A Promise of Forever
Publisher: Lynn LaFleur
Release Date: November 2, 2020 (ebook)
Genre: Contemporary MF
Length: Novel
Cover Design by: Lynn LaFleur
The last person Kelly Blake expects to walk into the office of her father’s complex to rent an apartment is Matthew Nicholson, her ex-husband. Seeing him after nine years brings back the pain of his desertion and their eventual divorce.

Matt is nothing like the boy with long hair and worn leather jacket who fell in love with Kelly in high school. He’s a successful architect, and part of that success includes buying the complex to demolish for a new project. His trained eye can see the complex is in need of major repairs. His offer to buy it would be a favor to Kelly and her father, and give them plenty of money to live comfortably for the rest of their lives.

Kelly’s father, Leo, doesn’t see it that way. He refuses to sell to the man who had hurt his daughter so drastically when she needed him the most.

A medical emergency proves to Kelly Matthew truly loves her. She and Matthew have to let go of their painful past before they can share a future together.

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Barry had used the term “disgustingly honest” to describe the complex’s owner, as if it might be a bad thing. Matt saw nothing wrong with that trait. He didn’t believe in deceiving people. Trying to fool a man who wanted to do right by his family caused a queasy feeling in the bottom of Matt’s stomach.

Before he could voice his objection, Barry spoke again. “All you have to do is get friendly with the man, drop a few hints about all the work that needs to be done. Maybe even be nice to the daughter. You know.”

Matt didn’t like Barry’s implication at all. “Now, wait a minute—”

“I don’t mean sleep with her. Just be friendly, charming. Hell, Matt, charm has never been a problem for you. With your good looks, women follow you around, willing to jump at your slightest command.”

Matt frowned. “And dishing out the bullshit has never been a problem for you.”

Barry grinned, but quickly turned serious again. “We need this property, Matt. You know how much money is tied up in the deal. I’ve done everything I can do. Now, I need your help.”

That queasy sensation in the bottom of Matt’s stomach intensified. A voice inside his head told him this was dishonest, and that voice had never been wrong. Yet, what other choice did he have if everything Barry had tried had failed? “I’m still not sure about this, but I’ll head there first thing in the morning.”

“Great,” Barry said with a huge grin. He pushed the folder across the desk toward Matt. “Here’s all the information I’ve gathered.”

Matt opened the file and scanned the top page. He had experienced chills many times when something bad was about to happen. Those chills were nothing compared to what erupted over his skin when he read the opening lines on the paper. The owner of the complex, Leo Blake, was fifty-eight. His wife, Virginia, had died eight years ago at age forty-six. They had one daughter, Kelly, now thirty.

“My God,” he muttered. “Kelly.”

“What’s wrong?” Barry asked in an anxious voice.

Matt closed the file and slapped it on Barry’s desk. “Forget it.”

Barry scowled. “What the hell do you mean, forget it?”

“Leo Blake is my former father-in-law. I can’t go anywhere near that complex.”

Barry raised his eyebrows and Matt would swear his partner’s face paled. “Your former father-in-law? You were married to Kelly Blake?”

“Yeah.” Matt rubbed the area between his eyes. “I don’t believe this.”

“Neither do I.” Barry released a soft curse. “What now?”

“I don’t know.” Matt stared at the folder, but a different picture formed in his mind. Instead, he saw Kelly with her long, brown hair and huge, brown eyes. He remembered falling in love with her the first time he’d seen her. He remembered when they’d exchanged marriage vows and promised to love each other forever.

He remembered how her eyes had filled with tears when he’d said he wanted a divorce.

“We don’t have any choice, Matt. The only option we have left is for you to move there.”

“Yeah, right. Leo will greet me with a shotgun if I take one step on his property.”

“Whatever happened between you and his daughter was a long time ago, right?”

“Nine years.” A lifetime, he thought.

“People change.” Barry shrugged. “Maybe ol’ Leo doesn’t hold a grudge.”

Matt snorted. He would believe Leo wouldn’t hold a grudge for hurting his baby when the sun rose in the south and set in the north.