Excerpt: The Boyfriend's Back

Thought I'd post an excerpt from my upcoming book, The Boyfriend's Back. It's available from Harlequin Superromance in May 2009.

Here we go:

Church, bar, church, bar. Statlerville was exactly the same as the last time JT had been here. But he was lost. How did a person get lost in their own hometown?

Move away and stay away for fifteen years. That’s how he’d done it, anyway.

Now he was late which was just perfect. He was only coming because his brother, Charlie, said he couldn’t do this without him and now he wasn’t going to make it in time. He glared at the empty expanse of dashboard. Of course his rental didn’t have a GPS—why use technology when you can keep right on making the same stupid mistakes forever?

He should never have agreed to this. But Charlie had asked him. JT rolled down his window and took a good look at the streets of Statlerville. Something would ring a bell—show him the way.

There. St. Pete’s, his high school. His mom’s funeral was being held at the Statlerville Volunteer Fire Department hall. Four minutes tops and he’d be there. Looked like he was going to be on time after all.


Hailey was on the floor of the main treatment room at Viva, the rehabilitation and physical therapy center she ran. Her first appointment of the day, Rita Temple, rehabbing after a hip replacement, finished her last set of lifts when Hailey’s cell phone vibrated in her pocket. She handed the check out sheet to Rita as she opened the phone.

“Hailey?” It was Sarah Finley, her best friend, speaking in a barely audible whisper.

“Sarah, where are you? The opera?”

“Melanie McNulty’s funeral. Olivia’s here.” Sarah paused. “Hailey, she’s sitting with the family.”

Hailey stared blankly at the photo of Bing Crosby in White Christmas hanging in front of her on the wall of the treatment area. She couldn’t make her brain process what Sarah had said.

Melanie McNulty had died three or four days ago; she’d missed a curve on Route 6 driving too fast in the dark. Hailey hadn’t realized the funeral was today, but her daughter apparently not only knew about it, she’d decided to skip school to be there. With the family.

“I’m on my way,” she said before hanging up.

She asked the receptionist to reschedule her clients because of a family emergency—which was so ironic she almost laughed—and was putting the key in the ignition of her ancient Mustang convertible before she realized that she hadn’t asked Sarah if JT was there.

But he wouldn’t be there, would he? He’d never come back. She’d heard he never even spoke to his parents on the phone.

He couldn’t be there because Olivia was there and that was bad enough…but not unfixable. As long as JT wasn’t there.

The funeral was already underway when she got to the hall. She had a clear view up the aisle at Olivia. Her daughter had dressed up, wearing the navy sweater and kilt from last Thanksgiving, the extra half inch of thigh between the hem and her knee a heartbreaking reminder of how fast her girl was growing up and out of childhood.

It was funny, she thought a moment later, how she might not have recognized her daughter. Olivia’s narrow back and tall-girl, teenage slouch looked unfamiliar only because she had one hand on the back of Jack McNulty’s wheelchair.

Hailey’s eyes moved next to the two tall, broad-shouldered men in dark suits standing next to Olivia. Charlie. And unmistakably JT.

JT McNulty was standing with Olivia. Olivia thought she was standing with her dad.


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