WHO DEFINES FAMILY?
To Tina Harrington, the definition was simple: anyone she loved was a part of her family. Including all the peopleand animalsshe'd invited into her home when they'd had nowhere else to go. She was their safe harbor, and they were hers. And she would protect them from whoever challenged their right to be a familynamely her new neighbor, the handsome and high-powered Drew Landry.
Drew was determined to ensure that Tina wasn't taking advantage of her vulnerable houseguests. But as soon as he met Tina and her unconventional family, he realized he'd made a big mistake. Because he was drawn to her like a ship to a sheltered shore. And he'd set in motion a series of events that could destroy everything she held dear .
BONUS BOOK INCLUDED IN THIS VOLUME!
A Cold Creek Homecoming by New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne
Quinn Southerland still hadn't forgiven Tess Claybourne for the way she'd treated him years ago. But the woman tending his ailing mother was not the same girl he'd known. Could this be their second chance?
About the Author
With her roots firmly planted in the South, Sherryl Woods has written many of her more than 100 books in that distinctive setting, whether in her home state of Virginia, her adopted state, Florida, or her much-adored South Carolina. Sherryl is best known for her ability to creating endearing small town communities and families. She is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over 75 romances for Silhouette Desire and Special Edition.
New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne finds inspiration in the beautiful northern Utah mountains where she lives with her family. Her books have won numerous honors, including six RITA Award nominations from Romance Writers of America and Career Achievement and Romance Pioneer awards from RT Book Reviews. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.raeannethayne.com.
Read an Excerpt
It had all started with Sam.
That was it, Tina decided, throwing herself into one of the antique wicker chairs overlooking the pool and perfectly landscaped terrace. The palm trees with their limply hanging branches seemed to reflect her mood perfectly as she stared dolefully at the thick vellum papers in her hand. She only barely resisted the urge to crumple them up and throw them for one of the cats to bat around the lawn, possibly straight into the pool's sparkling turquoise water. It would be a fitting end to the documents. As for her bad habit, it seemed there was no end in sight.
It had all started twenty years ago, back when she was eight and that scrawny marmalade kitten she'd named Sam had made its way to her front door. It had meowed so pitifully that not even her father had been able to resist Tina's pleas to take it in. Ever since then, she'd been adopting strays.
Sam had been followed by Penelope, the gerbil who was about to be sent away to who-knew-what awful fate by her best friend, then by Sam's totally unexpected litter of kittens. Bandit, who barked as though he had laryngitis, had limped in with a thorn in his front paw and stayed for nearly ten years, bringing home friends when it suited him.
By the time she'd left for the University of Florida, the house had looked like a damned menagerie, according to her amazingly tolerant parents. They might not have known where the next mortgage payment was coming from, but they'd always found room in their hearts and food scraps for one more of Tina's pets.
They should see me now, she thought with a sigh as she reread the letter from the Florida Department of Children and Families. The letter was filled with legal jargon, but what it boiled down to was an accusation that she was taking in human strays without benefit of a license, followed by a stern admonition that she should cease and desist promptly or risk penalties meant to scare the daylights out of her. The threats only infuriated her.
She glared at the paper. Those pompous, meddling fools! Of all the ridiculous, simpleminded
"Tina, dear, I've brought you a nice glass of iced tea," Grandmother Sarah said as she set down a tall, frosted glass, then sat herself and waved a lilac-scented, lace-edged hankie to stir the still, humid air into a slight breeze. "My, but it's a scorcher today. I'll be so glad when we get another cold front through here to cool things off."
"The minute the temperature goes below seventy you complain that your arthritis acts up," Tina reminded her with a gently teasing smile.
"Posh-tosh. My arthritis acts up all the time. I'm an old lady."
"Some days I think you're younger than I am," Tina said with a heavy sigh that drew a sharp-eyed glance from Grandmother Sarah.
Grandmother Sarah, with her wisps of flyaway white hair surrounding a weathered face, her sparkling periwinkle blue eyes and her flowered print dress, wasn't Tina's grandmother at all. They had met a year ago while walking on the beach and had started talking. It hadn't taken long for the gregarious and unceasingly curious Tina to discover that the spirited, elderly woman with her spry manner and tart tongue was about to be thrown out of her soon-to-be-demolished rooming house and had nowhere to live. She'd invited Sarah home as casually as she'd admitted Sam all those years ago. She hadn't regretted the spontaneous suggestion for a single minute. It had been like she'd always imagined having a real grandmother would be.
Tina gazed at Grandmother Sarah fondly and took a long swallow of the cool drink. The way she was feeling, it probably should have been a mint julep at the very least. Maybe even straight bourbon. If the ominous tone of the letter she held was any indication, she had a feeling she was in for the fight of her life.
Intuitive as always, Sarah picked up on her mood.