Authors: Marie Force
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Women's Fiction, #Contemporary Women, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Contemporary Fiction
Gansett After Dark
The McCarthys of Gansett Island, Book 11
By: Marie Force
Published by HTJB, Inc.
Copyright 2014. HTJB, Inc.
Cover by Kristina Brinton
Ebook Layout by Holly Sullivan,
E-book Formatting Fairies
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author. To obtain permission to excerpt portions of the text, please contact the author at
All characters in this book are fiction and figments of the author’s imagination.
The McCarthys of Gansett Island Series
Maid for Love
Fool for Love
Ready for Love
Falling for Love
Hoping for Love
Season for Love
Longing for Love
Waiting for Love
Time for Love
Meant for Love
Chance for Love
A Gansett Island Novella
Book 11: Gansett After Dark
Gansett After Dark
, book 11 in the McCarthys of Gansett Island Series! When I first wrote
Maid for Love
back in 2010, I couldn’t imagine a time when I’d be talking about the eleventh book in the series that began with that first story, but here we are! Three years after
Maid for Love
hit the e-book shelves, readers are still clamoring for more of the McCarthys, and I still look forward to every minute I get to spend on Gansett Island. It’s a match made in writer’s heaven!
In the McCarthy Reader Group on Facebook, we spent a lot of time talking about
Gansett After Dark
and batting around ideas for everything from sexy nights with each couple to a sex toy party hosted by Tiffany, which is something I’d still like to do sometime. While many of the ideas were amusing and fun to think about, when it came time to write the book, Owen’s story was the one that called to me the most. He’s come so far from his old life and is happily settled with Laura. Now he must confront the past before he can move on to the happy future he deserves. Putting his father’s trial at the center of this book also gave me the opportunity to move several other stories forward, namely that of Charlie and Sarah, a couple that has interested me from the day they first met.
Rest assured, you can count on plenty of sizzle between some of our favorite couples and a glimpse at what everyone is up to as we move forward into the next phase in this series. Oh and did I mention you might get more than just one wedding in this book?! And look for a blockbuster development in the lives of Big Mac and Linda McCarthy that will ricochet through their entire family. As always, thank you for coming along on this ride with me. I’m so happy to be continuing to write this series we’ve all come to love so much. Need a refresher on the Gansett Island cast?
Click here for a listing of Who's Who on Gansett.
At the end of
Gansett After Dark
, take a first look at the first TWO chapters of
I Want to Hold Your Hand
, Book 2 in the new Green Mountain Series that’s out on June 3. I’m so excited to get Hannah and Nolan’s very special story out to readers!
The creak of the rocking chair on the new wooden deck, the warm afternoon breeze off the ocean, the heat of the baby asleep on his chest and the bustle of the town he now called home soothed and calmed Owen Lawry. Along the newly painted white porch rail were flower boxes containing the pink, lavender and white impatiens Laura had nurtured all summer.
Every square inch of the Sand & Surf Hotel had been renovated in the last year, leaving the scents of sawdust and fresh paint behind. They’d been operating at full capacity since Memorial Day, and it was indeed thrilling to see the hotel open and once again full of happy visitors.
Almost a year ago, Owen had stood on this same deck and watched the last ferry depart on Columbus Day. It had felt symbolic then. With that ferry went his old life as a footloose and fancy-free troubadour, traveling from gig to gig, following the seasons and the work.
He’d stayed that day. He’d stayed because of Laura. He’d stayed because he could no longer imagine a day—hell, an
—without her. And he’d never regretted it. Not for one second. Her son, Holden, the child they were raising together even though another man had fathered him, was now as much Owen’s as he was Laura’s. Earlier in the summer, they’d been surprised to learn they were expecting twins together. He who had never wanted the constraints of commitment or marriage or family was now as committed as any man could be, and he’d never been happier as their wedding date got closer with every passing day.
Just one thing stood between him and the future he wanted so desperately with Laura, Holden and the twins—his father’s trial. The thought of seeing his father again for the first time in more than a decade made Owen feel sick and anxious and fearful, as if he were still a five-year-old who couldn’t figure out what he’d done to stir his father’s wrath.
In a few days, he and Laura, his mother and Laura’s father, along with several friends who would be testifying, would depart Gansett on the ferry and travel to Virginia for the trial. Frank was coming to help out with Holden while they were in court. Owen didn’t want Laura to come, but she insisted on being there for him. He hated the thought of her sitting in the courtroom listening to the nightmare that had been his life in vivid detail that would shock and horrify her.
But he would’ve done the same for her. He would’ve insisted on being there, even if she didn’t want him to come.
The screen door opened, and Owen glanced over his shoulder as his mother came toward him.
“I was wondering where you guys had gotten off to,” Sarah Lawry said as she sat in the rocker next to them. She tucked her chin-length blonde hair behind her ear. “Is he asleep?”
“You could put him in his crib, you know,” she said in a teasing tone.
“I much prefer this.” Holden’s wispy dark hair brushed against Owen’s chin, so soft it felt like an angel’s wings.
“I always did, too.”
Owen looked over at her. “Are you going to talk to Charlie before we leave?”
“I’m having dinner with him tonight.”
“Will you tell him where we’re going and why?”
“I want to. I need to. I know I do. It’s just… It’s hard to talk about.”
“He deserves to know, Mom. He’s been an amazing friend to you for months now.” Owen directed his gaze toward the ferry coming toward the breakwater, bringing another group of tourists to the island. This time of year, the ferries came and went all day and well into the night. “Think of it this way. You’ll be talking about it a lot in the next week or so. May as well get it all over with at once so you never have to talk about it again.”
“You make good points, and I’m going to try tonight. That’s the best I can do.”
“I’ll tell him if you want me to.”
“That’s very generous of you, but it needs to come from me. I owe him that much.”
“I’m still trying to figure out a way to talk Laura out of coming with us.”
“I don’t think that’s going to happen. She’s quite determined.”
His mother reached over to put her hand on his arm. “She loves you, Owen. She wants to support you through this. You have to let her.”
“I know that, too. What will you say when Charlie tells you he loves you and wants to support you through it?”
“That’s different. We aren’t engaged or having children together, and he doesn’t love me. Not like Laura loves you.”
“If that’s what you think, you haven’t been paying attention to the way he looks at you. Love is love, Mom. You need to be prepared for him to want to come.”
Out of the corner of his eye, Owen saw his mother shudder at the thought of Charlie coming with them to Virginia.
“I talked to John today,” he said of his brother who worked as a police officer in Tennessee. “He can’t make it next week or to the wedding. They have two guys out on medical leave, so he can’t get the time off. He said to tell you he’s sorry.”
“So… That leaves just us, huh?”
All of Owen’s six siblings had called in the last week to tell him they couldn’t make it to the trial for one reason or another. For most of them it had come down to a choice—go to the trial or come to Gansett for his wedding. Not surprisingly, most of them had chosen option B.
“It’s all right. Between the two of us, we’ll get the job done.” The only thing that mattered at the end of the day was seeing his father put away for a long time for the abuse he’d inflicted on his wife and children for decades, culminating in the vicious beating that had brought Sarah to Gansett last fall to recover. She’d stayed ever since and had been instrumental in helping him and Laura run the Sand & Surf Hotel and care for Holden, too.
“I don’t know what I’d ever do without you, Owen. You and I… We’ve traveled a long road together.”
“I was just thinking how Laura and I never would’ve gotten through the last year without you here to help us.”
The comment drew a smile from his mother. He’d never seen her so happy or so at peace and hated the thought of the trial disrupting the hard-won peace for either of them. “Despite everything that brought me here, this year has been one of the best of my life. With some time and perspective, I can’t believe I ever lived the way I did for as long as I did.”
“That’s over now. One more hurdle to clear and you’re free.”
“Two hurdles. Still waiting on the divorce, too. Naturally, your father is stonewalling the entire process.”
“Of course he is.”
“I wish I could’ve been there when his lawyer informed him that he has to pay half his pension to me every month.”
Owen grunted out a laugh. “You earned every dime of it and then some. Besides, he’ll be getting his three hots and a cot from the Commonwealth of Virginia for the foreseeable future. He won’t have much need for his pension.”
“What if he’s not convicted?” Sarah asked, her brows furrowing with worry.
“He will be. There’s no way he’s going to walk with all the evidence we have piled up against him. David, Blaine and Slim will all be there to testify about your condition and injuries when you got here last October. It’s a slam dunk.”
“Except none of them can testify to the fact that they saw your father beat me.”
“That’s where I come in. I’ll testify that I saw him repeatedly beat you. We’ll get him, Mom. Try not to worry.”
“What I really worry about is what’ll happen if we don’t get him. He’ll come after me, and we’ll all be in danger.”
“He won’t come near you. No matter what happens in the trial, you’ll still have a restraining order that keeps him far away from you.”
“I hate the idea of seeing him again. I know you must feel the same way. It’s been a long time.”
“Not long enough, but I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure he can never lay a hand on you or anyone else ever again.” Despite his intense desire to keep his emotions out of the equation, his voice wavered on those last words.
“I look at him, you know?” Gazing down at the baby he loved with everything he had, Owen ran his hand over Holden’s back. “He trusts me implicitly. He trusts me enough to fall asleep in my arms because he already knows I’d never let anything happen to him. How does anyone violate that kind of trust and hurt a child who depends on them for everything? How does a man become that kind of monster?”