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Laugh Like You've Never Cried - Summer Lake Book 5 (ebook)

Laugh Like You've Never Cried - Summer Lake Book 5 (ebook)

Sweet n Steamy Romance

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 887+ 5-Star Reviews

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SYNOPSIS

Megan Reid doesn't like to be noticed, she just wants to be left alone. She's never felt comfortable around people--her past has taught her that it's safer to avoid them. Her job at the library lets her spend time with the books and children she loves. Between her work and her dog, she has everything she needs. Summer Lake seems to be the perfect place for her to live out the quiet little life she's been hoping for.

Until she meets Michael.

He is everything she's not, he's fun, funny, charming and outgoing--and oh, so sexy! He's about to turn her world upside down. If she sticks around long enough to let him.

Michael Morgan is back in Summer Lake after fifteen years in Australia. It's time for him and his son to settle down to a life that includes his family, his friends, and the work he loves as a small town doctor. Life is good, but he has to wonder if it wouldn't be even better with the timid little librarian by his side.

These two embark on a journey laced with apprehension, insecurity, the shared love for a small boy, and a whole lot of laughter. But is it a journey that will eventually lead them to each other, or will past hurts always get in the way?

Available to Read on Kindle, Nook, iThings, Kobo, Phone, Computer, Tablet, Etc! Your eBook will be delivered to your provided email address by BookFunnel. 

Laugh Like You've Never Cried is the fifth book in USA Today Bestselling Author SJ McCoy's international hit Summer Lake Romance series, loved by over 1,000,000 fans of sweet and steamy romances. 

 Readers say:


"She has created a world you will want to love in, while you root for the couple in the book to realize their feelings and find their way to each other. She also writes a great "adult" scene. I love the book, and the series, and would recommend it."

"Another fantastic addition to this series!"

"WOW! What else can I say? IMO- This is perfection at it's best. The story line is totally amazing, the characters are very well developed, and I have fallen completely in love with the small town." 

"Loved the story! It was heartfelt, sweet, so, so sexy."

"I absolutely love this series and I will recommend her books to anyone who loves romance books. She keeps you involved from page one until the end."

"Once again SJ McCoy has given us a book you will not want to put down. Heartfelt, heartwarming makes you laugh and really want to visit this town."

"Can't put this book down!! So much love in these books and the men are hot hot hot!!!!"

"Book 5 totally melted my heart!"

" A truly romantic love story that I couldn't put down. I loved it!

    Chapter One Look Inside

    Chapter One


    “Michael!” Missy slapped his arm, and hard.

    “What, critter?” It was just too easy to get his old friend riled. She was scowling at him. “If you keep trying to set me up with evil women and beating me up yourself, I'm not going to be able to come visit you guys anymore.” Michael winked over her head at Dan. He knew the score. And after all, Leanne was his friend.

    “Don't be like that!” Missy was still mad. “Leanne was only trying to help. She didn't understand the situation and she messed up. If anyone should understand that, it's you. Remember coming over to my house and scaring Dan away? Remember flirting with Laura yourself and giving Smoke the wrong idea?”

    He grinned. Yeah, he did, but that was different. “I innocently stumbled in where some other lucky guy had already staked his claim.” He couldn't help but chuckle. “If you'll pardon the expression.”

    Missy slapped his arm again, but she was laughing with him and Dan was smiling behind her.

    “Leanne was deliberately butting in where she had no rights. She was interfering. I don't like that. So maybe she meant well, and in the end it all turned out okay, but I don't like what she did and I'm not going to pretend I do.”

    Missy was wrinkling her nose at him. “She was misguided, that's all. I need you to get over it and forgive her so we can all have dinner tonight.”

    “I'm over it. No worries there. What I'm saying is, I'm not getting into it. You all seem to think it's pairing off time. I wouldn't mind it—if I find the right girl. All I'm saying is, Leanne is not the right girl. Not for me.”

    Missy gave him a quizzical look. “But she's so beautiful!”

    Dan laughed. “Leave it, Miss. He's not interested. Leanne's coming up to see us and to apologize to Smoke, and everyone. You don't need to force Michael into anything.”

    “Thanks, mate. I'm glad you can handle this one. I never get anywhere with bossy Melissa.”

    Dan closed a hand around the back of Missy's neck and smiled down at her. “We've got each other figured out.”

    Michael could see that. “Yeah, you do,” he said with a grin.

    Missy and Dan were the least likely couple he had ever known, but they were good together. In fact, they were great together. He was happy for them. He was even starting to envy them, to wonder if he would find what they had. No way would he find it with Leanne, though. Yes, she was beautiful, a ten, no question about it, but she just didn't do it for him. Even before she'd tried coming on to Smoke, tried to prove to Laura that her boyfriend would still go after another woman, and in the process almost broken the two of them up, Michael had known she wasn't for him. She was hot, she was fun, but she was too.... What? Strong? That wasn't it, he admired strong women. Confident women were sexy. Loud? She wasn't exactly loud. Outspoken maybe? Whatever it was, she wasn't for him. He'd gladly join the gang for dinner at the Boathouse later, but he needed Missy to know that he had no intentions of being paired off with the blonde ball-buster.

    “So what time are we meeting over there? I'm feeling a bit lost with my boy gone.”

    Missy smiled. “It is weird, isn't it? You know Ethan's fine though, and Scot was so excited. I kept telling him there won't be any signal out there for any of his gadgets, and he just didn't care. He's more interested in exploring the camp with Ethan and teaching him what he knows about fishing.”

    “Yeah, I'm not worried about him. He was looking forward to it. I know the old-timers will take care of them. I just want to stay busy till he gets back.”

    “We said we'd meet everyone at the Boathouse at seven,” said Dan.

    “And Leanne called a little while ago. She should be here any time now,” added Missy. “So why don't you hang here? We can all go over together later.”

    Michael shook his head. “Thanks, but no thanks, critter. I'll take myself over to see Ben. Have a beer with him.”

    He had no desire to be on the welcome committee when Leanne hit town.

    “Hey, Ben!” Michael waved as he saw his old friend running down the steps from the lodge. “How's it going, mate?”

    Ben grinned. “Everything's great, bud. It looks like we're in for a quiet weekend, for once, and man am I ready for it. In fact, have you got time for a beer? The others are all coming over at seven, but it's quiet enough that I'm just killing time till then.”

    “That's what I came to ask you. I've got some time to kill myself. Come on, let me buy you one.”

    They headed into the bar, and once Ben had their drinks they claimed one of the high-top tables in the corner.

    “We'll probably need to pull a couple of these together once everyone gets here,” said Ben. “I thought you'd be over at Miss and Dan's waiting for Leanne to arrive.”

    Michael shook his head. “That's where I just came from. I don't want any of that, mate. You have at it, if you're interested. She is a stunner, just not for me. You were the one supposed to be her date in the first place.”

    He noticed the sadness cross Ben's face before he smiled. “No, I'm glad I didn't go to the fundraiser. By the sounds of it, she's not my type either.”

    “You going to tell me the story with Charlotte then?”

    Ben shook his head. “I am not. It's not a story, it's history—of the ancient variety.”

    “Fair enough.”

    “But what about you? Are you really staying? Ethan seems to have settled in really well. You're not going to take him back to Oz now, are you?”

    “I hope not. It was hard on the little man to leave there, but he's loving being here. He loves all the time with my mom and dad. Scot's become like a big brother to him. It seems to be doing them both good. Neither of them are used to having another little genius around, so even though Scotty is four years older, they have enough in common that it doesn't seem to matter.”

    Ben nodded. “And how about you? Are you settling in? Did you get everything sorted out to be able to practice here?”

    “Yeah. When I did my internship in New York, I never thought I would need it to work back in the States. But it's come in handy. I'm going to be able to join Dad soon. Then when he's ready to retire, I'll take over. At least that's the plan. I hope it all works out. I'm liking being back here.” He smiled. “It seems weird to think the class clown is coming home to become a pillar of the community. Weird, but good, you know?”

    Ben grinned at him. “I do know, bud. It's great that everyone’s coming back. Sometimes over the years I've thought about leaving myself, but I've never been able to think of a better place to be. I'm just glad the rest of you are finally figuring it out and coming back to join me and Miss.... Hang on a sec. I just need to catch Megan over there.”

    Michael watched as Ben went over to the servers' station. He grinned as the woman waiting there shifted nervously. Ben had no clue about the effect he had on women and this one was looking flustered as he spoke to her. She didn't look like she was here for a night out. Her blonde hair was all scraped into a bun, her heavy, square-framed glasses gave her a no-nonsense air. But as Michael looked her over he could tell it was just a front. She was flustered and nervous. Whether that was about Ben or something else, he didn't know. She was tiny and had to look up to meet Ben's gaze as she spoke to him. She wore sneakers on her feet, no heels to make her any taller. She was hiding herself in a baggy sweatshirt and shapeless jeans. But Michael was intrigued. He could tell that underneath there was one hell of a figure. Ben was talking to her, smiling at her, putting her at ease in the way he did with everyone. He said something now that seemed to make her relax and lower her guard. When she smiled back she was transformed. He'd been right, there was a beautiful woman under that disguise.

    Michael watched as she ran upstairs to the function room. He wanted to know her story. Ben sauntered back over and sat down.

    “What was that all about? And who is she?”

    “I'd told Megan she could use the upstairs for a meeting tonight. We've got nothing booked.”

    “What kind of meeting? Is she a local?”

    “Yeah, she's been here a while now. I'm surprised you haven't met her. She works at the library and she's trying to build closer ties with the school. I like her.”

    Michael raised an eyebrow. “Like her, like her?”

    Ben laughed. “No! Like her as a friend, she's good people, just a bit shy.” Ben gave him a stern look. “Don't even think about it, Morgan. She's not your type. She's smart and sweet and quiet and serious.”

    Michael grinned. “A girl like that needs some fun in her life, right?”

    Ben shook his head. “No. Leave her alone. I don't know what her story is, but it's taken her a good couple of months to start coming out at all. I don't want you scaring her back into hiding.”

    “I'm not scary, I'm lovable! What's not to love about me? I'm a devoted single dad, a doctor. I even have a sexy accent. Besides, I'm cute and endearing and irresistibly attractive.” Michael waggled his eyebrows as he added, “And modest too.”

    Ben laughed. “Yeah, I know, and it works for you. All I'm saying is, you can work that shit on any woman. Have some fun. Megan doesn't seem to know what fun is. She wouldn't know what to do with you.”

    “Then I may just have to teach her what fun is.” Michael grinned, liking the idea. “And I can show her what to do with me.”

    “Whatever. I'm guessing before tonight is over something more obvious will have caught your eye and you won't even remember her name. Look, there's Em and Jack. They said they might come down early.”

    As he raised a hand to greet them, Michael smiled to himself. No matter what Ben said, he knew he wouldn't be forgetting the name Megan any time soon.

    ~ ~ ~

    Megan stacked the last of the chairs and looked around. She wanted to make sure she left everything as she had found it. It was what she did. She liked to leave no trace. It was so good of Ben to let her use this room for the meetings. She didn't want to create any work for him because of it. The last of the teachers had left ten minutes ago. They'd been more receptive this time, but she was quite sure that when she went back down through the bar she would see most of them sitting around having a drink, despite their claims that they could only make the meeting if it was no longer than an hour. Oh well. At least they had come. At first she hadn't been able to muster any interest in building stronger ties between the library and the school. Now she was getting somewhere.

    Ben stuck his head around the door and grinned. “I told you last time, you don't need to stack chairs, Megan. I'll take care of it tomorrow.”

    She smiled. He was so kind. “I just like to leave everything as I found it. I don't want to abuse your generosity.”

    “How about you let me extend the generosity to buying you a drink? There are a bunch of us downstairs, some friends I'd like you to meet. Have a quick drink with us before you go?”

    She shook her head. “It's very kind of you, Ben, but I need to get home. I don't like to leave Ollie this long.” It was an excuse, and they both knew it. She also knew Ben would let her get away with it.

    “Okay, but at least let me introduce you on your way out? These are some really good friends of mine. It'd do you good to get to know more people.”

    She hesitated. Maybe she should be making more of an effort to get to know people.

    “Go on,” said Ben. “You know you want to really. I promise I won't keep you more than five minutes. I'll spring you from any conversation you get caught in, and make sure you can get home to Ollie.”

    She had to smile. He made it too hard to say no. “Okay then, but you absolutely must help me if I get stuck in a conversation.”

    “Deal,” said Ben. “Come on.”

    Megan followed him down the stairs and over to a large group of people sitting at three high-top tables they had pulled together. As she got nearer she wished she'd said no. This was a lot of people to meet in one go. She poked Ben in the back with a worried frown.

    He grinned down at her. “I promised you, five minutes. You can do this.”

    Then they were at the table and all heads turned towards them. She recognized Missy Malone, Scot's mom, and her boyfriend Dan. At least there were two familiar and friendly faces.

    Ben banged on the table. “Hey guys. I'd like you all to meet Megan Reid. She works at the library and is living out at the old Carrolton place.”

    Megan smiled as they all nodded and waved. They seemed friendly enough.

    Ben pointed around the table. “Megan, meet Emma and Jack, Holly and Pete, Laura and Smoke.” He gestured towards a beautiful woman sitting next to Missy. “This is Leanne Miller, who is up visiting for the weekend.” The woman gave her a friendly smile, then looked over her shoulder, as if searching for someone. There was an empty stool between her and Missy. Perhaps she was looking for its occupant to introduce them too. “I know you three have already met.” Ben turned towards Missy and Dan.

    “We have.” Missy patted the empty stool. “Are you going to join us?” she asked.

    “No. I can't stay.”

    “Not even for a quick minute?” Missy was smiling. “I wanted to talk to you about the after-school program you're setting up. Scot loved the idea of it and a few of his friends wanted to come too.”

    Megan looked up at Ben. She liked Missy, and she did want to talk to her about starting the program, but she did not want to get stuck here.

    Ben gave her a reassuring smile. “You'll have to be quick, Miss. Megan has to get home soon.” As he said it he pulled out the empty seat and Megan had no choice but to climb up onto it. She didn't miss the irritated look the beautiful blonde gave her. She shrugged to herself. The woman didn't need to worry. Megan didn't want to be here either and she would not be staying long.

    “It's alright,” said Missy “I won't keep you.” She smiled at Dan. “I know it can be difficult to get landed with all of us. In fact, if you wouldn't mind giving me your number I'll call you during the week. It's just that Scotty's getting into so many different activities, and I know your library stuff and databases is the one he doesn't want to miss out on.”

    Megan smiled. Scot was such a good boy, and so bright. He'd already helped her out with a few databasing issues. She wasn't really sure that she could teach him anything, but she could see that the social side would be good for him. Maybe making him her assistant would help build his confidence too. She took a pen and notebook from her purse and scribbled her number.

    “Here, give me a call and I'll let you know where I'm up to.”

    Someone leaned on the back of her seat. She didn't dare turn around. She knew it was a man, the goosebumps running down her neck and spine told her that, even before she heard his voice.

    “Can I get your number too?”

    Megan froze. There was a man leaning on her chair. His presence was doing funny things to her insides. His voice was doing even funnier things. What was that accent? Dangerous! She knew that much. And he was asking for her number?

    She raised her eyes to look at Missy. Missy smiled kindly, seeming to understand. “Michael, buzz off! This isn't social, this is kid stuff. We'll be done in a few minutes. Come back then.”

    He didn't move. Megan could feel him still standing there. Even though she hadn't dared turn around to look at him yet, she could tell he was smiling. She hoped he didn't look as good as he sounded, as good as his nearness felt. She held her breath, waiting to feel him leave. He didn't.

    “Well, if it's kid stuff, shouldn't I be in on it?”

    Megan let her breath out. Safe! If he had a kid, the kid would have a mother, and therefore she did not need to feel so self-conscious.

    “And, since you’re in my seat and no one is introducing us, I'll do it myself.”

    Her stool spun around and she found herself face to face with a broad chest, covered by a denim shirt. She counted the buttons as she slowly lifted her gaze. When there was no more shirt, she took in a strong chin, beautiful full lips turning up in amusement, a dimple sitting next to them, making it impossible not to smile back. Finally she met bright green eyes, shining mischievously. All she could do was stare. There were a lot of handsome men sitting at this table, but...this one? Good grief! He was breathtaking! She had to get out of here.

    Those green eyes held her own, the dimple on his cheek deepened as his smile grew wider. “It's a pleasure to meet you. I'm Michael. And you....are beautiful.”

    The blonde woman was glowering now.

    “Nice to meet you,” she mumbled. “I’m sorry I didn’t realize this was yours.” She felt herself blush as he ran his eyes all over her.

    “No worries, darl’. You can sit on mine any time you like. I’ll even pull it out for you.”

    Oh, good grief, he wasn’t just talking about the chair! He was saying...and even worse, her body was responding to his words! She was all warm and tingly. She had to get away from him. “I was just leaving.”

    She got down from the stool and fled.

    She pushed her way through the doors and out into the cool night air, grateful to feel it against her flaming cheeks. What a horrible thing to do! She wasn't beautiful, she knew that. How could he be so mean to plain old her? Especially while she was sitting next to that blonde woman who truly was beautiful. He was just like the kids back in high school, getting his laughs by embarrassing her. She stuck her hands in her sweatshirt pocket and started walking across the square.

    “Megan!”

    Oh, no! It was his voice. It was an Australian accent, she placed it even as she put her head down and picked up her pace, pretending not to hear. It was no good though. Now she could hear his footsteps. He was running to catch up with her. She considered breaking into a run herself, but she knew she wasn't fast enough. She'd have to face him. Oh God, please let this be over quickly. She stopped and turned around. He ran easily across the square. Everything about him—his gait, his clothes, his easy manner as he caught up to her and smiled that disarming smile—absolutely everything, told her she needed to get away from him, fast. He was one of the in-crowd, one of the cool kids, and she was just a dork who didn't need to stick around for the humiliation.

    “Megan, I'm sorry, darl'.”

    “No problem. I just have to get home. I'm sorry I was rude.” She had to make herself stop staring at the beautiful, full lips smiling back at her. Wait! She was smiling? She made herself stop. “There was no need to come out here. And I should get home.” She couldn't make herself start walking though.

    He was still smiling at her. “Can I at least walk you home?”

    Oh, my goodness, no! “No thank you. You should go back to your evening and your friends.”

    “I'd rather walk you home and make a new friend.”

    She just stared. He couldn't be serious? Men who looked like him weren't interested in being friends with women like her. Ben must have sent him out to apologize.

    He hung his head, though his eyes still shone with mischief as he smiled at her. “I’m sorry, okay? I was just trying to have a laugh with you. I didn’t mean to embarrass you. Let me make it up to you. Let me walk you home? Unless you've got someone waiting there for you?”

    Perfect! He'd given her the out she needed. “It's kind of you to offer, but as a matter of fact there is someone waiting. He'll be cross that I've been out this long, and I don't think he'd be too pleased to see you coming back with me. He's not friendly with people he doesn't know.”

    He grinned. “Honestly? You're not just giving me the brush off?”

    Oh, no! He didn't believe her! What could she say?

    “If there really is a guy waiting at home for you, what's his name?”

    “Ollie,” she replied without missing a beat.

    Michael's face fell. Apparently now he was convinced. “Right, okay.”

    No way did she believe he was as disappointed as he looked. He was probably relieved, just didn't want to show it.

    “Well.” The dimple had disappeared along with his smile. “I'm sorry to have bothered you. I didn't mean to offend.”

    “No problem. It was nice to meet you. I hope you have a lovely evening.”

    She turned and started walking as fast as she could. She needed to get away from him. She couldn't quite believe how attractive he was and she totally could not believe that the disappointment on his face was genuine.





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