USA Today Bestselling Author
Taryn Lawson needs more customers in her bakery to prove she’s capable of taking over the family business. The summer fair is the perfect opportunity to jump-start her vision with a specialized booth showcasing her creative desserts. Despite her fierce work ethic, she needs help to build her booth in time. Unfortunately, the only person available is the handsome attorney who played with her heart last Christmas.
Trial attorney Garrett Andrews regrets not contacting the pretty baker he dated during his last holiday vacation. But he had his reasons and is finally ready to make amends. When he returns to town for his sister’s wedding, Garrett gets his second chance when Taryn needs help building her booth.
Working together reignites the spark, but Taryn is aware the clock is ticking. Will they realize what they have is special before it’s too late, or will their second chance at love once again slip through their fingers?
Taryn Lawson planned ahead for her summer fair booth. Everything just needed to be put together or so she thought. Only when she goes to get everything out, it’s all moldy, wet, warped all ruined. To top it off, someone she really doesn’t want to see shows up acting like he just left yesterday, instead of six months ago then ghosting her.
Garrett didn’t mean to ghost Taryn but circumstances kept him from contacting her. Then it just seemed awkward. he needs to get back into Taryn’s good graces at the very least, since they will both be at his sister’s wedding. After Taryn refuses to send out a cookie for him when his family comes for desert on the patio, Callie convinces him has to do something to smooth things over.
This is a favorite scene.
The office door opened.
Taryn didn’t look over her shoulder. “I’ll be out in a minute, Jayden.” “It’s not Jayden.” Garrett’s voice slithered along her spine. Chills followed. Her hands balled into fists.
What’s he doing here?
“Are you okay?” Concern sounded in his voice.
All she wanted was for him to leave. “I’m fine.”
Not a lie. She would be— eventually.
“Can we talk?” he asked.
“Now isn’t a good time.” She kept her voice steady, even though her insides twisted worse than a silicone fondant rope mold.
“There probably won’t be one.”
She would give him that, but that didn’t mean she had to speak with him.
Callie called Garrett the egotistical attorney, but the doggy daycare owner was proud of her second oldest brother. Taryn had never seen the cocky side of him but hearing him describe his work showed his stubborn streak. He fought relentlessly for his client’s innocence. If Garrett wanted to talk to her, he would keep returning until she agreed.
“If not for me,” he added. “For Callie.”
Guilt coated Taryn’s mouth like icky-tasting cold medicine. She hadn’t considered her friend, who was already stressed about the upcoming wedding. Callie didn’t need anyone else adding to that.
Taryn swiveled in her chair to face him. “Talk.”
“I owe you an apology.” His voice was gruff, and Garrett cleared his throat. “I said I’d call, but I received death threats.”
Six months after ghosting her, this was what he’d come up with. She scoffed. “Sure you did.”
His nostrils flared. “Why would I lie?”
She shrugged. “I’m guessing Callie asked you to talk to me. Death threats sound like a convenient, albeit out-there excuse, even for a lawyer from L.A.”
Garrett blew out a breath. He removed his cell phone from his pocket, tapped on the screen, and held the phone toward her.
A sharp, loud sound made her cringe. Two more quickly followed.
“What’s that?” she asked.
“Gunshots left on my voicemail the day I returned from Silver Falls. A creepy letter arrived at my office the next day. That evening, I came home to a message on my bathroom mirror written in blood. Someone slipped past the doorman and lobby security and broke into my condo.” His nostrils flared again. “Not an excuse.”
“I…” She didn’t know what to say. “This kind of stuff happens on TV.”
“And in real life. At least in mine.” He didn’t miss a beat. “I went dark. That was the only way to keep myself and those close to me safe until the police found who threatened me.”
That was the last thing Taryn expected to hear. “Thanks for thinking of my safety.”
“I should have told you what was going on.”
She would give him the benefit of the doubt. “You had other things on your mind. It must have been scary.”
“It was difficult.” His words came out slow as if he had to force each one. He hadn’t spoken like that in December. “I wouldn’t call threats an occupational hazard as a trial attorney, but this guy didn’t threaten only me. I didn’t want anyone… hurt because of me.”
“Especially your family.”
He nodded once.
“Is everything okay now?” she asked.
“The police arrested him. He was sloppy. Left so many trails of evidence it made the case a slam dunk. But once everything was resolved, so much time had passed. It would have been strange, awkward, to call you then. I’m sorry.”
His apology sounded sincere, and the situation must have been frightening. At least he was safe. His family, too. Though she might have erased the message with the gunshots, not carry it around like evidence or a badge of honor.
Still, holding a grudge made no sense. Other than at Callie and Brandt’s wedding, they wouldn’t see each other. “Apology accepted.”
“Thank you.” Garrett rubbed his neck. “I never meant to lead you on. I thought we agreed about not being interested in a relationship. I’m sorry if I gave you the wrong idea about us.”
Oh, no. Taryn needed this to stop before it went any further. “I agreed with you and feel the same as I did then, but I didn’t appreciate being ghosted with what’s been going on in my life. I wasn’t in love with you or heartbroken. We had fun, but we barely knew each other. I was upset over being dismissed so easily.”
“Oh.” Garrett shifted his weight between his feet.
Her mouth was so dry it was as if she’d forgotten to add eggs to a cake mixture. “Anything else?”
His features relaxed. So did his posture. “No.”
“Enjoy dessert with your family.”
He opened his mouth before closing it.
“What?” she asked.
“Nothing.” He rocked back on his heels. “I’ll see you around.”
Not if Taryn could help it.
Melissa McClone. A Slice of Summer (Kindle Locations 596-639). The Tule Publishing Group, LLC.
Of course he messes that apology up after it’s accepted. At least they both knew where they stood now, or do they…
He learns about her problem with the booth while helping Margot chose desserts at the bakery for Callie’s rehearsal dinner. Since he does have some construction experience he has to offer to help.
The booth isn’t the only thing that’s going wrong for Taryn’s bakery and she’s afraid that her father would sell if she can’t turn a profit. The new bakery in Summit was not only undercutting her price wise but also somehow offering the same new items she’s been coming up with.
Lots of joy with the wedding coming, some suspense with the bakery and an unpleasant surprise with the booth.
The attraction between her and Garrett once again sparks but will it be enough this time around?
I love the way this story unfolds, and the slow simmer to the relationship.
I can’t wait to see what comes next for Silver Falls.
5 Contented Purrs for Melissa!
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USA Today bestselling author, Melissa McClone has published over forty novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group.
With a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, Melissa worked for a major airline where she traveled the globe and met her husband. But analyzing jet engine performance couldn’t compete with her love of writing happily ever afters.
Her first full-time writing endeavor was her first sale when she was pregnant with her first child! When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her driving her minivan to/from her children’s swim practices and other activities.
Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds, and cats who think they rule the house. They do!