With every passing moment she was realizing that her being here in Love came with a host of complications. She had only brought a few days’ worth of clothes with her. Somehow in her mind she had imagined coming to Alaska and doing a little bit of digging around, then heading back to Colorado to continue with her life. Closure had been her objective. Finding out about her son and Liam had added a huge wrinkle to her plan. She had meaningful ties in this town. And there was nothing about Liam Prescott that made her believe he would sign divorce papers and send her on her merry way.
Truthfully, she wasn’t certain that she was fully prepared to greet her old life head-on. A husband and a child? A brother? Family and friends? She wasn’t sure she could handle all of these new connections without coming apart at the seams.
Liam shot a quick glance her direction. He reached out and touched her hand. She jerked it away, feeling uncomfortable at the tender gesture. Despite the circumstances, it was too intimate. She didn’t know him like that.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you,” Liam said. “You looked so nervous I just wanted to reassure you. Everything will be fine.”
Ruby turned her head away and glanced out the passenger-side window. Everything will be fine. She wasn’t sure she truly believed that. Liam couldn’t possibly understand her journey as an amnesia victim. He didn’t know the twisted road she walked each and every day. The fear. The anxiety and stress. The frustration over not being able to access her own memories from her mind. And now she was going to have to face her four-year-old son and deal with questions she wasn’t sure she was prepared to answer.
Look up, she reminded herself. It served to remind her that when things in life became jumbled or stressful, to look for God. He was always there for her. Ever present. Always faithful. Ruby didn’t know where her faith had come from, but she was grateful for it at moments like this when her fear felt like a living, breathing thing that might consume her.
“We’re here,” Liam announced as he turned off the road and down a private, tree-lined driveway. Ruby peered out the window. Her surroundings resembled a winter wonderland. Spruce trees were everywhere. She recognized them from Colorado. They were beautiful, with full branches covered in a blanket of white.
The tires crunched noisily on the ice and snow in the driveway.
Fear skittered through her. What have I gotten myself into by agreeing to come here? She took a deep, fortifying breath to calm her n
Liam had been right about her meeting with Aidan. What he was asking of her wasn’t a lot, considering he’d been doing it alone for two years and raising their son by himself. Something was pushing and prodding at her. A feeling deep down inside her that she’d been stuffing away for months. She ached to hold her child in her arms, to give him back the mother he’d lost. It felt instinctual, but it was terrifying to imagine how she might feel if he rejected her. What if after all this time she wasn’t enough?
All of a sudden everything buzzing in her head hushed and stilled as Liam’s house came into view. It resembled something out of a fairy tale. Nestled in the woods and surrounded by snowcapped trees sat a small log cabin that brought to mind a rustic lifestyle. A fat, plastic snowman gave the front porch a festive air. A green pine wreath with red ribbons adorned the front door. A smattering of icicles hung from the eaves.
A sigh slipped past her lips. It was a delightful house. Perfect for raising a family and happily-ever-afters.
Had she been happy in this cozy, eye-catching home? Had all her dreams come true when she had married Liam and given birth to their baby boy? From all appearances, Ruby Prescott had been living the dream.
“We built this house from the ground up. It was your dream, Ruby, ever since you were a little girl, to live in a log-cabin home in the woods,” Liam said, his eyes moistening.
“Thank you,” she blurted.
Liam frowned. “For what?”
“For giving me that...the home I always wanted. It must have meant the world to me,” she said, feeling a pang in the region of her heart. To have been so loved by her husband that he had made it a priority for her to have her log cabin in the woods was a wonderful thing. It spoke of devotion.
Had our life together really been so idyllic?
She felt a wave of sadness pass over her. To have lost so much—a loving husband, a dear son and a wonderful home built straight from her imagination was painful. And although Liam’s home was unbelievable, she still didn’t feel any sort of connection to it. Nothing had been stoked inside her except sheer admiration.
“You don’t need to thank me, Ruby. Anything I ever did was based on love. And you returned those blessings wholeheartedly and without reservation.” They locked gazes for a moment. Something simmered in the air between them that caused her to turn her eyes away. It was hard to wrap her head around discussing love with someone she had just met.
Liam turned off the engine and made his way to her side of the truck before she knew what was happening. He opened the door and reached for her hand, reminding her to watch her footing on the slippery ground. Knowing her boots had already caused her to slide several times that morning, she clutched Liam’s elbow as she felt her foot slipping. Liam didn’t flinch as her full weight leaned on him. “Sorry,” she said in a low voice. “You would think I’m used to this because of all the snow we get in Colorado.”
“No worries. I’ve got you,” he drawled, causing tiny butterflies to do somersaults in her tummy. He led her the rest of the way to the porch steps, easing his stride so as not to rush her. The gesture spoke volumes to Ruby about Liam. Considerate. Caring. A true gentleman. She felt as if she was slowly but surely piecing together the clues as to what kind of man Liam Prescott was. So far he seemed like an incredible human being. She could very well imagine women tripping all over themselves to be with a guy like Dr. Liam Prescott.
Before they had even reached the top step, the front door sprung open. A young woman with long, chestnut-colored hair and gentle features stood there, her gray-blue eyes awash with tears. She looked Ruby up and down, her expression incredulous.
“Honor,” Liam said in a warning voice. “Take it easy. We don’t want to overwhelm her. She’s just getting her bearings.”
Before Ruby knew it, she found herself enveloped in an enthusiastic bear hug, the likes of which she had never before experienced. At least not that she could recall. Honor’s arms were squeezing her so tightly that for a moment it felt overwhelming. She watched as Liam untangled his sister’s arms from around her and gently pushed her away.
“I’m sorry. Boone said to go easy, but I couldn’t help myself.” She sniffed back tears, her stare never wavering from Ruby. “I’m so happy!”
Ruby sent Honor the warmest smile she could muster. This young woman seemed so sincere and good-hearted. It made her feel all warm and fuzzy inside to know that she had fostered a tight relationship with her sister-in-law. She could feel the love radiating from Honor.
Once Liam ushered her inside the house, Ruby stood in the foyer and looked around at her surroundings. The décor was warm and cozy. Cream-colored walls provided a soothing vibe while family photos on the front table provided a personal touch. She spotted a picture of herself and Liam. It was an odd sensation to see a photo she didn’t remember posing for. She was gazing up at Liam adoringly. He was holding a baby boy in his arms. Most likely it was their son.
“I just can’t believe it! Ruby’s back. You have your family back, Liam. All of our prayers have been answered.” Honor gushed as she threw herself against Liam’s chest. As Ruby stood and regarded the heartwarming scene unfolding before her, she couldn’t help but fret over the very real possibility of letting everyone down. Especially Aidan. She had traveled to Love to get answers her own mind couldn’t provide. She hadn’t even been certain that she’d been on the right path. The thought of staying there in town hadn’t ever crossed her mind.