A Family Like Hannah's

A Family Like Hannah's

by Carol Ross

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A Family Like Hannah's by Carol Ross

Starting over is serious business

With her professional skiing career cut short by an accident, Hannah James is putting all her energy into transforming Snowy Sky Resort into something special. There's only one obstacle. Famous pro-snowboarder-turned-consultant Tate Addison has his own ideas about taking the Rankins, Alaska, lodge to the next level. But Hannah won't compromise her dreams. She gets that Tate is trying to create a stable home for his orphaned six-year-old nephew—a boy Hannah already adores. And if she isn't careful, she could also fall for the boy's too-attractive uncle. Is she risking heartbreak? Or do she and Tate really want the same things out of life?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780373367757
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 01/19/2016
Series: Seasons of Alaska , #4
Edition description: Original Large Print
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Carol Ross lives with her husband and two dogs (a perfect border collie and a perfectly loveable miscreant of a dachshund) in a small town in Washington near both the ocean and the mountains. She loves the Northwest because, when the temperamental weather cooperates, she enjoys hiking, running, skiing, and spending time outdoors. And when it doesn’t…she dons a raincoat, or gets lost in a book. She enjoys reading in many genres but writes about what she loves the most-romance.

Read an Excerpt

Tate Addison stared down at the single piece of luggage on the dingy, threadbare carpet and felt the knot of tension cinch even tighter in his chest. How could that tiny suitcase hold everything Lucas owned in the entire world?

Tate frowned at the woman standing nearby, the woman who had given birth to him. He refused to call her mom. She'd never earned the title.

"Penny, where are the rest of Lucas's things?"

She blinked as if surprised by the question. "Well, Tate, this is it. This is all of it. You'd be surprised how much you can pack in one of these soft-sided suitcases."

"This isn't even the suitcase I sent him, and I've sent him enough to fill twenty suitcases. Where is his skateboard, his tablet, the movies and games, the game system…? His baseball glove?"

Penny swiped a casual hand through the air.

"You know how kids are. They break things, grow out of things, lose things…"

It dawned on him then. A hot flash of anger bolted through him. "You sold his stuff?"

"Just what was I supposed to do? He couldn't eat that baseball glove. Kids are expensive, not that you'd know anything about that while you've been living the high life and I've been stuck here taking care of him. Do you have any idea how hard that has been on me?"

Now she sounded like the selfish, defensive, passive-aggressive, alcohol- and drug-dependent mother he knew and despised, yet continued to care about. Out of some twisted sense of obligation or responsibility or…something.

"What did you spend the money on I sent you every month to take care of you both? Why did you fight me for custody?"

"He's my grandson."

Tate narrowed his eyes menacingly, waiting for her to answer the first question even though he knew she wouldn't. They both knew very well what she'd spent it on.

"You mean your meal ticket?"

"Lexie left him with me, remember?"

Shards of grief and guilt and anger took turns jabbing at him. But not because of anything Penny said, but because he hadn't been able to save Lexie from their mother's poison. He had survived, and even though he hadn't been able to save his little sister, he was determined to save her son. His nephew.

His jaw flexed so tightly he could barely speak. "Don't talk to me about Lexie."

Penny crossed her bony arms over her chest, her face twisted into an ugly scowl. "I know you blame me, Tate. Just like you've always blamed me for every bad thing in your life and Lexie's. But it's not my fault she died, you know? I didn't pour those drugs down her throat. She never did know when enough was enough. Nobody's perfect, not even you. You don't know how hard it is, but you'll see and then you'll be begging me to take that kid back—"

He had learned long ago not to engage with his mother. You can't reason with irrational and he couldn't fix her addictions, although he kept trying.

He interrupted sharply, "Where is he?"

She pinched her lips together as she lifted a finger and pointed down the hall.

He took a few steps before turning to face her again. "Viktor is waiting right outside the door to take you to the rehab center. After you get out this time you'll have two months of expenses paid. That's it. Do you understand? I can't—I won't—enable you anymore. I don't want to see you, hear from you, or even hear about you ever again."

She pitched her voice high and dramatic as she tried to squeeze out some tears, "But you're my son and you can't keep Lucas from me. He's my only grandchild—"

"It's official now. I have legal custody. Lucas is my responsibility. He is no longer your free ride. Do you understand? When you get out, do not call or contact us in any way."

"Where are you going?" she cried.

Tate ignored her and went to find his nephew. There were only two doors positioned along the dim hallway of the sparsely furnished apartment. The first contained a small filthy bathroom so he continued on. He found Lucas in the next room sitting on a dirty, rumpled sleeping bag atop a bare mattress lying on the floor. The room smelled faintly of mold and urine. Shockingly few items were scattered around—a brown paper bag, a clothes hanger and a bright orange plastic bucket with a large crack in the side.

Lucas held a book clutched to his chest. He looked up when Tate walked in and he hoped he wasn't imagining the spark that lit amidst the weariness in the child's arresting blue eyes. A mix of love and relief and anger swirled within him as he studied the pale, forlorn face of his nephew, the only thing left of his sister, Lexie.

He knelt in front of the tiny boy with coal-black hair that so closely matched his own and wondered if, at six years of age, he should be so small.

"Hey, buddy."

"Hi, Uncle Tate."

"You ready to hit the road?"

He nodded. "Do I need my sleeping bag? I can't zip it up anymore because the zipper's broken."

"Nope, you'll be sleeping in a real bed with sheets from now on."

Lucas's bland expression told Tate he'd heard similar promises before. Empty promises, broken promises, nights without a warm bed and days without food; memories he recalled all too well from his own childhood with Penny, before Viktor had taken him away.

"Uncle Tate, you won't leave me in the dark, will you?"

The fear in his voice seemed to pierce Tate's very soul. "No, Lucas, I won't." Placing a hand on each of the boy's thin shoulders, he caught his gaze. "Lucas, I know other people have told you things before that weren't true. Made promises they didn't keep. But I've never done that, have I? Made you a promise I didn't keep?"

He shook his head and whispered, "No."

"Well, I'm making you another one right now. I will never leave you. From here on out—it's me and you and Viktor, okay? We're a family. No matter what." Tate silently vowed to do whatever was necessary to make a family for Lucas, even though he wasn't sure what one was exactly.

Lucas nodded and climbed to his feet and Tate thought that a child of six-years shouldn't look so tired and…broken. Tate reached for him and Lucas threw his hands around his neck and squeezed. The rush of love he felt was so intense he almost couldn't contain his sob.

Hannah James steered her SUV up her friend Edith Milner's long driveway. As she neared the massive architectural masterpiece of a home, she immediately spotted the tire tracks in the fresh dusting of snow. She was happy to see the renters had finally arrived.

She parked her car, climbed out and headed around the side of the house along the covered sidewalk. Edith had informed the management company that Hannah would be caring for the atrium in her year-long absence, absolving the renters of having to worry about the exotic plants or the koi that lived in the atrium's indoor pond.

Unlocking the door to the breezeway, she planned to slip in unnoticed and check on the plants and feed the koi without bothering anyone. The hallway to the right connected the atrium to the house. She turned left and pushed the button to open the pneumatic door. A blast of warm, humid air greeted her. She'd been coming here for nearly two years now, but she still couldn't get over the magic that Edith had managed to create in this remote Alaskan setting.

Edith and her husband had built their five-thousand square foot home nearly two decades ago, but Edith had only added the atrium after her husband of forty-two years had passed away.

Hannah took a moment to admire the atrium's inviting niches. The bluish-green light glowing through the fat panes of tinted glass. The mosaic tile floor sparkled in muted pastel colors, a perfect setting for the wrought iron garden furniture. The space was a work of art inside and out, and it soothed her soul to spend time there.

She stopped in front of a recessed control panel, checking to make sure the temperature and humidity readings were correct.

The storage room contained an electronic lock with a keypad. She tapped in the combination and went inside. After scooping out pellets for the koi she crossed to the far side of the room, smiling as she approached the large pond taking up roughly half the space. The pond's surface was smooth and peaceful, broken only by the gurgle from the fountain in the center. But as she walked closer, the swirl and soft splash of water let her know the koi were aware of her presence.

Enjoying the flashes of orange, white, silver, black and red gliding through the water, she began tossing in the pellets one handful at a time. She called the fish by name, commenting on the beauty of their markings or how gracefully they could swim.

As she silently practiced the spiel she planned to pitch later that day at her meeting, she looked up to notice a gorgeous tropical flower blooming. One she'd never seen before. That's when movement from the other side of the pond gave her a start. A flash of black hair followed by a pair of dark eyes peeking out from behind a ficus tree told her a child was hiding there. Relaxing, she realized Edith's renters must have a child.

"Hello, there," she called out.

No answer.

"Would you like to come over here and meet these guys?"

She heard a rustling sound before a small black-haired child sprinted toward the house. The door made a swooshing sound as it opened and then closed again. Poor kid, she thought, must be shy.

She looked at the time on her phone. Too bad she couldn't stick around and introduce herself. She needed to get to work. As project manager of Snowy Sky Resort, it would probably be bad form for her to be late for her first meeting with the ski-area consultant the board of directors had hired.

Tate studied the figures in front of him, satisfied with the projections for the profits from the latest snowboard bindings he'd designed and patented. The Zee Tap had been on the market for only two years, but it was already fast approaching status as the year's top-selling binding in the world. Even though Tate knew he was doing well, something compelled him to keep continual tabs on his finances. He knew that "something" was undoubtedly his own poverty-ridden childhood.

Since retiring from his professional snow-boarding career, he was aware that he only had a limited amount of time to capitalize on his past success. That's why he'd diversified and taken on consulting jobs like this one at Snowy Sky Resort. Although accepting this particular job happened to be motivated by much more than business.

"Uncle Tate!" Lucas ran up to him nearly out of breath, his eyes wide with excitement.

"Slow down, buddy. What's the matter?"

"There's a fairy woman in the fish room."

"A fairy…what?"

"A fairy woman. She's in the fish room."

Tate smiled. Lucas had taken to calling the atrium the fish room. He loved to hang out in there. At first Tate had been concerned because of the water feature, but after a few days he felt certain that Lucas wasn't going to get in the pond with the fish and if he did somehow fall in, Tate was confident he could climb out.

Even so, he had been thrilled to learn Rankins had a community center with a pool. He'd already enrolled Lucas in swim lessons.

He wondered if it was normal to worry and fret about most everything where a child was concerned.

"Come and look at her."

Tate stood and moved from behind the desk in the spacious room the owner of the house had graciously cleared for his use as an office. She'd left the antique books in the floor-to-ceiling shelves that took up one entire wall and he was glad. It lent the room a cozy feel.

"Okay, but what makes her a fairy exactly? Does she have wings?" Tate assumed Lucas was referring to the woman caring for the atrium in the homeowner's absence. He'd been relieved when he had learned that he wouldn't have to look after it. There were plants in there he was certain his brown thumb could wilt without ever touching, not to mention the goldfish.

Lucas explained patiently as he led the way. "No, Uncle Tate, fairies don't let humans see their wings. Only other fairies can see their wings."

"I see. So…is she wearing a certain dress or playing the flute or something? Is that how you know she's a fairy?"

"She talks to the fish."

"Fairies talk to fish? Do they talk back?"

Lucas had picked up his pace and kept glancing back as if he wasn't moving quite fast enough. Tate walked faster.

"No, this fairy talks to the fish. I'm not sure if they talk back because I don't speak fish."

Tate felt a mixture of affection and amused confusion.

But when they entered the atrium they found it empty of both humans and fairies.

"Oh, no…" Lucas's face fell as his eyes darted around the warm, bright space. His voice was filled with such abject disappointment it tugged at Tate's heartstrings. "She's gone."

* * *

Hannah slipped on her snow boots and wrapped the soft, teal-colored mohair scarf around her neck. She arranged the matching hat on her head and silently thanked her cousin Janie who had knitted the set.

Lift number two had become fully operational today and she was going to check it out before her meeting. She wanted everything to be perfect for Tate Addison. As not only project manager of Snowy Sky but founder and shareholder as well, she was used to doing things her way. She relished the freedom she'd had thus far in seeing her vision becoming a reality.

Hannah was fine with getting a "second opinion," and yet, having the resort—her hard work, her dream, her baby, her second chance at achieving success—evaluated in this manner? Well, it was bound to be a little nerve-racking for anyone.

Hoisting a hip onto one of the many railings gracing the lodge's massive front steps, she slid down to the frozen ground and then headed for her snow machine. She couldn't help the welling of pride as she took in the tall T-shaped metal poles marching up the hillside. Snowy Sky wouldn't be officially opening until next year, but enough had been accomplished that it was already looking like a real ski resort.

Tate Addison had recently retired from the sport of snowboarding with one of the longest and most successful careers of all time, and although he was several years older than her, she had seen him compete when she'd been on the professional skiing circuit.

She squelched a ping of jealousy; thinking of her own career cut short so cruelly still filled her with a painful longing, a yearning for the medals and accolades she'd been so close to achieving.

Jeez, Hannah, she told herself, bitter much? Mourning the past was most definitely not a part of the "postaccident healing plan" she and her sports therapist, Dr. Voss, had developed and that she had executed over the past few years.

Hers and Tate's different backgrounds and experiences shouldn't matter, though. When he looked at the big picture, as he'd been hired to do, everything would be fine. All she really needed to do was collect his stamp of approval. She would answer every one of his questions thoroughly and eloquently. Then, at the board meeting next week, he would inform them of what a great job she was doing, collect his fee and be gone. Simple.

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A Family Like Hannah's 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Cynthia181 More than 1 year ago
I won this book for an honest review from Goodreads Giveaway. When Hannah is injured in accident caused by someone else she has to give up her professional skiing career and find something else to do, so she and friends and investors start building a small ski resort. When one of the gentleman on the board doesn't much like her and tries to put in her place. Tate is a world famous snowboarder who has decided to retire to take care of his nephew who has been living with his grandmother since his mother died and she is an alcholic and a drug user and doesn't always take care of him. Tate is at the resort as a consultant but really he is a a investor that Hannah knows nothing about. He wants to add snowboarding but the money isn't in the budget with trying to get the resort started up and when Hannah finds out what he really is trying to do, she is angry. But because of wonderful little boy he brings his uncle and Hannah together and they fall in love. I loved this book
Heidi_Reads More than 1 year ago
The characters in this book are vibrant and easy to visualize. Hannah is a mix of tough and independent with fun and vulnerable. Tate is confident on the outside but anxious with his new role in life as guardian to his nephew, so the misconceptions and miscommunications between he and Hannah are taken personally by both. I loved the setting of winter in Alaska, especially at a ski resort since I've only been snowboarding twice. We see glimpses into the boardroom where decisions are being made and power is being thrown around. It's definitely a world that is foreign to me. There is some angst when secrets are revealed but it's outweighed by plenty of heart as the couple find a way to compromise and reconcile with the unexpected. (Thank you to Prism Book Tours for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)
LynnB888 More than 1 year ago
This story takes you deep into a small town filled with kind people and history. People who embrace newcomers and shower a timid little boy with love and understanding. A place where people come to heal after loss and a place where people are able to dream of a bright future. Hannah James had her professional skiing career torn out from under her after being in a horrible accident. She suffers with the loss of those dreams, but she has forged through and created a new dream. Snowy Sky Resort is set to open soon, and she hopes will create a magical place for families to make memories. Tate Addison, a newly retired pro-snowboarder is brought in by the Board to consult on the resort to give recommendations before opening. He's recently received custody of his 6 year old nephew and is desperate to give him the life that he deserves after an early childhood filled with turmoil that a little one shouldn't have to live through. Tate and Hannah's ideas for the resort don't line up very well, so there is tension between them, but there's also attraction ... a lot of it! ** Received free in exchange for an honest review **
beckymmoe More than 1 year ago
A Family Like Hannah's is a sweet, feel-good romance. Hannah and Tate do not get off to a good start--Tate begins as he continues for much of the story, by jumping to conclusions (Hannah, on the other hand, just jumps, LOL)--and for a while they are on opposite sides of things. Tate's adorable nephew Lucas manages to bring them together, though, and soon they're both feeling an attraction that they're a bit hesitant to act on, because each has their own past issues standing in their way. Hannah and Lucas (and Viktor, and all of Hannah's family and friends) are wonderful characters. Hannah's ability to stay positive and upbeat in spite of all the things that have happened to her is amazing. No matter what issues she's dealing with (and there's a potential doozy in this book) she doesn't let them get her down. (And I had to laugh out loud early on when Tate was trying to ask Hannah out and she was oblivious from start to finish that that's what he was doing. Too funny!) Lucas is a heartbreaker--it's so wonderful watching him come out of his shell and start to trust as the story continues. and I constantly found myself wanting to give him a hug. Tate had a tendency to get all wrapped up in "poor Tate, poor Lucas" mode, convinced that Hannah and her "charmed" life just couldn't understand the woes they'd been through--okay the first time, but when he does it again?--a bit grrrrr-worthy. Fortunately he manages to pull together a sweet gesture (and times it perfectly!) at the end, saving his exasperating butt, and getting him his HEA at last. This was my first book by this author, but it won't be my last. It worked well as a standalone, though it's 4th in her Seasons of Alaska series, though now I want to see how the first three couples got to the happy point we see them at here :) Fingers crossed that Ms. Ross will follow up with Adele and Crciket's story, because there's definitely some interesting drama going on with those two! Rating: 4 stars / B+ I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
lilacqueen75 More than 1 year ago
I love a good, clean romance with some depth and that's exactly what I got with A Family Like Hannah's. I'm a fair weathered fan of sports, meaning that aside from some basketball and what my kids are playing at the moment, most of my sports watching comes during the Olympics. I couldn't help but be swept away by the excitement of skiing and snowboarding, as a good part of the story revolves around Tate and Hannah working together to make Snowy Sky Resort a success. Tate is a character with determination, as he is trying to raise his young nephew with the help of his old coach. I loved this adorable, molded-together family and loved the bond between them. Hannah is the middle child of a large, more traditional family, but she's the glue. Her charming personality, childlike awe of life, and eagerness to work hard overshadow her challenges in life and those traits are like a magnet to both the reader and the characters in the book. I love that this isn't just an easy, fluffy story, but had some real filling to go along with it, while maintaining a lighter feel--it wasn't heavy. What a perfect recipe for a great story! Content: mild romance (kissing); a snippet of violence; mention of past drug abuse and child neglect. Clean! *I received a copy through the tour host in exchange for an honest review*
MeezCarrie More than 1 year ago
Both Tate and Hannah have had hurdles to overcome in life, the kind of things that require counseling and a good support network to truly get past. While in some ways this helps them connect almost instantly, it also makes it more difficult for them to take their relationship in the same direction at the same time. It almost felt like a three-legged race down a black diamond run – with Tate on a snowboard and Hannah on skis, both trying to get down the hill their own way, each with one leg tied to the other. The beauty of this is that – when they do reach the bottom in one piece – they are all the stronger for it. While their attraction may have looked like love at first sight, Hannah and Tate had to decide if a relationship was really worth the risk before investing in the future. Carol Ross tackles some tough issues in A Family Like Hannah’s, particularly addiction and child abuse/neglect. While keeping the reactions and situations realistic, she also writes them with hope and heart. Your heart will break for what both Tate and Lucas have gone through. But at the same time, when you see Lucas’ eyes light up or you watch his progress during the course of the story, your heart will slowly knit itself back together again. Bottom Line: Sweet, clean romance that will still have you reaching for your fan on occasion, A Family Like Hannah’s by Carol Ross takes you through a whole gamut of emotions. From anger and heartbreak to laughter and joy, you will ride the slopes along with a cast of compelling and truly likable characters. I’m definitely going to have to go back and catch up on the rest of the series now! If you like the Kings Meadow Romance series by Robin Lee Hatcher or the Christensen Family series by Susan May Warren, you will enjoy the Seasons of Alaska series as well! (I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)