Jake Evans has seen enough in his life to know what really matters. He's learned to cherish the people in his life, one more than the rest. He's been in love with neighbor and best friend, Wendy Burkett, for eight long years. Can he prove to her that age doesn't matter, that they can have a wonderful future together? Or will he have to learn to live with just being her buddy?
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She didn’t want to be in love with her best friend…
Divorced mother of two, Wendy Burkett, is no stranger when it comes to taking risks. In fact, after divorcing a philandering husband, opening a unique business, and raising her children on her own, she’s pretty much an expert at it. But some risks just aren’t worth it. Or are they? Loving her best friend is normal. Falling in love with him… That’s a different story altogether – especially when she’s eleven years older than he is.
He knows that only one thing in life really matters…
Jake Evans has seen too much heartbreak, both before the war and after. He’s learned to cherish the people in his life, some more than others – his neighbor, for instance. She’s intelligent, successful, lovely, and the woman he’s been in love with for eight long years. She’s also got a hang up about his age. Can he overcome her doubts and convince her that they can have a long and wonderful future together? Or will he have to content himself with being nothing more than a friend forever?
“You do have a brain injury,” Wendy said, her soft voice sounded horrified. She let her hand drop slowly to her side. It was clear she considered herself personally responsible for the ladder falling over, and the anguish in her expression hurt Jake’s heart more than all of his injuries combined. He tried to lighten the moment, to cheer her if only a bit.
“Oh please. Look at the flashlight you’re using. Of course my eyes are reacting to it. People in Kansas could see that thing on a moonless night.” Disappointed when his joke fell flat, he tried again to reassure her. “Wendy, I’m fine. No concussion, no brain injury. Just a few scratches and bruises. That’s all, okay?”
“Fine,” she snapped, turning away from him. Her voice sounded thick, like she’d swallowed something she hadn’t chewed first and it was going down hard. “But you’re either staying in my guest room or I’m sleeping on your sofa, because I will be checking on you during the night.”
“Hey. Look at me,” he said gently.
“No. I need to finish frosting your cake.”
He reached for her hand as she started to walk away, tugging her back to stand in front him. When she kept her gaze glued to the floor, he raised her chin, sighing when he saw tears streaming down her face.
“I’m so sorry,” she whispered, her chin quivering.
“You got hurt cleaning my stupid gutters.”
“Wendy.” He stood up, pulling her against his still bare chest. Closing his eyes, he rested his cheek against her hair, almost grateful for the accident. It wasn’t often he got to have her this close, and when she slid her arms around his waist, he had to bite back a groan. “Listen. I mean it. The only one to blame here is me. I knew the ground was too soft to support the ladder, but I was too stubborn to wait. This was my fault, not yours, so don’t cry. Please?”