Her Forever Love

Avery Troy stopped in North Salem last year to visit with her sisters and meet her newborn niece. A romantic relationship was not on her radar. Still, when Steve Nelson asked her out, Avery agreed, assuming she’d have an enjoyable evening before heading back to the West Coast. Never in her wildest dreams did she expect one date would turn into a second, let alone anything more serious.

Steve noticed Avery the moment he stepped onto his buddy Sean’s back deck. Unlike her movie star sisters, Avery possessed that girl-next-door look. Considering she rubbed elbows with celebrities and movie executives, he assumed he didn’t have a shot with her. Regardless, he asked her to dinner. The way he saw it, the worst that could happen was she’d say no. Much to his surprise, the opposite happened.

For the past nine months, Avery has divided her time between the East and West Coasts. Now, though, she believes it might be time to leave Los Angeles behind and start calling North Salem home. Unfortunately, Avery’s overbearing mother disagrees, and Lynn Troy will do whatever she can to get her way.

Read an excerpt from Her Forever Love

“Can I take a shower before we eat?” Morgan asked, dropping both her backpack and her softball equipment bag on the floor.

“Please do. I can smell you from here,” he answered, smiling and waving his hand near his nose.

On cue, she rolled her eyes. “You’re not funny, Dad.”

“Yeah, but you still love me,” Steve said, removing the first container from the bag. “And don’t leave your stuff on the floor. Take it to your room.”

Unlike him, Morgan was a first-class slob. If she left something behind, it stayed there until she either needed it or he forced her to move it. When she’d been younger, he’d let her get away with it and took care of putting her stuff away himself, hoping she’d grow out of the habit. Now he was paying for it.

“Dad, Avery’s here,” Morgan called as he removed the lasagna from the bag. A moment later, he heard the front door open.

Many times in the past, his daughter had made it clear that she didn’t enjoy having his girlfriends around. That wasn’t the case with Avery. Actually, almost from the beginning, there’d been a connection between Morgan and Avery. Rather than complain if Avery joined them for dinner, Morgan suggested they ask her over. It had even been Morgan’s idea to invite Avery along each time they went skiing during the winter. Before Avery, the only person Morgan ever wanted to come with them was her cousin. And when Avery left in April, Morgan had been almost as disappointed as him.

By the time he crossed from the kitchen to the living room, Avery was embracing Morgan despite the fact his daughter still wore her sweat-stained softball uniform.

“Did you get cake pops at Peggy Sue’s?” Morgan asked, pointing toward the pastry box in Avery’s hand.

“It’s possible I got some for after dinner. You’ll have to wait and see.”

“And the sooner you shower, the sooner we can eat,” Steve said, coming up behind Morgan and placing a hand on her shoulder.

Picking up the bags she’d dropped on the floor again, Morgan slipped one over each shoulder. “I’ll be quick,” she promised before heading up the stairs.

He wanted to escort Avery upstairs and give her a proper welcome back. Unfortunately, Morgan wouldn’t be in the shower for long. For now, he’d have to settle for something much less satisfying. Slipping his arms around her waist, Steve lowered his mouth toward hers. “I’m glad you’re here.” Covering her lips with his, he moved his mouth over hers. Each pass added more fuel to the desire that was already threatening to overtake his body and his common sense. Before he lost all control and did something he’d later regret, he pulled his lips away. In the past, he’d never had any problem controlling his desire. With Avery, all it took was a kiss, and his brain began urging him to find the closest relatively comfortable flat surface. The exact message it was sending now.

Her fingertips moved across the back of his neck, leaving a trail of fire in their wake. “Me too. You have no idea how much I’ve missed you.” Her lips barely touched his when she kissed him.

If it was even half as much as he’d missed her, yeah, he had a decent idea. “Stay here tonight.”

No matter how serious the relationship, Steve only had an overnight guest on nights Morgan was with her mom. Up until now, he’d followed the same rule with Avery. But since Morgan knew he’d shared Avery’s room when they’d been in California and had shown no signs that it bothered her, it seemed unnecessary to continue having Avery stay only when he had the house to himself.

“Are you sure?”

Considering his mental and physical state, the last thing he should do was kiss her. However, the message telling him not to do it never made it to his lips. It required all his willpower, but he kept the kiss gentle and quick. “Positive,” he said, meeting her gaze.

“Then I’ll stay.”

“Good,” he whispered against her mouth before kissing her again. After weeks of not being able to hold her, he wasn’t ready to let her go. “How was your flight?” he asked before pressing his lips against her neck.