In just a few more days, FALLING FOR ZOE, book #1 in The Camerons of Tide's Way series will be out. Here's a bonus peek at Zoe's new beginning....
“Hi, Daddy.” Zoe Callahan’s phone had only been connected for a day and she was surprised to hear her father’s voice on the other end so soon. “What’s up?”
“I see you went through with it.”
“Did you doubt me?”
“Not really. You’re as stubborn as your mother when you get the bit between your teeth, but I didn’t give up hope until your sister called to pass along your new phone number. I still don’t think this is the wisest thing you’ve ever done. You used to be so sensible.”
“I used to be so dull, you mean. I did what was expected of me and didn’t ask questions.”
It hadn’t been entirely her father’s fault that his oldest daughter had lived the life she had until now. When Zoe’s mother had died in childbirth a piece of Patrick Callahan had died with her and in his despair, he’d not realized that it wasn’t fair to expect a thirteen-year-old girl to hold the family together.
But Zoe had done just that. Still reeling with grief, she’d given up the carefree life of a teenager to become the nurturer her siblings so desperately needed. There had been a nanny for the first couple years. After all, Zoe was still in school and Bobby, the newborn needed full time care, but as soon as he was old enough to bundle off to a day-care center the nanny had moved on, and Zoe was in charge.
“Bobby wasn’t happy about having to do his own laundry,” her father went on, ignoring her unflattering self-assessment. “The stains in his baseball uniform wouldn’t come out, and the shirt he wore to church on Sunday looked like it never saw an iron at all.”
“Bobby will be headed to college in a few months,” Zoe reminded her father. “It’s about time he learned how to do his own laundry.”
Zoe rummaged through a box marked kitchen utensils trying to find a spatula to flip her hamburger with. Once supper was over, she was going to finish unpacking the kitchen so at least one room was organized.
“I know a good realtor if you decide this whole home-ownership thing was a bad idea.” Zoe’s dad didn’t give up easily. Probably what made him a good lawyer.
“I already love it here. I’ve met both my neighbors, and it’s a great place to bring up kids. I’ll manage with the house. I always do – manage that is.”
Patrick Callahan snorted on the other end of the phone line. “There’s nothing wrong with Wilmington for bringing up kids if you insist on keeping your baby. And there’s plenty of room in this house.”
“Daddy, we’ve had this argument, and I’m not changing my mind. Okay?”
“Would you like to come out to dinner on Sunday and see my new place for yourself?”
“Maybe another Sunday. The Abstinence Board meets this weekend.”
He hasn’t forgiven me for ignoring his advice. Or for blowing my entire legacy from Grandma on a down payment for this wonderful old house.
It was on the tip of her tongue to challenge him, but she bit back the retort. Her father was her father, and he wasn’t likely to change. If she wanted her life to go in a new direction, it was up to her. This historic old house was her new beginning.
“I gotta go, Daddy. My dinner’s getting cold. I love you.”
Patrick Callahan grunted something that sounded like goodbye and the line went dead.
Zoe collected her rapidly chilling hamburger and a glass of sweet tea and headed to her porch and her spectacular new view of the waterway and the ocean.
And, as it turned out, an equally spectacular view of her handsome new neighbor, Jake Cameron, who was wielding a weed whacker along the fence that separated their two properties.
As Zoe settled into the ancient rocker, she marveled at the glorious pink and gold colored sea as it reflected the sun sinking slowly toward the western horizon. But then her gaze was drawn back to the man. His sun-streaked hair fell into his face as he worked, and when he tipped his face up to flip the wayward bangs back into place, their eyes met. He grinned and waved.
New beginnings were a good thing. A breathless feeling of excitement surged through Zoe’s chest. New Beginnings were a great thing.