Lorraine Nelson

Poppy Jacobson has sworn off the military life ever since her husband died and left her to raise their children alone. She vowed never to hurt that way again and spent her days looking after her two preschoolers, her house, her garden, and her part-time work as an accountant. But she longedfor someone to hold her in the wee hours of the morning. But did her attraction to Carl dishonor her husband’s memory?Carl Anders was her husband’s best friend and an honorary uncle to her children, but for him thatwasn’t enough. He’d always loved Poppy and it was time for her to start living again, hopefully with him. Could he break through the barriers she’d erected since Peter died? A summer with them as guests at his beach house would tell the tale.

His smile lit up his entire face, his eyes twinkling—with delight… or something more?He got up to clear the plates and put food away and she noticed his limp again. “Carl, how did you get injured?”He went still, keeping his back to her and for a moment, she thought he wouldn’t answer.“I was positioned as gunner on the lead truck of an army convoy heading into enemy territory. We struck a land mine. The blast overturned the truck and threw me clear, but I landed wrong. Broke the leg in two placesand busted my kneecap. The rest of the troops on the truck died. My lucky day,” he said, his voice devoid of all emotion. “End of story.”“Very lucky! I’m so glad you survived.”“Are you, Poppy? Are you really?”“Yes, of course I am! How can you doubt that? You’ve been a great comfort to the kids and me, even though you could have easily stayed away after Peter died.”“Maybe I should have.”“Carl, why would you think that? What’s wrong?”“Nothing’s wrong, Poppy. I promised Peter I’d watch over you and the kids and I’ll do my best, but he’s proving a tough act to follow. Speaking of which, Nathan, Becky,” he called, “time to hit the road.”“This isn’t over. We’ll talk later,” she said as the children came running.

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