MORE THAN NEIGHBORS by Shannon Stacey
(on-sale June 16, 2020)
The only thing they have in common is a property line! Cam Maguire is in Blackberry Bay to unravel a family secret. Meredith Price has moved next door with her daughter. He’s unattached. She’s a widowed single mom. He’s owned by a cat. She’s definitely team canine. All these neighbors have in common is a property line. One they cross…over and over. And Cam thought he knew what he wanted—until his family’s secret changes everything.
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Cam Maguire wasn’t sure what to make of finding a beautiful woman, a little girl and a tiny bit of fluff that he was pretty sure was a dog in the yard when he went outside to look for his grandmother’s cat.
He’d heard all the jokes about cats being real jerks and secretly plotting the demise of the humans who cared for them. He used to laugh at those jokes.
He didn’t laugh anymore.
“I don’t understand,” the woman—Meredith, she’d said her name was—said and he realized she was still confused about why he was living next door to her.
“The woman who lived here, Carolina Archambault, was my grandmother and she passed away recently. I guess it must have been after you talked to your real estate agent about the neighbors.”
“I’m so sorry for your loss.”
“Thank you,” he said, because it was the right thing to say. And he did feel a sense of loss.
It was his loss that he’d never met the woman who was his biological paternal grandmother and who had lived in this eccentric and colorful cottage by the lake.
“There you are,” he said to the extremely large and very long-haired black cat who sauntered into the yard as if she hadn’t disappeared for four hours to who knew where. And she had burrs in her tail again. Getting those things out of her fur made him wish he’d been a hockey goalie in college so he’d have the proper safety equipment for the job. “I’ve been looking for you.”
Elinor—which was a ridiculous name for a cat, if you asked him—ignored him as expected and walked onto the neighbor’s grass as if she owned it.
The little girl had left the dock and was exploring the yard with her dog, its leash clutched in her little hand. The dog watched the cat warily, but appeared to be smart enough not to mess with her. And Sophie was a cute kid, with long brownish-blond hair like her mother’s. They looked a lot alike, actually, right down to their serious expressions.
“I’d offer to give you tips on living in Blackberry Bay,” he said, “but I haven’t been here very long.”
“I’m from here, actually. I’ve been in California for years, so it might have changed a little, but I’m guessing not very much.”
“What brings you back?” He instantly regretted asking the question when sadness flitted across her pretty face and settled in the tautness of her mouth.
“My husband passed away a couple of years ago and I decided Sophie and I would be happier here, near my parents. And I have some pretty fond memories of the town, too.”
As her words sank in, he looked back to the little girl, trying to imagine how devastating it must have been for her to lose her daddy at such a young age. And how much harder the grieving process must have been for Meredith because she had to get Sophie through it. He’d never suffered that kind of loss, but imagining their sorrow hit him in the gut.
“I’m sorry about your husband,” he said sincerely as he looked back to Meredith.
“Thank you.” She gave him a tight smile. “So you’re staying for the summer, you said? Where do you usually live?”
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shannon Stacey lives with her husband and two sons in New England, where her two favorite activities are writing stories of happily ever after and off-roading with her friends and family. You can contact Shannon through her website, http://www.shannonstacey.com, as well as sign up for her newsletter.
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