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- Secret Child
- Matchmaking Father
- Unexpected Family
- Opposites attract
- He Falls First
- Single Mom
Rosemary is determined to make it through a year in Juniper Ridge without forming any ties there. Harrison is determined to change her mind.
Rosemary Keogh considers herself pretty adaptable—she dealt with her father’s death-bed edict that she move across the country to work at his latest hotel. She hadn’t bitten the head off of any of her five unexpected half-sisters, had she? And she’s been pleasant about it. Mostly. She settled into the routine, even grew to like most of them, but when tragedy leaves her birth daughter parentless—and she is named guardian—her world spins again. Trying to raise a nine-year-old who shares her spunk and determination isn’t always an easy thing.
Adding to the confusion, Harrison Forest, head of the resort’s human resources department, decides it’s time to shift their relationship from semi-adversarial to something a whole lot more pleasant. They had briefly met years earlier, and though they had started off on the wrong foot, he hadn’t been able to forget her.
When Rosemary starts having mysterious ‘accidents,’ though, her worries shift from being a bad mother to leaving her daughter an orphan yet again. Can they get past the roadblocks she’s been throwing between herself and Harrison to make things work? More importantly, will she survive that long?
Intro into Chapter One
Intro into Chapter One
“Today’s tragedy is going to change your life. For the better I think.”
Rosemary looked up from the salmon she was deboning and saw Sage standing beside her at the restaurant kitchen counter. “Yeah? Thanks for the heads up, but I’m a little too busy for tragedy today.” Still, she felt a little shiver go down her spine. Sage’s predictions had a way of coming true, even if she sometimes couched them in vague enough terms that the average person might ignore the warnings. The word tragedy rang again in her mind—she was fairly certain Sage wasn’t referring to a burned dish or dropped appetizer. “Not enough going on in your own department right now?”
Sage didn’t react to the clipped words as her wide, brown eyes studied Rosemary calmly. Her olive skin and curling brown hair gave her the look of a gypsy—a not inapt comparison considering the random, always-accurate predictions. Though the half-sisters hadn’t known each other long, Rosemary had seen enough of these predictions to believe in them.
“The spa is busy, but I had a few minutes’ break and thought I should come warn you. It’s been on my mind since I woke up this morning,” Sage said. The chaos of breakfast preparation whirled around them, pans clattering, dishes clanking and staff calling back and forth to each other as they prepared for the convention, while feeding late breakfast patrons in the restaurant.
“Well, thanks for stopping by. I think.” Rosemary didn’t want to dwell on what the tragedy was going to be if there was no way to avert it. And how could a tragedy have a positive outcome?
Sage touched Rosemary’s arm. “Just remember. Good things come out of bad sometimes too. And this will definitely be one of them.” She gave her arm a little squeeze, and breezed out.
It was nice to no longer see evidence of the worry and stress that had plagued Sage through the summer and fall, but Rosemary wondered if it left too much time for her to worry about the rest of the sisters. She stretched her back muscles, forcing away the shiver of discomfort Sage’s prediction had caused.
Maybe Sage had misunderstood her impressions. Rosemary caught on that, then put the whole conversation behind her. She didn’t have time for cryptic messages.
The morning zoomed by as the restaurant staff got the continental breakfast out for the finance conference, then turned their attention to preparing the lunches.
Rosemary was double-checking the croissants they had made that morning when there was a knock on the storage room door. “Come in,” she called as she marked the number on her list.
“Hey, there’s a guy out there who wants to talk to you.” It was one of the servers. “I told him you were in the middle of something and tried to fob him off on Tate, but he said it was a personal matter and important.”
Rosemary scowled, but set her clipboard on the shelf and responded coolly. “Thank you for letting me know.” She wondered if it really was personal, or if that was just an excuse the salesman was using to see her.
He stood just outside the kitchen door, expectantly. First glance didn’t say salesman, though. His suit was too nice, he held himself stiffly, and well, she couldn’t put her finger on it, but his appearance put her a little on edge. “Hello, I’m Rosemary Keogh,” she greeted him with a businesslike smile. “What can I do for you today?”
“I’m Thomas Sinclair, from Davis and Sinclair. I’m an attorney.” The forty-something-year-old glanced at the people around them. “Is there somewhere quieter where we can talk?”
Rosemary felt the dread rise inside her. Was someone suing her? She decided to be very, very careful. She pointed to a private room a few feet away and he led her inside.
When the door shut behind them, she turned to him. “What’s going on?”
He gestured to a chair. “Please have a seat.”
“Do I need to sit?” When his expression softened a little, she sank into the one he’d pointed out, her bad feeling growing.
“A colleague of mine represents Don and Cecelia Markham in Washington, DC. He asked me to come speak with you, since he’s unable to make the trip.”
“Is something wrong? Did something happen to them?” Hard on her heels was worry about Cleome, their nine-year-old daughter.
He sat across from her and folded his hands on the tabletop. “Did you hear about the senator who was killed in that café bombing in DC yesterday?” When she nodded that she had, he continued. “It seems they were eating there at the time. I’m very sorry. They didn’t make it.”
Shock shuddered through her, stealing her breath and nearly stopping her heart. Grief was hard on its heels, with worry following right behind. Her mouth refused to follow directions as she tried to process the information. It took a couple of tries before she got out the words. “Their daughter, Cleo?”
He made a calming gesture with his hands. “She’s fine. She was at school at the time. But,” he pulled out some papers and passed them to her, “it seems the Markhams have appointed you as their daughter’s guardian.”
Her head spun and her hands clasped hard on her lap as she tried to put all of those pieces together. Cecelia was dead? She couldn’t quite seem to pound that thought into her head. They’d spoken on the phone only a few days earlier, catching up as they did every couple of weeks. They had been planning for Rosemary’s next visit to DC the following month—her bi-monthly trip to check up on the family in person and be part of Cleo’s life. That brought home what he’d said a moment earlier.
“They want me to raise Cleo? Are you sure? I would have thought Cecelia’s brother. Or Don’s.” She felt herself begin to hyperventilate. They were going to let her raise Cleo? Hope and terror filled her, though she could have sworn only a moment later that grief had filled her too much to allow any other emotions in, but they all seemed to squeeze inside her at the same time. Did Cleo know about the arrangement? Would she be okay with it? Could Rosemary bring her back home when there were two other women living in the house with her? What would they think?
Her lungs loosened slightly, though the pain of knowing that Don and Cecelia were gone was overwhelming. “Who’s taking care of her?” She had to get to DC immediately. Her mind slowed to a crawl as she tried to make it compute. How could this happen?
“You’ll have to contact the attorney for more details. He didn’t tell me that much. Are you okay? Can I get you anything?” he asked. She saw the compassion in his eyes now, the worry that showed in the way his hands gripped the briefcase he’d been carrying.
“Just a second.” Her daughter. Rosemary was going to get to raise her daughter, the one she’d given to Cecelia to raise. It was something she had never even dared to dream of and made her insides twist with excitement and pain all at once.
“I’m sure this must be quite a shock to you, considering they had family who could have raised the girl instead, but they wanted you to do it.”
“Wow. I’m honored.” She sucked in a deep breath and let it out. He didn’t need to know the truth, that they had adopted her daughter and kept in touch.