The Return of Brody McBride
The McBrides Book One
By: Jennifer Ryan
Releasing March 4th, 2014
The black sheep of Fallbrook is back … and he's in for the surprise of his life.
Former bad boy, now-decorated Army Ranger Brody McBride is home and on a mission: Find the woman he never should have left behind and right the wrong he did eight years ago.
When the man she loved broke her heart and skipped town, Rain Evans picked up the pieces. But along with heartbreak, Brody left her something infinitely better than she could have imagined: two beautiful daughters. One she gave birth to, and the other she rescued from the woman who helped destroy her relationship with Brody.
Brody is shocked to discover he's a father, and he's more determined than ever to win back Rain and protect his girls. Can they rekindle the love they once shared and become the family they were always meant to be? Or will a danger from their past return and ruin everything?
Brody walked into the dining room again, Owen at his back. Rain sat beside Pop at the head of the table. They talked about work and a repair job Rain started that day. Brody placed the bakery box on the table and lifted the lid. Dawn and Autumn oohed and aahed over the beautifully designed cupcakes.
Rain stood and tried to pass him. Just because he wanted to touch her, he put his hand on her arm to stop her. “Where you going, sweetheart?” He almost smiled when she glared.
“To get some plates and napkins. You’ve never seen two little girls make a mess like they do with cake and frosting.” A glimmer of a smile touched her rosy lips.
“Yeah?” He gave her a smile, letting his hand slide down her arm until he took her hand. “I bet they’ve both demolished a cake on their birthdays.”
When her gaze came up to meet his, it was plain as day. She regretted every birthday he’d missed.
“When they turned one, I made them each a little round cake and let them go to town. They ended up with more cake on them than in them.”
Linking his fingers with hers, he squeezed her hand to let her know he understood everything she wasn’t saying. “You loved watching every minute of it.”
“Almost,” she whispered and pulled free, fleeing into the kitchen. When he looked back at Owen, he caught his brother’s nod of approval. He’d connected with her for a second. Now, all he had to do was keep at it, until she no longer wanted to break the connection, but build on it.
Dessert became an orchestrated affair. Rain directed the girls on subjects to talk about, ranging from how they were doing in the second grade, about their teachers and friends, to the things they liked to do in their spare time. It was obvious the girls were not only sisters, but best friends. They did everything together, Dawn usually in the leader’s role.
The only times Rain interrupted or stopped them from telling something was when it had to do with Roxy.
Unable to let things go, he had to get Rain alone if he wanted to find out what happened after he left town.
“Dad . . .”
God, how he loved hearing them call him Dad.
“Do you have a computer? Uncle Owen said you have a company, and you’ll work from your house.”
He was getting used to the way Autumn looked to her sister to be the speaker for them both. He didn’t miss the conspiratorial look they shared when they asked about his computer. “I have a laptop and a desk computer. Why? Do you guys know how to use one?”
“Mom got us one for school and to play on some kid’s websites. We have some games,” Dawn began.
“It was so slow,” Autumn added. “Mom got it from the secondhand store and now the screen is fuzzy and half the time it doesn’t boot up right and we get weird errors.”
“Can we use yours?” Dawn asked, finishing both girls’ request.
Brody listened to the girls, but watched Rain. She couldn’t afford a new computer. An easy guess. What he didn’t get, she made a good living at the garage. Paying for things for the girls took up a good portion of her paycheck, he assumed. She had her inheritance from her family, the money she hadn’t used for college. Either she was leaving that money in the bank for the girls to go to school later, or it was already gone. He wanted to talk to her about the money he had, the money he owed her for child support he should have paid. Now wasn’t the time, and throwing it in her face he could and would buy the girls a new computer wouldn’t score him any points.
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JENNIFER RYAN, author of The Hunted Series, writes romantic suspense and contemporary small-town romances.
Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children. When she isn’t writing a book, she’s reading one. Her obsession with both is often revealed in the state of her home, and how late dinner is to the table. When she finally leaves those fictional worlds, you’ll find her in the garden, playing in the dirt and daydreaming about people who live only in her head, until she puts them on paper.
Please visit her website at www.jennifer-ryan.com for information about upcoming releases.
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