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“They still do,” Morgan said as memories of eating lobster mac n’ cheese with her father swirled over her. There had been some joyful times, interspersed with the bad ones. Her childhood hadn’t been all terrible.

Morgan stood in the doorway and watched as her father made his way to his truck.

Once he’d driven away, Morgan went back inside. She found herself doing pirouettes in her living room. Her daddy was taking her out on the town! He was trying to repair the damage he’d inflicted during all of the MIA years. He loved her! He had to love her if he’d come here and was sticking around town for a few days in order to spend time with her.

Her chest tightened with emotion. She would never have admitted it to anyone, but in the deepest regions of her heart she’d always longed to have her father back in her life. And now, due to God’s mercy, he was.

A sharp rapping on her door drew her attention. Had daddy come back? She flew to the door, wrenching it open to reveal her mother standing on her doorstep.

“Was that who I think it was?” Her mother’s hands were firmly planted on her hips.

Morgan let out a sigh and waved her mother into the cottage. She shouldn’t have been surprised that her mother had beat a fast path over here. Sometimes it seemed as if Pearl Lucas had eyes in the back of her head.

Once she’d closed the door, Morgan turned toward her mother. “Yes, Mama. Daddy surprised me by showing up here.”

“Surprise? Is that what we’re calling it these days? He hasn’t seen you in five years.” Pearl made a clucking sound.

“Be nice. It was a sweet surprise. And he felt very remorseful about losing contact with me for so many years. Things are going to be different, Mama. I can feel it.”

“Morgan! I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your daddy hasn’t changed one little bit. If he’s back, mark my words there’s something he’s sniffing around after.” Her mother snapped her fingers. “Savannah House. I’m guessing he thinks you’re rich now. And he’s come back to get his fair share of it.”

“Mama. That’s not true. He didn’t even know about my inheritance from Miss Hattie until I told him. And even if he did, it’s a bit of a stretch to think that he would try to finagle something out of me that’s not even entirely mine. Don’t you think?”

Pearl pursed her lips. “So how long is he in town for?”

“A few days. Then he’ll be heading back to Maryland to his family, I imagine.”

Pearl scrunched up her face. When Morgan was sixteen years old, her father had gotten remarried to a much younger woman, one who’d been closer to Morgan’s age than his own. He had two kids with his wife—a boy and a girl who Morgan had only met in passing. Maribel and Rod Jr.

“Be careful, lovey,” her mother said in a warning tone. “I was married to your father for a long time. I know him like the back of my hand.” She shook her head. “I hate to sound negative, because I do believe that people can change, but…just be careful. You’re so tender hearted, Morgan. You try to put up that wall around you, but one small kindness and it crumbles all around you, leaving you vulnerable.”

“I appreciate your feedback, but one of the things I’m determined to do is to be more open. One of the reasons Luke and I never had a real shot two years ago was because of my inability to truly be open to all the possibilities. I want to be different this time around, Mama. Not just with Luke. With daddy too.”

Pearl reached out and enveloped Morgan in a warm embrace that only a mother could bestow on a child. Her hug was filled with care and concern and a lifetime of love. Morgan had lived in her mother’s cocoon for a long time now, and she knew it was high time she stretched herself and stood up for the things she valued. She was the only one who could set the pace for her journey.

After her mother departed, Morgan readied herself for a shower. For the life of her, Morgan couldn’t get rid of the notion that God was trying to tell her something. First Preston had appeared out of the blue at Savannah House and now her father had unceremoniously shown up at her cottage. Morgan knew that one of her weaknesses was allowing the past to dominate her present. Maybe God was trying to show her how to put the past to rest so she could move on with her future. There truly were signs everywhere mirroring her journey.

At this moment, she was choosing with all of her heart to believe in second chances.


Luke was trying to wrap his head around the curve ball Morgan had just thrown him regarding Roderick Lucas. He’d just picked up Morgan so she could watch him perform tonight at the House of Blues.

“So he just showed up at your place?” Luke

asked. He tried to keep his voice neutral. There was no need for Morgan to know that he was feeling very suspicious of her father.

“Pretty much. One minute I was carrying a bag of groceries and the very next he was helping me carry them inside.”

Luke frowned. He didn’t like the fact that Morgan seemed to be so accepting of her father’s return. For a woman who never wore her heart on her sleeve, she was shimmering with happiness at the moment due to her father’s return. He didn’t know why but he thought Morgan should approach the situation with caution.

“Kind of strange that he just showed up though after five long years, don’t you think?”

“I don’t know. Why? Do you think it’s strange?” Luke could feel Morgan’s gaze on him as he focused on the road up ahead.

“I’m asking you how you feel, Morgan. I want to make sure you don’t get your feelings hurt.”

Morgan let out a loud groan. “Between you and Mama I don’t know what to think anymore. I’m trying to have a little faith, but the both of you act like I’m being tricked or something. Should I just call him up and cancel dinner?”

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