The Return of Benjamin Quincy
A Rosewood Novel
By Susan Lute
Amazon | B&N
Back Of The Book:
All Benjamin Quincy wants is to make a stable home for his ten year old daughter in the town he grew up in and left in bitter disappointment. Young and hot headed, he made a mistake.Eleven years later, he’s a divorced, single dad with a troubled child, and a lot to make up for.Sydney Marshall has finally snagged the perfect job at a coveted travel magazine in New York.Does she care that her ex has returned to the tiny town of Rosewood with a precious daughter who’s not hers?Does it matter that every time he comes near, her heat flutters madly like in the old days? No! Her bags are packed; plane tickets are stashed in her carry on bag; the adventure of a lifetime is about to begin.There’s only one problem. Life and Rosewood have a penchant for interfering in the best laid plans.
READ AN EXCERPT
Syd tugged on the sheet covering Meredith and scolded, “You should be in the hospital.”
Not that it did her any good. The woman lying between the white sheets of her convalescent bed had always been a dynamic, robust, take-charge woman. The stroke hadn’t changed that facet of her personality, but her new frailty scared Syd; acutely brought back memories and the long ago helpless anxiety that had been her constant companion as she’d stood by with her mother, neither of them able to do more than hold her father’s hand as he got sicker and sicker.
“Don’t you worry. I’ll be fine.” Meredith patted her arm, understanding burning in her tired eyes. “Besides, I don’t like hospitals. They’re sterile, humorless places, full of sick people.”
“You had a stroke, Meredith. That should buy you at least a week in the hospital.”
Syd glanced at Doc Tucker, who was taking the older woman’s blood pressure. His white bushy brows shot upward over round wire-rimmed glasses. He cleared his throat to cover a chuckle.
“I’ll do better in my own home, won’t I, Doc.” It wasn’t a question. More an order to agree.
The Doc’s eyes took on an amused twinkle. “Here’s as good a place as any to get your strength back.”
He pulled the buds of the stethoscope from his ears and removed the blood pressure cuff with a loud rip of velcro.
Meredith pushed herself to a sitting position. Keeping her eyes lowered to her lap, she plucked at the covers, then reached for Syd’s hand. “I have a favor to ask.”
A bad feeling twisted in the pit of Syd’s stomach. In all the time she’d worked for Meredith, the older woman had never once ask for a favor in that pleading way.
She curled her fingers around Meredith’s. “Whatever you want.”
Meredith hesitated, glancing up through her lashes. Syd frowned. That wasn’t at all a needy look. “Stay for two months. Just until I get better.”
Syd backed up a step. “Not that.”
Meredith huffed out a breath. “Please?”
“You know I would, if I didn’t already have a plane ticket and a job waiting for me in New York.”
“But The Gazette needs you. He needs you.”
Doc stowed the stethoscope and cuff in his medical bag. “Now Meredith, don’t get yourself all riled.”
“I finished the Columbia River Hotel piece this morning. It’s on your desk. That should be the last in the series-” Syd was suddenly very confused. “Who needs me? The new owner?”
“I gave my word I would work with him for a year. To make sure he gets a good start.”
Nope. Rosewood was not where the magic was. Hadn’t been for way too long. Out there was where she would find the spark that was missing from her heart.
Breathing in and out slowly to calm the churning in her stomach, she leaned in and adjusted the pillows at Meredith’s back. “I’m sorry, I can’t. I don’t have a place to live anymore. I turned in my notice at Rose Village and the landlady’s already rented my apartment.”
“At least talk to him. They’ll be here any minute for lunch.”
Syd felt herself giving in. How could she turn her back on Meredith? But if she had a dollar for every time her mother and this woman had talked her into something that put off her dream of living in an exotic city like New York, where there was life and excitement, she would be rich enough to retire by now.
Like always, the entreaty in Meredith’s blue eyes pulled at Syd’s resolve. “I’m not going to change my mind.”
“I’m only asking you to talk to him.”
“Well. Okay.” Syd shook her head in resignation. She had the backbone of a caterpillar.
Her mother, and Meredith’s best friend, Mayor Lauren Marshall, stuck her head in the room. “Lunch is ready.”
Meredith dropped her good leg over the edge of the bed. “Help me get dressed.”
“I’ll leave you girls to it, then.” All persons of the female persuasion were ‘girls’ to old Doc Tucker. He donned the worn fedora he was never without. “Don’t over do it. I’ll send Lucy by to check on you after clinic’s done.”
Syd helped Meredith get dressed, then settled her at the head of the dining room table - a regal Queen.
Dressing and walking the short distance from her bedroom clearly took too much effort, but this wasn’t the first run-in Syd had with the stubborn angle of the Queen’s chin. And it wasn’t likely to be the last. Nothing was going to keep the obstinate woman from receiving her guests.
The door bell rang softly through the house.
“I’ll get it.” Lauren hurried out of the room, and when the doorbell pealed again, shouted, “I’m coming.”
“You never said who bought The Gazette.” Syd placed a tureen of stew on the table close to Meredith.
The woman sat straighter, fluffed her gray hair with her good hand. “That’s probably him now.”
“Him, who,” Syd whispered impatiently, then at the sound of her mother’s laughter, looked up. And stopped breathing.
Startlingly familiar eyes, the color of Pacific Northwest storm clouds narrowed on her. They moved swiftly over her face, then took a heated swipe down her suddenly flushed body.
A flick of his gaze dismissed her, and just as abruptly a distant mask dropped, leaving a stranger eyeing her.
Benjamin Quincy was the new owner of The Rosewood Gazette?
Her heart hammering, one hand reaching for the back of the nearest chair, Syd faced the man who had once filled her oh-so-perfect world. In high school they’d been inseparable. And she’d loved him with her whole heart.
Pressing her lips into a straight line, she notched her chin.
In the intervening years she’d gotten over Ben Quincy. Over them. End of story.
Like all children of military families, Susan spent her childhood moving from one duty station to the next. An ardent student of human nature, she acquired a love for ancient history and myth, a fascination for the ridiculous and unusual, and is the first to admit, she still collects way too much useless information.
These days, when not working as a Registered Nurse, she writes whenever she can. When not writing, her favorite things to do are spend time with family, read, watch movies, garden, take black-and-white photos, travel, and remodel her house.