Location: A small Southern town
You Should Message Me If: You're looking for a guy with a great work ethic and a big family he can't live without. Seriously, for the Shaughnessys, family is everythingonce you're part of the clan, we've got your back for life.Can't make time for love?
The Shaughnessy brothers have spent the years since their mother's untimely death taking care of each other and trying to make their father proud. Oldest son Aidan is hard-working, handsome, successfuland still single. Sure, he'd like to have his own family someday, but who has the time?She'll show him how to find it
Zoe Dalton, a stunning designer Aidan meets on one of his construction jobs, has the beauty and heart to make Aidan realize how much he could be missing. But it's not easy to break down walls you've spent years building up. Now there's a major storm bearing down on the North Carolina coast, and it could be catalyst enough to force Aidan and Zoe into some major decisions of the heart.Make this book boyfriend your best vacation read ever: Samantha Chase will always bring you dazzling stories filled with characters you could swear were real, a family you'd give anything to be part of, and a sweet contemporary romance that'll make you feel like you're falling in love for the first time.
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Made for Us
By Samantha Chase
Sourcebooks, Inc.Copyright © 2015 Samantha Chase
All rights reserved.
Why were people so incompetent? It was a question Aidan Shaughnessy asked himself far too many times a day. How difficult was it to follow instructions? How hard was it to read the damn directions?
"Clearly, it's beyond anyone's comprehension," he muttered to himself as he walked through the model home of the new subdivision his company was working on.
The trim was crooked, the ceiling looked wavy, and the paint job was horrendous. Not only that, but when he reached the master bedroom, he saw the paint colors were completely wrong. Pulling out his phone, Aidan called his assistant and left her a message to get the designer on the job to meet him first thing Monday morning. It was already after seven at night, so Aidan knew no one would be around to clean up the mess now.
With a weary sigh, he shut off all the lights and was locking up the house when his phone rang. Looking at the screen on his smartphone, Aidan felt some of the tension ease from his body.
"Hey, Dad," Aidan said into the phone. "I'm running a little bit behind but I promise to have the pizza there by the time the game starts." He smiled at the thought of having a couple of hours just to unwind and relax with his family. Most men would cringe at spending a Friday night at home with their father and teenage sister, but it was something Aidan looked forward to.
"See that you do," his father said with a chuckle. "Darcy is having a fit that you're not here yet. She's threatening to eat all the brownies herself before you get here!"
That made Aidan laugh because although his seventeen-year-old sister loved to bake, she loved taunting her brothers with her delicious creations even more. "Tell her if she does that, I'll make sure neither of the pizzas have pepperoni. I'll load them with mushrooms and anchovies before I let her take away my dessert!"
Ian Shaughnessy laughed hard. He loved that the age difference between his youngest child and his oldest didn't deter them from bantering with and teasing one another. "Oh, I'll tell her, but be prepared for her wrath if you are one minute late."
"Deal," Aidan said and then called in their order to the local pizzeria.
"Hey, Aidan," Tony said as he answered the phone. "Your usual?"
Shaking his head, Aidan couldn't help but laugh. Small-town living. "Hey, Tony," he said with a smile. "What do you think?"
"Two large pies, one with extra cheese and pepperoni and the other with sausage. Gimme twenty minutes, okay?"
"You got it, Tony. Thanks." Disconnecting, Aidan turned and looked at the house he had just locked up. At least it was beautiful from the outside. Between the stonework, the colors, and the craftsman style, it made for a very appealing home. Aidan had spared no expense on the materials for the model. Everything was top of the line, and he used every upgrade available inside and out to dazzle potential buyers.
Taking a couple of steps back, he admired the landscaping. The grounds looked ready for a Home and Garden photo spread. Everything was perfectly manicured, and all the greenery was acclimating to its new soil and cooperating by staying green and in bloom.
If only the inside were up to the same caliber ...
"Okay, I have got to let that go for tonight," he reminded himself as he walked over to his truck and climbed in. "Dad will have my hide if I spend the night complaining about work."
You would think that at age thirty-four, parental disappointment wouldn't faze a man, but Aidan was different. His father had been through so much in his life, had struggled so much after Aidan's mother had died unexpectedly, that Aidan swore he would never do anything to cause his father any extra grief.
He left that to his siblings.
And they were good at it.
In the years following his mother's death, Aidan had wanted to do more to help his family out. The day after the funeral, Aidan told his father he wanted to quit college and come home, but Ian had put his foot down. Aidan knew his mother wouldn't have wanted him to leave college, but at the time, he'd felt so helpless.
When he blew out his knee in his junior year, it officially ended any dreams of a career in the NFL. But he wasn't disappointed about that now; his life was exactly where it was supposed to be. He had a construction business he had built up all on his own, and he was surrounded — for the most part — by his family.
Some of his brothers had moved away from their small North Carolina town, but Aidan didn't resent them for it. Quite the opposite, he encouraged them to follow their dreams because that was exactly what their mother would have done. With their father preoccupied with raising a teenage girl after a houseful of boys, Aidan had taken it upon himself to be "the encourager" in the family.
Did he date? Sometimes.
Was he looking to settle down? Maybe.
Were there any prospects on the horizon? No.
Maybe he should do something about that, he thought as he drove through town to pick up dinner. The streets were crowded, but that was nothing new. It was Friday night and everyone was out and about. As his truck crept along Main Street with the windows down, Aidan was able to smile and wave to many familiar faces. This was what he did, who he was. But for some reason, tonight it bothered him.
Why wasn't he walking along the street holding hands with a woman? When exactly was the last time he had done that? Searching his memory, he couldn't even remember when. Was it with Amber or Kelly? Hell, he couldn't even remember their names or their faces. That was a surefire clue it had been too long.
"Nothing I can do about it tonight," Aidan muttered and pulled into the last spot in front of the Italian restaurant. There was a line out the door and Aidan was relieved for the side entrance reserved for takeout orders. As he walked in, he was greeted by the same faces he saw in there every Friday night. But by the time Aidan had paid and was walking back out to his truck with the pizzas, he was feeling a little down for some reason.
Aidan had had too long a day to puzzle out the source of this sudden depression, however; for tonight, he vowed to enjoy himself. He loved catching up with what Darcy was up to and hearing about how she was doing in school. And even though Aidan and his dad saw each other on a daily basis because Ian Shaughnessy was in charge of all of the electrical inspections on new construction in the county, Aidan knew his dad always just liked having him around.
Ian was dedicated to his children, and it didn't matter how old they got or how far away they moved: Ian Shaughnessy wanted nothing more than to see his children be happy.
Just as Lillian would have wanted.
Pulling up to his childhood home, Aidan felt a lot of the tension leave his body. This was his haven. No matter what was going on in his life, he still enjoyed coming back here and spending time. Not to mention that right now, the scent of hot pizza was practically making him drool and he had no doubt his little sister was pacing the floor waiting for him to get inside and feed her.
His suspicions were confirmed as soon as he walked through the door.
"It's about time, Aidan!" his sister cried, grabbing the pizza boxes from his hands. "Honestly, a person could die of starvation waiting for you."
"Excuse me, Duchess," he said with a chuckle, "but some of us have to work for a living. We can't all have food delivered on our every whim."
She rolled her eyes at him as she placed the pizza on the kitchen table. "I would love to have a job, big Brother. But you and Dad and the rest of the Shaughnessy bullies won't let me."
"Bullies?" he asked with a laugh, washing his hands and winking at his father as he walked in from the living room where the pregame bantering was on. "There are Shaughnessy bullies? Why wasn't I told of this?"
"Oh." Darcy swatted his arm playfully. "You're the captain of the bully squad."
"Now we're a squad?"
"Aidan!" she huffed, and plopped down into her seat at the table. "You know darn well you have been the biggest voice in keeping me from getting a job. If you would —"
"Darce, we've been over this before. You don't need to work right now. You need to focus on your schoolwork so you can get into a good college."
Darcy looked from her father to her brother and back again. "A good college? Don't you really mean one that's close to home?" This wasn't a new argument, but Darcy was hoping she'd wear them down eventually.
"There are plenty of colleges close to home," Aidan said evasively, reaching for a slice of the fast-cooling pizza.
"But I don't want to go to any of them."
"Can we please have one meal without an argument?" Ian finally chimed in.
"I'm not arguing, Dad," Darcy countered. "I'm simply stating that there are plenty of great colleges that aren't within a ten-mile radius of our house."
"So in answer to your question, Dad," Aidan said with a smile, "no. We cannot have one meal without an argument." Normally that was all it took to get Darcy to back down, but tonight she slammed her palms on the table.
"Why won't anyone take this seriously?" she snapped, looking at her father. "Everyone else was allowed to pick where they wanted to go to college. Why can't I?"
"Come on, Darce," Aidan interrupted. "It's been a crappy day. Can't we just enjoy dinner?"
If there was one thing Darcy had learned to perfect in her seventeen years, it was the art of the argument. She had even been on the debate team since her sophomore year, bringing home a trophy or two, and learning some skills that had come in very useful with her siblings. She thought of it as a form of mental self-defense. Unfortunately, she just didn't have it in her tonight. Being the only female in a male-dominated household, there were so many things about her life that didn't seem fair, but she had learned to accept most of them.
Out of her five brothers, she was probably closest to Aidan, even though he was the oldest. He was one of the few siblings who still lived in the area, so she saw him the most and she enjoyed spending time with him. Lately, she could tell something was up with him even though Aidan seemed unwilling to admit it.
Darcy could think of a million reasons why Aidan's day had been crappy. All he did was work and go home alone and spend Friday nights having pizza with her and their father. Bor-ing. She wished he'd find someone and go out on a date. Have a social life. She supposed he was good-looking, but if he didn't go out and find a girl soon, he was going to be old and gray and no one was going to want him. Probably not the best time to bring up the old and gray thing.
"Fine," she grumbled. "Why was your day crappy?"
Finishing his slice of pizza, Aidan went to the refrigerator and grabbed himself the one beer he allowed himself every Friday night. "Oh, you know, it's the same old thing. No one reads the instructions on the job site, things aren't getting done the way I want them, my assistant is asking for an assistant. Nothing new."
"Everything was looking good when I was on site on Tuesday," Ian said. "What changed?"
"The paint job is crap, there's some trim that's messed up, and the decorator got all the color tones wrong. I did a walk-through tonight before I left, which is why I was late getting dinner, and I just couldn't believe my eyes. It was as if I had never said a word about anything. I mean, how difficult is it to follow a set of plans?"
"So what are you going to do?" Ian asked, knowing his son was a perfectionist by nature and wouldn't rest until everything was up to his standards.
"I'm bringing in a new painting crew, and I've put a call in to meet the decorator on Monday morning." He shook his head. "Tired of wasting my time."
"Ever think maybe you're looking a little too closely at things?" Darcy asked, and then instantly regretted her comment when her brother aimed an angry glare in her direction.
"I look at things the way they are meant to be looked at," he said defensively. "The craftsmanship I put out there is what makes Shaughnessy Construction stand out. If I relax my standards, then what?"
"Sorry," she mumbled and reached for another slice of pizza.
"Aidan, don't take it out on Darcy. All she's saying is that you have a craftsman's eye. The typical home owner and buyer won't notice the things you see."
"So that makes it right? That makes it okay to just put a crappy product out there? I can't believe you would suggest such a thing."
"I'm not suggesting anything of the sort, Son," Ian said. "I'm just suggesting that you relax a bit." He looked at Darcy slouching in her seat, staring at her plate, then back at Aidan, who looked ready to turn the table upside down. "Who's up for a game of bowling?"
Darcy and Aidan looked up at him incredulously.
"Bowling?" Darcy repeated. "I'm not going to the bowling alley with my dad and brother on a Friday night. Forget about it."
Now it was Ian's turn to roll his eyes. "Wii bowling." Ian pulled Darcy out of her seat and then turned to his son. "Don't make me pull you up too. C'mon. Family bowling in the living room. Now. Let's go!"
It was the last thing Aidan wanted to do, but he knew it would make his father happy so he didn't argue. Five minutes later, the three of them were standing in the middle of the living room choosing their order of play. Ten minutes later, it was as if the earlier tension had never even happened.
And that was what was most important to Aidan — his family's happiness.
* * *
Later that night, Aidan sat alone in his apartment. It was late, but his brain wouldn't shut down enough for him to go to sleep. He was restless. His skin felt too tight for his body. And for the life of him, he didn't know what to do about it.
Darcy's comment about being too nitpicky wasn't new, so he wondered if that was really enough to keep him awake. Meticulous was a word that was often thrown around when people talked about him. It didn't bother him. Much. Meticulous could be a good thing, if his brothers didn't add "anal-retentive control freak" to it all the damn time.
He rested his head back on the pillow and let out a breath. If he allowed himself to stop being the big brother for a minute and just be a bystander, he could admit Darcy wasn't asking for anything out of the ordinary. He thought she was probably itching to spread her wings. But there was no way in hell he or any of his brothers were going to let her go off to some faraway college on her own. She'd just have to learn to deal with it. But he supposed there were some things they could compromise on.
Looking at the clock on the wall, he saw it was after midnight. He should be tired.
Instead, he grabbed his cell phone and pulled up Hugh's number. Although Aidan couldn't remember where exactly his brother was this month, he knew it was somewhere on the West Coast, and three hours earlier.
"If you're calling me this late on a Friday night, it can't be good," Hugh said as he answered the phone.
Aidan chuckled. "Maybe I just wanted to hear your cheery voice."
"Yeah, right," Hugh said with his own laugh. "Seriously, everything okay? This is late for you."
The comment burned more than it should. He was responsible, so what? Why did everyone have to make it sound like there was something wrong with him? "It's not that late," Aidan grumbled. "I just ..." He paused. "Something's going on with Darcy."
"Oh shit," Hugh muttered. "That is all on you and Dad, Bro. There is no way I'm dealing with a teenage girl. She scares the hell out of me."
This time Aidan's laugh was hearty. "For crying out loud, Hugh, she's a child. And she's our sister!"
"What is it this time?"
"It's mostly the same song and dance but she's getting more ... vocal about it. She kind of yelled at me and Dad tonight about the whole college thing."
Hugh sighed loudly. "Listen, Darcy is going to be pissed because, well, she's Darcy. She's a female, and females like to argue. Aidan, look ... it's Friday night. I've got a resort filled to capacity —"
"I'm thinking of letting her work for me a couple of days a week after school."
"That's brave, man. Very brave. And she's good with that? I would have thought she'd take issue with having to work with family."
"I haven't mentioned it to her yet. I just thought of it right before I called you. What do you think?"
Excerpted from Made for Us by Samantha Chase. Copyright © 2015 Samantha Chase. Excerpted by permission of Sourcebooks, Inc..
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