Whisper Of Love (Whisper Lake #1)

By: Melanie Shawn

The boss lady trio hadn’t been huge fans of Patrick’s nor Ali’s when they were growing up, thanks to their mother’s antics. The phrase ‘no home training’ had been uttered often. But after Ali lost Patrick, the ladies’ changed their tune. They’d invited Ali to be a part of their knitting club aptly named The Needlepoint Mafia. Like in The Godfather, it was an offer she couldn’t refuse. No one turned down the mob bosses of Whisper Lake. No one.

Mrs. D fawned over Kade as he folded up the wheelchair and stowed it in the trunk. Ali figured now would be a good time to sneak away. She made it two steps before she heard Mrs. D say, “Now you wait just a minute, missy.”

Ali glanced over her shoulder hoping that somehow she wasn’t the “missy” that Mrs. D was referring to. But, unfortunately, lady luck really wasn’t on her side today. A pudgy finger was pointed in her direction as she turned back to face her. “Yes, ma’am?”

“Don’t forget that you’re bringing the snack on Tuesday and Leonora is lactose intolerant, and Beverly has a gluten allergy. Last time you were in charge of snacks the two of them spent three days with the runs.”

Ali tried to erase that visual from her consciousness. “No dairy. No gluten. Got it. See you Tuesday!”

She turned again and noticed that Kade was back at her side. A shiver of awareness rolled through her body like a crowd doing the wave at Wrigley Field. Every time Kade was within spitting distance of her, her body went into arousal overdrive. It had to be pheromones. That was the only explanation.

She needed to Google how to combat her physiological reaction…maybe there was a spray. Like a bug repellant. A Kade repellant.

They’d barely made it out of Mrs. D’s hearing range when Kade leaned down and whispered, “Are you, Allison Leanna Walsh, a card-carrying member of the Needlepoint Mafia?”

“Yep.” She kept her answer short and sweet in the hopes that he wouldn’t notice the shakiness in her voice from the tingles that his breath on her neck had caused.

“Holy shit.” He sounded genuinely shocked, which caused her to grin. “You’re a made woman.”

“Shut up.” She rolled her eyes as she double-timed it up the block.

“Whoa.” Kade breathed, as he slid his hand around Ali’s wrist.

The heat of his large palm warmed her instantly as the roughened pads of his fingers sent a chill through her. The hot-cold combo caused goosebumps to rise on her skin and she tugged her hand away.

“What?” Her tone sounded more irritated than she actually was.

Kade didn’t seem to notice her bitchiness as he lifted his chin toward the lake. “Look.”

Her eyes cut in the direction he was staring and she saw that the sun was setting behind Stone Castle that sat on a bluff overlooking the lake. Oranges, purples, and yellows silhouetted the landmark and danced across the serene water.

Ali couldn’t remember the last time she’d noticed a sunset, or a sunrise, or flowers blooming, or a clear blue sky. Growing up the only thing she’d liked at all about living in Whisper Lake was the natural beauty that the tiny, tourist trap of a town was surrounded by. No matter how much she hated the dull, small town where everyone knew everyone’s business, she could always find peace by just looking out over the lake or better yet going out to Foster Pond and sitting in the gazebo watching the ducks swim.

But since Patrick had been gone, even that had lost its appeal. Everything was gray.

She sensed Kade leaning toward her and she froze when she felt the heat of his breath fan the wispy hairs that fell over her neck.

“Do you still think it’s haunted?” His tone was taunting.

Patrick and Kade had always mocked Ali about her unwavering belief in the urban legend of Stone Castle’s ghost activity. Their teasing hadn’t swayed her when she was ten and it sure as heck wasn’t going to sway her at twenty-eight.

“Yes.” She turned her head slightly ready to launch into the same spiel she’d given every time her beliefs were called into question, but when she locked eyes with him her ability to speak flew right out the window.

Forget the sunset, Kade’s eyes were a natural wonder. Their outer rim was a forest green and the center was a translucent emerald shade with gold specks floating in them. His stare was hypnotizing. The rest of the world disappeared and Ali found herself being pulled under a mesmerizing spell.

“Uncle Kade!” KJ stuck his head out of the door to the gym and waved his arm. “Come on.”

Ali blinked and the rest of the world came back into focus.

“Are you okay?” Kade’s brow creased as he gave her wrist a squeeze. “I thought I lost you there for a second.”

You did. She’d gone full Debbie Gibson Lost in Your Eyes.

“I’m great.” She tugged her hand away and strode into the gym.

She needed to stick to her plan of avoiding Kade. No more sunsets and long stares. No more falling under spells.

As she stepped inside the gym a chill ran through her. She attributed it to the air conditioning and not the person whose breath she could still feel against her neck. But just to be safe she dipped her head and rubbed the back of her neck to try and erase the sensation he’d caused.

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