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Book 7: The Day He Asked Again eBook (Hawthorne Harbor Romance)

Book 7: The Day He Asked Again eBook (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 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?

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Read Chapter 1 Now!

David Reddington couldn’t wait to get back to shore. The ocean wind felt like ice against the exposed parts of his face, and as one of the eight civilians who worked at the Port Angeles Station, he had the next three days off.

Away from the station. Away from the politics of border control and immigration and boarding boats to make sure everyone had the proper paperwork. What he really needed was a good deep sea rescue—not that he wanted anyone’s life to be in danger.

Most of all, Dave just didn’t want to be bored while on-board the ship he captained for the Coast Guard. A mental chuckle moved through him. Bored on-board. Bored on-board.

But the fact was, Dave had just turned forty, and everything about his life was boring.

“You watching the game tonight?”

Dave turned toward Ben Erwich and smiled. “Yeah,” he said. “Wouldn’t miss it.”

“You could come over,” Ben said, pushing his dark hair off his forehead before putting his hat back on. “Me and a couple of the guys are going in for pizza and drinks.”

Dave thought about it for a second. He’d been invited to football games before, but he’d never gone. “I can’t tonight,” he said, making a quick decision. He was the captain of Adelie, and he wanted to keep that professional barrier between him and the crew.

It was flexible, and practically transparent, but it was still there.

“You should host it,” Ben said with a grin, because he knew how much Dave hated having people over to his house. “I know my place is too small for you.”

“It is not,” Dave said, though the apartment Ben got with his housing allowance was pretty pitiful. Dave supposed not everyone could get permission to live twenty-five minutes away, in the town where they grew up, in a house just down the street from their parents.

But Dave had worked for over two decades for the United States Coast Guard, and he wasn’t going to feel bad that he’d put in for an assignment closer to his parents and Hawthorne Harbor so he could feel like he had a home.

When he’d first started in the Guard, he’d lived on a ship, for crying out loud. He’d earned all of his honors and privileges, and he wasn’t going to feel bad about them. Port Angeles didn’t have barracks, so the men and women right out of basic training had no idea what it was like to live in cramped quarters and never have one single second to themselves.

True, some shared apartments, but Ben didn’t.

Dave leaned against the railing, the scent of salt and seaweed sharp in his nose. “I have to record the game anyway,” he said. “So no group texting where you talk about every play.”

“What do you have going on tonight?”

He exhaled, but the heavy sound of it got whipped away by the wind. “Oh, there’s a town meeting tonight for the Spring Fling. I’m seriously considering skipping it.” He’d grown up attending the Spring Fling every April, and warmth filled him at the thought of going again this year.

He’d been back in Hawthorne Harbor for four years after a long time away, and the town festivals and traditions held just as much magic and spirit as they had when he was a kid. The Spring Fling was all about apples, and blossoms, and romance—surprisingly. But it wasn’t even January yet, and the first planning meeting had been set for the event, because there were a lot of activities to coordinate.

From a bachelor auction, to a dance, to a bake-off, to guided tours of the apple orchards, someone had to make sure tourists and townspeople alike had the time of their lives come the third weekend in April.

And he knew who that someone was—Mitch Magleby. The Magleby’s had their fingers in every pot in Hawthorne Harbor, but Mitch ran the community center’s outreach program, and they funded and organized the Spring Fling. The community center also hosted the Festival of Trees, so Mitch was always seen around that as well.

Dave didn’t care about Mitch all that much—but Mitch’s daughter…. His pulse thumped erratically just thinking about Brooklynn.

And Dave had learned last year that Brooklynn volunteered on the Spring Fling committee. So maybe he’d signed up to help too. Maybe. Maybe not.

He still wasn’t sure if he was even going to go to the meeting.

He let the boat and the crew on her distract him, and the time back to land passed quickly. Dave had a multitude of things to check, and lists to go through, so he began the docking prep while his seamen, petty officers, and ensigns completed their tasks and left the ship with bags over their shoulders.

They’d only been out for a couple of days, so Dave would have no problem transitioning from sea to land—at least physically.

Mentally and emotionally though, he loved the ocean. The gentle way it rocked him to sleep at night or waved hello during the day. He loved the tang of it in his mouth, and he could never figure out how humans stayed on land and worked for a living.

He felt sure he was a water creature, as it had always called to him. He’d left for the Coast Guard basic training the day after he graduated from high school, and he’d never looked back. The Guard had been a good career for him, and he’d worked his way up to Captain and gotten a post close to his family, all of whom still lived in Hawthorne Harbor.

Retirement crossed his mind again as he went through his last checklist. He could retire now and get his pension immediately. Maybe then he wouldn’t be bored.

He scoffed at his thoughts. “What would you do with yourself?” he muttered under his breath. “You think you’re bored now.” He shook his head, finished his work, and went to his office. Now, when he had to sleep on the boat, he had his own quarters. He could handle small spaces; it was just the constant crowds that had gotten to him as an entry-level officer in the Guard all those years ago.

He joined the other men and women calling goodbye to each other, catching sight of a woman leaning against his SUV down on the end of the row. “It holds itself up,” he called to Audrey Lynn, a helicopter pilot for one of the three rescue copters they had at the station.

She grinned at him as he approached. “You’re done for the weekend, aren’t you?” she asked.

“Yeah.” Though it was only Thursday, Dave didn’t have to be back until Monday morning. And even then, it was just to check on a fishery and do some environmental protection around the hook of the inlet. “You’re on all weekend, aren’t you?” He opened the back door and put his backpack inside.

“She’ll be there tonight,” Audrey said, lifting her phone and showing him the screen.

“You asked her?” A groan started way down in his toes even as he scanned Audrey’s text conversation with Brooklynn. So she’d confirmed she’d be there. He frowned at Audrey. “I’m not fourteen.”

“No, that sorry gut of yours says you’re forty and haven’t been on a date in years.”

“She won’t say yes.” Dave unlocked the SUV and held out the keys. “Did you want to drive?”

“Heavens, no,” Audrey said, moving around the front of the vehicle to get in the passenger side. She lived in Hawthorne Harbor too, and they often carpooled if possible. Out to save the environment and all that. Plus, Audrey didn’t exactly have a reliable ride.

He hoped she’d drop Brooklynn as a viable subject of conversation, but he knew better. If he didn’t want to talk about his old crush on a woman who wouldn’t go out with him, he’d have to ask Audrey something that would keep her talking for twenty-five minutes.

“I heard you got a new pilot,” he said as he twisted the key in the ignition. “And he’s somewhat of a playboy.”

“Oh, please,” Audrey said with an eyeroll attached. “You should hear the women in the office talk about him. He’s so handsome and so tall.” She scoffed as if being handsome and tall were crimes against humanity. “All I care about is if he can hold the bird steady while people thrash around in the ocean.”

“Right,” Dave said, because he wasn’t the only one who was single and hadn’t been out with anyone in a while. “So why don’t you go out with him? Get to know him better? Welcome him to Port Angeles?”

Audrey gave him a wide-eyes, horrified look. “Why would I do that?”

“Why wouldn’t you?” He turned onto the highway, his plan working.

“I am the senior flight officer here,” she said, glaring now. “I can’t believe you would even suggest I should do such a thing.” She huffed and tossed her shoulder-length hair over her shoulder. “Besides, he’s like ten years younger than me.”

Dave burst out laughing, because that sentence alone testified that Audrey wanted to go out with her new pilot. She wouldn’t. But she wanted to.

And she spent the next twenty-five minutes detailing why she wouldn’t, and defending herself that she didn’t even want to.

* * *

That evening, Dave checked the clock every five minutes. At least it felt like he did. He needed fifteen minutes to get to the community center, and at six-forty-five, he didn’t leave the house. Nor at six-fifty.

He could arrive fashionably late. It was a small town—was anyone on time?

He left his house at six-fifty-five, and he arrived at the community center to find the parking lot almost full. “What is going on here tonight?” he asked himself. He really needed a dog so when he got caught talking to himself, he could at least say he was chatting with the pooch.

A family hurried toward the entrance, their son carrying a basketball with him. Ah, rec game night. No wonder he had to park way in the back of the lot and walk through the weather to get inside.

“Uh, I’m here for the Spring Fling planning meeting?” he asked the woman at the front desk, and she directed him around the corner and down the hall. His steps grew more and more timid the closer he got. He didn’t want to be the only one in the meeting.

He wasn’t concerned about being late, but a tremor of anxiety hit him when he heard someone talking into a microphone just inside the appointed room. Pausing in the doorway, he scanned for two things: a place to sit and Brooklynn Perrish.

There were plenty of places to sit, as the room was about half-full. He spotted Brooklynn’s blonde hair over on the left side, in the third or fourth row. She had seats on both sides of her. So while the woman up front continued to talk about the upcoming festival, Dave started toward the outside edge of the rows. No need to go right down the middle and call attention to himself.

He kept his eyes trained on Brooklynn, so much so that he wasn’t watching where he was going. His foot caught on the leg of one of the metal folding chairs, sending it crashing into the one next to it.

He grabbed onto the backs of two chairs to steady himself, making more noise and drawing everyone’s gaze to him. The woman up front stopped speaking.

“Hey,” he said, lifting one hand when he realized he wasn’t going to face-plant it right there on the carpeted floor. “Just a little late.”

He rounded the corner and hurried forward, stepping over the man and woman on the end of Brooklynn’s row. “Sorry,” he said. “Sorry, can I get by? Sorry.”

Chairs scraped as people moved, and Brooklynn’s face turned a shade of pink that made Dave’s heartbeat accelerate too. She was gorgeous with all those curls spilling over her shoulders, and while she shielded her eyes from him, he knew what color they were.

A deep, dark green, like the depths of the ocean when he got past the surface.

He half-sat, half-stumbled into the seat next to her, actually bumping her with his shoulder. “Sorry,” he said again, looking up front. The woman had continued, but Dave had certainly made a splashy entrance.

“Hey, Brooklynn,” he whispered, leaning down so his mouth was closer to her ear. “What did I miss?”

“Are you kidding me right now?” she hissed. “What are you even doing here?”

What Readers are Saying

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “I'm a pretty regular fan of Ms. Johnson's work. I'll read anything she writes because I know what I'm getting in advance: a well-crafted clean read with swoony kisses and lots of heart. Really loved the challenge of bringing this couple together when she lost her first husband to the sea and he's a coast guard captain. Talk about conflicts of the heart! As always, Ms. Johnson delivers. I've enjoyed other books in this series too.” ~K. Swinton

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “I read all the books and loved every single one. Each story was great! I liked all the characters, the stories, and most of all, that each book focused on relationships instead of graphic sexual encounters. I’d like to say thank you to the author for your “sweet” and “clean” books. They’re very much appreciated!” ~Booklover72

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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!