Eighty-seven-year-old Tillie watches everyone's comings and goings from her porch in her Jersey shore town. When her dear departed best friend's never-married daughter Susan retires from Manhattan and returns to her childhood home across the street, Auntie T's primed to do more than watch the former Miss Independence.
Kenny doubts his mother's claim that Susan needs a handyman, but jumps at the chance to see the girl next door, the one he never forgot. Still, he'd be a fool to risk his heart after she left without even a backward glance.
Susan is adrift in the home town she left decades ago, a place of memories, and possibly regrets, until she reconnects with Kenny--widower, father, and so much more man than the high school boy she remembered. Does she dare to reveal the secret she, her mother, and Tillie have kept all these years?
Page Count: 51
Word Count: 11515
Kenny helped himself, and then stared at the powdered-sugar-topped confection he’d placed on a napkin. “I box,” he muttered finally.
Had she heard him right? “You what?” she whooped.
He glanced sideways at her. “I box. Everyone always said I needed to find an outlet for all my energy…so I did. I took up boxing.”
“For real? With people watching?” Susan couldn’t connect this sport with the boy who returned injured crabs and washed-up clams to the ocean water, the boy who could draw better than anyone she knew, the boy who never wanted to be confined…delivering bodily harm to his opponents in a caged boxing ring?
He examined her for a minute, his brows drawn together. “Why? You don’t think I could?”
Susan didn’t answer. Of course, he could.
“You into that?” Kenny asked. An undecipherable glint lit his eyes. “Watching guys beat each other up?”
In a surprising flash, Susan realized a part of her would be…if the guy in the shiny shorts was Kenny, and the bare chest displayed the kind of muscles she’d felt through that shirt. “Ah…I don’t know. First, tell me if you do it.”
Kenny barked out a laugh. “Still weighing your options.”
His dark eyes telegraphed something deep, something sharp-edged, riling Susan. “I am not!” she retorted. “Okay, no, I don’t like to watch boxing. I was just being polite.” She pursed her lips together. “And open-minded.”
“Really. Open-minded. Mmm.” Kenny watched her, his eyes softer, an amused curl to his mouth.
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