The Sugar House. Christine Flynn

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Название The Sugar House
Автор произведения Christine Flynn
Жанр Современные любовные романы
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Издательство Современные любовные романы
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       “I’ll thaw out in a minute,” Emmy said, her voice muffled. “How about you?”

      “I’m fine where I am, too.”

      At Jack’s quiet admission, Emmy felt the tightness in her chest loosen a little more. It seemed easier to breathe when he held her. She had no idea why that was but she wouldn’t question it now. Now, she wanted simply to…be.

      “Jack?”

      “Yeah?”

      Beneath her ear she could hear the strong rhythm of his heart. Placing her palm over that steady beat, she moved closer to absorb the warmth seeping into her from his arms. “I’m going to miss you.”

      The beat didn’t change, but his voice seemed to drop as he smoothed his hand the length of her ponytail.

      “I guess that makes us even.”

      Dear Reader,

      June, the ideal month for weddings, is the perfect time to celebrate true love. And we are doing it in style here at Silhouette Special Edition as we celebrate the conclusion of several wonderful series. With For the Love of Pete, Sherryl Woods happily marries off the last of her ROSE COTTAGE SISTERS. It’s Jo’s turn this time—and she’d thought she’d gotten Pete Catlett out of her system for good. But at her childhood haven, anything can happen! Next, MONTANA MAVERICKS: GOLD RUSH GROOMS concludes with Cheryl St. John’s Million-Dollar Makeover. We finally learn the identity of the true heir to the Queen of Hearts Mine—and no one is more shocked than the owner herself, the plain-Jane town…dog walker. When she finds herself in need of financial advice, she consults devastatingly handsome Riley Douglas—but she soon finds his influence exceeds the business sphere….

      And speaking of conclusions, Judy Duarte finishes off her BAYSIDE BACHELORS miniseries with The Matchmakers’ Daddy, in which a wrongly imprisoned ex-con finds all kinds of second chances with a beautiful single mother and her adorable little girls. Next up in GOING HOME, Christine Flynn’s heartwarming miniseries, is The Sugar House, in which a man who comes home to right a wrong finds himself falling for the woman who’s always seen him as her adversary. Patricia McLinn’s next book in her SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW… miniseries, Baby Blues and Wedding Bells, tells the story of a man who suddenly learns that his niece is really…his daughter. And in The Secrets Between Them by Nikki Benjamin, a divorced woman who’s falling hard for her gardener learns that he is in reality an investigator hired by her ex-father-in-law to try to prove her an unfit mother.

      So enjoy all those beautiful weddings, and be sure to come back next month! Here’s hoping you catch the bouquet….

      Gail Chasan

      Senior Editor

       The Sugar House

      Christine Flynn

      

www.millsandboon.co.uk

      To my lovely niece, Elizabeth Weckstein.

       You are a young woman of amazing potential. Don’t ever forget how special you are. Much love, Auntie Chris

       CHRISTINE FLYNN

      admits to being interested in just about everything, which is why she considers herself fortunate to have turned her interest in writing into a career. She feels that a writer gets to explore it all and, to her, exploring relationships—especially the intense, bittersweet or even lighthearted relationships between men and women—is fascinating.

      Contents

      Chapter One

      Chapter Two

      Chapter Three

      Chapter Four

      Chapter Five

      Chapter Six

      Chapter Seven

      Chapter Eight

      Chapter Nine

      Chapter Ten

      Chapter Eleven

      Chapter Twelve

       Chapter One

       S he shouldn’t have answered the telephone, Emmy Larkin thought. She should have grabbed her parka and headed out into the glorious winter sunshine as she’d started to do, and let the thing ring. Now she knew for certain that the disturbing rumors were true.

      “I tell you, I just saw him myself, Emmy. I was in front of the store helping Mary Moorehouse load her groceries when this black car with New York plates came up Main. New York is where he lives now, you know,” Agnes Waters confided over the line. “My cousin at the county recorder’s office in St. Johnsbury saw his address when she recorded the deed selling that property to him.

      “Anyway,” the chatty owner of Maple Mountain’s quaint old general store continued, anxious to share her news, “you know we don’t get many strangers here this time of year, so the car had me paying particular attention. There’s no doubt in my mind it was him. I told Mary the second I realized it for sure that I had to let poor Emmy know that Jack Travers is here.”

      Poor Emmy.

      Emmy flinched at the label. It was the woman’s news, however, that robbed the usual smile from her voice. “I appreciate you thinking of me, Agnes.”

      “Well, of course I’d think of you.” The insistence in the older woman’s tone made it sound as if she’d just planted her fist on one rather ample hip. “After what his father did to yours, I think it’s an insult to you that he’d even show his face around here. After all those fights he got himself into, I can’t imagine why he’d want to come back here at all.

      “As for him buying that property,” she continued, her indignation mounting, “I tell you there’s not a member of the community council that’s going to sit by and let him build fancy condos or whatever he has in mind on those ten acres. I don’t believe for a minute that he’s just building himself a vacation house. I know Mary said that was always a possibility, but I can’t imagine why he’d think he or any member of his family would ever be welcome here.”

      Stretching the long phone cord as far as it would go, Emmy tugged her heavy blue parka from its hook by her sugar house’s door. She had heard talk about Jack Travers for nearly two weeks. Every time she walked into the post office, the community center or the Waters’s store with its potbellied stove and creaky wooden floors, people would be buzzing about him buying the property or rehashing what his dad had done to hers. The instant they noticed her, though, a sympathetic and speculative silence inevitably fell.

      She was twenty-seven years old and, still, no one wanted to talk in front of her about how Ed Travers had harmed her father’s ability to make a living. Or about how it might not have been an accident that a few years later her father had lost control of his car and run head-on into a tree. Or, about how her mom had never been the same after his death and simply wasted away, leaving Emmy all alone.

      The acreage Jack had bought had once belonged to her father. The maple-tree-covered land had been part of the sugar bush her dad had carefully tended for its sap, and was the parcel he’d used to secure a loan from Jack’s father to buy new sugaring equipment. Her dad hadn’t been able to pay the money back when it was due, though. And Ed Travers hadn’t been willing to give his long-time friend even a few months longer to repay it. He’d filed for foreclosure on the property and ultimately sold it to an outsider for far less than it had been worth.

      Jack’s father had recovered his money, but her father and his business had been devastated. Without those trees, the income from the maple sugaring operation that had helped support his family had been cut by a third.

      Emmy knew the only reason Agnes had alluded to what had happened now was because she’d