Whisper Of Love (Whisper Lake #1)

By: Melanie Shawn

Whisper Lake was a tourist town that experienced an influx of people during summer and winter breaks, but off season it was a sleepy community that boasted less than five thousand residents.

Kade and his father had moved to Whisper Lake when he was seven but the Walsh’s had been in town for generations. Patrick and Ali’s great-grandfather had built the house that they lived in and started Whisper Lake Rentals. The town might have its issues, but it always took care of its own.

Plus, there was Jess. Ali’s best friend was one of the strongest people Kade knew. She’d had health battles that could’ve easily crushed her, but she never even let them slow her down. Surely, Jess had stepped up and made sure that Ali was okay…right?

“Dinner will be ready soon, guys. Set the table and go wash up.” Allison’s voice didn’t even hold a hint of emotion. If he hadn’t been there to witness her sobbing in his arms just moments before, he wouldn’t have believed it had happened.

“Do you want me to take your bag to your room?” Ricky asked.


Since moving to LA when he was eighteen Kade had always stayed in the Walsh’s guest room when he was in town. So much so that the twins called it “his” room.

But things were different now. He’d hoped that he’d still be welcome at the only place that had ever felt like home with the only people that had ever been family to him, but if Ali’s reaction to him showing up was any indication, then he had to face the very real possibility that he was persona non grata. “I’m not sure where I’m staying.”

“What do you mean?” KJ’s tone was angry. “You always stay here.”

“Are you not going to stay here because dad is…” Ricky didn’t finish his thought but it was obvious what he’d been about to say.

“Of course he’s staying here,” Ali snapped before repeating, “Wash up and set the table.”

As the boys took turns at the sink and then started grabbing plates and utensils, Kade heard Ali sniff and watched as she once again lifted her shoulder and wiped her face on her shirt.

He hated seeing how much raw pain she was in, and he hated even more knowing that he’d contributed to it. He didn’t know how long it was going to take, or what he was going to have to do, but he’d make it up to her.

Somehow. Someway.


ALI STABBED HER fork into the overcooked noodles and burnt meat as she bit her tongue so hard that she was scared she was going to bite it off before this dinner was over. It wasn’t easy to screw up a meal as simple as Hamburger Helper, but she’d managed to do just that thanks to the man sitting across from her.

Actually, that was unfair. She was a terrible cook. Something she’d only become aware of since she’d been responsible for two growing humans. Before that, she’d lived on takeout.

Still, Kade deserved some of the blame. If not for the meal, then for her general state of instability. She was holding on by a very thin thread and Kade was a pair of scissors to her sanity.

Had no idea where he was staying my ass.

You don’t show up on someone’s doorstep with a duffle bag not expecting to stay.

Which, in all fairness, was how things had always been for them. But everything was different now. And that was his fault.

She took a large drink of water to wash down the barely edible food and scarcely contained animosity she was choking on as she listened to the boys happily tell Kade about school and life.

Of course, she could barely get five words out of Ricky and everything KJ said to her was laced with arsenic but, hey, she’d only been the one that was there every day of their lives. Why should they talk to her?

If anyone deserved full backstage passes to the twins’ life it was Kade, she thought sarcastically. The man that abandoned them and left her to pick up all the pieces.

Kade had never understood that there are consequences to his actions. And why would he? Life always worked out for him. He did whatever he wanted to do, regardless of who it hurt or inconvenienced and things still just magically fell into place for him. Seas parted. Red carpets were rolled out. Standing ovations spontaneously occurred.

Her blood was boiling but she tried not to let her nephews know how infuriating Kade’s mere presence was. She was doing her best not to show her anger on her face but she wouldn’t be surprised if steam were coming out of her ears like a cartoon character.

If she were being honest with herself, she’d have to admit that the person she was most angry at wasn’t the one that had shown up unannounced, it was herself.

In a moment of weakness, she’d allowed him to hug her. She’d known it was a mistake. Told herself to knee him in the balls when he got close enough. Instead, she’d folded like a cheap suit and melted like an ice cube on a hot tar roof.

And the worst part of all…she’d enjoyed it. More than enjoyed it, she’d loved it. Needed it. Craved it. Being in Kade’s arms and feeling his solid body had been the best thing that had happened to her in a long time, and that infuriated her. He’d disappeared a year and a half ago, with no more than an email with information for a bank account that he’d set up for the boys and instructions to call “if she needed him.” And with one hug her body was ready to forgive him.