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She snuggled against his chest and let out a sigh that sounded a lot like satisfaction. He wrapped his arms around her, wanting to give her comfort and a soft place to fall.

“I love the way you look at life,” Morgan murmured.

“And I love you, Morgan.” He could see the raw emotion shimmering in her eyes. He waited for a moment, praying she would finally let loose and tell him she loved him. It was right there shining forth in her beautiful brown eyes, yet she still couldn’t manage to get the words out of her mouth. A stab of disappointment pierced him.

“Hey. I almost forgot to tell you my good news,” he said, trying to change the subject. “I was offered a singing gig at the House of Blues. It’s only twice a week, but it would bring me some exposure here in Savannah. My first showcase is tomorrow night.”

“That’s incredible, Luke. What an amazing opportunity. I can’t wait to tag along as one of your groupies.” She crossed her hands in front of her. “My boyfriend, the rock star.”

“I can definitely get you front row seats,” Luke said with a low chuckle. “And one of those VIP necklaces.”

It was truly incredible how everything was coming together so beautifully. Things were going so well between him and Morgan. They had rekindled their romance and this time around he could feel that they were on more solid ground. This offer from the House of Blues made him feel as if he might really possess singing talent. Dreams in life were well worth following. This would be his opportunity to kick it up a notch and test the waters.

“Let’s celebrate!” Morgan suggested. “Come back to my place and I’ll cook you a meal fit for a King.”

“That would be amazing. But you’ve been cooking all day. Don’t you need a break from it?”

Morgan shrugged, her expression sheepish. “It’s what I love to do. What can I say? And cooking at home is way more of an intimate experience, especially when I’m cooking for someone who means the world to me.”

Hearing Morgan lay her feelings on the line felt incredible. Her feelings for him were resting right on the surface. He knew how she felt. Luke sensed that she wanted to tell him she loved him. But he couldn’t push her. Those words wouldn’t mean anything to him unless they came straight from her soul. He would just have to continue to wait until she decided it was the right time.

“Well then, let’s head over to your place.” He rubbed his hands together. “I’m up for a cooking lesson.”

“I can teach you a few things. I know my way around a kitchen pretty well. By the time I’m through, you’re going to be as famous as Andre DeSoto.”

Luke threw his head back and chuckled. Spending the evening cooking with Morgan would be relaxing. The simple truth was it didn’t matter what they did together. For him, it was joyful simply to be in her presence. They could be counting lima beans as far as he was concerned. His feelings for Morgan intensified with each and every day. And he knew it would only be a matter of time before he wanted to make their relationship one that lasted forever.

Would Morgan be ready for that type of commitment? And if she wasn’t, would he be able to handle yet another setback in their relationship?

“Where we come from is important. It lays the foundation for who we become. It shapes us. But we can’t ever let it define us.”

Callie Duvall Holden

Chapter Eight

Morgan whistled as she lifted the groceries from her trunk and began walking toward the cottage. It was a beautiful late afternoon. The air felt crisp. She was in a lazy, carefree mood. Hope pulsed in the air all around her. The sun’s rays felt glorious on her face as she strolled toward her cozy abode. She paused to check out some faded paint on her shutters, making a mental note to call her handyman to come and fix it.

Tonight’s dinner wouldn’t be as fun as last night’s with Luke. Together they’d prepared lasagna and garlic bread. Luke had been a wonderful student—eager and attentive. He’d also goofed off a bit at the end, trying to make her laugh by mispronouncing ingredients and wearing her girliest apron. It had been a memorable night. Morgan would remember it for a long time to come. She loved creating memories with Luke. This time around she was savoring every moment they spent together.


Morgan whirled around at the deep voice calling out to her. At the same time a chill raced down her back. Just before she saw him, realization set in. The voice had been the tip off. It was infused in her very bones from childhood. Roderick Lucas, her father, was standing twenty feet away from her. With the exception of his having more gray streaks in his dark hair, he looked just the same as he had appeared five years ago. Tall. Powerful. Incredibly handsome.

She stood still, unable to move or even utter a simple word of greeting. With halting steps, he moved toward her, his green eyes like laser beams as he stared her down.

“Cat got your tongue?” he asked, uttering the familiar phrase he’d teased her with as a child.

“W-what are you doing here?” Somehow she managed to shove the question out of her mouth. This visit was completely out of the blue. She hadn’t had time to steel herself, to protect her heart against him. Suddenly, it felt like it had been forever since they’d been in each other’s presence. What was there to say after a

ll this time?

He stopped a few feet away, no doubt detecting the harsh tone in her voice.

“I was in the area. I couldn’t not stop by and see you, Morgie.” Morgie. It had been his pet name for her back in the days when she’d been his little girl. His only child. Precious jewel.

She frowned. “You happened to be in the area? Last I knew you were living in Boston.”

“We moved to Maryland two years ago.” A tremor ran across his jaw. “I should have told you that. I should have…reached out to you. I’ve been terrible about keeping in touch.”

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