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“I knew your grandma,” Dean said, cutting her off. “I didn’t know her well, but when she came to town, she’d always stop off in the diner where I was eating. She made it a habit of sitting with the quiet boy eating a burger and reading a book. I went there every Saturday without fail. She’d call it our date.”

“I had no idea,” she said.

“She was an amazing, insightful woman, and I wish I’d spent more time getting to know her. The first few months, I felt she was a pain in the ass, but as the weeks wore on, I found her company to the most enjoyable. She would tell me about life. The purpose of it. The meaning of it. She’d look at my books and say some authors knew what they were talking about, so long as they took the time to learn what was good for them.”

Daphne laughed. “She always had an opinion about everything.”

“She certainly did.” Dean laughed along with her. “She used to talk about this bed-and-breakfast and her granddaughter. There was a time she thought you didn’t enjoy this place. She felt she was being selfish making you live here.”

Micah hadn’t known her grandma all that well, but for her to take the time to talk to Dean, it had to mean something.


“She wasn’t being selfish,” Daphne said. “I loved living here. I still do. This is my home. Even when my parents used to drop me off here for her to babysit me, I loved it.”

Dean smiled. “I know. It’s what I told her.” He dropped a kiss on her lips. “She would make me talk to her. She made it her personal mission to make me hold a full conversation with her while I didn’t give a fuck about anyone else. Your grandma was relentless.”

“I don’t think I can imagine you and her getting along.”

“You’d be surprised. We did. I looked forward to our weekly chats, but I loved it when she’d talk about you. This has always been my end goal. The city life was a means to an end. Nothing more. You’re the person who matters.”

“I can’t believe I’m crying. This is all so fast.”

“Really?” Eric asked. “We’ve been here nearly a month. That’s not too fast.”

She chuckled. “A lot can happen in a month.”

“Yeah, a lot can.” Dean pulled back and he glanced over at Micah, who nodded his head at Daphne.

He shook his head.

“I’m going to go and freshen up,” Daphne said.

They all stepped back to give her room to get past. He watched her go.

“Dude, what the fuck? I know you’ve been the one playing the boss right now, but come on. You’ve got to talk to her about the pregnancy. We need to know the answer,” Micah said.

“I agree with Micah on this. If she’s pregnant, we need to find a doctor, a midwife, all the best care possible,” Eric said.

Dean put his hands on his waist. “Right now, don’t you think we need to focus on us?”

“We are,” Eric said.

“No, we’re throwing another problem into the mix. I’ll go and get a test for her, but we’re not going to confront her about it. We’re going to take this nice and slow, and I want you boys to repeat that with me.”

Eric and Micah shook their heads. “You’re not our dads.” They spoke at the same time.

“It’s a good thing I’m not. I’d have whipped you long ago.”

“Holy shit, is that a smile on that fucker’s face?” Micah asked.

Dean rolled his eyes and pulled his cell phone out of his pocket to check the time. “I’m going into town. You think you can handle shit here without causing too much trouble?”

Micah saluted him, and Eric was already out the door, probably about to fire up the grill.

He left the house and went to his car. The past few weeks, he’d rarely driven. Turning over the ignition, he wrinkled his nose at the smell.

Country life sure agreed with him. Pulling out of the driveway, he got onto the main road, heading into town. There weren’t many cars on the road. He drove into town, thinking about Daphne’s grandma.

What none of the guys knew was that his internet search and trying to find Daphne had all been a lie. When the old woman knew she was sick and didn’t have long to live, she’d come to him.

While he was able to lie and manipulate others, Daphne’s grandma had seen right through him.

“When I’m gone, you need to go back there. You need to make sure she lives a life full of love and happiness. I got that chance with her grandfather. I didn’t stick to that place and wither and die. I lived my life and I fear I’ve made work all part of Daphne’s life. There are no men. Nothing. She gets up and works. There are just the guests. She goes on no dates.”

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