Eleven Years On
Jillian Schmidt’s bitter mother took her thirteen year old daughter far away from her father, friends, and her home. Now grown up, Jillian still struggles with the broken heart the move caused. Why has no one ever contacted her? Did they all forget her? Her father’s death rips the scab off the finally healing wound, forcing her to return to Hadleysville, but will she find any answers to the questions haunting her?
Toby Archer, attorney at law, finds himself in the unique position of handling the estate for Jillian’s father. He will have to face her with professional aplomb. If she had any feelings for him, she would have been in touch. But one look at her grown-up beauty sends his good intentions out the window and reminds him why he still misses Jillian Eleven Years On.
Tagline: Love’s heart beats true, even if it cannot be heard.
Dedication: To Dominique Eastwick, whose kindness makes everything good.
Author Bio: Amazon and All Romance bestselling author Kate Richards lives in Southern California where the mountains, beaches, and deserts are out there, when she can get away from the worlds of her characters to enjoy them.
“Jillie, let’s take this inside.” He tried to modulate his voice, but it emerged louder than he intended. No wonder. The woman had him off balance with her tears and accusations. Steadying himself, he took her fisted hand and pried it open. As he’d thought, the key lay in her palm. He set her away from him and unlocked the door, then stepped back to wave her inside.
She balked, her angry façade crumbling. “I can’t.”
He paused, struggling to stay on the emotional roller coaster without flying off into space. “You can’t what?”
“I can’t go in there.” She backed away “This is a mistake. I thought I could handle it, maybe…but I should have let your father handle things. I’m going to go.”
His father? She thought… Interesting. She turned to flee but he grabbed her hand again. “Jillie, of course it’s emotional. Your father died and anyone would be sad, upset.”
Her face clouded, her eyes swimming again, and he took advantage of her softening to tug her into the house behind him and on into the living room. Pushing her down into a worn paisley armchair he remembered from their youth, he then knelt in front of her with a quick, rueful thought to his best suit. The dusty floor wouldn’t do it any good, and he needed it the next day.
But her quivering lip focused him again and he patted her hand, fighting the urge to soothe her with kisses and cuddles. Too much time had passed for that to work—and the girl he remembered would have socked him anyway. He smiled, unable to stop a flutter of happiness at being in her presence.
“What? You aren’t laughing at me, are you?” She tugged her fingers free and wiped them on her black jeans. He winced.
“No.” He rocked back on his heels and stood, moving to sit on the edge of the threadbare, maroon tweed sofa. Jillian’s father’d had less-than-stellar housekeeping standards; dust swirled in the streams of sunlight admitted by the ragged drapes, and Toby resigned himself to wearing his old suit to court. “I was glad to see you.”
She swiped at her cheeks with the heel of her hand. “I’m surprised.”
He frowned. “I don’t know why you would be. After all, we do have an agreement.”
I have to thank Kate Richards for reaching out and letting me know about this story coming out. I did not know she had a new one coming, I don't recall seeing her talk about it on Facebook. Did I miss those posts? Probably with my schedule I seem to be missing a lot lately. I adore Kate's Virgin Series through Decadent Publishing and have read some of her others stories as well. I am a fan of her work and look forward to reading more of her work. This story is a little different because it is more of a sweet romance than a hot, steamy romances. I enjoyed it so much that I delayed working on an important paper for grad school.
We first meet Jillian when she receives a letter pertaining to handling her father's estate. Jillian and her mother left the town Jillian had grown up in in a quick and hasty manner, but we don't find out why until closer to the end of the book. The first person she runs into is her childhood best friend when she was being told she couldn't park in a certain spot. After she stops at the attorney's office to get the key, she heads to the house she grew up in and then she ends up in the arms of her first love, Toby.
Toby is the town attorney that is handling Jillian's fathers' estate and also Jillian's first love. He always wondered why Jillian never returned his letters and when he brings out a child hood promise of the two getting married when they turned 25, I had to laugh! It was so romantic but such bad timing on his part. Toby didn't tell Jillian that he was the lawyer handling her father's estate until the meeting with her after seeing her a couple times.
These two made me laugh and they made me cry. After 11 years apart, these two had chemistry that had grown from a childhood crush to a love story in the making. I loved the teasing that they did to each other but I also understood the hurt that they went through being apart. Discovering what the reason they were separated together was such a monumental part of them beginning to heal.