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Authors: Harper Whitmore

Tags: #Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance

Heartbreak Highway 1

BOOK: Heartbreak Highway 1
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Heartbreak Highway

Harper Whitmore

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Thanks for reading this book. I hope you enjoy it.

Harper.

Dedication

Open your heart and let those you love know the door is open.

Table of Contents

Dedication

Copyright

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

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About the Author

Acknowledgement

Copyright

This book is a work of fiction. The names of characters, places and events are all products of the author’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to real people, either living or dead, or to events, organizations and locations is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any form (electronic, printed, recorded or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.

Copyright © 2014 Harper Whitmore

Published by J & H Whitmore Romance

Chapter 1

H
enry Newman was dead. Eva Daniels sat on the edge of the pier staring out across the Atlantic Ocean. Her feet dangled over the side and the waves not so much crashed as they did roll gently against the thick, wooden supports that held up the oldest pier on the coast. Sometimes Eva let her imagination wonder what would happen if suddenly the pier just collapsed from old age and disappeared into the ocean. If she were sitting on it when it happened, she wondered if she’d disappear into the ocean with it.
What if she grabbed ahold of some of the floating debris and held on until help arrived? What if Marshall was the one to jump in and save her?

Those were thoughts for another day, but not today. Today her thoughts were all about Henry Newman. Today, Eva had shown up for her job as care provider for the elderly man and found out that he had passed away during the night. The staff of the grand house he’d lived in was all in mourning. They had generously invited her in to sit with them, but she couldn’t stand to be there. Without Henry the big and always lively house just seemed empty and sad.

Henry and Eva didn’t have your “normal” nurse/patient relationship. Eva was good friends with Henry’s grandson Marshall. They’d been friends since grade school, Marshall grudgingly at first. Eva’s mother worked a lot and that was part of the reason that after her divorce from Eva’s father she had moved them from the city of Wilmington to the po-dunk coastal town on Pleasure Island with a population total less than the number of students in Eva’s middle school in the city. Here, her mother thought that leaving Eva home to tend to herself eight, or ten or twelve hours a day would be more acceptable than it would have been in the city.

Eva hadn’t wanted to come here to Kure Beach and she’d been angry and sullen and overly difficult towards her mother until she’d met Marshall and his grandfather one afternoon on the pier. Little did any of them know how that chance meeting was going to change all of their lives over the course of the next thirteen years.

She sat there on that pier now and wondered where she would go from here. Henry Newman was dead. She had to keep telling herself that, trying to wrap her head around it. He had been her patient even before she’d graduated from the University of North Carolina and got her nursing degree. He’d been her friend, her mentor and her father figure much longer than that. Henry had been the one to encourage Eva to become a nurse. He was always encouraging always positive….Eva was going to miss him something fierce. Everything in this town, on this little beach reminded her of him. She’d sat on this very pier with him and his Grandson, Marshall when they were twelve years old and Henry had taught her how to fish. Marshall had expressed doubt that day that she’d be able to bait her own hook. He said fishing wasn’t for girls. That statement had only made Eva more determined, and she’d done it without showing a smidge of fear (although the grilled cheese she’d just eaten for lunch was rolling about in her stomach). Marshall had been duly impressed and from that moment on, a long -term friendship built on mutual respect and a mutual love of Granddad had been forged.

Eva had finally settled in and let the peacefulness of the small town transform her. She’d worked summers at the aquarium, selling tickets or mopping floors or feeding the animals and she had loved it. Most of her free time was spent with Marshall and Granddad. Her mother worked two jobs and spent any free time she had at the local honky-tonk trying to “find Eva a new daddy.” She’d managed to do that three times over the years, but none of them had stuck. Eva had to give her mother points for persistence though, she just turned fifty, she’d been married four times and she’d recently gotten engaged to the owner of the five and dime here in town.

Eva’s biological father rarely found the time to make the seventeen mile trip to Kure Beach to see her. In his defense, if you added in traffic being heavy along the coast, the fact that he’d managed it twice a year until she was fifteen was somewhat a feat in itself. Traffic had only gotten worse, and by 2004 the trip could take half an hour one way. He really couldn’t be expected to put himself out that much for a child he had procreated. Eva hadn’t seen him now for ten years, and sadly, her life was probably richer because of it.

“Hey!” She was startled out of her reverie by the sound of Marshall’s voice. Marshall Newman was Henry Newman’s grandson. Being blood related to Henry was something that Eva had always envied him. But as they got older, she found herself glad she wasn’t related to Henry, because that would make her related to Marshall as well, and that would just make her fantasies weird. Somewhere around fourteen she had fallen in love with him.

“Hey,” she said with traces of a smile. The first one she’d managed since she heard of Henry’s passing. Marshall took the wooden plank next to the one she sat on and let his extraordinarily long legs dangle off the side. He slipped his long arm around her and pulled her against his broad shoulder. As soon as her head lay against the soft cotton of his t-shirt the floodgates opened and the tears surged forth like a river that had just broken through a dam. Marshall held her while she cried and neither of them said a word. The sounds of the fishermen on the pier and the hungry gulls searching for food and the children laughing and playing on the beach blended together like background music in the tragic scene of their own private movie.

When she was able to finally stop crying she looked up into Marshall’s beautiful blue eyes and said,

“I’m sorry. It was your loss and here I am acting like it was mine.”

Marshall smiled. Dimples creased both sides of his face and he reached up and pushed the curly lock of dark brown hair that had blown across his face out of his eyes. Then making her feel like a pervert…the man’s grandfather just died for Christ sake, he put his fingers underneath her chin and tipped her face up towards his. For a half a second she imagined that he was going to kiss her. But as usual…she was wrong. Marshall was her friend, and as he was about to do, he proved that over and over again.

“Sometimes I think that Granddad loved you best. You were as much a part of him as I was, and you have every right to grieve.” His kind words opened up another flood and by the time she was finished, she wasn’t sure if the front of his t-shirt was saturated with sea spray or tears.

“I’m sorry,” she said again. Marshall laughed and hugged her once more before taking his arm from around her shoulders. He folded his hands in his lap and looked out across the ocean.

“I’m going to miss the old coot. He was eccentric and ornery and he could be the biggest pain in the ass you ever met, but I’ll be damned if he wasn’t the most vibrant, fun-loving, life-loving person that I ever had the pleasure of knowing. He taught me everything, and I’m not sure what I’m going to do without him. When Granny died, I was devastated, but I still had Granddad. Without either of them, I’m just lost.”

Eva put her hand on his shoulder. The tears were burning her eyes again, but she was holding them back. It was his turn to grieve. She sat there with the silent touch of support and let him mourn now in his way. She could just imagine all of the memories he had running around in his head. Henry and Granny had raised him. They’d been his only family for as long as Marshall could remember and now he was all alone. Granny had passed on a few years before. They were married for sixty-five years when she died. It was a number that neither twenty-five year old could wrap their heads around.

“His lawyer called me.”

“Really? Already?”

“Yeah, he said he has the specifications for Granddad’s “send-off.”

“Hmm, when does he want to meet with you?”

“This afternoon. He wants you there too,” Marshall told her.

“Me? Why?”

Marshall shrugged, “Granddad was probably afraid I’d screw it up. He probably wanted you there to make sure it all goes smoothly.”

Eva laughed, “Stop it! Granddad had all kinds of faith in you.”

Marshall’s face grew serious as he said,

“Maybe, but I’m not sure I ever lived up to most of it.” He pushed himself up with his arms and held his hand out to Eva. She took it and he pulled her to her feet. She stood five-foot to his six-foot-three inches. The top of her blonde head barely met his chest. “You have any plans for the rest of the day?”

“No,” she said, tears again springing to her eyes. “I was supposed to spend it with Granddad.”

Marshall hugged her again and then he said, “Let’s go to Wilmington now. I’ll buy you lunch before we go see the attorney.”

Eva nodded slowly and hand in hand they walked off the pier and out to the parking lot. Eva stopped and stared when she saw the Cadillac. Turning to look up at Marshall she said,

“You’re driving the Caddy?”

Marshall shrugged and said, “It was part of the instructions. The attorney told me to bring it.”

“Weird,” Eva said as she got into the passenger seat. The “Caddy” was a 1962 hardtop 4 door pillarless painted a classic turquoise. The interior was white leather and the top matched it perfectly. Since Marshall was old enough to walk, he’d helped his Granddad restore it. They’d painted the top, re-covered the interior, re-built the brake system, put in a new radiator, replaced all the tires with original white-walls and installed new electrics. It was a beauty and Granddad rarely took it out. When he did, heads turned as he cruised down Main Street. He’d let Marshall drive it once, to his senior prom. Marshall had come home drunk. The car was unscathed and thank God so was Marshall and everyone else. After that, Granddad hadn’t allowed him to touch it. He’d gone so far as to not even allow him to be a passenger. But, old habits die hard….He’d let him help him finish restoring it, and allowed him to come over and detail it once a month. Marshall loved that car and he’d tried more than once to tell Granddad that he’d learned his lesson. Granddad said when it came to life and death it took more than a few years to learn. Eva sat next to Marshall as they drove to see the attorney and wondered if Granddad had lived another twenty years if he would have stuck to his guns all that time. She smiled and thought that he definitely would have.

Chapter 2

M
arshall and Eva had lunch in a diner in Wilmington. Every time she came to the city she looked around and wondered what would happen if she bumped into her dad.
Would she have the backbone to tell him how she felt after all these years? Would she hide and pretend that she didn’t see him at all? Would she walk up and smack him right in the face?
She would probably never know unless it happened, but she had a big imagination and some of it was fun to think about.

After lunch they’d headed over to the law offices of Manuel Vierra and Sheldon Farr. Sheldon had passed away twenty years ago, but out of respect, Vierra had kept the name. Granddad used to say he had the same lawyer since before time began and one look at Manuel Vierra and you knew that was true. When Marshall and Eva walked into the office, Manuel shuffled out of his office pushing his walker along in front of him. When he smiled at them, the wrinkles in his face squished up and almost covered his eyes.

BOOK: Heartbreak Highway 1
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