Chelsea Dwyer arrives home from her job at the middle-school library in Latham Hills, Michigan, expecting another quiet evening—until she hears the screams for help through her living room window. As the first witness to a terrible accident involving two local students, Chelsea doesn’t anticipate how her own life will be irrevocably changed by the father of one of the boys. In the wake of tragedy, she’s the only one who seems to understand his grief. Chelsea’s a survivor, too—and she knows that there are brighter days ahead.
As a single father, Aidan Deveraux worked his entire life to provide a stable home for his son, Derrick. Without him, Aidan feels the deepest despair imaginable. The one thing that keeps him going is his connection with the woman who tried to save his son. Hard as he tries, Aidan just can’t stay away. Chelsea’s warm embrace is the comforting solace he desperately craves—and it doesn’t hurt that Aidan had noticed the beautiful librarian and wanted to ask her out for years. Now that she’s in his life, he doesn’t ever want to let go.
Praise for His to Cherish
“The characters and setting of Fireside have found their way into my reader’s heart and I can’t wait to see who and what they bring me next.”—Twin Spin
“A heart-wrenching story of learning to live again after great loss. Very emotional and sad subject matter, with a great supporting cast of characters rallying around.”—Thoughts of a Blonde
“So much emotion and feels that I’m still feeling the effects.”—The Jeep Diva
“Ms. Lynn writes an emotional story about love, loss, sorrow, and grief. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and felt the emotions as the characters were going through them. You will definitely need a box of tissues near you. This is the third book in the Fireside Series and can be read as a stand-alone novel. I highly recommend it!”—Alpha Book Club
“His to Cherish is an emotional story of love, loss, and acceptance that will leave you laughing, crying, and hugging your loved ones. Keep your tissues handy.”—Smexy Books
The passionate novels in Stacey Lynn’s Fireside series can be read together or separately:
HIS TO LOVE | HIS TO PROTECT | HIS TO CHERISH | HIS TO SEDUCE
And don’t miss her steamy Crazy Love series:
FAKE WIFE | KNOCKED UP
Includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
“There’s a bathroom, first door on the left, if you want to get cleaned up.”
I gestured in that direction, trying hard not to think about how completely odd it was that Aidan was in my house.
He looked down at his dirty hands. “Thanks. I’ll be just a minute.”
Once he disappeared down the hall and I heard the door close behind him, my feet quickly moved to my own master bath.
As soon as I stepped inside, I gasped in horror.
My long blond hair was matted and ratty where it had escaped my ponytail. I had a thick smudge of dirt across my forehead and down my left cheek.
Sweat had made my old baby-blue crewneck shirt cling to my skin and I had sweat stains under my armpits.
“Crap,” I muttered. “I look like shit.”
I shouldn’t have cared. We were doing yard work and now we were grilling dinner. I definitely shouldn’t have been thinking about looking good for Aidan. I had no idea why he had shown up at my house, but it definitely wasn’t to hook up with the school librarian.
Yet I couldn’t resist making an effort.
Quickly, I scrubbed my face, figuring makeup free was better than the caked-on-dirt look. With wet hands, I redid my ponytail and used a couple of pins to pull my bangs off my face.
Once I’d gotten as much dirt off my hands and from under my nails as I was going to without scrubbing them for hours, I called it good enough.
On my way out of the bathroom, I made a quick detour to my closet, whipped off my stinky bra and top, and threw on something equally boring, but at least it was clean.
When I hit the kitchen, my breath coming in oddly quick pants, Aidan was already there.
He was standing by the kitchen island, his hips resting against the granite countertop, and he had a glass of water in his hand.
“Sorry,” I said, still slightly breathless. I couldn’t help it. The sight of him in my kitchen had my lower stomach warming and feeling tingly. It was an insane, but not uncommon, reaction to him. “I needed to get cleaned up, too.”
His eyes dragged down my body. I felt that look hit everywhere and tried to ignore the way my stomach flipped. It quickly diminished when I caught a quick smirk on his lips before he turned away from me.
I looked down and realized I had put on my sexiest, hot-pink lace bra under a thin white T-shirt. You could see everything—including my nipples, which were pushing through the lace.
Oh my gosh. Embarrassment reddened my cheeks. There was nothing I could do besides make an utter fool out of myself by running back to my room and hiding in my closet until he left.
“Sorry,” I started to babble, wanting to explain myself, but stopped. Explaining would make me seem more foolish, so I rolled my shoulders and pretended everything was fine. “Steaks are in the fridge.”
I shuffled past him to get them.
After Cory left, my kitchen had always felt too large for a single woman to have to herself. With Aidan nearby, not moving as I slid past him, it suddenly felt stifling and small.
My chest brushed against his, and for just a moment, I froze, liking the feel of his skin against mine.
Stupid. I inwardly rolled my eyes and opened the fridge.
Once I had the steak in my hands, I slid the plate onto the counter, ignoring that I swore I could feel Aidan’s eyes on my butt as I bent over.
“Here you go. The grill’s out back.”
He nodded. “Thanks.” He took the plate from me and started walking toward the back door.
As soon as the door clicked shut, I ran back to my closet, exchanged my white shirt for a black one, and was back in the kitchen, preparing a salad and shucking corn to throw onto the grill before Aidan could come back inside.
I piled everything onto a serving platter with a couple of beers, more water in case he didn’t feel like alcohol, and place settings for two, and made my way to the backyard.
Conversation was sparse during dinner. I didn’t understand why he’d come to my house, why he’d decided to help me, and why he stayed for dinner, but for me, even with the thick sadness covering us like my shade umbrella, I was happy to not be alone.
Sure, I spent time with my girlfriends, but besides our monthly dinners at Fireside Grill where we drank too many margaritas and ate our weight in nachos, my friends were all getting married or enjoying their married lives. They had things to do, and it was nice to have company for dinner for once.
I allowed Aidan space while we ate, commenting on the delicious steak he cooked.
It was fantastic, and done perfectly. I loved eating grilled food, but in my mind the grill was a “man’s domain.” Not that I couldn’t do it, but my food always ended up overcooked.
I figured the Y chromosome filled men with magical grilling powers.
His deep, raspy voice made my head snap up, my mouth freezing open with my fork and the last bite of steak at the tip of my tongue.
I must have been smiling.
When I glanced at Aidan, his head was tilted slightly to the side, and his hand was wrapped around a bottle of beer.
“Nothing.” I shook my head. “Just thinking about something.”
He looked out at my backyard.
The part of me that didn’t like to be lazy meant I’d spent time adding massive gardens and landscaping to the backyard since Cory moved out. I had bawled for hours while planting shrubs and flowers, moving rocks and mulch. The work and the creativity had become a type of therapy for me, allowing me to get my anger and frustration and sadness out in a way that also created something new and beautiful.
“Thanks for letting me stop by tonight.”