Whisper Of Love (Whisper Lake #1)

By: Melanie Shawn


It didn’t work.

“Hi, Ali.”

She looked up and saw Keaton Mills, KJ’s coach, standing in front of her wearing a wide smile that revealed a perfect row of white teeth.

She lifted her hand in a wave. “Hi.”

He’d moved to town a couple of years earlier and was well-liked. Men liked him because he was a guy’s guy and women liked him because he had ice blue eyes, jet black hair, a body that could easily be featured in a men’s fitness magazine, and an air of mystery that was hard to come by when you grew up in a small town.

KJ proudly introduced him to Kade and the two men wasted no time before they started talking shop. Ali took her place with the other parents. She searched the room and found Ricky on the far side in a solo chair, reading.

Since losing her brother she’d read a ton of grief-management books. Some of them were total crap but most of them had at least one or two nuggets of information or inspiration that she’d clung to. And one thing she’d learned was that grief was as individual and personal as a fingerprint. No two people’s experience was the same. There was no timeframe, formula, or template to follow. Sure, there were stages and general similarities but each person had to go through and work out their own emotions for themselves. She hoped that was what Ricky was doing. That he was escaping into other worlds as a form of therapy. She just wished she knew whether or not that was the case.

Kade’s voice caught her attention and when she looked back on the mats she saw that he was running drills beside Coach Mills.

The two men were about the same height and build. Both had dark hair and five o’clock shadows covering strong jaws. Both were good looking and had the same Alpha vibe. But there was just something about Kade. Something extra. Something intangible that pulled Allison in like a magnet.

The murmurs in the crowd told her that her attention wasn’t the only one being pulled in Kade’s direction. She didn’t catch what everyone was saying but she heard the keywords “Kade” and “hot” a lot.

She was still trying to wrap her brain around the fact that he was actually here.

This morning had started out like any other. She hit her snooze button two too many times, making her just late enough to panic her and throw off any semblance of a routine. She fought with KJ, dropped the boys off at school and got to the office ten minutes late. She got home from work expecting it to be another predictable evening of dinner, dropping KJ off at class, coming home and watching Ellen (which she DVR’d every day), cleaning, picking KJ up, coming home, and going to bed.

Then he showed up.

Feeling a sudden bout of overwhelming anxiety from the surreal-ness of the day, she decided it was time to send out the bat signal. Jess would be just finishing up at her salon, The Mane Attraction, and the gym was on her way home. She needed her bestie to come and save her.

She sent the text and then sat back and waited for backup.

After a few minutes of observing the class, she was starting to feel a little bit calmer until the unthinkable happened. Ricky set his book down and joined his brother on the mat. Ali’s jaw dropped as she watched the twins start running drills with Kade. KJ was smiling from ear to ear as he rolled on the mat with Ricky. He’d wanted Ricky to take classes with him but he’d never been interested.

A sick feeling sank in Ali’s stomach like a bag of rocks in a lake. This was bad. Really bad. KJ was smiling and Ricky had put his book down. Both boys were mesmerized by Kade, totally and completely under his spell and she couldn’t blame them. He was charisma personified. But what was she going to do when Hurricane Charisma got bored and bounced, leaving two devastated boys in his wake?

The twins had always loved Kade, but they’d never needed him before. They’d had their dad. But Patrick was gone now and as hard as she’d tried Kade had accomplished more in a few hours than she had in the past eighteen months. This was one day. What if he stayed a week? Or two? How much more attached would they be?

She was so lost in thought she didn’t even see Jess come in and she jumped when she heard her oldest friend’s whisper.

“What did that little fucker do now?”

“Ehem.” Chrissy Caldwell cleared her throat as her eyes widened down to ten-year-old Connor, and eight-year-old Cassidy. “Little ears.”

There was a reason she’d been nicknamed Prissy Chrissy.

“Sorry Prissy…I mean Chrissy.” Jess apologized…sort of, before returning her attention to Ali and speaking even quieter, “I got your text. What did KJ do…whoa?” Jess’s electric blue eyes widened as she stared at her friend. “What’s wrong? You look like you just saw a ghost.”

Ali tilted her head toward the mat.

Without saying a word, Jess turned her head to where Kade was holding court.

“Holy shi—”

Chrissy’s face turned back in horror.

“—take mushroom,” Jess finished. “Holy shitake mushroom!”

“What is he doing here?” Jess said the word as if she were referring to Satan himself. Ali was relieved her bestie hadn’t also fallen under the Kade McKnight spell.

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