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The Long Way Home [Kindle Edition]

Cathryn Parry
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description



Life on the road suits Bruce Cole just fine. And after what he went through back in the day, he's in no hurry to face his hometown again. Until his little sister asks him to return for her wedding. One brief visit can't hurt, right? Especially when he meets a beautiful stranger at the reception.

Except Natalie Kimball isn't a stranger. In fact, she knows more about Bruce than anyone else in Wallis Point—including the secret he's been running from all these years. The woman Natalie has become is fascinating…and so different from the girl he remembers. If anyone can change his mind about what home really means, it could be her.



Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Cathryn Parry writes contemporary romance from her home in Massachusetts. She loves figure skating, planning as many vacations as possible, and pursuing her genealogy hobby. Please visit her website at www.CathrynParry.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

No one had ever promised Natalie Kimball that moving home to be a lawyer in a small town with people who still thought of her as a hopelessly shy nerd was going to be easy.

"I can do this," Natalie muttered for about the tenth time that morning, her hands clenched on the steering wheel of her secondhand Toyota as she drove out of town and north up the coast.

To her right, the waves crashed toward her in a spectacular show of whitecaps; the Atlantic tide was coming in. The narrow strip of beach beside it, usually so crowded with tourists in the summer, was deserted, and most of the seaside shops and arcades were still closed for the winter. She opened the window a crack and let the fresh, cold smell of ocean air wash over her.

For once, Natalie was exactly where she wanted to be. She loved this place; it was in her DNA. Even though her father, Asa Kimball, didn't want her at home working in his law firm, Natalie knew she could be happy here and do a great job, if he gave her the chance. More than anybody else he could possibly turn the firm over to, she understood the people of this town: their connections, their histories, their families and their secrets.

Especially the family secret of the woman she was set to meet. I wonder what became of Bruce Cole? Natalie thought.

Bruce was her longtime high school crush, though Natalie hadn't seen him since the summer he left town. It was only wishful thinking to expect his sister would mention him today.

Shaking her head, Natalie watched for the familiar gazebo perched on an outcropping of rock. When she came to it, she parked in a vacant lot where the meters weren't set up for the season yet.

Grabbing the packet on the seat beside her, she slammed the car door against the wind. It was an unseasonably cold day in late April even by New England sea-coast standards—blustery, with freezing rain that made her teeth clench. She shivered, wishing she'd brought a warmer coat.

But this was where Maureen Cole's receptionist at the real estate office had asked Natalie to meet her. And to shore up her position with her father as a lawyer able to "bring in business," Natalie needed to convince Maureen that she should work with them on future projects. To secure her place, Natalie would do whatever it took, even drive ten miles out of town to the Rosewood Non-denominational Chapel in order to bring Maureen her forgotten notebook.

Natalie glanced down the beach to the picturesque chapel on a bluff overlooking the ocean. Strange how this place affected her. Long before all Natalie's surgeries, this little church had figured prominently in her romantic fantasies. She hoped the quaint property wasn't for sale. But why else would Maureen be here? Natalie had hinted for information from Maureen's receptionist, but the young woman had only smiled mysteriously. "I'm sure Maureen will fill you in when you see her."

Sighing, Natalie picked her way over the sidewalk, still littered with sand and pebbles after a late winter storm. Outside the chapel, a winter-deadened lawn was ringed by a garden beginning to come alive. For now, yellow forsythia sparked open and lilac bushes budded with purple shoots. Later, the roses of June and the tall, spiked perennial flowers of July would join them.

When she entered through the side door, Natalie recognized Maureen Cole immediately. A year older than Natalie, she looked every bit the prom queen and student council president she'd been in high school.

Maureen was curvy, blonde and authoritative—in a good way Natalie admired but would never be at heart. Her booming voice carried across the church to a volume that even Natalie, hearing-impaired as she was, could clearly process.

"Over there! You stand over there and I'll walk around you." Maureen tugged on a measuring tape, directing her mother. Nearby was a baby carriage with netting thrown over it, though there couldn't be many flying insects inside the chilly church.

Rubbing her arms, Natalie stood back and watched the women chatter away, their voices lower now as they worked. To pick out the words, Natalie concentrated on Maureen's lips. Maureen wore bright coral lipstick. Her teeth were straight and perfect; she'd gotten dental work done in the years since Natalie had seen her.

"…red would look nice," Maureen was saying, "but white is more traditional, and that's what I prefer."

But then Maureen turned to the side, and Natalie couldn't read her lips anymore. She caught only the muted words wedding flowers.

Was Maureen getting married? Natalie glanced from the measuring tape Maureen wielded to the pad of paper she wrote on. Maybe they were planning the placement of floral arrangements for the ceremony.

A pang went through Natalie. Ever since she was a child, she had gazed up at this chapel as her family drove past on a Sunday, looking at the brides and wedding parties, and wondering what it would feel like to marry a man she loved in this fairy-tale place.

But dreams like that didn't happen for people like her. She needed to be practical. Use her brain, use her legal training, use her knowledge of the town's past connections and histories and secrets, and maybe she could find a way to be of service to people. Even if she wasn't the world's best communicator, like her father said.

"May I help you?" Maureen was standing directly in front of her.

Natalie jumped, snapping out of her reverie. "I'm…sorry." She cleared her throat, then remembered the binder cradled against her arm. She held it forward, smiling sheepishly at Maureen. "This is for you."

"Right." Maureen nodded, sizing her up. "You're the lawyer Lyndsey sent over with my wedding organizer. Thank you." With a grudging look, Maureen took the notebook she had left behind at her office and turned away from Natalie, immediately flipping to a page and scribbling furiously.

No one had said this would be easy.

Natalie walked around Maureen, to where she could see her face. "Ah.. forgive me for prying. But are you getting married, Maureen?"

Maureen looked up, staring at her. "Do you need to buy a house or something?"

"No…not right now. I'm settled, thanks." From the corner of her eye, Natalie noticed Maureen's mom picking the baby up and sniffing at his diaper. The exaggerated grimace on her face told the story. Quickly, Mrs. Cole wheeled the carriage toward the restroom at the rear of the church, leaving Natalie and Maureen alone.

She might as well face the issue head-on.

Smiling, Natalie held out her hand. "Hi, I don't know if you remember me, but I was a year behind you in high school. I'm Natalie Kimball."

"Kimball?"

The real estate agent gave a sarcastic, unfriendly smile and pointedly neglected to shake her hand.

Natalie wiped her palms against her already damp raincoat. She knew what this treatment was about: her father's involvement with Maureen's brother Bruce, and what had happened that last summer he was in town. Part of Natalie was dying to ask about him. She would never do that, though. As far as she knew, Bruce Cole had never come home, not once, and was never likely to again. She remembered how much it had hurt Maureen when he left.

Maureen's gaze traveled up and down Natalie's body. She had the curl to her lips of a former "in girl" judging and dismissing an "out girl." Natalie felt deflated, well aware of every physical flaw she had.

"Nope," Maureen drawled. "Your name doesn't ring a bell. I didn't go to school with any of Asa Kimball's kids."

She said "Asa Kimball" as if the words tasted bitter. And then she turned away.

Natalie nodded. She understood why Maureen was acting this way. Indirectly, her father had made Maureen's life hell. Lawyers in general had made Maureen's life hell.

Bruce's life, too.

But Natalie wasn't that kind of lawyer and never would be. She saw herself as a helper, not an adversary. Her father, and his father before him, and for all she knew, his father before that, had run the family firm in the traditional way, which had, in her opinion, often caused problems. Years of standing on the sidelines, watching and observing, had convinced her she could make a place for herself, that she had a unique talent to contribute.

Natalie may not have been one to speak to people much, but she noticed things about people, and that was important, too. Maybe it was time to take a chance on the new style she envisioned. She had always thought that if given the opportunity, she could make a difference.

Natalie cleared her throat and approached Maureen again. "I know it was a long time ago, but you and I were…friends, actually—at least I thought so—your senior year in high school."

Maureen's lips pressed together, as if she was reliving the hell of being a popular girl who was suddenly ostracized by her peers. Natalie had seen it happen firsthand.

Hopefully Maureen would understand that her intentions weren't harsh. "We had study hall together on Fridays, final period," Natalie said. "I always looked forward to it. I…drove you to the bus station once in the fall." Remember?

For a split second, she looked bludgeoned and she abruptly sat on the nearest pew. And Natalie felt guilty. She hadn't wanted to use that particular memory, but it was the incident Maureen was most likely to recall. Maureen had planned to run away to visit Bruce, who was in his first year as a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Natalie had never forgotten that day for many reasons, the most important of which was that it was the second most daring thing she had ever done.

"You were nice to me," Maureen finally said, albeit grudgingly. "Not too many people were nice to me that year."

"At least they talked to you," Natalie said with a joking tone. ...


Product Details

  • File Size: 394 KB
  • Print Length: 284 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0373718209
  • Publisher: Harlequin Superromance (December 1, 2012)
  • Sold by: Harlequin Digital Sales Corp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0095F24PU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #562,277 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.0 out of 5 stars Long way home June 8, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
A New England summer brings lawyer Natalie Kimball face to face with her high-school past when a young man was killed in a car accident, which changed everyone's life. Now she has returned to the seaside town to join the family law firm, and old memories are stirred. Maureen Cole is getting married and asks Natalie to be one of her bridesmaids, as a partner for her brother Bruce. Bruce was held responsible for his friend's drunken driving and after the Naval Academy has led a life on the road as a computer consultant. Accustomed to flashing platinum cards to get what he wants, Bruce comes to learn that life doesn't always work that way.

Natalie is hiding her hearing impairment. She is good at lip-reading but Bruce notices her extra-loud phone ringing and the subtitled TV. Her father's assumption that she should stick to routine office work; Natalie plans a meet-and-greet party for potential clients. Bruce's grandfather's sudden-onset Alzheimer's disease complicates matters and he takes the old man fishing to try to restore some connections. Thrown together with Natalie, they enjoy the coast and a Sandcastle Sculpture Festival, and the young people come to admire each other, but Bruce still plans to leave.

This is a well-thought-out tale about a brave young woman determined to realise her potential, and a high-achieving man who has been refusing to face censure and so has a hollow life. Learning to care for others makes all the difference and enables them to find happiness.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply touching. A tear jerker. December 18, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A deeply touching story about flawed but lovable characters that I cheered for as they struggled to attain their happily ever after. Kept me up way too late and made me cry. But I'm not complaining. :-)
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2.0 out of 5 stars Novice author. February 4, 2015
By arztin
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
See my review of the Sweetest Hours.
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More About the Author

Cathryn Parry's first piece of romantic writing was a love letter she wrote to the boy who sat next to her in first grade. By the next Christmas, she was asking for a typewriter to organize her growing collection of adventure stories inspired by Nancy Drew.

But it wasn't until Cathryn was an engineer working a less-than-inspiring job in a ball bearings factory that she dared to write her first novel, a romance about a woman who found the courage to pursue her deeply-held dreams. After that, Cathryn knew for a fact she was a novelist, and was hooked on the writing process.

Cathryn is an active member of Romance Writers of America and enjoys giving inspirational workshops to writers. Her long contemporary romances have received such honors as a Booksellers' Best Award, HOLT Medallion Awards of Merit, and several readers' award nominations.

In her non-writing life, she figure skates (she competes at the U.S. Adult Nationals), travels as often as possible for fun and adventure, and haunts archives in the quest for genealogy research. She lives in a small town in Massachusetts with her husband and near her large extended family.

Cathryn's Books to Date:
---------------------------
Something to Prove, January 2012
The Long Way Home, December 2012
Out of His League, July 2013
The Sweetest Hours, December 2013
Scotland for Christmas, December 2014
Secret Garden, coming August, 2015

For more information, see her website at www.CathrynParry.com.

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