The truth is that life is uncertain.
Meg Quinn hasn’t been to war, but her father has, and it changed their lives for the worse — and for the better. Now she has a sharp tongue and a mind to match … and she doesn’t trust easily. The best person she knows is losing a fight with death, and Meg is guardian of her friend’s seven-year-old son.
Easy MacLean, the co-guardian, is Meg’s dying friend’s brother. The former Marine has been hibernating in his Colorado mountain home, and Meg lets him know that he needs to be by his sister’s side in Milwaukee now.
Easy is attracted to his sister’s clever friend, but life gets complicated when he gets involved in a search for a missing veteran. After living alone with his rescue dog for so long, Easy and his dog are now sharing a home with a beautiful woman, a boy, and a cat. Even as he watches his sister die a little each day, he’s finding out the truth about life and love … and murder.
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READ THE EXCERPT:
“Bedtime,” Meg said.
Though she was looking straight at Ollie in his sister’s small living room, Easy half smiled, thinking it would be nice if she were saying it to him. Real nice. They would make a good fit, physically and emotionally. She was smooth with rough edges. He was rough with smooth edges.
But they were co-guardians, and it would be a bad mistake to get involved. Involvement would invariably lead to a time of disinvolvement on his part. And maybe hers. She seemed … capable. Independent. And smart. He had the feeling she’d taken one look at him and had seen the cracks and fissures in his soul, the cuts and the bleeding. The damage that not even all the duct tape in the world could stick together.
It made him think she had a few cracks and fissures and cuts and bleeding, too.
In any case, it would lead to complications and bad feelings, so just better not do it.
A lot of his life was like that, avoiding complications. The reason he was called Easy. Why strive for trouble when a little forethought would keep trouble at bay?
Ollie kissed and hugged Meg good-night then came to Easy, looking up at him, his arms out. Feeling awkward, Easy bent and hugged him. Ollie’s head leaned against his chest, his small hands holding on to the crooks of Easy’s elbows for a few seconds before he pulled back. “’Night, Uncle Easy.”
“Don’t let the bedbugs bite,” Easy said.
“That’s what my mom always says.” Ollie’s eyes were big, then he turned away. “Don’t let bedbugs bite you, too!”
Getting to his feet, Easy laughed softly. That’s what he used to say to Jules every night. Their mom had worked full time, done most of the housework, and she’d cooked their meals. She’d been busy or tired, while his dad had been emotionally unavailable. Easy had learned the bedbug saying from watching TV, and he’d started saying it to Jules every night until they were in their teens.
“What are you thinking?” Meg asked.
He frowned as he heard Ollie’s footsteps pound on the stairs that led to the bedrooms on the second floor. The house was a mid-twentieth-century two-story, and Easy liked the way his sister had furnished it. The couch was a sturdy material that looked as if stains could easily be washed off. It was a bronze color, and the tiger-striped cat looked queenly on it, while the recliner was a light orange, making a pop of color.
Meg stepped two feet in front of him. “Why is it that men have such a problem answering that question?”
“Never mind.” She waved her hand in the air. “I asked what you were thinking, and obviously that’s too difficult to ask a man. In the future, that question will never pass my lips.”
“I was thinking how much I liked your snark.”
“Awww. You’re so … weird.”
He laughed. “I was really thinking that since dinner was on you, I should do dishes.”
“There’s no dishwasher.”
“I’m not planning on being a hand model.”
“Oh? What were you planning on modeling?”
“Now, that’s a leading question.”
“A place you might not want to go.” He was standing close to her, about two feet away. Maybe too close. “I believe you’re flirting with me. I thought you didn’t like me.”
“What’s liking you got to do with it?” Her gaze met his, her full mouth twisting in a smile.
For a moment, he couldn’t breathe. He wanted her. Wanted her badly. He liked her honesty even more than he liked the way she looked. And he really liked the way she looked.
“You’re right.” She took a step back. “I couldn’t resist teasing you, but it’s a bad idea.”
“Not a bad idea.” He could hear the deeper-than-usual timbre of his voice. “Just bad timing.”
She curved her back and stretched, her hands in the air, and he didn’t know if she was just stretching or if she was teasing him again.
Or if she did that on purpose to show him what he was missing.
If that was her objective, it was working.
“I’ll go upstairs and read to Ollie,” she said, “then I’m going to call a friend. It’s been a while since I’ve been out of the house. I’ll let you stay in with Ollie tonight.”
He nodded, though she was killing him. He waited a couple minutes after she headed upstairs before he could walk without too much discomfort.
As he headed to the kitchen, he thought he needed to make a phone call, too.
Edie Ramer portrays a powerful subject matter and not only makes it entertaining she makes it riveting. She presents a beautifully heartbreaking yet heartwarming, suspenseful love story. ~PaulineMichael, Night Owl Romance