JoinReturning to Fern Lake after ten years for the funeral of his cousin and teenage enemy, Simon Parker learns his high school sweetheart is nine months pregnant and seven months divorced from his cousin. Their meeting is complicated by her labor and driving her to the hospital. An attempted cheek kiss lands on her mouth and those old feelings resurface. Dana Collins responds to the kiss but Simon walked away ten years before when she refused to go all the way. In those ten years he has never tried to reach her. Her marriage to his cousin lasted less than two years and she knew she’d made a mistake. Can this pair put the past aside and let the embers of an old love be rekindled?
May touched Dana’s arm. “Simon’s here.”
Dana’s stomach lurched. Did she need to see him now? She had to leave. She couldn’t talk to Simon. She had loved him. After he left she had waited but he’d never returned. Then two years ago, she had married Randy. No matter how much Simon had disliked his cousin, his anger toward her would be a thousand times hotter.
What about her own anger? That night, Simon had demanded what she hadn’t been ready to give. He had left and she’d waited. Her anger had deepened. Finally she’d given up.
Praying for a quick and successful escape she tried to weave between the clusters of people. Instead of forward she was pushed back toward the coffin. She stared at her ex-husband and saw something she had forgotten. Though Randy’s coloring was darker, facially he resembled Simon. She felt ill when she considered the meaning. Why hadn’t she noticed before?
Her abdomen cramped. She drew a deep breath. Had labor begun? Of all the wrong times. She had to go home for the suitcase and the infant seat, call Madge, the doctor and a cab. With determination she threaded her way to the door.
* * *
* * *
Simon couldn’t keep from watching Dana’s progress through the room. When Patricia confronted her he couldn’t hear what was said but he nearly intervened. Finally he saw Dana with his aunt and he attempted to leave his place behind the door only to be blocked by a cluster of chattering women.
He groaned. He needed to find a quiet place to think about Matt’s offer, his relatives and …about Dana’s reasons for marrying and divorcing Randy. Her pregnancy puzzled him. Knowing Dana, the coming child had to be Randy’s. The overheard comments Patricia had shouted at her father rose and brought a rush of anger. What had Randy done to make Dana walk away? Had he physically harmed her?
He pressed his
hand against the wall. His actions of the past flowed into his consciousness.
On graduation night Dana had refused his demand to go all the way. She’d wanted
to wait until they finished college before making a commitment. He hadn’t been
thinking beyond the moment. The next day he’d left
Simon smacked the wall. The gaggle of women moved forward. He saw Dana rush past and bolt through the door. Had she seen him? Why the grimace pulling her mouth into a tight line? Had May told her he was here? Dana owed him an explanation for her actions, one he intended to hear before he left town.
The anger from the
past, stirred by his meeting with Paley and from being in
She stood beside a blue sedan. He strode closer and saw she held a cell phone. Who was she calling? Probably her parents.
Intending to confront her before she left he stopped behind her. The phone fell to the ground. With a clumsy movement she bent to retrieve the object and failed to scoop it into her hand. She straightened and rubbed her belly.
Simon stooped and held the phone in his hand. “Looking for this?”
Dana pressed a button. “Madge, pick up. I think this is…Oh lord.”
Though the questions he wanted answered stormed his thoughts, Dana’s expression and the puddle forming around her feet told him there was trouble. “Are you?”
“In labor.” She fished keys from her purse. “Go away. I don’t have time now.” She bit her lip. Pain flared in her green eyes. She exhaled. “I have to go home.”
“Let me help you.”
“Simon, go away.” The keys clicked against each other. “I can’t talk now. Didn’t expect to see you. Come back in another ten years.”