International bestselling author Susan Fox’s newest novel features her trademark blend of sweet and sexy romance with real world issues in the inviting island small‑town setting of Blue Moon Harbor, a small island off Vancouver. It may be a dot in the Pacific Northwest, but tiny Blue Moon Harbor always has room for love. COME HOME WITH ME charts the relationship of two
compelling, complex characters, Luke and Miranda, and a touchingly hopeful story of a second chance at a fulfilling life and a bright future for their children. Please enjoy this excerpt of COME HOME WITH ME, on sale now, chosen specifically by Susan Fox for the Military Spouse community.
Setting the stage: Before they start actually dating, widower Luke invites single parent Miranda and her little girl to come over on Sunday afternoon and build sundaes with him and his twin boys. After that, they go down to the beach. While the kids and dogs play, the adults talk.
“Wish it was that easy for us humans,” Luke said quietly. “I suppose it could be, but we’re too complicated. We make things complicated, don’t we?”
Miranda gave a wry smile. “Oh yeah, human beings make things complicated.” She watched her daughter happily chattering away to herself—or to the fairies—as she built a fairy castle. Life had been easier before Ariana, but she wouldn’t trade her daughter for anything in the world.
She went on. “But it’s not always us making things complicated. It’s the circumstances of life. Like . . .” She pressed her lips together. Should she say what she was thinking? But she’d seen the sadness in Luke’s stunning eyes when he was speaking, and guessed he was already thinking of Candace. “Like losing your wife,” she said quietly. “The boys growing up without a mom. You had no control over that, and you’d have done anything to prevent it.”
He swallowed. “Yeah.”
“I was in love with Ariana’s father.” She waved a hand dismissively. “Oh, it was nothing like you and Candace, kindred spirits from when you were kids. But I gave him my heart and he said he loved me. It turned out to be just words. He was an actor. He used words and body language as tools to get what he wanted.”
“He sounds like a tool,” Luke said.
She gave a surprised laugh. “Yeah, kind of. Anyhow, we used condoms, but something went wrong.” Since then, she’d changed to a more reliable form of birth control, not that she’d had much chance to put it to the test.
Down the shore, Ariana’s pink coat was trailing in the damp, seaweedy sand, but it was washable. Besides, what did dirty clothes matter when her daughter was having fun? “When I found out I was pregnant, I was thrilled. I had these crazy dreams of—” She stopped abruptly. What was it about this man that had her starting to open up about things she never shared? This was why she’d been wary about accepting his invitation. And maybe, if she was completely honest with herself, it was why she’d come. To explore this unusual and compelling bond that might be the beginning of a friendship.
“Dreams of?” he prompted.
“Oh, nothing.” She dipped her head and studied her well-worn red shoes.
“Of love, a home, a family?” The sadness in his voice brought her head up again.
Perhaps that was why she found herself wanting to reveal things to him. Though he made her feel inadequate in comparison—he’d had a happy marriage to his kids’ mom; he had a successful career; he’d always given his children a stable home—they had one thing in common. They’d both suffered. In the grand scheme of things, perhaps his sorrows were in fact bigger ones than hers. How did a dead wife and dead father stack up against an unknown father, a loser mom who OD’d on cocaine, sucky grandparents, and a string of failed romances?
She squared her shoulders and looked Luke straight in the eye. “Yes. That was my dream. That’s always been my dream. I wonder what the Fates have against the two of us, that they didn’t grant us the dream?”
He shook his head. “Beats the hell out of me.”
“We have great kids, though,” she said. “Healthy, happy ones. We do have love, even if it’s not the full package we dreamed of.”
“You’re right.” He stared down the beach.
Her gaze followed his. It was a gray day, still damp and chilly after the rain, but none of the kids minded a bit. Ariana was off in her imaginary fairy world, and the twins and dogs showed no signs of tiring of the stick game.
She brought her focus back to Luke’s face, a handsome one with regular features, made special by his amazing eyes. And by the emotions that so often flickered close to the surface: his love for his kids, his caring for animals, his sorrow over the loss of his wife, and occasionally, as now, a pensiveness, like he was pondering deep issues.
He turned back to her and said, “I’m not the strongest person.”
“What?” His words caught her off guard. “How do you mean?”
About Susan Fox:
International bestselling author Susan Fox (who also writes as Savanna Fox and Susan Lyons) has been a finalist in Romance Writers of America®’s prestigious RITA® contest and has won the National Readers’ Choice Award, the HOLT Medallion, the Booksellers Best Award, the Book Buyers Best Award, the Aspen Gold Readers Choice, the Golden Quill, the More Than Magic, the Lories, the Beacon, and the Laurel Wreath. She is a Pacific Northwester with homes in Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia. She has degrees in law and psychology, and has had a variety of careers, including perennial student, computer consultant, and legal editor. Fiction writer is by far her favorite, giving her an outlet to demonstrate her belief in the power of love, friendship, and a sense of humor. Visit her website at www.susanfox.ca.