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Lara Barrington is determined to never again be branded, “the small town girl he left behind.” She has no desire to reconnect with Harrison Thomas, the boy she once loved.
When fate brings him home, she avoids him. But Harrison is suddenly everywhere, even at her dinner table. Now he’s offering a little business rivalry the competitive Lara can’t resist. Can she accept the challenge and keep her heart safe from her old love?
Harrison has returned to prove his worth to his father and to fall into his old, comfortable relationship with Lara. After she resists resuming their ties, he jokingly suggests a little competition between them. Once she agrees, he finds himself distracted by the “new Lara.” Before long her mere presence disrupts his concentration, and he begins to take a closer look at his friend. Now he learns there’s more at stake than winning a business deal.
Newfield, New Hampshire
Harrison Evans Thomas stepped from the red sports car and strolled across the gravel driveway with the confidence of a man who knew all the dark secrets of the stock market. In one stride, he passed the hand-lettered sign on the lawn: YARD SALE TODAY. In two more, he reached her. “Hello, Lara.”
“Harrison?” She tightened her grasp on the tarnished silver bowl she’d selected to buy from the picnic table and swallowed the lump of surprise lodged in her throat. “You’re really here?” Was she suffering from a summer mirage? He appeared real. Too real. Her insides jangled with that old familiar excitement.
He still had the handsome good looks of a male model and the grace and lithe form of a runner. His mouth curved into a devastating smile, and she felt herself drawn irresistibly closer to him.
She forced herself to sidestep away. Once she’d dreamed of this reunion. Now she knew the truth. She would have saved herself a plethora of heartaches if only she had heeded the words under his yearbook picture—No ties to hold me down.
Impatiently, she pulled her drifting thoughts together. He was staring at her, waiting. “What’s with the dark suit? Did you join the FBI?”
He ran a hand through his perfectly trimmed black hair. A stranger might mistake his action for vanity. She knew it was simply a habit.
“Don’t be silly, I’d never join the FBI, I couldn’t bear their haircuts.”
“At least then you’d have an excuse for not calling me. You could write, ‘Sorry, Lara, I was too busy on secret missions of high intelligence to converse with you.’”
He shifted uneasily before her. “You’re not going to be angry with me over a little telephone call?”
She tapped a finger against the bowl. “Let’s see, how long ago was it you promised to phone? Was it a week? Was it a month?”
“Now Lara, what’s a little thing like time.” He tossed a glance at the other browsers who had paused to watch. “Isn’t it more important to live your life well each day?”
“TWO YEARS! Yes, when you left two years ago, you promised to call.” She advanced toward him, aware she’d caught the attention of an elderly couple on the other side of the table, but unable to stop herself. “All you sent were postcards with trite sayings like wish you were here. See you soon.”
“I invited you to New York, but your father had his heart attack and was ill. You wouldn’t leave him.”
“The invitation happened over a year and a half ago.” She drew in a quick breath, preparing to release all of her ire.
He crowded closer to her. “I did wish you were there. You were my best friend in Newfield.”
His words changed her anger to a sharp pain. Yes, she was his old reliable buddy. The one he could always count on. “Forget the excuses, Harrison.”
He held up a hand. “Don’t be cranky.” He arched a dark brow at the container in her hand. “Did someone empty your candy dish?”
“You’re still as annoying as ever.”
He looked her over seductively. “And you’re still as beautifully distracting as ever. I’m surprised an intelligent fellow hasn’t snatched you away.”
She fought the melting of her anger. “Forget the sweet talk, Harrison.”
“I thought you liked sweets.”
She gave a sigh. “And how did I forget you’re such a flirt?”
“You’ve forgotten my natural charm?” He arched his eyebrows in mock horror. “I’m crushed.”
The front screen door squeaked open and banged against the peeling white paint of the old colonial house. Down the sagging wooden stairs ambled an older man with white hair. He shot a glance around the yard and headed for them.
“Mr. Williams, I presume.” Harrison left Lara and strode forward with an extended hand. “I’m Harrison Thomas. We spoke on the phone a short time ago.”
Harrison scanned the man’s green uniform. “Were you in the service?”
“I beg your pardon.” Harrison removed his designer sunglasses.
Ms. LeDuc uses humor and dialogue to create a very endearing story. Lara and Harrison are an exceptional couple and will not soon be forgotten. I look forward to Ms. LeDuc’s next book. _Reviewed by: Tewanda, Fallen Angel Reviews
Gifts From The Heart is a brilliantly stirring and utterly compelling story of Lara and Harrison, two people looking for love and discover years later that love is something that will bind them both together. Wholly believable, this story captured my attention and held it till the end of the book. I loved Lara and her personality and I totally enjoyed her competitive nature. Ms. LeDuc has, in my opinion, written a story that captures the true essence of two people searching for that elusive perfect love and finding something more, each other.
Sheryl, eCataRomance reviews RATING: 4 Stars
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 210
Paper Weight (lb): 9.0
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