About the Book
About the Author
Linda Hope Lee writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and mysteries. She enjoys traveling especially to small towns in search of story ideas. She's also an artist, specializing in watercolor, pen and ink, and colored pencil. Photography provides inspiration for both her writing and her art. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, where many of her stories are set.
Other Books by the Author
CHAPTER ONE, Part 2
The mention of her job brought a smile to Luci’s lips. “Right. I’m working for Glen Thomas at the chamber of commerce. Writing, of course. Articles, brochures, some PR, a little of everything. How about you?”
“I’ll be in town till I get another assignment. Then I’ll be off again. You know me.” He shrugged and sipped his beer.
“Nice you could come back for a visit,” she said, hoping she didn’t sound insincere. “Bet your mom’s happy to see you.”
“She’s here, too.” He nodded toward the back door. “I left her in the kitchen trading recipes with your mom. Something about sponge cake.”
“For Mom’s strawberries,” Francine said.
Anna Monroe and Olive Jarvis stepped from the house. Anna placed a large bowl on the buffet table and said, “Olive made her famous potato salad.”
“Thank you, Olive,” Luci said. Cody’s mother was an attractive woman who shared her son’s dark hair and brown eyes.
“You’re most welcome.” Olive enveloped Luci in a hug and then squeezed Anna’s hand. “This is a happy day, isn’t it? Both our children home again.”
Cody rolled his eyes. “I’m going on thirty here.”
“But children are always that, aren’t they?”
“They are,” Anna agreed.
“Well, look who’s here!” Luci’s father, having left his post at the barbecue pit, burst into the group, thrusting out his hand to Cody.
“Hey, Erv.” Cody shook the other man’s hand.
“Good to see you,” Erv said. “Want to hear about all the places you’ve been.”
Some of the other guests wandered over, and soon a large group had gathered around Cody. Luci edged away and circulated among the other guests, but Cody’s presence distracted her. She heard him laugh politely at pharmacist Hal Barnett’s corny joke and watched him help Don’s wife, Arliss, pop open sodas for their children, ten-year-old Spencer and eight-year-old Hannah. She tracked his movements despite herself.
When her father’s barbecued chicken was done, the guests lined up at the buffet table. Cody sat with Don and his family. Then Francine and her husband, Will, and their daughters, Betsy and Megan, joined the group. Luci thought about joining them but instead sat with two friends from high school and their families.
When Cody finished eating, he did what she expected him to do—put his camera into action. He gathered several couples and their children for a group shot. He caught her father and one of his golf buddies laughing over a joke, and her mother showing off her prize roses to the ladies in her garden club. Even the musicians posed for him.
Luci sighed. Cody had turned her homecoming party into one of his photo shoots.
Needing a break, she wandered to the edge of the lawn where a path led through the dunes to the beach. The ocean sparkled under a sun about to slip below the horizon, and the waves made a soft shushing sound as they rolled onto the shore. If only she could escape there now. When something upsetting happened, a walk on the beach always helped to calm her. Cody’s unexpected appearance was certainly one of those times. As soon as the party was over...
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