Grace Lindstrom has followed her fiance across three continents, starry-eyed and full of dreams. But when he dies in a plane crash, Grace discovers that their life together was the cruelest kind of lie--and swears to never lose herself to that kind of love again. Until one night, when a chance encounter leads her to the kind of man she's always dreamed of--and the deep family ties she's never known.
Noah McKay knows he can't offer Grace any kind of future--not when he spends every day putting his life on the line. But when Grace's grandfather suddenly falls ill and she's called home to the small island town where she grew up, he realizes he can't live without her. Aided by good knitting, good chocolate and deep friendship, Grace is slowly learning to trust again--but can she learn to love a man whose secrets run so deep?
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October 31, 2011
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Excerpt from A Home By the Sea by Christina Skye
Noah McLeod took a deep breath. Wind gusted up the street, stabbing at his face. He hunched his shoulders, facing the icy gale. The cold air was actually a relief after the horrible day he'd just had.
It always took time to shrug off the work. You didn't forget, but at least you managed to move on. If bad dreams and explosions haunted your sleep, then you shrugged those off, too.
Slowly Noah flipped up the collar of his leather coat. He focused on the cold, slipping into the moment and letting the hard edge of duty and responsibility fade, repeating the rule he had learned years before.
You have to move on. If you can't leave the work behind, it will drive you over the edge and one day you'll snap.
Noah had seen it happen too often. In a job where you fought mayhem and horror on a daily basis, balance was everything. He tried to remember that rule now.
After the savage day he'd just finished, he was entitled to bury his work deep and forget about responsibility. He'd been fielding emergency calls every night for a month now, and emergency calls came to his department for just one reason. because everyone else had failed.
His department was the place you called when you could smell the bitter edge of your own fear. You called Noah's unit when you had an improvised explosive device or a nasty set of wires shoved into what could be a brick of Semtex. Noah was the man who always knew which wires to pull and when to back away.
Far, far away.
But tonight had been too close. He had nearly become a splatter on a concrete wall, thanks to a close encounter with a new device no one in D.C. had ever seen before. For thirty mind-blurring seconds he had looked death right between the eyes. Then he'd remembered seeing something similar in Afghanistan seven months earlier. Once Noah had seen the interior wiring, he'd made the connection. But it had been a close call.
He closed his eyes, feeling the wind pick up, rattling the windows behind him. The building where he worked was surrounded by high fences and concrete walls. For security reasons, there was no sign or business name posted. The black trucks parked outside didn't have government plates. As far as outsiders could tell, they belonged to a civilian waste-disposal company.
But the disposal Noah did was far more dangerous.
A weight dug into his shoulders as he looked up at the top window of his lab. Inside that secure room, computers were updated nightly with data about every new model of explosive device made anywhere in the world. Each morning his team pored over that data and integrated the knowledge into their disposal procedures. No detail was ignored. His team trained hard, and Noah was proud that they were the best--and that they still had their lives to prove it.
His brother hadn't been so lucky.
Frowning, Noah ran a hand through his dark hair.
You can't go back. Matt is gone. The remote car bomb that took him is a footnote in your government training manuals now, and you all learned from it. But Matt didn't have the resources you have.
So he's gone. Pack it up and move on.
It was the same conversation Noah always had about this time of night after a long, demanding shift. But how did you forget a beloved brother whose generosity and laughter had touched everyone around him? The cold sense of loss had become Noah's old friend, as familiar as his guilt. He hadn't been able to reach his brother in time to help. There had been next to nothing left of the body after the explosion