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When architect Elise Springer's father is injured, she immediately leaves San Francisco to care for him. The last person she expects to encounter in her Pennsylvania hometown is her childhood friend Lucas Fisher. Lucas is investigating his brother's mysterious death, and Elise can't resist lending a hand.
Lucas longs for the close family ties he never had. He's back in Scranton to set up a classic car restoration business and build a future. The torch he carries for Elise burns brighter than ever, but before he can declare his love, he must obtain the legal rights to adopt his nephew--and prove his brother's death was no accident.
As they unearth clues to find the murderer and a missing stash of money, Elise faces a dilemma. Is her career on the West Coast the key to her happiness, or is it an animal-cracker-eating four-year-old and his handsome uncle instead?
Page Count: 324
Word Count: 82976
“You still haven’t told me about your nephew, Todd.”
The luster in Lucas’s face faded. “There’s not much to tell. He lost his mother and father and has been tossed into foster care with the Johnsons. I’m trying to get temporary custody, but I’m not hopeful anything can be done until the investigation of Mike’s death is completed. I guess it’s standard procedure when a cop gets killed. I’ve been lucky enough the Johnsons let me have him on weekends.”
“Is that allowed?” Elise opened the bread drawer and withdrew a half loaf of bread.
Lucas rose and walked to where she was working. “Well, it’s bending rules a little, but they trust your father, and the Johnsons need a break. In case you haven’t noticed, they’re elderly, not in shape for chasing a child Todd’s age.”
He slapped a palm against the refrigerator. “Damn it, Liz, it’s not fair. The kid is the one being punished, taking the brunt of things he had no part of. He’s so lonely he cries himself to sleep at night. He doesn’t understand what’s happening. He doesn’t even know where he belongs.”
“So we spring him.”
“It’s not that easy!”
“Of course, it’s not going to be easy.” Elise forced herself not to shout back, “but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, Lucas. Sit down, will you? I’m cooking this morning.” She waved the half loaf of bread at him, then withdrew four slices and dropped them into the toaster slots.
He blinked. “Toast? You call that cooking?”
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