Authors: Marie Force
Tags: #Romance, #Fiction, #Contemporary, #Contemporary Women, #General, #Sagas
McCarthys of Gansett Island Series, Book 12
By: Marie Force
Published by HTJB, Inc.
Copyright 2014. HTJB, Inc.
Cover by Kristina Brinton
E-book 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
Gansett After Dark
Kisses After Dark
Kisses After Dark
! I’ve been looking forward to writing Shane and Katie’s story, especially since their memorable encounter in
Gansett After Dark
. Bringing together Laura’s brother and Owen’s sister was something I’ve had planned for quite some time.
I’ve had to laugh at some of the questions I’ve gotten about whether their relationship is “legal” since they are now “family.” It doesn’t seem odd at all to me because my mother’s brother and sister married a brother and sister, giving me nine “double” cousins. To make things even more complicated, both the “brides” had the same first name, so they basically traded last names. Are you scratching your head yet? It takes new members of our family quite some time, as well as diagrams, to fully understand how we’re all related! Twenty-two years in, my husband still jokes that he doesn’t get it. I also know two sisters who married a pair of brothers. I think it happens more often than we think. But yes, it’s perfectly legal as Shane and Katie are not actually “family” to each other.
It’s always so much fun for me to go back to Gansett Island for another visit with the McCarthys and their crew. I want to thank the faithful readers of this series who turn up book after book to show their love and support for my characters and my fictional island. If you’re not yet a member of the McCarthy Reader Group on Facebook, come join the nearly 9,000 other fans of the series to chat about which couple is your favorite or whose story you most want to read in an upcoming book. Find the
McCarthys of Gansett Island Readers Group
. Need a refresher on Who's Who on Gansett Island?
Click here to check out the latest list
, updated through
Gansett After Dark
OR view our brand new
McCarthy Family Tree!
We’ve been working on the Family Tree for some time now, and we hope you love it as much as we do. This version is current through
Gansett After Dark
. We’re not currently planning to have it printed because it will be changing with every new book, so enjoy this online view of the McCarthy Family!
When you’re done reading
Kisses After Dark
, join the
to dish about Shane and Katie’s story and to speculate about what’s ahead for our favorite fictional family and their friends. If you’re not yet on my mailing list, please consider joining at
to be kept updated on new books and possible appearances in your area. If you’re on the mailing list and not receiving regular emails from me, check your spam filter to make sure you’ve allowed my messages to get through to you.
Profound thanks to my amazing behind-the-scenes team: Julie Cupp, Lisa Cafferty, Holly Sullivan, Isabel Sullivan, Nikki Colquhoun and Cheryl Serra. Thank you to my editorial team, Linda Ingmanson and Joyce Lamb, as well as my beta readers Anne Woodall, Ronlyn Howe and Kara Conrad. Special thank you to labor and delivery nurse Brenna Hessler and Sarah Spate Morrison, family nurse practitioner, for keeping me straight on the medical details.
On the home front, thank you to Dan, Emily and Jake, who are great supporters of my writing career and put up with all the time I spend with my fictional people.
One of my most frequently asked questions is whether there will be more Gansett Island books. I always say that as long as my amazing and supportive readers seem to be enjoying the series, I’ll keep writing it. Thank you for your love of all things McCarthy. You keep me coming back for more of Gansett Island as often as I can!
If you love the book (or even if you don’t), consider leaving a review on
. I read every one of them, and they help to keep me engaged in the series and planning more books. In addition, your reviews help to draw new readers to the series, so thank you in advance for leaving a review. I hope to write Paul Martinez’s book next, so watch for more from Gansett Island in 2015.
Thanks again for all your support of the McCarthys of Gansett Island Series. Happy reading!
His first thought at the start of every day was always the same.
He’s home in the cozy apartment he shared with his wife. It’s winter, and they’re snuggled under the down comforter they’d gotten as a wedding gift from his sister. His wife is warm and naked, her body soft as she sleeps in his arms. The scent of her shampoo, the expensive stuff he bought for her at the salon she loves, surrounds him. He would recognize that scent anywhere, the scent of his woman.
His body responds predictably to her nearness. Any time he’s awake and naked with her, he’s hard and ready to claim her. He moves his hand from her flat belly, up to cup a full breast, toying with the nipple that awakens instantly to his touch.
Wanting to see her and watch her reactions, he opens his eyes and is punched in the face by reality.
Every damned morning.
He’s not in bed with his wife. He’s alone in the room he calls home now at the Sand & Surf Hotel on Gansett Island. The wife he’d loved beyond reason, to the point of blindness to the faults that ended them, is long gone. She divorced him after ruining him in just about every way a man can be ruined, leaving behind memories that torture him.
Shane McCarthy stared up at the ceiling he’d painted white the winter before when the Surf had undergone extensive renovations overseen by his sister, Laura, and her now-husband, Owen Lawry. The call from Laura, pleading with him to come help them get the hotel ready for the summer season, had finally drawn him out of the dark hole he’d been in for nearly two years, mourning the loss of his marriage—and a big chunk of his sanity.
He needed to get up, grab a shower before his nephew Holden woke up and get them both to the brunch Owen’s grandparents were hosting to celebrate the newlyweds. Shane was thrilled to celebrate his sister’s happiness with a man he liked and respected, but the minute he got up, he would lose Courtney for another day.
The beginning of every new day was the only time he gave her anymore. If he had his druthers, she wouldn’t even get that. But he was unable to control the places his mind went in that ambiguous space between dreams and wakefulness. So he gave her those minutes and nothing else. He took the time, upon waking each morning, to mourn what’d been lost, to grieve for what would never be again and to wallow, however briefly, in the past.
He’d experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows with Courtney, extremes so jarring it was a wonder he could function in the aftermath of the wreckage she’d left behind. But he was functioning. He was working on an affordable-housing project with his cousin Mac and making a worthwhile contribution to the Gansett Island community.
He was involved on a daily basis with his sister, his father, his nephew, his new brother-in-law and the large extended family that lived close by on the island they all called home. The hotel that had initially served as a refuge had begun to feel like home. The dark apartment in Providence that had been ground zero for the end of his marriage was a distant memory now that Laura and her hotel had forced him back into the land of the living.
If only he could do something about these early morning visitations with the past. He needed an exorcism or something equally dramatic to remove Courtney from his DNA. She’d worked her way all the way in during the years they’d spent together, and removing her was turning out to be one hell of a difficult challenge.
Too bad you couldn’t flip a switch in your brain and stop thinking about something or someone who made you sad and angry and regretful and horribly, miserably lonely. Shouldn’t there be a way to
make that stop
? At this point, Shane would pay good money to find that switch in his own brain, because it was high time for this shit to
. It needed to stop.
Courtney was nothing to him anymore, except for his ex-wife. He’d practically bankrupted himself to put her through rehab after discovering her addiction to prescription pain meds that predated their marriage. Her way of thanking him for everything he’d done for her was to serve him with divorce papers the minute she was sober again.
Talk about a wake-up call. He sure as hell hadn’t seen that coming as he’d counted down the ninety days she’d spent in rehab, living for the day when they could get their lives back on track. While he’d been blindsided by the drug problem, the divorce had left him demolished. The worst part was he still didn’t know why she’d done that. Had she met someone else in rehab? Had she suddenly decided he didn’t look as good to her when she was no longer hopped up on pills?
of it tortured him almost as much as the reality of living without the woman he’d expected to spend forever with. Even after all this time, he still didn’t understand
. He’d been served with papers on the day he’d expected to pick her up from the clinic and start over again. He hadn’t even gotten the courtesy of a conversation. She’d disappeared from his life as quickly and as dramatically as she’d entered it his senior year of college.
Running his hands over his face, filled with frustration and anger at himself for dwelling on things that shouldn’t matter so much after all this time, he thought about yesterday, about his sister’s wedding and the palpable joy between her and Owen. It had been a truly perfect day, a rare gem in the mess his life had been for quite some time now.
And then he remembered the incident that had nearly marred that rare gem of a day. Hell, it had nearly ruined a lot more than his sister’s wedding. He’d been swimming at the beach in front of the hotel when a distressed cry from another swimmer had put him in rescue mode. Upon reaching the woman, she’d latched on to him in a panic and dragged them both under. For a brief moment, he’d thought she was going to kill them both. Then he’d begun to fight, freeing himself from her tight grip after an epic struggle.
He’d managed to eventually get them both to the beach, but not before she lost her bikini top. When he’d brushed back the blond hair from her face, he’d realized she was Katie Lawry, Owen’s sister. Though their families were now connected by marriage and despite the fact that Katie was Owen’s sister, Shane couldn’t stop thinking about the most perfect set of breasts he’d seen since his divorce.
Hell, they were the
breasts he’d seen since his divorce, which was probably why he couldn’t seem to scrub the memory of them from his brain. Again, that off-switch would come in handy as he was about to see her at the after-wedding brunch, and he needed to be able to look at her without thinking
at the first sight of her.
Christ, he needed to get laid if he got so worked up over a pair of bare breasts. It was sad to realize he couldn’t remember the last time he’d had sex or even wanted to. Well before Courtney went to rehab, which was… Shit, almost two years ago.