Contemporary Romance – 124 Pages
About the Book:
After losing the love of his life to cancer, Grayson Pierce finds himself struggling with his new normal as a single dad. Moving back home to southern Minnesota with his five-year-old daughter Ella, feels like the only option to keep his sanity.
Living on his family farm, he spends his days taking care of Ella and running his construction company – working small jobs to keep his mind off things. Until Lily Dean shows up in his kitchen.
Losing her best friend to cancer was the worst thing that could have happened to her. Having Ella and Grayson back in her hometown, keeps the memories of her friend burning in her mind.
Spending her days running her own bookstore, Lily takes Ella under her wing, allowing her to explore the world of books and helping her cope with the loss of her mother. But then, there’s Grayson.
He’s her best friend’s husband, or was.
With each passing day, Lily and Grayson find their once casual friendship slowly flourishing into something more.
Can they work through their respective loss and let love in or are they destined for nothing more than a few shots of whiskey and sunset nights?
Whiskey and Sunset Nights is part of the Single Dad’s Romance series, a multi-author series of standalone novels. Seven single dads, all from different walks of life and doing the best they can to raise their children – are ready to make you fall in love.
Copyright 2021 TL Anderson
My dad takes a sip of his coffee, listening intently as Ella tells him about all the stops her and Uncle Ash took. Apparently, they stopped at a rest stop that had a gigantic rubber band ball in a case, and it had over 3,000 rubber bands wrapped around it. “That’s pretty neat there, kid. I bet it was fun taking all those stops with Uncle Ash. Did you see any animals while you were driving here?” Dad asks her.
“We did!” She looks at her hands, her eyebrows drawn down as she counts off her fingers. “We saw cows and pigs. Oh, and horses!”
“Don’t forget the llama,” Asher chimes in as he enters the kitchen. I glance up at him while taking a sip of my coffee and freeze mid-sip as I see who’s standing next to him. My heart races as my stomach drops out.
“Hey there, Gray.” Lily Dean stands before me.
My heart stops as I see the only other woman who can shatter me to pieces again. Something inside of me wants to let her. Seeing her makes me feel something besides numbness. Something raw and visceral.
Her brown hair hangs down her back in thick curls, and her blue eyes are hesitant as she stands off to the side of Asher with her hands clasped in front of her. She’s wearing a pair of cutoff jean shorts and a plain white T-shirt, which makes her tanned skin pop.
Asher walks over to Ella, picking her up and placing her on his shoulders. “Come on, kid, let’s go see your new room.” Without another word, they head out of the kitchen.
My dad pushes up from his seat, coffee mug still in hand. “I’m going to go help them before they cause too much chaos.” He stops next to Lily and kisses her on the cheek in a fatherly way. “It’s good to see you, Lils.”
She breaks eye contact with me to look at my dad, her gaze filled with gratitude. “Good to see you too, Mr. Pierce.”
“I told you call me Jack. You’re not the scraggly little ten year old anymore. We’re all friends here,” Dad calls out as he disappears from the room.
“Lily,” I breathe out. The last time I saw her was at Missy’s funeral. Lily and Missy were inseparable. She’d come and visit us out east every year and stay for a few weeks, and she and Missy would stay up late to catch up on gossip from back home. When she showed up to the funeral, it felt like my heart was being ripped out yet again. It was always Missy and Lily. So how am I supposed to look at her now without seeing the absence of my dead wife?
She clears her throat while shifting from one foot to the other. “I didn’t mean to intrude. I was just stopping by to drop your dad off some old truck manuals I found for him. He’s been fixing up that old 1972 Chevy parked in the garage. It needs a lot of work, but I think he’ll get it running again soon.” She’s rambling on about the truck, and all I can do is stare at her. “Anyways, so I didn’t realize you’d be here today. I mean I knew you were coming back home, but I didn’t know it was today. I better get going so you all can get settled in.” She fiddles with the hem of her shirt, a nervous habit she’s had since she was a kid.
“It’s fine. Stay for dinner with us.” My mouth blurts out the invitation before my brain can think through if this is a good idea or bad.
Her eyes widen. “Oh no, I can’t intrude. Ella needs time to get comfortable, and I’m sure she’ll want to spend time with Jack.”
Just at that moment Ella comes running into the room. “Lily, if you stay for dinner, we can have a tea party after!” She squeals with excitement as she puts her hand in Lily’s catching her off guard.
Lily looks between Ella and me. I can see the conflict written in her features as she tries to keep her distance from me, but also not let Ella down. “Oh Ells, I’d love to…”
Before she can say anything else I cut her off, “Perfect. Ell, go wash up and you can help me and Lily cook some dinner. How about hotdogs and burgers on the grill?”
She starts jumping up and down. “Yay! I’ll be right back. Don’t start without me!” she yells while running down the hall to the bathroom.
Lily doesn’t move. She bites her lip between her bottom teeth before speaking. “I don’t want to be a burden, Gray. I don’t want to replace…”