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Seventh Heaven

Seventh Heaven

4.1 44
by Catherine Anderson

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Ten years ago Joe Lakota had left behind his small Oregon town and the only woman he'd ever truly loved for the empty promises of the big city. Now he's returned, seeking to raise his young son with values you can only find at home, and longing to rekindle the passion he'd once had with beautiful Marilee Nelson. But Marilee isn't anything like the gentle yet


Ten years ago Joe Lakota had left behind his small Oregon town and the only woman he'd ever truly loved for the empty promises of the big city. Now he's returned, seeking to raise his young son with values you can only find at home, and longing to rekindle the passion he'd once had with beautiful Marilee Nelson. But Marilee isn't anything like the gentle yet self-assured girl he'd left behind. In her place is a woman tormented by a secret she refuses to share, even with Joe.

Marilee never wanted to see Joe again; their parting had been too painful. And though his strong arms and powerful body could protect her, she knew only too well the harm they could also bring. Her head tells her to resist Joe's persistent advances, her heart is telling her something very different. And then he makes her the sweetest proposition of all: become his wife and mother of his child. But how can she agree to a marriage, even in name only, when she can't stand to tell him the truth?

Editorial Reviews

Jill M. Smith
No one writes riveting emotion quite like Catherine Anderson. Her talent for delving into rich, emotional depths is unmatched.
Romantic Times

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Chapter One

Monday, July 17
Laurel Creek, Oregon

It had been nearly a year since Marilee Nelson's last panic attack, and she honestly believed she'd never have another one.

Until she saw the football helmet.

As football helmets went, it was ordinary enough, gray and striped with crimson, the team colors of Laurel Creek High, her alma mater. Nothing very frightening about that. No, what struck terror into her was that the helmet lay in the back window of an unknown blue Honda with California plates that was parked in front of her garage.

That was enough to send Marilee straight past panic into full-blown hysteria.

After her car had rocked to a stop, she cut the engine and stared at that California plate until her eyes burned. JOE, it read. A very ordinary name. It was undoubtedly pure coincidence that some guy named Joe from California had parked his vehicle in her driveway. A kid working his way through college by selling magazine subscriptions, maybe. Or a census taker who'd wandered into the wrong state.

She might have convinced herself, only there was that helmet. Only one Joe from California would have Laurel Creek High football gear in his car. Her Joe. Six feet plus of muscular, lethal-edged male.

"Oh, God."

At the sound of her voice, her bloodhound Boo stirred awake from his nap on the passenger seat. Casting her a disgruntled, droopy-eyed look, he yawned and licked his nose.

"Don't look at me as if I'm a coward. You're the one who needs a Valium to get through an appointment with the vet."

Marilee dragged in a shaky breath, gulped, and tried to relaxher body. Slow, even breaths. Center your thoughts. The routine came second nature to her now, and though sometimes ineffective, it worked this time to decelerate her heartbeat. Thank heaven. Having a panic attack at the mere sight of his car would be a dead giveaway.

"This is silly. I mean...why be upset? He's moved home after ten years. So? We used to have a thing going. Big deal. After being back for almost two months, he's suddenly decided to drop by and say hello. Why, I have no idea. To make me miserable, maybe? Yeah, that works.,"

Boo whined, rested his massive head on his paws again, and closed his saggy red-rimmed eyes.

"Exactly. Boring. Like I care anymore." She dropped her keys in her purse. "I mean, really. I'm a self-sufficient twenty-eight-year-old in the dawn of an enlightened century. No matter how sticky the situation, I can handle it."

Gathering her courage, Marilee stepped from the car. All she had to do was take control and think up a really good lie to get rid of him.

Oh, God, why is he here?

Her hands shook as she walked around the car, opened the door, and rousted Boo from his nap. The hound groaned when she patted his broad, bony head. "Come on, you big chicken. For once, put that nose God gave you to good use. Sniff him out. Act vicious. Chase him away, and I'll feed you juicy top sirloin for dinner."

Boo grunted as he slid off the seat. Closing the door, Marilee turned to follow him, determined not to let this throw her. Everything had been going so well for her this last year. She'd be damned if she would let Joe waltz back into her life now and turn her world topsy-turvy.

No way. She had important things on her agenda for this afternoon. It mattered not a whit that it was only a huge pot of beef stew simmering on the stove. At precisely four-thirty, she had to put in the potatoes. That qualified as a pressing engagement, right? She'd simply act glad to see him again — ha, ha — and regretfully explain that he'd caught her at a bad time.

Situation handled.

Boo lumbered along in front of her, taking up most of the walkway with his rawboned frame, his loose skin rolling just above his protruding shoulder blades. At the Y in the concrete, he hung a left, taking the path that cut between the garage and house. Following on the canine's heels., she brushed nervously at the brown fur that clung to her white slacks and sleeveless pink cotton shell.

Oh, God. What was she doing? As if she cared how she looked. She absolutely would not suck it in. She puffed at her bangs to get the frizzy blond-streaked brown curls out of her eyes. Joe Lakota was the last man on earth she wanted to impress. He was dangerous to her well-being, and if she forgot that, even for a second, she'd find herself nose to nose with more trouble than she could handle, about two hundred twenty pounds of it.

Halfway to the house, Boo stumbled to a stop, his stance wary as he snuffled the air. Marilee saw Joe sitting on the side porch. Leaning forward at the waist with one leg bent and the other extended, he was massaging his knee.

Even from a distance, he was gorgeous — if you went for bronze skin, tousled sable hair, and lots of muscle. He wore gray sweatpants and a matching athletic T-shirt with Laurel Creek High School printed in red block letters across the chest.

When he spotted her, he straightened. Like many canines, Boo was slightly myopic and evidently couldn't see Joe until he moved. Marilee might have laughed at the dog's reaction if she hadn't been so dismayed by their unexpected visitor herself. Boo's demeanor said, "Holy smokes! An intruder?" Almost instantly, long strings of white drool began to stream from the hound's floppy jowls.

"Hi there!" Joe called, his tone friendly and not at all threatening. Unfortunately, he looked dangerously capable of leaping to his feet at any given moment to twist a slightly overweight bloodhound into pretzel shapes...

Meet the Author

Catherine Anderson is a bestselling American romance novelist. She resides in the pristine woodlands of Oregon, is married to her high school sweetheart, and has authored more than 30 award-winning historical and contemporary romances. Throughout her career, she has made numerous bestseller lists, such as the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Ingram, Waldenbooks, and Barnes & Noble. She has received nominations for the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Awards, as well as being a RITA® Award finalist, and was given a Career Achievement Award by Romantic Times for Contemporary Romance.

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Seventh Heaven 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
gina-bookjunkie More than 1 year ago
Owning everything Catherine Anderson writes means I've loved her books and characters and eagerly anticipated each new one. This book was a big let down. I had to force myself to finish it and had to force myself not to skim through some sections. The plot reminded me of a couple other CA titles where the heroine is a rape victim, etc. etc. etc. And, no one is as accomodating as Joe was. Was he even human? There were way too many long-winded areas of really nothing important. I was really disappointed. I even wondered if Catherine Anderson really wrote the book.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In San Milagros, a small town in the Bay area of California, former football star Joe Lakota knows first hand the down side of fame. He struggles past a bad marriage, ugly divorce, and near bankruptcy to try to make a new life for himself and his four-year-old son Zachary. However, he also knows the media will constantly haunt him without caring for the damage to his child. Joe decides it is time to return home to Laurel Creek, Oregon for the good of Zachary even if his teenage love Marilee Norman still resides there.

Joe becomes the high school football coach while Marilee hides from him. Years ago, she rejected his offer of marriage. Joe confronts Marilee and immediately realizes he never stopped loving her. He also realizes her behavior reminds him of his son as both use psychological barriers to keep the world away. As he continues to peruse Marilee, she knows she too still loves him, but can she make the step that could provide the two of them a lifetime of happiness?

Award winning, best-selling author Catherine Anderson provides her many fans with a poignant contemporary romance that focuses on disabling phobias. Fans will root for the lead couple to overcome their problems especially those that hamper Marilee from a commitment. Zachary and a chicken but heroic dog named Boo at times steal the show form the headliners. SEVENTH HEAVEN is a deep, emotional piece of paradise that only the incomparable Ms. Anderson could have created.

Harriet Klausner

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first started reading Catherine Anderson's books Blue Skies is my favorite. Being raised Roman Catholic; I can relate to Mari. No one knows what it is like to be raped. I know that was a plot spoiler but I knew before I started the book, because smeone else already spoiled it. Read the book, C Anderson brings books to real life with real problems. All her books the hero is great and Joe is no differnt then all the rest
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A beautifull story..well told and writen by Ms. Anderson. When I want a good read I always can count her to deliver one great one. Joe knew what he wanted and had to do to get Marilee his first love. If you love good romance love story, get this 300+ page book. Enjoy!!....dpo
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I truly Catherine's books. This story delves into at least an aspect of an horrendous rape & how a religious sweet girl survives. The story started me thinking, ...as do many of Catherine's books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Disappointing read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. Good story line!
disneytothemax More than 1 year ago
LOVE this book! I haven't been disappointed in any book she's written! Definitely a must read!
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Melodyrose More than 1 year ago
While I loved the story and finally enjoyed it at the end, Marilee kind of annoyed me in the begining. I realize that she went through something aweful but I thought the way she handled her fear was irrational and bothersome. I have no complaints about Joe, he was great. There were also way too many similarities between this book and Comanche Heart. The end of the book kicked butt, though.
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