Whisper Of Love (Whisper Lake #1)

By: Melanie Shawn

He came by it honestly. From what Ali had heard, his dad was a studio musician in Nashville for years and he’d played with the likes of Willie Nelson, Garth Brooks, Loretta Lynn, Kenny Rogers, and Reba McEntire. Kade never pursued music because the very last thing he wanted to be was anything even remotely like his father, and Ali didn’t blame him. Her life goal was to be nothing like her mother.

Tingles ran down her arm when Kade shifted toward her as he launched into the chorus. Her fingers tightened on the steering wheel as she desperately looked for parking and nabbed the first available spot. It was a few blocks away from the gym, but she didn’t care. She was suffering from arousal claustrophobia in the confined space. Plus, the entirety of downtown Whisper Lake consisted of four blocks of real estate that surrounded the lake. She could park anywhere and they’d still be in walking distance.

Before the SUV had even come to a full stop, she shut off the radio and announced in a way-too-cheery voice, “We’re here.”

KJ mumbled something about her chosen parking spot as the twins both exited the vehicle. She waited for Kade to do the same. Not the grumbling but the leaving. She just needed a minute to herself to attempt to pull it together. When she’d left Kade and Ricky to clean up dinner she’d gone upstairs intending to do just that. Instead she’d changed into jeans and a V-neck shirt. She’d also brushed out her hair and put on mascara and a lip stain that Jess had given her as a gift six months earlier that she hadn’t opened.

She’d told herself that she was doing it because KJ had finally, begrudgingly agreed to let her sit in on a class, but she called bullshit on herself. She was doing it because of one person and one person only.

The man that was still sitting beside her.

So much for a moment alone.

She sighed and reached for the door at the same time his fingers curled over her right forearm. She sucked in a small breath as the tingles that had started moments ago spread through every square inch of her body.

Seriously? Did it have to feel so good when he touched her? It was a maddening phenomenon. Why couldn’t she just be immune to him? Why?!

“Hey, are you okay?” The concern in his voice only irritated her more.

She couldn’t count the number of times that she’d been asked that exact question since Patrick died and each and every time she wanted to scream, No! No I’m not okay! I’m never going to be okay again!

But she never had. Not because she cared what anyone thought. Her mother’s antics in this small town had made her immune to gossip from an early age. She hadn’t done it because she didn’t want to give people the satisfaction of seeing her lose it.

“I’m great!” Her tone dripped with sarcasm as she opened the door since apparently the universe thought that a moment to herself was too much to ask for. “Just hunky fuckin’ dory.”

“Allison!” he called out her full name as she slammed her door.

He was hot on her heels as they rounded the corner and had fallen in step beside her when she heard, “Kade McKnight! Is that you?!”

Looking to her left she saw Betsy Dobrinski’s bouffant hairdo sticking up above the opened trunk of her eighties-model Cadillac.

Oh great. This day just kept getting better.

Mrs. D’s stout arms flew in the air, abandoning her husband’s wheelchair that she’d been in the process of collapsing. “I didn’t know you were coming to town!”

“No one did.” Ali wished she’d known, she would’ve taken the boys on an impromptu getaway. Spring break was the following week, but since that was the rental shops busiest time she could’ve told them it was a pre-spring-break vacation.

“Hey, Mrs. D.” Kade waved.

“Ernie! Did you see who’s here?” She rounded to the passenger side of the car and yelled at the top of her lungs to her husband seated inside.

“Eh?!” His wrinkled face contorted as he leaned toward her.

“Kade!” Mrs. D grabbed Kade’s wrist and tugged him beside her, then pushed his shoulder down, causing him to bend at the waist.

Kade waved to Mr. Dobrinski.

“Oh.” Ernie nodded, looking unimpressed.

Mr. Dobrinski’s lack of enthusiasm did nothing to squelch Mrs. D’s.

The apples of her rosy cheeks grew rounder as she smiled from ear to ear. “The girls are going to be so tickled.”

“The girls” that Mrs. D was referring to were her partners in crime that were eighty-eight and ninety-one respectively. And if you Googled sweet, old ladies Betsy Dobrinski, Pearl Chen, and Doris Weathersby would be the first results. Mrs. D was the spitting image of Mrs. Clause. Mrs. Chen wore shawls, used a cane and probably weighed ninety pounds soaking wet. And Mrs. Weathersby was Whisper Lake’s answer to Betty Crocker, she never showed up anywhere without a basket of delicious baked goods in hand. Their image might be harmless senior citizens but that’s not what they were. They ran this town. They had eyes and ears everywhere as well as time and resources to bend situations and people to their will. They mostly used their powers for good and not evil but get on their bad side and they could make life very uncomfortable for you.