Whisper Of Love (Whisper Lake #1)

By: Melanie Shawn


“What now?” Her shoulders dropped as she walked to the door, feeling much like she was walking the plank.

Patrick still had some good friends in this town, namely Deputy Sheriff Ethan Steele, who tried his best to keep KJ out of serious trouble. But the boy was blowing through his Get Out of Jail Free cards, and she knew that it was just a matter of time before her nephew did something that even Ethan couldn’t help him out of.

Knowing that she couldn’t face the bearer of bad news with a defeated attitude, she closed her eyes and took a deep, fortifying breath as she turned the knob and opened the door. She was glad she had, because when she opened the door, all of the oxygen in her lungs was sucked out.

She blinked twice in shock, not believing what she was seeing. On her porch stood the only man—other than her brother—that she’d ever depended on. The only man she’d ever loved and the one and only man to ever break her heart. The man whose name she hadn’t even been able to utter for the past eighteen months. The man who shared legal custody of her nephews but had disappeared off the face of the earth and left her to pick up all the pieces. The man who also happened to be the sexiest, hottest, most infuriatingly charming man she’d ever known.

Kade Jameson McKnight.

The sun was backlighting him like some kind of angel except she knew different. If he had a halo, there were horns holding it up.

Her vision went as hazy as a bathroom mirror after a hot shower but the first thing that came into focus were two deep sea-green eyes staring at her beneath a bed of dark lashes that she knew kissed his cheek when his lids were closed. As the fog dissipated, she noticed that his thick, dark hair was a little longer and more unruly than he normally wore it. And there was a significant amount of stubble covering his square jaw giving him a bad boy edge, not that he needed any help in that category.

He wore a faded black cotton shirt that molded to his Adonis chest like he was shrink-wrapped in it. His jeans were faded and worn in all the right places. Black boots and a leather wristband that he’d worn since she’d given it to him at sixteen completed the holy-hotness package. Slung over his shoulder was a large gym bag, which she knew was his idea of luggage.

When the entire picture became clear her mind short-circuited. Her arms and legs began shaking like leaves. Her lungs were trying to take in oxygen but she felt like there was none to be had. And her mind was spinning like a top on an ice rink.

She didn’t know if she wanted to hit him or hug him. Or both.

In an effort to play it cool, she tried to sound detached and unimpressed at his arrival as she asked, “What are you doing here?”

Her question sparked a smile that spread on his handsome face and the sight caused her heart to leap in her chest as a wave of tingles spread through her from head to toe.

Ali didn’t understand how she could both love someone and hate them at the same time. But there was no doubt…she did.





CHAPTER 2


THE MOMENT ALI opened the front door, Kade knew that déjà vu was real. He was transported back in time. It was fifteen years earlier, and he was standing at the same front door. Ali had wild hairs falling around her face and her large honey-colored eyes were staring up at him like she was looking at a ghost.

Kade’s youth had been spent—or more accurately misspent—doing very reckless, very stupid things. He could’ve easily killed himself or others on any given night. On one particular balmy summer evening up at the lake, he’d gotten shitfaced and then decided to get on his motorcycle and go for a joyride. It hadn’t ended well. He’d made it about ten miles outside of Whisper Lake before he’d gone over a steep embankment off Highway 6 that ran along Whisper River and totaled his bike. Miraculously, he was able to walk away from it.

In his inebriated state, he started down a road that he thought led back to town. Spoiler: it didn’t. He’d walked along it for hours before sobering up enough to realize that he’d been walking away from Whisper Lake. During the time he was on his drunken pilgrimage, unbeknownst to him, his bike had been discovered and news spread fast in the small town. From the condition and location of the bike, the general consensus was there was no way he would’ve survived the crash and it was assumed that he’d ended up in the river.

By the time he got back to town, it was in the early hours of the morning. Not wanting to face his dad who he knew would berate him, or worse, for the wreck, he’d gone directly to the Walsh’s house to tell Patrick what a dumbass he’d been and that his bike was totaled. But instead of his best friend opening the door, it was Ali. Her hair was piled up on her head and her cheeks were tear stained. When she’d seen him she’d gone white as a sheet. It had taken her a few beats to process him standing in front of her, alive, but once she did, she threw her arms around him and held onto him for dear life. She sobbed against his shoulder for a few minutes then socked him in his chest—repeatedly—and made him promise never to die and scare her like that again.

That was a memory that he’d carry with him and treasure until he finally did take his last breath. He was seventeen at the time and it was the first time in his life he’d truly felt loved and valued. His father certainly never engendered either of those emotions and he barely remembered his mom who left when he was five.

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