Authors: Dina Silver
Chloe Carlyle has always longed for the perfect family.
Growing up with an alcoholic single mother, she has seen her share of heartbreak and disappointment, and is striving to build a new legacy for herself. After graduating from college, she takes a job working as a summer girl for the Reeds—a wealthy, accomplished family that personifies her American dream. Her summer takes an unexpected turn when the Reeds’ eldest son, Tyler, the star quarterback for Notre Dame, shows up and turns her life upside down.
An ambitious young woman with a wry sense of humor, Chloe never imagined herself as the type to succumb to the looks and charms of the hometown hero, but she falls hard for Tyler, and is devastated when they part ways at the end of the summer. As she heads off to law school, Chloe tries to convince herself this was just a fling, but she can’t quite get over him. It’s not until Tyler contacts her out of the blue late one winter night that everything changes.
After doing everything in her power to build the perfect life, Chloe soon learns that there are things beyond her control. She must draw on inner reserves of strength as her life takes unpredictable—and sometimes heartbreaking—twists and turns, and she finds herself faced with decisions she never thought she’d have to make. Poignant, heartfelt, and emotional,
is a reminder that you don’t have to live a fairytale life in order to have a happy ending.
A graduate of Purdue University, Dina Silver has worked as a copywriter in the advertising industry for the past fifteen years. After seeing the bulk of her professional prose on brochures and direct-mail pieces, she is delighted to have made the transition to novelist. Her debut, One Pink Line, was chosen as a 2012 Top Title by IndieReader and was also a finalist in their 2012 Discovery Awards. Silver lives in Chicago with her husband and son.
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Text copyright © 2013 Dina Silver
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.
Published by Amazon Publishing
PO Box 400818
Las Vegas, NV 89140
Library of Congress Control Number: 2013903607
checked the clock before tucking the last few strands of my long auburn hair under my swim cap. It was a quarter to three, which made my mother officially forty-five minutes late. At least Jacob Denny could tell time. He was my boyfriend then, in the seventh grade, and he’d come to watch me swim the hundred-meter butterfly with his older sister that Saturday. As the swimmers in the heat before mine were exiting the pool, the coach raised a finger and looked in my direction, indicating I had one minute before I needed to get up on the block. I scanned the entry doors for spectators and sighed because they remained closed and vacant. I paced the pool deck for another thirty seconds and then took my place at the head of lane number four, bouncing and shaking out my arms and legs before taking my position.
Just then, one of the large exterior doors at the opposite end of the pool flew open and my mother entered with another woman I’d never seen before. Every whisper in that arena was magnified, and their boisterous arrival was like sounding a bullhorn in a library. They were hanging onto each other, laughing and shushing as they made their way through the humid chlorine-infused air. No one moved but them. Everyone—in the bleachers and on the pool deck alike—was mesmerized. Not even the eighty-two-year-old security guard got up off his folding chair to stop them.
And then she spotted me.
“There she is!” Mom hollered to her friend and pointed. “I made it, sweetie!” She waved frantically at me across the length of the pool, and then held up her thumb like it was a cigarette lighter at the end of a concert. “Where’s my camera?” she asked her giggling friend, and then smacked the woman on the arm, causing her to crack up further. Mom moved closer to the pool and shuffled through her large purse. “Got it!” she screamed waving it in the air.
I glanced over at my coach; his arms were crossed, and his eyes were fixated—like everyone else’s—on my mother and her friend. The rest of the swimmers, who’d been in starting position only seconds before, were now standing up straight, leaning back on their heels, and shifting their gaze from me to the spectacle at the end of the pool. I lowered my chin and rolled my eyes over to where Jacob and his sister were seated in the bleachers two rows up. His mouth was agape.
The woman with my mother was stumbling in place as she applied lip gloss and watched my mom position the camera in front of her face with one hand while still waving at me with the other. “Good luck, Chloe!” she screamed.
She blew me a kiss and then took one more step before slipping on some water and tumbling, camera first, into lane three.
checked the locks, pulled the shades, then fell asleep on the couch after putting the Reed twins to bed. Two hours later, I awoke to a crunching noise and nearly had a heart attack at the ripe age of twenty-one. Tyler, the Reeds’ eldest son, was seated on the coffee table in front of me, eating a bag of chips inches from my face. I shivered when I realized it was
. Although we’d gone to the same high school, we’d never officially met.
But I knew exactly who he was.
As far as my hometown of Glenview, Illinois, was concerned, Tyler was the most physically gifted athlete on the planet, and had gone on to be the starting quarterback for Notre Dame after high school. He stood six foot three inches, had a body like a Greek god, and an ego to match. All of which were on display among the many photographs that peppered the walls and built-in shelves of the Reeds’ home. Pictures of him kneeling on the field next to his helmet. Candid shots of him screaming with victory, fists clenched in the air. Newspaper clippings of his accomplishments framed with little placards on the matting. Chin held high in every shot, with his emerald green eyes gazing at me through the glass, mesmerizing and inviting. He was known for his good will as well. Tyler worked with inner-city kids in Chicago, coaching sports clinics and teaching the importance of physical fitness. His reputation had preceded him…and intrigued
Most of my income during my college years had come from babysitting and working as a summer girl for Tyler Reed’s siblings, Sammy and Sarah, who were twelve years younger than he was. His football schedule kept him in South Bend at summer school and training camps, so we’d never crossed paths. It wasn’t until eleven o’clock that night, lying bleary-eyed on the Reeds’ couch, that I finally got my chance. And despite every sensible bone in my body, I’d already developed a full-blown schoolgirl crush on him.
Many women were attracted to him, so my fascination with a good-looking football star wasn’t all that surprising. However, as an ambitious college-educated woman with hopes of revolutionizing the field of divorce law one day, falling for the handsome hometown hero was not what I’d have imagined for myself. I was much more practical than that. Besides, I was sure he had no idea who I was.
“You must be Chloe Carlyle,” he said with a grin that put me instantly at ease. Tyler’s eyes were as magnificent in person as they were on the mantel. His thick dark hair was longer than in the pictures and hung in loose strands around his face. A square jaw, long eyelashes, and a disarming grin rounded out this mythological creature.
I nodded as he continued chewing and rustling the bag of Cool Ranch Doritos with his giant hand. A combination of intimidation and infatuation caused my breathing to speed up. I pulled the rubber band off my wrist, quickly threw my hair into a ponytail, and then took a deep breath. “Yes, I’m Chloe, and I’m hoping you’re Tyler,” I replied. “If not, you’ll have to excuse me while I call the police.”
I took a deep breath and regained my composure. “There’s leftover pizza in the fridge if you want? The kids only ate a few slices,” I told him.
“Not anymore, there’s not,” he said. “So how much are my cheapskate parents paying you?”
The Reeds were one of the wealthiest families in our neighborhood. Dr. Reed was a well-known heart surgeon, and notorious for turning Tyler into the Astroturf idol that he was. He had even hired retired Chicago Bears players to coach Tyler privately during his years at Glenbrook South. Dr. Reed’s sideline tirades were legendary, and rumor was they hadn’t lessened any at Notre Dame. I’d heard he once pulled the coach’s headphones off and screamed in his ear, for which he was banned from the field for a while. Afterward, he was required to attend each game with a security guard.
By contrast, his wife, Dixie, was a consummate Southern belle who hailed from Atlanta society—and whose penchant for passive-aggressive behavior was artfully hidden behind her batting lashes and Southern twang. I had met Mrs. Reed while volunteering at a PTA fund-raiser and offered my holiday babysitting services when I found out she still had two small children at home. The Reeds had a full-time nanny who worked daytime hours, and I covered everything else when I was home from school. Dr. Reed traveled a great deal, speaking at hospital conferences all over the country, and his wife accompanied him most of the time. She was also a board member at Evanston Hospital and the social chair at her country club, leaving little time for things like child rearing and housework. Nothing could tear her away from a commitment that included flowing Chardonnay and silent auctions, which had left me caring for their feverish, nauseated children on more than one occasion. My mother described Mrs. Reed as cold, but at twenty bucks an hour, I found her plenty warm.