The Best Is Yet to Come (Summer Lake 1) - Page 48

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And leave one last time.

CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR

Lakeside Stitch & Knit was the only store on Main Street with its lights still on at six thirty on a Monday night. As Calvin and Jordan walked up to the front door, he could see the women laughing together inside, toasting each other with mismatched wineglasses.

Sarah had kept herself from being part of a group of women for so long. He was glad, so damned glad, that she'd finally let them in.

He hadn't wanted to wait this long before coming to find her, but he'd had to go home to pick something up. Something important.

The din of voices was so loud it reached all the way out to the sidewalk, and at first none of the women noticed them walking in. Christie saw them first. "Calvin? Jordan?"

Everyone turned to face them, their questioning, interested gazes eating up the situation. But Calvin only had eyes for Sarah.

Dorothy and Olive drew Jordan over to them, and then without even realizing he had moved across the room, he was down on one knee in front of Sarah.

"It's not the deed to the carousel that has me here." He needed her to understand that before he said anything else. "It's you. Always you, sweetheart. Only you. And I swear that I would have been here without the deed. It was just that after the town hall meeting, I was hurt. Upset."

"I'm so sorry, Calvin. If I could go back in time and change what I said, I would."

He wanted to stop her, kiss her, tell her he loved her right then. But first he needed her to know how sorry he was for what he had done. Reaching for her hands, he said, "For ten years, I haven't let anyone get close to me. Not until you came back to town and I couldn't resist getting close with you again. But even as I was telling myself that I had faith in us to get it right this time, I was waiting for you to leave. I was looking at the condos as though they were a test that I was daring you to fail. But it wasn't you failing. It was me."

"You've never failed me," she swore as she dropped to her knees to be face-to-face with him. "Never."

"We both know I did. And we both know we'll disappoint each other again, that over the next seventy years one of us is bound to mess up." He cupped her face. "Remember when we were kids and we'd go out sailing and one of us would blow it and we'd end up in the lake?"

"Laughing," she said softly, pressing her cheek into his palm. "We were always laughing."

"It was an adventure. And it didn't matter that we'd screwed up, because we knew we were just going to climb right back into that hull and keep sailing." Her eyes were huge, beautiful, shining with tears that were on the verge of falling. "There's no one else I'd rather take an adventure with, Sarah. No one else I'd rather go sailing off into the distance with. It's always been you, sweetheart. You take away the darkness. You fill all my empty spaces. And I'll take you any way I can get you. Any hours you can spend here with me, whatever part of your life that you've got to share. I can't promise I won't keep asking for more, because we both know that I will, but if it's a choice between losing you or getting to love even a little bit of you, I choose love. I choose you. I don't care how we do it--if I move to be with you, or you move to be with me, or if we have to constantly put new tires on our cars from all the miles we're burning up to get to each other. All that matters is that we're together."

"You could never live like that." Her words were raw, shaky. "Neither of us could."

Calvin's heart all but stopped. His eyes closed involuntarily, just as they would have the second before he slammed into a brick wall. But then her hands moved to his face, and she traced the line of his jaw with her fingertips. And when he opened his eyes again, he saw that she was smiling through her tears.

"I'm not returning to the city." He could barely process her words until she smiled again--bigger, stronger, steadier this time. "I'm moving back to Summer Lake. I'm going to run the store with my mother and grandmother." Everyone in the room, especially Olive and Denise, gasped with happiness, but Sarah never turned her gaze from his. "I would have stayed just for you. You know how much I love you, don't you?"

"I do."

He was vaguely aware of her shifting slightly to reach into a bag beside her. Something soft brushed against his knuckles, and he looked down to see a beautiful sweater in her hands. "I have something for you." She held it up for him to push his hands and arms and head through. It was a perfect fit. "I knit one of my hairs into this sweater. Do you know what that means?"

He had to kiss her before saying, "You ran out of yarn?"

She gave him that beautiful grin that he hoped to see for at least the next seventy years. "It means you're bound to me now."

He kissed her again, longer, even sweeter this time. "I've always been bound to you." He'd never felt happier, never felt his heart beat so true, so steady, as it did when he pulled the ring that had once belonged to his mother out of his pocket. "Marry me, Sarah."

"Yes." She threw her arms around him and kissed him with all of her passion, all of her love. "Yes!"

And as he slid the engagement ring onto her finger, a room full of knitters cheered.

EPILOGUE

"You guys were right," Sarah said to Calvin and Jordan. "This really is the perfect spot for a rainy day."

The three of them sat on the carousel beneath the red-and-white-striped canopy, sipping hot chocolate and looking out at the lake. Sarah and Calvin were in the chariot behind the matched pair of horses, while Jordan rode one of the horses pulling the sleigh.

They could hear the sounds of construction on the new condos that were being built on a wooded lot with lake access within walking distance of Main Street. John Klein hadn't given up on convincing her to consult on the project, and in the end, Sarah had really enjoyed working part time on the new residences over the winter. Smaller and more affordable than her original plan, the units were still beautifully designed and crafted.

From where they were sitting, she could look across the street and see her mother and grandmother through the window of Lakeside Stitch & Knit, helping customers. Over to the right, at the inn, she knew Christie was inside making guests smile.

Sarah had finally caught that brass ring she'd been reaching for her whole life. Family. Friends.

Love.

"I know we're planning on getting married at next year's Fall Festival." She smiled a secret little smile. "But all that planning is giving me a headache."

"You?" he teased. "Not wanting to plan?"

She shrugged, hardly able to keep herself from blurting it out. "How do you feel about a shotgun wedding instead?"

Calvin's eyes got big. Really big. He swallowed hard. "Sarah? Are you--"

She reached for his hand, intertwined their fingers, then laid them both over her stomach. "Yes."

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For news on Bella Andre's upcoming books, click BellaAndre.com/Newsletter to sign up for Bella Andre's New Release Newsletter.

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I hope you absolutely loved Sarah and Calvin's Summer Lake romance! Now, here's a sneak peek at Christie's story, Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You. Plus, Alec Sullivan and Harry Sullivan's stories, the third and fourth New York Sullivan books, will be coming soon! Please be sure to sign up for my newsletter (bellaandre.com/newsletter) so that I can let you know as soon as I have the release dates for their books.

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CAN'T TAKE MY EYES OFF OF YOU (New York Sullivans Spinoff, Summer Lake #2)

Christie Hayden escaped to Summer Lake to heal from heartbreak, but found so much more than that: a job she loves as an innkeeper, a close-knit community of friends, and a chance at the perfect romantic future she's always longed for. But nothing is as it seems, especially when it comes to Liam Kane, the gorgeous millionaire who sweeps into her life from out of the blue...and instantly turns it--and her heart--upside down.


Tags: Bella Andre Summer Lake Romance
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