A Father for Her Child

By: Laurel Greer

She was always his best friend’s girl...

But then their whole lives changed


Widow Cadence Grigg is slowly putting her life back together—and raising her infant son. By her side is her late husband’s best friend, Zach Cardenas, who can’t help his burgeoning feelings for Cadie and her baby boy. Though determined not to fall in love again, Cadie might find that Cupid has other plans for her happily-ever-after...





Time to accept he’d sound like a fool.


Swallowing in a last-ditch effort to regulate his tone, Zach admitted, “Sam called you Cadie. I wanted to be different.”

A squeak pitched from her throat. “Well, mission accomplished.”

“I didn’t mean it in a way that mattered,” he lied.

“I better check on Ben.” She shot to her feet and grabbed the baby monitor from its perch on top of a novel near the blanket, then hurried toward the house, too fast for him to try to catch her.

“Cadence!” he called.

His last-ditch effort worked, and she halted, turned back halfway to regard him warily. She closed her eyes for a second, and when she opened them again—damn, was that a trace of tears? Her knuckles tensed around the baby monitor. “It mattered to me.” And she disappeared into the house.

It had mattered to him, too. But as much as he knew he was special to her, that could never match the craving he had to matter the most.

To completely belong to each other.

* * *

SUTTER CREEK, MONTANA:

Passion and happily-ever-afters in Big Sky Country





Dear Reader,

Welcome back to Sutter Creek! Readers of book one of the series, From Exes to Expecting, might remember Lauren catching a whiff of interest between Zach and Cadie. Well, her radar was accurate! The ski-patrol director has it bad for the single mom. And his on-the-job injury gives Cadie, a physical therapist, the perfect opportunity to solve one of his problems for once.

Touching his ex-Olympian body, though? Too tempting. Still healing from her rocky marriage, widowed Cadie is determined not to fall in love again—not even with the sexy, loyal man who’s been her rock since her husband’s death in an avalanche a year and a half ago.

Zach, who survived the fatal slide, is bound by the promises he made to his dying friend. But following through on his vow to take care of Cadie and her son makes it harder to preserve Sam’s memory, and Zach has to reconcile honoring his friend and his desire to love Cadie and be a father to Ben.

I would love to hear if Cadie and Zach’s journey through grief into love resonates with you. Find me on Facebook, Twitter and at www.laurelgreer.com.

Happy reading!

Laurel




Prologue


April

Zach Cardenas wrenched his key in the lock on the first-aid shack near Sutter Mountain’s summit and drew another line in his mental tally.

One workday closer to Whistler.

Not to forgiving himself, or Sam.

But he clung to the hope that making another figurative payment on the debt he owed would ease the guilt and grief wedged in his heart.

Or visiting the accident site will be one more reminder of how watching over Cadie means keeping one promise but breaking another.

Jamming his keys in the pocket of his ski patrol jacket, he erased the unwelcome thought. In a week he’d climb on a plane. He wasn’t one for countdowns, but honoring Sam’s final requests had become all-encompassing and couldn’t be realized until he and their buddies went on a memorial backcountry trip to British Columbia.

The ones who’d survived, anyway.

Lucky, the news had called them last spring. Zach scoffed. The reporters wouldn’t have chosen that description had they been the ones left desperately digging through snow for survivors, only to board the homebound plane with three fewer passengers.

Nor would they have framed him as a hero had they known about the argument he’d had with Sam the night prior to the avalanche.

Shaking off the memory before it picked off the half-healed scab on his soul, Zach turned his attention to his friend and supervisor, Andrew Dawson.

“Day’s done, Dawson. Hammond’s Chute beckons.” He motioned toward their skis, which were secured to one of the few metal storage racks that remained after the end-of-season cleanup. Fixing his helmet under his chin, Zach zipped up his ski patrol windbreaker, jammed on his gloves and waited.

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