Falling for Love

Falling for Love by Marie Force Read Free Book Online

Book: Falling for Love by Marie Force Read Free Book Online
Authors: Marie Force
Tags: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
tired and still somewhat diminished by his injuries. Wondering if his old friend would ever be the same as he’d once been filled Ned with fear and determination to see him through this. “Some pretty big surf running out at the bluffs if ya wanna take a ride and check it out.”
    “Maybe after a while.”
    “Sure. Whatever you want.”
     
    Laura McCarthy was in love. Owen had shown her through all three floors of the Sand & Surf, pointing out nooks and crannies that made it unique, sharing stories about the guests who’d once filled the rooms and insights about the couple who’d run the hotel for five decades.
    “How do you know so much about them?” she asked as they headed down the stairs to the lobby.
    “I told you—I know them.”
    “
How
do you know them?”
    “They’re my grandparents.”
    Shocked, Laura stared at him. “Why didn’t you say so?”
    “I don’t know,” he said with a delighted grin that told her he’d enjoyed deceiving her.
    “You’ve obviously spent a lot of time here.”
    “Every summer of my childhood, from the day after school got out until the day before it started.”
    Having spent several summers of her own childhood with her cousins on the island, Laura couldn’t believe she’d never met him before. “Where did you live the rest of the year?”
    “Here. There. Everywhere.”
    The vague answer aggravated her. He seemed to be going out of his way to be an enigma. She must’ve looked annoyed, because he laughed.
    “My dad is an air force general. We literally lived everywhere. This was the only real home I ever had, the one place that remained a constant. My mom grew up here, too.”
    “So you stay here when you’re on the island?”
    “Yep. My grandparents pay a caretaker to come in and keep a couple of rooms clean and to make sure we don’t have any unwelcome guests.”
    “Like rodents?” Laura took a nervous look around the lobby.
    “That and squatters who make themselves right at home.”
    “They
live
in here?”
    “We’ve had to relocate a few people since my grandparents finally reached the point where they couldn’t run it anymore.”
    “Where are they now?”
    “In Florida, hoping someone will fall hopelessly in love with the place and take it off their hands one of these days.”
    “Why don’t you do it?”
    Owen snorted with laughter. “Because that would require me to stay in one place longer than a week or two. I don’t do roots.”
    “So where do you live?”
    “Here. There.”
    “Everywhere,” she finished for him with another exasperated scowl. “You’re very evasive.”
    “Not really. I go where the gigs are. All I need is my van, my guitar and a clean pair of jeans every couple of days. Works for me.”
    “Aren’t you getting kind of, um,
old
to be living like a hobo?”
    “
Old?
” He hooted. “I’m thirty-three!”
    “Exactly. When do you grow up and get a real job?” A flash of what might’ve been anger or even hurt crossed his handsome face, and Laura regretted that she’d been so blunt. “I’m sorry. It’s none of my business.”
    “I hear that a lot—that I need to get a
real
job.” His normally laid-back tone of voice had taken on a bitter edge. “You know what’s so funny about that? I probably have more money in the bank than most of the guys my age who went to college, got married, shackled themselves with a mortgage and settled down to pump out two-point-five kids in the burbs. I’ll guarantee I’m a whole lot happier than most of them are—and I bet my blood pressure is half what theirs is.”
    “You don’t have to explain yourself to me or anyone. I certainly have no business judging the choices anyone else has made.”
    “Made some bad ones, Princess?”
    Her gaze darted up to meet his, which was once again teasing and open. “Why did you call me that?” That was her father’s name for her, and hearing it from someone else was unsettling.
    He shrugged. “There’s something sort of regal

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