By Melissa Shirley
Professional baseball player Ethan Remington—Remy to his friends—falls for Dr. Jillian Carter at first sight, but Jillian does things in her own time. It takes her a bit longer to realize this is a man worth hanging onto. And she does…for ten years, through the births of their daughters, through Ethan's career-ending accident, and through marriage counseling to deal with problems he isn't aware they have. A new job, though, sends Jillian on her way to another town, and when Ethan doesn’t follow, she lets the pain overcome the love she’s never forgotten. Ethan convinces Jillian to come home for a weekend where they face all their hurt, all their memories and a past that will either draw them back together or tear them apart for good.
I didn’t care that the floor was dirty, that I could see my breath on the chilly attic air, that Remy hadn’t put on a shirt, or that I’d promised to make him coffee. I sat down Indian style and opened the cover. The spine was cracked, and the pages fluffed from pieces of fabric, tissue bits, wrapping paper, old CDs inside envelopes, and a thousand other things glued inside, but the book itself stood up against the years.
Smoothing my hand over the yellowed map of Gatlinburg, I smiled at the picture of a muddy boot print. I had a thousand other photos from that trip—our first as an adult married couple— in an album at home, but this print came from Remy’s size twelve when he’d run out of our cabin in the rain, wearing nothing but boxers and his boots, to get the suitcases we’d ignored in our hurry to find a bed. To him, it was a silly picture to hang onto, but to me, it was the perfect piece to remember a smile-worthy moment of the weekend we conceived Grace.
There were pages and pages of our history in this book, and I’d forgotten it existed until I woke up. A lump in my throat—maybe because I’d forgotten or maybe because I hadn’t—kept me from talking until we were downstairs on the sofa, looking through it together, something we’d never done.
I flipped the page to a picture of Remy’s hand wrapping his tie before a charity event we attended for the Children’s hospital where I was interviewing for a job. “What is this one?”
To his credit, he’d been perfectly attentive as we reminisced—for a guy like him who never sat still, this was quite a feat—and I leaned my head on his shoulder. “It was just for me.”
“Okay, but does it mean something?”
I picked up his wrist with one hand and set his palm flat against mine. “Yes.”
About the Author
Always on the lookout for her next book boyfriend, Melissa Shirley is an avid writer and reader who has taken to creating the men of her dreams in the contemporary romances she writes. A mother of eight, Melissa is a published author of the Storybook Lake series and lives in a tiny rural town in Illinois.
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