I am loving June! How many of the Indigo Bay books have you read so far? This week Jennifer Peel’s Sweet Regrets appeared by magic on my ereader. (Okay, I preordered it!) The early reviews are great and I can’t wait to get swept up in this latest small town beach read.
Let’s dive in!
Melanie Dixon never thought she would find herself divorced, pregnant, and living back with her parents in Indigo Bay. Not one to let misfortune get the best of her, she picks up the broken pieces of her life and bit by bit puts them back together. She’s determined to go it alone, but her loving and equally determined family and friends have another idea.
Enter Declan Shaw, the boy next door from long ago. The boy she wasn’t quite ready to commit forever to at eighteen. Back in Indigo Bay due to a recent job promotion, Declan sees this as a second chance to reunite with the girl who has owned his heart since the day they met in their junior year of high school. But Melanie is a tougher sell on the idea than he thought she would be. Now it’s up to him to prove to Melanie that she can trust him with her heart and that he’s the man she and her baby deserve.
Will the regret and hurt of the past win out? Or will love prevail?
(P.S. If you missed the first four Indigo Bay sweet romances, you can find them here: Book 1: Stacy Claflin’s Sweet Dreams, Book 2: Jean Oram’s Sweet Matchmaker and Book 3: Kay Correll’s Sweet Sunrise, Book 4: Jeanette Lewis’s Sweet Illusions. These books can be read out of order. Dive in anywhere! Next week is Danielle Stewart’s Sweet Rendezvous.)
Sneak Peek of Jennifer’s Sweet Regrets
“Mel, Mel.” Heather nudged me.
“What?” I was focused on my sandwich.
“Look. Is that who I think it is?”
Both Halle and I faced the direction Heather was fixed on, the doors of Sweet Caroline’s Cafe.
I dropped my chicken salad sandwich. A million memories flooded my mind, each one featuring the man waiting to be seated. Declan Shaw. I hadn’t seen him since we left for college almost twelve years ago. Our goodbye wasn’t what I hoped it would be. I looked at my empty ring finger. It had been recently vacated, but a long time ago, the handsome man in khakis and a polo shirt—who looked to have filled out quite nicely—had placed a promise ring there. I still remember staring at the tiny diamond on a white gold band. I was so torn. I loved Declan Shaw, but we were too young and I didn’t know what would happen when I went off to Clemson and he left the state to go to Virginia Tech. How could we possibly promise each other forever when we were eighteen?
He couldn’t see why we wouldn’t. I broke his heart that night and he in turn broke mine when I never heard from him again.
“Did you know he was in town?” Halle asked me.
I shook my head no, still mesmerized by the grown-up version of the cute boy from next door. His sandy brown hair was shorter than it used to be, and his chest had broadened. But I was sure he still had the same deep blue eyes with full, long eyelashes that always did me in. He was tall and lean, but even from a distance I could see he was more defined. But how would I know he was in town? I was barely back in Indigo Bay myself. And I was still reeling from my divorce and . . . I had other things on my mind. I placed a hand on my midsection and breathed.
My best friends in the world both looked at me with interest. Halle and Heather Orton, twins extraordinaire, fabulous interior designers, and recent owners of their own interior design firm, H2O Designs. I loved that name. But most importantly they had been a rock and life line, especially the last several months. Two sets of identical brown eyes focused on me.
Halle—the artist, as we liked to call her, with the short dark hair that was currently streaked blue—leaned across the table. “You should go say hi.”
“No way,” Heather argued. She was the assertive one, with what you might call classic beauty. They were both gorgeous, but Heather always wore her hair in long waves like a Pantene commercial and she dressed like Macy’s was her closet. “If he wants to talk to her, he’ll have to come here.”
I agreed with Heather, except I was taking it a step further. “Let’s slip out.” Out of all the people I’d want to face under my current circumstances, he would be close to last on the list. But it was too late.
On the way to his table, Declan looked our direction and it was as if our eyes magnetically locked. It caused mass flutters in my stomach, and not the kind I had been having as of late. I wasn’t sure that kind existed for me anymore. His smile only created more. When he headed our way, I felt as if my stomach would burst with butterflies.
Heather was closest to me and grabbed my hand under the table.
What was I going to do now? I sat up straight and pulled down on my peach tank top. I wondered how unruly my curly auburn locks were. I blew out a breath, making my long bangs take flight. We were all fixed on the beyond handsome man walking our way.
I held my stomach and felt some other kinds of flutters, my favorite kind. I wanted to ask if I looked okay, but what did it really matter? He approached and we lost eye contact.
He looked to Heather and Halle first. “Halle, Heather. It’s been a long time.”
Both ladies looked to me before they faced Declan.
“It has been; it’s nice to see you again.” Halle was cordial.
Heather was a tad curt. “What are you doing back here?”
Declan focused on me. “I took a position in Charleston.” Charleston was about thirty minutes away.
I held my breath. I wasn’t sure how I felt about him being so close.
“How are you, Mel?” Nerves and sentimentalism ran through his words.
For a moment, I lost the ability to speak. All I could do was stare at my first love. I never thought I would see him again, and certainly not under the circumstances. But it was a long time ago and it didn’t matter that he was back. He was probably married now with a kid or two.
Heather squeezed my hand, telling me to speak.
“I’m great.” That was a lie, but I’d been telling it to everyone.
“I’m happy to hear that. Do you live here or are you visiting?”
“Living here for now.” I wasn’t sure where I would permanently land once I regrouped.
He tilted his head. “That’s great.” His cheeks tinged pink.
A familiar voice called his name from across the cafe.
We all turned and faced Rich Dixon, best father around. Why did he call Declan’s name and not mine? It was almost as if he was there to . . .
“Declan.” Daddy patted him on the back. “Thanks for meeting me on a Saturday here instead of the office.” Daddy’s construction company was located in Charleston as well.
“Daddy?” I was more than confused why they were meeting and why Daddy didn’t tell me.
“Darlin’.” He smiled at me. His hazel eyes were just like mine, but his were full of mischief. It made him look much younger than his silver hair said he was. “Declan’s the new district manager for Redline. And he’s trying to convince me why Redline is a better fit.” The excitement in his voice spoke of how much he loved talking business with anyone.
I knew enough about Daddy’s business to know that Redline was a heavy equipment vendor. And that Dixon Construction would be a huge account for them. That also meant that Declan did well for himself. District manager was an enviable position in that industry.
Declan gave me a smile before facing Daddy. “I won’t have to do any convincing, the numbers and our customer satisfaction will speak for themselves.” Oh, he was a good salesman. I could tell.
“Well, let’s get to talking.” Daddy tipped his head. “Ladies, have a good lunch.” For me he had a wink.
Declan gave me one more smile. “It was good to see you, Mel.”
All I did was stare at him, still in shock.
“Halle and Heather, nice to see you as well.”
My best friends and I nodded in sync as we watched him walk away to meet with Daddy. I finally let out a huge breath. Our Saturday afternoon lunch had taken a very interesting turn. All of our heads came together so we could talk in hushed tones.
“Let’s just say, he’s fine, like super fine.” Heather was first to speak. “But let’s not forget Mel cried her entire freshman year over him.”
It wasn’t all year long, but there were lots of sob-filled phone calls to my best friends those first few months after we broke up, or more like disintegrated.
“We can’t hold what he did when he was eighteen against him now.” Halle always tried to see the good in everyone.
“It doesn’t matter. It was a long time ago and I’m sure he’s married by now or at the very least has a girlfriend. And, well,” I looked down at my abdomen, “I’m taken.” My little one kicked, always reminding where my priorities were.