After three years in Boston attending college, Mallory Wells has come home to Casper, Maine to care for her father, who is dying from cancer. She left Casper without looking back, leaving her small-town life and everyone in it, behind. Including her sexy high school sweetheart.
Luke Bates was devastated when Mallory left him for the city life. He managed to pull himself together and move on, even if only just barely. When Mallory shows up in town, Luke vows to stay away from her at all costs. So why does he keep checking in on her and her father, showing up when he's clearly uninvited? Maybe Luke isn't as 'over her' as he thought.
Dawn Pendleton is a New Adult & Young Adult author living in Maine with her husband and pup.
Right now, she's working on two manuscripts simultaneously. It's a difficult task for her, but one she's certain will pay off in the end.
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“Dinner’s here,” a masculine voice called out from the doorway.
I wasn’t surprised to see Luke standing there. Dad had been kind enough to explain that Luke brought him dinner three times a week, even when he was at the hospital. Especially when he was at the hospital.
“Good thing. I thought we were going to have to eat cafeteria food!” Dad said, feigning agony.
“The horror!” Luke mocked, thrusting the box at me. He shook my dad’s hand and asked how he was feeling.
“I feel great! I’ve got my daughter back home for a while and the doctor says I can go home in the morning,” he said.
Luke flicked his eyes at me but forced his gaze back to my dad. “I should have the porch finished by the end of the week, Joe.”
“There’s no rush, Luke. I know how busy you are.”
Luke sat in the chair next to me and I handed him the extra-large basket that was overloaded with French fries, fish, hush puppies, and a biscuit. My dad’s basket was nearly as full. I doubted either of them would be able to finish their meals. My basket was too much, of course, so I shoveled a bunch of French fries into Dad’s basket.
“Don’t hoard all that shrimp, girl,” Dad said.
I laughed and forked over several shrimp. He smiled and began to eat. The nurse explained that dad only ate well on the nights Luke brought dinners, so the staff allowed him to break the rules and bring in outside food. Normally, they were sticklers about dietary needs.
“So, Luke, how’s business?” Dad asked. “I bet business is good this time of year.”
My curiosity was piqued. Was Luke the boss of his construction company?
“You and I both know it’s not my business, Joe. J.P. is a good guy to work for, though. I’ve got my choice of jobs and yeah, it’s really busy. This past winter damaged a lot of roofs and the resulting water damage means we’ve got plenty of work for a few weeks.”
“Well, if you’re too busy to work on the porch, you know you can drop the job anytime, especially since I can’t pay you right now,” Dad said.
Wait, what? Luke said Dad was paying him. Why would Luke lie? I stayed silent while they reminisced. Maybe Luke had changed over the years.
Luke gave my dad a huge grin and within minutes, the two of them were laughing uncontrollably. I was in awe at the ease with which Luke addressed Dad. It was odd for me to see him in my dad’s life, since we’d been broken up for years.
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