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Book 2: The Day He Drove By (Hawthorne Harbor Romance)

Book 2: The Day He Drove By (Hawthorne Harbor Romance)

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Escape to the beach today with single moms, single dads, and that one old lady that knows everyone in town...

This sweet and clean romance series is sure to have the heartfelt love stories and heartwarming women's fiction you're looking for. Travel to Hawthorne Harbor for these hometown heroes without leaving your house!

About THE DAY HE DROVE BY: A widowed florist, her ten-year-old daughter, and the paramedic who delivered the girl a decade earlier...The day Drew drove by Gretchen's van changed his whole life. He wants her and her daughter in his life, but he can't keep reassuring her that he and his ex are over. Way over. Can Drew and Gretchen find their way toward true love?

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Read Chapter 1 Now!

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10 Years Ago:

“Aaron, you have to stop the car. We’re not going to make it.” Gretchen Samuels hated the weakness and panic in her voice, but the pain ripping through her lower back made it difficult to speak any other way. 

“We’re in the middle of nowhere,” her husband said. “I can’t stop.” In fact, he accelerated to a speed their twelve-year-old sedan certainly couldn’t handle. 

As another labor pain tore through her, tears spilled from Gretchen’s eyes. She didn’t want to have her first child on the side of the road, miles from nurses and antiseptic and baby warmers. And medication. She really needed a fast-acting painkiller.

“I’m sorry,” she sobbed. Aaron hated living out on her granddad’s lavender farm, but the housing was cheap and he was almost done with his online securities degree. Their plans for a future in Seattle while he led the data security team at a top technology firm were months from coming to fruition.

“Don’t be sorry.” He glanced at her, and she disliked the panic in his eyes too, and the white-knuckle grip he had on the steering wheel certainly wasn’t comforting.

Her breath caught in her throat as it seemed like this baby was going to claw its way out of her no matter how much she willed the little girl to hold on a little longer. 

“Call 911,” she said. “Please.” She must’ve infused the right amount of emotion into her voice, because Aaron slowed the car and eased it onto the gravel shoulder. He leapt from behind the wheel, left his door open, and sprinted around the front of the car.

“Let’s get you into the back.” He supported her—the way he’d been doing for the four years they’d been together—and helped her into the backseat before pulling out his phone and making the emergency call.

Gretchen’s pain eased with the new position, but it didn’t go away. She wondered if it ever would, or if this degree of agony would hover in her muscles like a ghost forever. “Hang on,” she whispered as she put her hand on her very pregnant belly. “Just a little while longer.”

“They’re on their way.” Aaron poked his head back inside the car. “They said to get any blankets, towels, napkins, anything we have. You’re supposed to stay lying down and try to relax.”

Gretchen couldn’t help the snort that escaped. “Relax?” She let her head fall back as she focused on the car’s ceiling. She hadn’t been able to relax for months, not since her stomach had grown so large she couldn’t see her toes. Simply getting up from the couch had grown increasingly difficult as the days had passed.

She hadn’t minded, because she and Aaron had wanted this baby more than anything. The tears that heated her eyes this time were from desperation. A shiver ran over her body as the wind snaked its way into the car.

“Aaron, can you close the doors?” She lifted her head but couldn’t see him anywhere. Fear flowed through her. “Aaron?”

The trunk slammed, and he came to the door closest to her head this time. “We don’t have a blanket in the trunk. I found this jacket though.” He balled it up and put it under her head before shrugging out of the one he was wearing too. 

Gretchen steeled herself to deliver her baby and wrap it in her husband’s polar fleece. Her range of emotions felt ridiculous as a wave of injustice slammed into her. “Close the doors, please,” she said through tight teeth. “I’m cold.” Should she be cold? What if she was going into shock or something?

Her jaw worked against the rising terror as he complied, going around the car—which had all four doors open—and shutting the wind out before sealing himself behind the wheel again. Gretchen thought the silence in the car might be worse than the wind, and she didn’t want to bring her baby into the world under such a cloud of awkwardness.

“Remember when we first met?” she asked him, glad when his low, soft chuckle met her ears. 

“You said my hair looked like a gorilla.”

She giggled too, though the motion made her stomach muscles tighten uncomfortably. She hitched in a breath and held it. Aaron had been a freshman on campus though he was twenty-three years old. Gretchen had just finished her business management degree. His dark hair was swooped to the side, very much like the cartoon gorillas Gretchen had spent a lot of time watching while she nannied to pay for school.

He reached back and threaded his fingers through hers. “What if they don’t make it?” he asked, his voice barely higher than a whisper. “I don’t know how to deliver a baby.”

And Gretchen knew there was more than just a baby that needed to come out. “They’ll make it.” She spoke with as much confidence as she could, the way she always did when Aaron confessed his worries to her. 

You’re the best in your class, she’d tell him. You’ll be able to find a good job. 

Don’t worry about anything here, she said to him when he had to go to Seattle to take his tests, attend interviews, or deliver dissertations. I’ll be fine. Just watching the lavender grow.

She closed her eyes and imagined herself in the fields of lavender now, the fragrant scent of the herbs wafting through the slow, blue sky. The same smile that had always accompanied her assurances when he left drifted across her face now.

Her next labor pain stole all the peace from her, and her eyes shot open and a moan ground through her whole body. Aaron’s fingers on hers squeezed, and everything seemed clenched so tight, tight, tight.

The contraction seemed to last a long time before subsiding. Gretchen only got what felt like a moment’s reprieve before the next one began. Time marched on, seemingly unaware of the pain she was in, the desperate way she cinched everything tight to keep the baby inside. 

She wasn’t sure how many labor pains she’d endured, or how much time had gone by, before Aaron said, “They’re here,” with a heavy dose of relief in his voice. He once again jumped from the car.

Moments later, the door by her feet opened and a gust of ocean air raced in. The scent of brine she normally loved only reminded her that this wasn’t a hospital, there were no drugs, and she could do absolutely nothing about it.

“Ma’am, my name is Andrew Herrin, and I’m going to take good care of you.”

She managed to look over her belly to a man who couldn’t be older than twenty. A zing of alarm raced through her. 

“Drew?” She couldn’t believe she cared if the man whose family lived next door to her—who she’d walked with in lavender fields as a teen—delivered her baby. He had a bag of medical supplies. A faster ride to the hospital. And a kind face, with a calm smile.

“You’re going to be fine, Gretchen.” He snapped a pair of gloves on and touched her ankle. “So let’s see what we’ve got.”

What Readers are Saying

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “The Day He Drove By is such a sweet story (in many ways!). You have romance, family, memories, ice cream, and so much lavender. I enjoyed this book so much that I just could NOT put it down. I cannot wait to read more in the series and see what happens with other characters, because the way the author wrote this one, you just HAVE to get hooked.” ~Shanna J.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “This is probably the best modern romance book I’ve ever read, and I’ve read a lot of them, including all of the ones in this series. Elana is exceptional in holding the reader’s attention throughout this and all her other books I’ve read. The stories are realistic, interesting and attention holding from beginning to end. If you’re wondering if this is a book worthy of your time, my answer is a resounding, ‘by all means, yes!’” ~Ray K.

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Fall in love with hometown heroes in small-beach-town Hawthorne Harbor!

Escape to the beach today with single moms, single dads, and that one old lady that knows everyone in town... This sweet and clean romance series is sure to have the heartfelt love stories and heartwarming women's fiction you're looking for. Travel to Hawthorne Harbor for these hometown heroes without leaving your house!

  • Book 1: The Day He Left Town

    He’s waiting for a promotion to come through. She’s back in her hometown after a humiliating break-up. Can Tony and Cat make their second chance stick this time?

  • Book 2: The Day He Drove By

    A widowed florist, her ten-year-old daughter, and the paramedic who delivered the girl a decade earlier... Can Drew and Gretchen find their way toward true love?

  • Book 3: The Day He Stopped In

    A widowed park ranger, her twelve-year-old son, and the Chief of Police who's secretly kept an eye on both of them... Do Adam and Janey have the courage to take their relationship out of the friend zone?

  • Book 4: The Day He Said Hello

    A firefighter and his high school sweetheart who's returned to their beachside hometown...and doesn't want to be there. Can the day he said hello start a new relationship that will last this time?

  • Book 5: The Day He Let Go

    A K9 cop, the woman he hires to build him a deck, and the magic of Christmas that could bring Trent and Lauren together this holiday season... Can Trent learn to let go of the past so he and Lauren can find love and build a family?

  • Book 6: The Day He Came Home

    A wounded Marine returns to Hawthorne Harbor years after the woman he was married to for exactly one week before she got an annulment...and then a baby nine months later. Can Hunter and Alice make a family out of past heartache?

  • Book 7: The Day He Asked Again

    A Coast Guard captain would rather spend his time on the sea...unless he's with the woman he's been crushing on for months. If Dave asks just one more time, will Brooklynn give their second chance at romance another shot?

Meet your new best friends on Hilton Head Island!

Escape to the beaches of South Carolina with this Supper Club of ladies, each of whom is starting over in some way in their 40s. New loves, new lives, new businesses - and they're waiting for YOU, their new best friend!

Read this series if you like: 

✔ Second chance romance

✔ Later in life romance

✔ Pristine beach setting

✔ Island life

✔ He falls for her first!

✔ Walks on the beach

✔ Beach bonfire kisses

✔ Enemies to lovers

✔ Friends to lovers

✔ Single parent romance

✔ Women's friendship fiction

✔ Supper Clubs!

Customer Reviews

Based on 63 reviews

Super sweet, simple, enjoyable, loving, second chance at a new romance, and adorable kids. This is the first book I've read in this series and I truly enjoyed it. It was refreshing and clean, but romantic too.


A sweet tale of a young widow with a daughter . who had that child delivered by an EMT by the highway when her husband was still.alive. Years later she moves back to that area and the same EMT has also moved back and saves her in another situation. They develop a sweet relationship along with her daughter's approval. I read this book because of kindle unlimited and had not realised it was a clean author so no sex or mention of it. Well written and good storyline. Good enough that I went and ordered the second book in the series. Elan Johnson is a talented author.

the r.K.

I enjoyed this clean and warm romance. Great characters and storyline. This is a hard to put down book. I recommend this book for anyone.


I enjoyed reading Drew and Gretchens love story. I wished it was a few chapters longer.I cant wait to read the second book in this series.

Jennie P.

Enjoyed being with this author. Drew and Gretchen story was a step back in time for them both. He became her knight in shinning armour. She his wilting daisy who needed to be revived. Both had stuff to work through. Dixie was a real sweety who fell right in love with Drew at the very first. Gretchen it took a little longer but all came out right in the end.