was headed off into the world to “make a name for herself.” The scandal with Marcello had certainly accomplished that. Just not in the way her mother had hoped. If just one person discovered the truth, the entire town would know within hours what a failure she was, making her humiliation complete.
Her father’s place felt safe and comfortable. Outside these doors she’d be a nervous wreck, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Dexter Roberts had attended the annual Fourth of July picnic at Holly Grove Island Park nearly every year of his life, except the summers he’d worked during college. Yet he was more nervous than he’d been while awaiting the results of the surgery to repair the devastating knee injury that ended his football career.
A salty morning breeze blew off the Atlantic Ocean, rustling the canvas tents in the Food Alley section of the festival. Dexter hovered between the booths where Ms. Lupita was already preparing all manner of mouthwatering Mexican dishes and Ms. Louise and her daughters were setting out their delectable, handmade fudge and taffy. He tugged down his baseball cap and tried to be inconspicuous as he scanned the early crowd through his dark shades.
“You look as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, Dexter Roberts.” His mother jabbed his side, surprising him. “Skulking around here looking for—”
“I’m not skulking, Mama. And I’m not…exactly…looking for anyone. I’m just—”
“Dakota Jones! How wonderful to see you, love.” Lila Gayle Eriksson, owner of Lila’s Café, had as thick a British accent now as she’d had the day she’d arrived in town nearly thirty years ago. “I can’t thank you enough for popping ’round to help me out.”
His attention snapped to the two women the moment he heard Dakota’s name. It’d been a long time since he’d seen her. Longer still since they’d spoken.
She wore a simple sleeveless denim shift that hinted at the curvy frame hidden beneath. The midthigh length of the dress revealed miles of smooth mahogany brown skin and toned thighs and calves.
A curtain of glossy, tousled chestnut-brown waves shielded her face from view. But then she tucked her hair behind her ear, making half of her face visible.
She was even more stunning than he remembered.
“You wanna tell me again how you’re not looking for anyone in particular.” His mother stood with her arms folded and one brow hiked. “Nearly got whiplash turning to see Dakota the moment Lila Gayle called her name.”
Dexter rubbed his neck, turning his attention to his mother. There was no fooling Marilyn Roberts. It was foolish of him to try. But that hadn’t ever stopped him and his younger brothers from trying to pull one over on her, just the same.
“So I wanted to see Dakota. It’s no big deal.” He shrugged. “We were friends. There’s nothing unusual about that.”
His mother’s expression softened. She rubbed his arm. “I think it’s safe to say you two were more than just friends, honey. And no, there’s nothing unusual about you being nervous to see her again.
We hope you are enjoying the book so far. To continue reading...