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Authors: Cynthia Harrison

Tags: #Contemporary,Second Chance Love,Small Town

Love and Death in Blue Lake

BOOK: Love and Death in Blue Lake
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Table of Contents


Praise for Cynthia Harrison’s

Love and Death in Blue Lake



Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Thank you for purchasing this publication of The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

Before he knew what he was doing,

he had taken her into his arms. It just happened. And she stayed, one second, two, three. He kissed the side of her forehead, just rested his lips on her skin, not a real kiss, not what he wanted to do. As if she knew and wanted it too, she lifted her face to his, and he brought his mouth to hers. Holding back, trying not to tear into her mouth with all the passion moving through him, he kissed her soft lips, slicked with a hint of summer rain.

She had been huddled inside his arms, but now her hands slid around his shoulders, and she was holding him like she used to, pulling him closer, kissing his mouth open, still soft, still sweet, but yearning for more. She felt it too, then. He knew she must. He would not be signing those papers because she would not be leaving town. He just couldn’t let her go. Not again.

Another clap of thunder must have brought her to her senses because she put a hand on his chest and pushed him away with the lightest touch, as if she were as reluctant to release him as he was to let her go.

“Want I should drive you home?”

They were inches apart, and their eyes held each other, telling stories neither would say aloud.

“Okay.” Her eyes shifted to her bare feet, toenails painted peachy-pink something. His Courtney always wore black nail polish. This was somebody new, but she was also the same.

“We can sit and talk for a while, see if it slows down.” He wasn’t sure if he meant the rain or his madly beating heart. Maybe both.

Praise for Cynthia Harrison’s

Blue Lake Series

I loved the character of Chloe who puts her children first and, despite her love for Luke, won’t let him treat her as second best.”

~Ali, A Woman’s Wisdom


“I cried three times while reading [
, they were good tears, and I knew it would somehow all end well.”

~Nikki Carrera, Nikki Carrera Author


would be enjoyed by anyone who likes a contemporary family drama, slightly edgy, with a bit of romantic, sexy stuff thrown in, in the form of Luke, the man with the rule he’s so determined not to break…”

~Terry Tyler, Terry Tyler Book Reviews


wrapped me up and didn’t let go until I finished the final chapter, blinking my way past tears in order to make out the final words.”

~Melissa Snark, The Snarkology


] captivated me right from the start and I couldn’t put it down. In fact, I read it in one sitting, ignoring everything else on my ‘to-do’ list.”

~Barb Han, author


“Harrison has a wonderful tale [in
to tell in a great setting…an enjoyable light summer read.”

~Georgia Rose, Georgia Rose Books

Love and Death
in Blue Lake


Cynthia Harrison

Blue Lake Series

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

Love and Death in Blue Lake

COPYRIGHT © 2015 by Cynthia Harrison

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press, Inc. except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Contact Information: [email protected]

Cover Art by
Angela Anderson

The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

PO Box 708

Adams Basin, NY 14410-0708

Visit us at

Publishing History

First Champagne Rose Edition, 2015

Print ISBN 978-1-5092-0475-5

Digital ISBN 978-1-5092-0476-2

Blue Lake Series

Published in the United States of America


For Ben & Owen

Chapter One

She walked in the door, a slice of light from outside illuminating her curvy frame. His Courtney had never gotten Hollywood skinny, even after all the years she’d lived there. She was like an angel. Glowing. Her heels clicked across the old wood floor as Eddie stood motionless behind the bar, soft cloth and a half-polished wine glass held loosely in his hands until he felt the glass start to slip. Then he gripped it too hard, and before it shattered, set it down on the bar. He threw the polishing towel over his shoulder and watched her walk to him, acutely aware that they were alone but at any moment another customer could walk through the door.

He hadn’t expected her. The last time he saw her, she’d been wild with grief and he’d been drunk. Back then, summer of 1994, they’d been young and out of their minds in love.

They had a fight, then she was gone. She’d left behind all her baby doll dresses and chunky-heeled strappy shoes, left with nothing but the clothes on her back and big dreams he had known next to nothing about. At least this time he’d been prepared. Or thought he was, remembering the rough punch to his gut when she walked through the door of his bar.

He’d known she was coming in for the twenty-year Blue Lake High School reunion; the town buzzed with the news. This was the woman who had styled rock stars and designed lush video shoots with exotic animals and abundant food and outrageously frocked pop stars. To him, all this time later, she looked like his same sweet Courtney, but without the smile. They hadn’t said a word to each other yet.

She took a seat at the highly polished wood bar and slapped down a large-sized legal envelope, thick with pages that spewed out the open top. No. Not after all this time. She wouldn’t.

“Hello, Courtney.”

“Hello, Edward.”

She was the only person on the planet who called him that, and her voice with the name took him back in 1992 and their wedding day. He thought his heart would bust with love for his little rebel. They had to be together, more than high school sweethearts were allowed to be in Blue Lake, so they waited until they were legal, told nobody, and married at the courthouse in Port Huron. So they could live together and make a life, the life they’d been dreaming about and talking about and wishing for since freshman year of high school.

“Divorce papers?” He nodded his head slightly in the direction of the packet.

“It’s time.”

Her heart-shaped face hadn’t aged a day. How could that be? And those deep rose lips, slicked with gloss. For him? He wanted to kiss her, not divorce her.

“You getting married or something?” He knew about the kid. Not his. She was, what, fourteen now. Scarlett. No, Ruby. Like the belly ring Eddie had bought for Courtney on their wedding day. Because they could never be like everyone else. And that’s why…oh man, he hadn’t thought about her or any of this in a long time. He knew how to block that shit out. And not by drinking. That worked for a few years, but then he got the bar and just stopped. Saw too many drunks, he guessed.

He took up tai chi and did the discipline that filled his head with nothing but the next movement in the flow. It worked…until now. Now he remembered that she’d begged him for a baby, but he thought they were still too young, and they didn’t have any money, and he didn’t want a hand-out from her folks. Also he was still trying to be a real musician then. He still had dreams of his own then. And they didn’t include any babies. Courtney had tried for a year to talk him into it, but he kept saying no, and it broke something in her, and she left.

“Yeah,” she said, like divorce papers after twenty years were no big deal. “Got any Chardonnay worth swilling?” She pointed at the half-polished glass. It was that time between lunch and dinner, between beach and dancing. He still had her alone. But for how long?

He took his time finding just the right bottle. Blue Lake had become a destination vacation for people with boats who loved big water and knew about wine, so he’d had to educate himself in the last few years. He’d even had a wine cooler installed, maybe just for this day. He opened the wine without flair, held the cork, looked at her. She shook her head but took the bottle from him to study the label before he could pour her a taste.

“Go ahead. Nice choice.” He poured and thought about getting another glass for himself. It wasn’t like he never took a drink. Just not at work. And he was always at work. “Now I’ll just sip this while you read that, and you can sign before the shindig Saturday.”

“We’ve been married for twenty years.” He said the first thing he could think of, anything to stop this from happening. “You could at least give me the weekend to think it over.”

Before she could take a sip of wine, she slapped a hand over her mouth, then laughed her same laugh, the one that tinkled and was throaty at the same time. God, Court, don’t do this to me. Because once again he was back, this time 1993, the first time she brought up kids. It was after they’d gone at it until they were senseless and his bones had felt like jellyfish. He held her and kissed the side of her face. “Never thought much about having kids,” he confessed. Hell, they were still kids themselves.

“But you want them, right?” She pulled away a little to look at him.

“You’re still the joker, I see.” Present again. He thought fast. How to make her stay? How to burn the papers in his big stone fire pit out by the river?

“It’s so good to see you.” He came from the open-heart thing the tai chi guy always yapped about.

She lifted the glass, but then didn’t sip, instead setting it down, looking right into his eyes, getting a read, she used to say. She swallowed. He could watch her neck for ten hours and not get bored.

“Good to see you, too, Edward.”

Ah, she’d softened a little. Her hand went to a small stone around her neck. An unconscious twist of gold chain and he glimpsed a little chip of deep ruby red. Not pierced in her belly, but still a part of her. Relief, hope, sadness tumbled through him.

“Tell me about him. My rival for your affection.”

She snorted. Another cute habit that would fling him back to the past if he let it.

“Still with the words, too, I see. Do you play? Here?” She swiveled in her stool toward the big side of the building he only opened summers, with the stage and the dance floor.

He felt dizzy. This was not good, seeing her like this. Too much. All at once.

“You answer my question, then I’ll answer yours.” Lame, but it bought him time. Her wine level looked untouched. Probably not the right year or the right grape or something. He’d seen her sniff it and set it aside. Like she’d set him aside.

“Fair enough. His name is Xander. We’ve lived together for six years. He’s the only father Ruby’s ever known. He doesn’t like it that Ruby and I are Fass and he and the boys are Stein.”

“The boys?”

“Your turn.”

“No. No place.” He didn’t elaborate, and he saw that she wanted to ask him more but decided not to. There wasn’t anything to say. He quit playing guitars and started playing with women the day after she left town.

“Ten and twelve, from his former marriage. We’re a family. He wants to make it legal. Have a child of our own. I said yes.”

Eddie glanced at her ring finger. No rock. And she “said yes” not “I want that, too.”

“Do you love him, Court?”

The door opened, and a group of twenty-somethings straight from the beach tumbled into the dark cave of his bar like a litter of puppies.

While he checked IDs and served the kids, she walked out. Tight jeans hugged her butt, swaying over the highest heels this side of Chicago. The boys in the group looked at her, still dead sexy. She didn’t look back, just waved her hand. As he drew a pitcher of beer, he noticed she hadn’t touched her glass of wine.


Courtney hoped Edward had not seen the way her body shook when she left the bar. She had not been prepared for the full force of Edward Calvin Fass aka Fast Eddie. She thought she’d been ready but had been in major denial mode. She still wanted him, damn it. She pressed the ignition button with a shaking finger and peeled out onto the highway. She drove with the window down, like it could blow away her thoughts, the ones that clung so tenaciously.

Think of Xander in California, she told herself. Think of your life there. Her practice. He’d been her prof and advisor at UCLA when she went for a degree after dressing up rock stars got old. Nothing happened between them for the longest time. He was married, and she was studying too hard to become a life coach for any thought like that to enter her mind. In California, they took things like life coaching seriously. Still, Xander, as her academic advisor, talked her into doing cognitive and behavioral therapy training as back up credentials. It would lend her gravitas, he said. Then he arranged for her to get the hundreds of hours of supervised practice such licensing required.

BOOK: Love and Death in Blue Lake
9.77Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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