Sunday, March 22, 2015

Driftwood Cottage by Sherryl Woods

Chesapeake Shores #5
Heather has left Connor, after being together since college and moved to Chesapeake Shores. She just could not take how much he was being changed by his job. She and Little Mick need to be with the O'Brien clan. Connor misses her but he will not get married. He thinks what they have is enough but it's not enough for Heather.
Connor comes back home one weekend and finds out that Heather and the baby are living there. He is stunned. He wants them to come back home but Heather says it's over, unless he wants to get married. Connor tries to stay in her life by coming home more often. He gets offered a job in town and decides to stay. Then something happens that changes everything or will it?

I liked this one.

From the publisher:
Single mom Heather Donovan's dreams of home and family are tantalizingly within reach when she settles in Chesapeake Shores. The welcoming arms of the boisterous, loving O'Brien clan embrace her and her son. But accepting their support seems to further alienate her son's father, Connor O'Brien. His parents' divorce and his career as a high-powered divorce attorney have left him jaded about marriage.

Then everything changes. Will the possibility of a future without Heather make Connor look at love and his career differently? Heather's just about given up on her old dreams—of love, of family and especially of Driftwood Cottage, the home she secretly wishes were hers. It's going to take a lot of persuasion—and some help from the O'Brien family—to make Heather believe that some dreams are worth fighting for.

Heather Donovan propped open the front door and stood just inside the brightly lit storefront in Chesapeake Shores so she could inhale the scent of sea air from the bay across Shore Road. Turning slowly, she studied the stacks of colorful fabric bolts that had to be sorted and displayed, the unopened boxes of quilting supplies and the quilt racks that still required assembly. Her pride and joy, the carefully crafted shelving units, had been built to her specifications by her son's grandfather, famed architect Mick O'Brien, for whom her son, little Mick, was named.

Seeing it all coming together was a little overwhelming. Not just opening a business, but all of it—moving to this quaint town, deciding to raise her son on her own, giving up on a future with Connor O'Brien—these were all huge steps. Her mind still reeled when she thought about the recent changes in her life. She might embrace the changes, but that didn't mean she wasn't scared to death.

If anyone had told her a few months ago that she would leave the man she loved more than anything, that she would take their son and move from Baltimore to a small seaside town and embark on a whole new career, Heather would have laughed at the absurdity of the predictions. Even though Connor stubbornly had refused to consider marriage, she'd thought they had a good life, that they were committed to one another. She'd believed that so strongly that she'd ignored her parents'—actually it had been mostly her mother's—warnings about the mistake she was making by having a child with Connor without a ring on her finger.

But, in fact, they—she, Connor and their son—might have gone on exactly like that for years if she hadn't seen how Connor's career as a divorce lawyer was chipping away at their relationship, how his anger at his parents was corrupting their day-to-day lives. She didn't like the embittered man she'd seen him becoming, and he seemed to have no desire to change.

It wasn't as if she'd made her decision to break up lightly. She'd gone away for several weeks, leaving their son with Connor's family while she'd pondered what was best for her future and for her child's. She hadn't been happy about the conclusion she'd reached, that she needed to start a new life on her own, but she'd made peace with it. And, in time, she knew she'd find the fulfillment that had eluded her with Connor.

Not that she could envision a day when she'd stop loving him, she thought even now, months after making the decision. She sighed at how difficult it sometimes was to reconcile emotions with common sense and facing reality, especially with a precious little boy as a constant reminder of what she'd given up.

A bell over the shop's front door tinkled merrily, interrupting her thoughts. Megan O'Brien stepped inside, carrying her grandson who beamed at the sight of Heather.

"Mama!" he cried, holding out his chubby little arms. Just over a year old now, he was the joy of Heather's life.

"He was missing you," Megan explained, then gave her a commiserating look. "And I thought you might be needing a glimpse of him about now. I know you're still not over all those weeks the two of you spent apart."

"Thank you," Heather said, reaching for her son.

"Feeling overwhelmed?" Megan asked with the kind of insight that Heather had come to treasure.

So many times in the past few months she'd regretted that Megan wouldn't be her mother-in-law. In many ways Heather felt closer to Connor's mother than she did to her own mother back in Ohio. A wonderful salt-of-the-earth woman who went to church on Sundays, volunteered at a homeless shelter and in a children's hospital, Bridget Donovan had an endless store of compassion for everyone except her own daughter. She flatly refused to accept that any daughter of hers would willingly choose not to marry the father of her child.

Heather sighed. As if marriage to Connor had ever been an option, no matter how desperately she might have hoped for it.

Heather bounced baby Mick in her arms as she nodded in response to Megan's question. "You're right about feeling overwhelmed," she said, gesturing around the store. "I have no idea where to start. What if opening a shop, especially here, is a huge mistake? I don't know anything about running a business. And being here, in this town, surrounded by O'Briens, what was I thinking? Why on earth did I let you talk me into this?"

"Because you knew it was a brilliant idea," Megan said at once, obviously still pleased with herself for coming up with this solution for Heather's future.

"Still, doubts are understandable," she consoled Heather. "You've made a lot of changes recently. All good ones, I think. As for starting your own business, this is a natural fit for you. The minute I saw those handmade quilts of yours, I knew it. You do absolutely beautiful work. Everyone in town is going to want to own one of your quilts or have you teach them how to make their own."

Megan fingered a small folk art quilt of a bay scene as she spoke. "This one, for instance, is a treasure. How can you bear to part with it? And at this price? It needs to cost twice as much."

Read more here.

Pages: 384
Published: 2011

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