Praise for USA TODAY bestselling author
“Maureen Child is one of the foremost names
in Americana romance.” —RT Book Reviews
“Maureen Child is one of the stars in the
ascendant…poised for the next big step.” —Publishers Weekly
“Maureen Child has written a beautiful,
heartwarming tale of family tragedy, redemption and love in this passionate tale. A keeper!” —RT Book Reviews on Expecting Lonergan’s Baby
“Filled with heart-wrenching emotions
and an unforgettable hero.” —Rendezvous on And Then Came You
“The ever entertaining Maureen Child
warms the cockles of our heart with this sensitive, touching romance.” —RT Book Reviews
is a California native who loves to travel. Every chance they get, she and her husband are taking off on another research trip. The author of more than sixty books, Maureen loves a happy ending and still swears that she has the best job in the world. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two children and a golden retriever with delusions of grandeur. Visit Maureen’s website at www.maureenchild.com.
Last Virgin in California
“You’re marrying who?”
Lilah Forrest winced and held the phone receiver away from her ear so that her father’s voice wouldn’t deafen her. Honestly. A lifetime in the Marine Corps had given Jack Forrest such range, he could probably wake the dead if ordered to.
“Ray, Daddy,” she said, when she pulled the phone close again. “You remember him. You met him the last time you came to visit?”
“Of course I remember him,” her father sputtered. “He’s the little guy who told me my uniform would look less intimidating if I wore an earring.”
Lilah smothered a chuckle she knew darn well her dad wouldn’t appreciate. But really, just the thought of her oh-so-proper, career Marine father wearing a tidy gold hoop in his ear was enough to cultivate bubbles of laughter that weren’t at all easy to subdue.
“He was kidding,” she said when she could speak without a smile in her voice.
“Right.” He didn’t sound convinced.
“I thought you liked Ray.”
“I didn’t say I don’t like him,” he said tightly. “But what do you see in those artsy-fartsy types, anyway?”
Artsy-fartsy, Lilah thought. Translation: Any man who wasn’t a Marine.
“What you need,” her father was saying, “is a man as stubborn as you are. A strong, dependable type. Like—”
“A Marine,” she finished for him. For heaven’s sake, she’d heard this speech so often, she could give it for him.
“What’s wrong with a Marine?” he demanded, clearly defensive.
“Nothing,” she said, wishing they weren’t having this conversation…again.
Lilah sighed and plopped down onto her overstuffed couch. Curling up into a corner of the sofa, she cradled the receiver between her ear and her shoulder and tugged the hem of her dress down over her updrawn legs. “Daddy, Ray’s a nice guy.”
“I’ll take your word for it, honey,” he said grudgingly. “But do you really think he’s the right guy for you?”
No, she didn’t. Ray’s image rose up in her mind and Lilah smiled to herself. Short, with nearly waist-length black hair he kept in a thick braid, Ray was an artist. He wore diamonds in his ears, favored tunic shirts and leather sandals and was absolutely devoted to his life partner, Victor.
But, he was also one of Lilah’s closest friends. Which was the only reason he’d agreed to let her tell her father that they were engaged. Victor wasn’t the least bit happy about it, but Ray