USA Today Bestselling Author
All Brynleigh “Bryn” Tinsley wanted was to find a safe harbor and put the past behind her so she could raise her little girl in a peaceful, loving environment.
Now, three identities later and two thousand miles away, she finds herself in the small, seaside town of Lighthouse Cove, Florida.
The last thing she needs is a pesky firefighter who keeps showing up at every turn, doing his best to become her handyman—and more.
But when her daughter’s life is on the line, she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her from the hell that is her past.
Jamison Kirby can understand not wanting to speak to your family. He’s barely spoken to his mother or brothers in almost two years—much to his father’s dismay. So, he doesn’t think much of Bryn not wanting anything to do with her daughter’s extended family.
However, he does take being lied to personally. So, when he finds out that Bryn isn’t even her real name, he goes digging into her past. And doesn’t like what he finds.
Worse, he pokes a hornet’s nest, putting Bryn and her daughter in the line of fire, and forcing Jamison to do the one thing he swore he’d never do.
Call his cop mother and brothers for help.
After a long and stressful journey, Bryn has just arrived in Lighthouse Cove. This is the place she plans on raising her child, away from her late husband’s family. The house she’s rented and negotiated a lower rent in exchange for cleaning is buried in dust. She’s on the way to get cleaning supplies when she goes into labor.
Jamison is off duty when he spots her, she hasn’t been able to move since before the light changed. His actions save the day as Bryn gives birth in the back seat of her car.
Bryn was worried about social media after giving birth so publicly. Fortunately, nothing showed her face. She’s also surprised when Jamison shows up at the hospital and offers her more help since she has no one she can call. She protests but Jamison doesn’t back down offering her a friendship she can’t really refuse.
Now Jamison has his own family issues, but along with his friend Chip who owns the house Bryn’s renting they get it ready for her to come home with the baby. Jamison picks her up from the hospital and takes her home where many surprises await her.
This is just one of many favorite scenes.
Her pulse raced as she stepped through the threshold. Holding her breath, she covered her mouth. Tears burned the corners of her eyes. Everything looked different.
It wasn’t just clean. There was a white cover over the sofa, and a new rocking chair in the corner with a blanket tossed over the back. He’d hung a picture over the couch and a television above the fireplace.
And the best part was, there wasn’t a speck of dust anywhere.
“I didn’t unpack your suitcases. I thought that might be weird.” Jamison set the car seat on the coffee table.
“Because the rest of this is all completely normal.”
He seemed to ignore her sarcasm. “They are on your mattress in the bigger bedroom. I did, however, put away the few things I bought for Zadie. Though, I suspect you’re going to need a lot more.”
Zadie fussed. Her legs wiggled, and she stretched out her arms.
Bryn rocked the seat back and forth as she contained her frustration by taking one cleansing breath through her nose. Anger was not the appropriate response in this situation. “While I appreciate all of this, I really do, you can’t keep randomly doing things for me without my knowledge or without asking.”
“I know,” he said. “I never would have gone this far if you had family or friends here. But you don’t, and you needed the bare necessities.” He raised his hand when she opened her mouth to protest. “You have my word that this is the end of it.”
“Thank you.” She bent over and unbuckled Zadie, lifting her into her arms, cradling her against her chest and taking a deep breath of new-baby smell. It was a hundred percent better than new-car smell— one of the only things she’d learned to appreciate when married to Timothy.
Back then, becoming a mother had been all Bryn wanted, but she’d put it on pause after the first time Timothy had put hands on her. Lucky for her, he had wanted to wait a couple of years. She’d thought maybe the stress of joining the family business had gotten the best of her new husband, but she’d soon learned that Timothy had a temper, and the longer they stayed married, the worse it got.
Jamison smiled like a giant kid. “However, you do need to go and see Zadie’s room. And before you go and get mad at me, most of it was Chip’s idea, and he footed the bill for it. He also left you a note.”
“He mentioned something about the baby and a housewarming gift.” She pressed her cheek against Zadie’s forehead. She wasn’t used to this kind of generosity. Not unless it was attached to a condition that came in the form of a bruise. Her husband might have lavished her with expensive presents. However, everything he’d ever given her was either out of guilt for something he’d done or as a way to control her. And it’d worked. For years.
“Chip can be a little bit on the cheap side, but he wanted to do something nice when he heard about what’d happened.”
She followed Jamison down the short hallway, which had a fresh coat of paint. She gasped the second she stepped into Zadie’s room, which now had decals of all the Disney princesses plastered across the walls. Her crib had been set up by the window, and matching princess sheets covered the mattress. On the other wall was a brand-new changing station, and across from that, a dresser.
Everything she and her daughter could possibly need was in this room.
Tears filled her eyes. “I can’t accept all of this.”
“Yes, you can.” He looped his arm around her shoulders and gave her a firm squeeze. “Every fresh start in life deserves new, fun things.”
“You don’t understand what it’s like to be alone,” she managed between sniffles. Thus far, she’d told him as little as possible about her past, but she had mentioned her sister and how hard it was not to have her in her life. That was a true statement. When her best friend Hatti had suggested that Bryn not only disappear but also find a way to fake her death, Bryn had thought she was nuts. But Hatti had been right when she mentioned that it wouldn’t be a good idea to have the world turning over every rock searching for a missing person. Especially because the Perish family had unlimited funds, and if they knew about the baby or had any inclination that Bryn was still alive, they wouldn’t stop until they found her.
It was best if everyone believed that Brenda Thompson Perish had died the same way her husband had— in a tragic car crash.
“I have no one. And while when it comes to my mother-in-law and sister, that’s by choice. I’m starting my life over and—”
“You don’t have to explain anything to me.” He smiled as if he totally understood, which made her a little uneasy. How could he have any understanding of her situation. “My entire family lives close by, but I’m not on good speaking terms with most of them.” He gave her shoulder a friendly squeeze, the gesture there and gone so fast she almost missed it. “Are you hungry? Like I said, I only got you the basics, but I can order you a nice burger and fries or maybe a fish fry from the restaurant in town.”
“Are you talking that same burger you brought me yesterday.” Her stomach growled. “Would you like to stay for lunch?”
“A man’s got to eat,” he said with that huge grin of his that reminded her that she was, indeed, a woman.
She bounced up and down while Zadie’s faint cries turned louder and louder.
“Sounds like someone else is hungry,” he said. “How about I order our food. Is there a place you’re going to set up your jewelry-making shop? Will you at least let me help with that while we wait for lunch?”
“Thank you for asking instead of just doing.” She set Zadie on the changing table and fumbled like a clumsy first-time mom with the dirty diaper. Thankfully, Jamison seemed unfazed by the entire situation. “First, we order. But I insist on paying, so do it from my phone. And I think that a fish fry sounds perfect. It’s in my back pocket.” Her hands were currently occupied with a wiggly baby. She glanced over her shoulder.
He stared at her with wide eyes, and his hands went up as if she were holding a gun to his head.
“I’m starving. And so is this kid.” Zadie let out a blood-curdling scream.
“Just do it,” Bryn said.
“Don’t slap me.”
She felt a slight tug on her backside.
“Crap. Sorry,” Jamison said as he bent over to pick up her phone that had landed at her feet.
She couldn’t help it, she giggled. She really shouldn’t find a man getting so flustered by putting his hands on her butt funny, but she did. Maybe because it wasn’t just any man, it was Jamison. However, she cleared her throat and opted to pretend that it hadn’t happened and move on, going about the business at hand. “All of my tools and finished products are in the smaller suitcase and duffle bag. I was thinking that alcove in my bedroom would be a good place to set up a table, but I don’t have one yet.”
“Actually, you do.” She tossed the dirty mess her daughter had created into the diaper pail and sent a nasty look Jamison’s direction.
He lifted his hands in the air as if she were holding a loaded shotgun to his chest. “Chip had an old desk in the attic, which we cleaned out while you were in the hospital. I thought maybe you might want that and a chair. It cost nothing but my time to wipe off the eight inches of dust, and the chair is my old one because I wanted a new one.”
“I’m going to get tired of saying ‘thank you.’” She finished dressing Zadie, who was now screaming her precious little lungs out.
“Is the chair in my room?”
“It is. And it’s quite comfortable. I just wanted something a little bigger.”
“All right. I’m going to sit in it and feed this little monster while I tell you where to put my tools.”
Jen Talty. Mine to Keep (Kindle Locations 853-915). Lady Boss Press, Inc..
As Bryn settles in and starts her jewelry business, she also sets up a website Jamison’s handyman side job and takes calls for him.
The attraction between these two is undeniable, but Bryn is living a lie and Jamison is having trouble adjusting to the life changing lies his family told him all his life.
I love the way this relationship develops and how there are so many twists that could destroy their friendship but don’t.
I can’t wait to see who’s next to find their HEA in this series.
5 Contented Purrs for Jen!
Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!
Welcome to my World! I’m a USA Today Bestseller of Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance, and Paranormal Romance.
I first started writing while carting my kids to one hockey rink after the other, averaging 170 games per year between 3 kids in 2 countries and 5 states. My first book, IN TWO WEEKS was originally published in 2007. In 2010 I helped form a publishing company (Cool Gus Publishing) with NY Times Bestselling Author Bob Mayer where I ran the technical side of the business through 2016.
I’m currently enjoying the next phase of my life…the empty NESTER! My husband and I spend our winters in Jupiter, Florida and our summers in Rochester, NY. We have three amazing children who have all gone off to carve out their places in the world, while I continue to craft stories that I hope will make you readers feel good and put a smile on your face.