Free-spirited black sheep, Taz Boran, has worked tirelessly as a nurse bringing efficient medical care to Africa for the past eight years. But when her sister Nicky is told she doesn’t have long to live, she immediately flies home to small-town Eminence, Missouri.
Unfortunately, taking care of Nicky means being around her husband, Rafe; the one man Taz could never forget. Rafe is not only her brother-in-law but also took over the family veterinary clinic from her dad.
As Taz becomes Nicky’s home health care nurse—working closely with Rafe to make her sister comfortable—their latent attraction comes sizzling back to the surface. They won’t betray Nicky, but if her dying wish is to see them get the happy ending they always deserved, can they really keep fighting what’s meant to be?
Goosebumps break out over my skin as I swing around at the sound. The softly whispered fuck me when he recognizes me almost has me running.
The thirty-eight hours and four airplanes it took me to get me here—from the small airstrip by the clinic to the international airport in Kinshasa, via Paris to New York, and finally Springfield—left me too much time to think. I’d reconsidered the wisdom of the split second it took me to make a promise I hadn’t really thought through all the way.
The man who has my hair stand on end was one of the main reasons I almost changed my mind.
Damn, he looks good. A little gray in his whiskers and a few more lines in his face, but otherwise he’s still the same Rafe I first met nine years ago in my parents’ kitchen. The same deep blue eyes pin me in place.
All I can hear is the blood rushing through me, but I realize Nicky must’ve said something when his gaze flits to the bed behind me. I turn around. Shame instantly floods me when I see the mere shadow of my perfect sister lying in the hospital bed.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Rafe finally says. “Need I remind you of the last time she decided to show her face? You were a mess for months.”
I wince at his description of my last visit home five years ago. Nicky catches it and shoots me an apologetic smile. I instantly realize she hasn’t told him the reason why I left in such a hurry and never returned.
“Well, I don’t have months now. Besides, that was not Taz’s fault,” she defends me, but Rafe won’t hear it.
“For the life of me I don’t understand how you can stand up for her. You forget I lived through the aftermath.”
“You don’t know everything.” Nicky’s voice is weak and her eyes tired. “I need her. I can’t do this without her.” Her hand finds mine and she grabs on as the first tears I’ve shed in years start rolling down my cheeks “Please, Rafe,” she pleads. “I need you to back me on this.”
His eyes soften on her, before turning to me with suspicion and concern. It fucking hurts, but I lift my chin and stare him down, my sister’s fragile hand in mine strengthening me.
Rafe’s only answer is a curt nod.
The reason why a united front is necessary becomes clear when, half an hour later, Mom walks in the room pushing my father in a wheelchair, a sight that shocks me.
She stops right inside the door, clutching a fist to her chest when her eyes land on me.
“Out,” she growls, and the single syllable is like a dagger in my back. My gaze darts to my father whose face has gone slack.
Nicky’s plea goes unheard as my mother narrows her eyes on me. “How dare you show up out of the blue. You broke your father’s heart.”
Not even my sister’s surprisingly firm hold on my hand can give me the strength I need for this face-off. I’ve been traveling for days with little to no sleep, endured barbs from the one man who has the power to injure me, and haven’t even begun to process that my sister is dying. There is no way I can handle my mother’s anger or my dad’s disappointment.
“That’s enough,” Rafe barks unexpectedly at my mother, shocking her as much as it shocks me. Then he adds a bit more gently, “Taz is here because Nicky called for her.”
Using the brief silence that follows as my mother struggles to understand, I bend over my sister, my face close to hers, effectively shutting everyone else out. “I’m going to step out, but I’ll be back.”
USA Today bestselling author Freya Barker loves writing about ordinary people with extraordinary stories.
Driven to make her books about ‘real’ people; she creates characters who are perhaps less than perfect, each struggling to find their own slice of happy, but just as deserving of romance, thrills and chills in their lives.
Recipient of the ReadFREE.ly 2019 Best Book We’ve Read All Year Award for “Covering Ollie, the 2015 RomCon “Reader’s Choice” Award for Best First Book, “Slim To None”, Finalist for the 2017 Kindle Book Award with “From Dust”, and Finalist for the 2020 Kindle Book Award with “When Hope Ends”, Freya continues to add to her rapidly growing collection of published novels as she spins story after story with an endless supply of bruised and dented characters, vying for attention!