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Please Don't Say Goodbye (Summer Lake Seasons Book 7) (eBook)

Please Don't Say Goodbye (Summer Lake Seasons Book 7) (eBook)

Sweet n Steamy Romance

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 432+ 5-Star Reviews

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SYNOPSIS

Life doesn’t always go the way we think it will, does it?

Elle moved to the city and did well in her career, but not so well in her life – at least, not her love life. One disastrous relationship and one daughter later, she’s back home, living and working with her mom.

She knows how lucky she is to have a soft place to land and this time, she’s not going to mess up. Her biggest mistakes have always been men, so she’s determined to steer clear of them. Her focus is on her daughter, Skye, and on building a good life for the two of them.

But then there’s Donovan.

Donovan’s a newcomer to the lake. He’s a great guy, kind, considerate, successful, everything that Elle’s ever wanted in a man – and all wrapped up in one hot package!

She’s been down that road before though, and tempting as Donovan might be, she shouldn’t go there again – for her daughter’s sake, if not her own.

From the moment he first laid eyes on her, Donovan knew Elle was the girl for him. Despite what his friends say, he doesn’t have problem that she has a little girl. And from their first meeting, that little girl has made it clear that she doesn’t have any problem with him - she adores him!

He knows he has his work cut out to prove to Elle that he’s nothing like her ex. All she asks of him is to be kind to Skye when it’s time to say goodbye. All he wants is to make her understand that he doesn’t ever want there to be a goodbye for them.

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Please Don't Say Goodbye is the seventh book in USA Today Bestselling Author SJ McCoy's international hit Summer Lake Seasons series, loved by over 1,000,000 fans of sweet and steamy romances. 

Readers say:


"Donavan is a sweetheart and every woman's dream guy..."

"YOU CAN ALWAYS FIND LOVE AT SUMMER LAKE❤️"

"I loved this book. It made me laugh and cry. Another great book from SJ McCoy. Can't wait for the next one." 

"This is a beautifully written story which pulls at the heartstrings throughout, and is a sweet and heartwarming story, with emotions, witty banter, which all leads to an entertaining and all-consuming tale. I was totally captivated throughout this addictive page turner, and I look forward to reading more from this talented author whose work I highly recommend for all."

"I loved this book! Elle’s little three year old girl Skye stole my heart."

"A heartwarming story of family, friends, coworkers, and many Summer Lake residents, plus one precious little girl, makes for a beautiful story to enjoy!"

"Just when I thought Sj's characters couldn't possibly get any more swoony- here comes Donovan."

"I hope this series never says goodbye :)"

"The love, respect and protection that these guys give their girls just makes for a happy heartwarming story. Keep this series going!!!

    Chapter One Look Inside

    Chapter One


    “How long have you been here?”

    Donovan looked up when Brayden came into the office and sat down beside him setting a coffee in front of him.

    “Thanks.” He blew out a sigh. “I don’t know. A couple hours maybe? What time is it?”

    “Nine-twenty.” Brayden smiled. “I’m here early.”

    Donovan laughed. “Yeah. I guess you are—for you. I’ve been here for three hours then.”

    “Shit!” Brayden glanced at the screen. “You really have that much to do?”

    “Yeah. Leanne wants everything in place and ready to go by the time we go live. You guys had several weeks head start on us. I won’t claim to know what you had to do on the tech side, but I can tell you the legal side takes time—always.”

    “I can see that. I couldn’t do it, though. I don’t mind hard work but not in the mornings and not the hours you and Leanne have put in. You don’t have time for a life.”

    “That’s not totally true. I’ve been out with you guys.” He hadn’t had much time for anything outside of work since he and Leanne had arrived in Summer Lake. But he’d hung out with the guys and even been on a date—not a great one but still a date. It was fine by him. It wasn’t like it would always be this way. They were just getting set up. “And besides, we’re nearly there now. And as you know, I plan to start getting a life this weekend.”

    “And you’re really going to invite everyone?”

    “Yeah.” He pushed away from the desk and took a sip of his coffee. “As much as I like hanging out with you and the tech team, I want to get to know everyone. I’m liking the way the whole small-town thing works. I want to be part of it.” He glanced at the door. “And like we talked about; I think it’s important to invite everyone from here, too.”

    Brayden made a face. “I know you’re right, but I’m glad I’m not the one asking. “I guess it’s easier for you since you kind of know Ryan.”

    Donovan had to laugh. “You mean because I got off to such a great start with him? With Leanne letting him think that we were together.”

    “You know what I mean. That didn’t last long, and he respects you for being ready to stand up for her.”

    “Yeah. I’m not so worried about him. Or even Manny.”

    “Manny’s cool. He was over at Mom and Ted’s place last weekend. He’s pretty laid back.” Brayden met his gaze. “Callahan’s a different story.”

    Donovan pursed his lips. He didn’t like to admit that he found Callahan intimidating, too. He joked with Brayden and the tech team about them being scared of him, but he wasn’t immune to it. The guy was built like a brick shit house and he rarely smiled. He stayed even later than Donovan did every night—though he didn’t come in as early. Donovan guessed that he spent that first hour of the day in the gym, judging by his build.

    “So, are you going to go ask him?”

    He made a face. “Yeah. I should.”

    “You could just ask Leanne and she could ask Ryan and he could—”

    Donovan laughed. “I could. I’m tempted to, but I need to get over it. You do too. If we’re going to function as a team once this place is up and running, we need to feel comfortable with each other. If we can’t ask him to come to a cookout on a Sunday afternoon, how are we going to be brave enough to tell him when someone’s screwed up?”

    Brayden nodded. “I know, you’re right.”

    Donovan took a big gulp of his coffee and got to his feet. “Wish me luck.”

    “Good luck.”

    He almost changed his mind as he made his way down the hallway to Callahan’s office. He could hear voices. It sounded like Manny and Ryan were in there with him. He forced himself to keep going. It’d be too easy to turn around and come back later. But no. As he got closer, he could make out what Callahan was saying.

    “ … I’d like to get to work. Do you guys ever do anything? Dan works his ass off. Leanne does too, and Donovan.”

    That made him feel a bit better—at least Callahan knew who he was and had registered that he worked hard. It sounded like he was teasing the other two.

    “But I don’t think I’ve ever seen either of you do any actual work yet.”

    “I did a lot of the set up before you ever arrived,” said Ryan. “Now, we’re waiting to go live and for the contracts to start coming in.”

    Donovan reached the door and took a deep breath. He had to speak up. He didn’t want them to see him there and think he’d been listening in. “Excuse me, guys.”

    They all turned to him. They looked friendly enough.

    “Come on in.” Callahan narrowed his eyes at Ryan. “These guys were just leaving. They have work to do, apparently.”

    Donovan stood aside to let Manny and Ryan out before he went in.

    “Take a seat. What can I do for you?”

    “I …” He hovered by the doorway. When he managed to speak, it all came out at once. “I finally found myself a place to rent and I want to invite everyone over on Sunday afternoon. It’s nothing big or fancy or anything. But I thought it’d be good. You know, to get everyone together outside of work for once? I mean some of us guys hang out sometimes, but sometimes it feels like there’s a divide.”

    “A divide?” Callahan gave him a puzzled look.

    Donovan was pissed at himself. He shouldn’t be so damned nervous. He went into the office and sat down. He needed to be straight with the guy. “Do you mind if I just come straight out with it?”

    “Go ahead. I’d prefer it.”

    “Some of the cyber guys are scared of you. Ryan and Manny, too, a little. But mostly you. I think if this place is going to work the way we all want it to, then we need to be one big team who all trust each other and pull together.”

    Cal pursed his lips. “Hm.”

    Donovan raised an eyebrow. “Is that hm, interesting idea? Or hm, will anyone notice if I tear this minion limb from limb and dispose of him?” What the hell? He’d either get a laugh out of it or find out that Callahan was inclined toward the second option.

    To his relief, Callahan laughed out loud. “Damn. Is that the impression I give? That I’d do that?”

    Donovan nodded emphatically. “You have to remember that you’re dealing with mere mortals here. Ryan and Manny already know you. Of course, the ladies all think you’re God’s gift, but to lowly programmers and lawyers you’re … intimidating.”

    Callahan looked like a different guy when he smiled, and Donovan relaxed. “I’m sorry. I don’t often think about what impression I give.”

    Donovan nodded. “I sure as hell wouldn’t bring it up if I didn’t see it possibly becoming a hindrance when we get up and running around here. I can see it being an issue if one of the guys keeps quiet about something because they’re too scared to come and talk to you.”

    “That’s a good point. I’m glad you’re raising it. Thanks, Donovan.”

    Donovan smiled. “Thank you.” He’d kept saying the guys were scared, but he didn’t want to put it all on the techies and pretend that he was somehow superior to them. “I don’t mind telling you that I was scared to come talk to you. But I believe it’s important—important enough for me to man up and do it.”

    “Well, I appreciate it. And I appreciate the invitation, too. Are you sure you want to use your housewarming as the occasion to do it, though? We could arrange something else.”

    “I’ll be honest; I also want to do it for selfish reasons. I want to make this place my home—Summer Lake and the house. I like the idea of having everyone over.”

    “Okay, then. Let’s do it.” Callahan pursed his lips. “You say you all go out together on the weekends sometimes?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Well, why don’t you see about getting the guys to the Boathouse on Saturday night? I’m going with Manny and Ryan, and it might be a way to break the ice first in a more neutral environment before cramming them all into your place?”

    “That’s a good idea. I’ll talk to them about it.” Donovan got to his feet. “Thanks, Mr. Callahan.”

    “Call me Cal. Hearing you say Mr. Callahan makes me want to look over my shoulder for my dad.”

    Donovan smiled. “I’ll try but forgive me if it slips out now and then?”

    “We’ll work on it.”

    Donovan felt as though a weight had been lifted from his shoulders as he walked back down the hallway. He was glad he’d done it. Before that conversation, he wouldn’t have dreamed of calling him Cal. Now, he could see it happening. He liked the guy. And he wasn’t nearly so scary when he smiled.

    ~ ~ ~

    “When are Grandma and Grandpa coming?”

    Elle smiled at her daughter. “In half an hour. Do you want to look at your book while I get your bag ready?”

    “I can help.” Skye went out to the hallway and started dragging her bag out of the pile by the door.

    Elle followed her and took the bag with a smile. “I’ll get it.”

    “And my seat? I need my seat for Grandpa’s car.”

    “We’ll get it when they arrive. Just let me—” Elle rolled her eyes when her phone started to ring. She hurried into the kitchen and Skye hurried after her.

    “Is it Grandma?”

    Elle checked the screen. “No. It’s my friend Ally. You remember Ally. Will you sit down with your book a minute while I talk to her?” She took Skye’s hand and led her back to the living room while she answered. “Hey, Ally. What’s up?”

    “Hey, Elle. I just wanted to make sure that you’re still coming to Donovan’s this afternoon. I didn’t want you to duck out since Abbie’s not coming. I can pick you up if you like?”

    “No, that’s okay thanks. I’m still coming. But I’m bringing Skye.”

    “Aww, she’s a cutie pie. I don’t mind. We can put her car seat in my car. Jade’s making her own way over there.”

    “Thanks, but it’s okay. I’m coming with my mom and Cal. They’re invited too since Cal works with Donovan.”

    “Oh. Okay.” Ally laughed. “It’s still kind of weird to me the way everyone gets together here—all the oldies join in.”

    “Yeah. You’ll get used to it. It’s a small town thing, I guess. It’s always been that way.”

    “It seems like it. When Brayden first told me about everyone going to Donovan’s I thought it’d just be the guys from work—you know, the guys our age. I thought he wanted me to ask all the girls to even things up a bit. But it turns out that there’s an even spread of guys and girls—and old and young, too.”

    Elle glanced at her watch. She liked Ally. She didn’t know her that well yet, but she was becoming a good friend. But she didn’t have the time to chat for too long if she wanted to be ready to go when her mom and Cal arrived.

    “I don’t know half of them,” Ally continued. “I guess you do since you grew up here.”

    “Well, I think I know pretty much everyone who’s going. Some of them are newer faces around town but I’ve at least met them.” She frowned. “All except the guy who’s house we’re going to—Donovan.”

    “Ooh!” Ally chuckled. “You haven’t met him?”

    “No. I’ve heard about him since Cal works with him and Jade went out with him but …”

    “Don’t let that stop you!”

    Elle frowned. “Stop me from what?”

    Ally laughed again. “I told Brayden that it was a bad idea to set them up. You know what Jade’s like.”

    Elle laughed. “I like her. She speaks her mind and …”

    “She’s wild! Don’t get me wrong. I love her, she’s awesome. But her and Donovan? I don’t know what Brayden was thinking.”

    Elle smiled. She liked Ally’s brother Brayden, but she couldn’t imagine him—or anyone like him—being able to hold their own with Jade. She was a livewire to say the least. She didn’t like to say that to Ally, though. “Did she scare him off?”

    Ally laughed. “No! I can see why you’d think that, but he’s not one of the nerds. He’s just … I don’t know. He’s different. He’s … you’ll see when you meet him. He’s more … mature?” She laughed again. “No, scratch that. That makes him sound old or boring and he’s neither of those. He’s just … he’s the kind of guy who’s got his shit together, you know? And Jade’s not into guys like that. Anyway, I should probably let you go. I’ll see you over there—and you can tell me what you make of him. I told Brayden you were the one he should have set up with Donovan.”

    Elle laughed. “Err, no thanks. You know where I stand on men. Maybe talk to me again in fifteen years or so when Skye’s grown up.”

    “Yeah, right. Because you’re going to go without for fifteen years? I’ll ask you about that again after you meet Donovan.”

    Elle laughed. “You can ask, but I know what I’ll say.”

    “Maybe, maybe not. I’ll see you over there.”

    “Okay. See you in a little while.”

    She hung up and looked down at Skye who now had the contents of her bag strewn all over the sofa. She sighed.

    “Come on, sweetheart. Let’s get your things together.”

    Just as she said that, she heard the front door open and sighed again. She’d wanted to be ready by the time they arrived. She handed Skye her book and went out to the hallway to greet them.

    “Hey. I’m running a bit late, but I don’t want to hold you up. There’s no need to wait.”

    Cal gave her a reassuring smile. “There’s no rush. It’s not a problem. We’ve got all afternoon.”

    She rolled her eyes. “Maybe. But you don’t need to spend your afternoon waiting for me.” She glanced at her mom. “Sorry.”

    “It’s fine, sweetheart. It’s not a problem.”

    Skye came out of the living room and grinned when she saw them. “Grandpa!” She flung herself at Cal’s legs, making him laugh.

    Elle marveled at the way he scooped her up. “Skye!”

    “Are we going now? Mommy said I get to ride in your car.” She leaned precariously away from him to look out through the window, and both Elle and her mom started toward him as if to catch her, but Cal had it. Elle smiled at her mom; they should know by now that there was no way he’d let her fall.

    “That’s right, sunshine. We’re all going for a ride in my car.”

    When they got over to Four Mile Creek Elle looked around as Cal drove through the neighborhood. She liked it over here. It was a new development and it felt more modern than town. She blew out a sigh. She was going to have to find her own place soon, she couldn’t stay with her mom forever. It’d been good to have a soft place to land after everything that had happened, and she loved her mom. But she needed her own place.

    It felt strange—strange but good to walk beside her mom and Cal. They’d had to park near the end of the street. It seemed like this Donovan must know a lot of people judging by the number of cars that lined the street.

    She’d put Skye in her stroller. She didn’t use it much anymore, but it would come in handy if she got tired later.

    She was laughing with her mom about Cal being on probation for the title of Grandpa when a guy appeared around the side of the house they were going to. Damn! He was hot.

    He smiled and waved at them. “Hey, Mr. Callahan … Cal! I’m glad you could make it. Come on around. Everyone’s in the—” He stopped mid-sentence when he looked at Elle.

    Damn again! She couldn’t help letting her gaze rove over him. If she weren’t off men … When she looked back at his face, she realized that he was checking her out in much the same way she’d just looked at him and even from this distance she could feel the heat in that look.

    Cal moved forward, but it was her Mom’s voice that broke the silence.

    “Hi, Donovan. Have you met my daughter, Elle? And her daughter,” she waved a hand at the stroller. “Skye.”

    Donovan came to meet them with a big smile on his face. He reached out to shake with her, and she couldn’t help smiling back. She bit down on her bottom lip when his fingers closed around hers. His hand felt warm and strong

    “It’s nice to meet you.”

    “You, too.” She blinked a few times wondering if she was just imagining this—if her vision would clear and he’d turn into a nice ordinary guy—like Brayden and his friends she had met. Nope. He was still there. Still smiling. Still gorgeous.

    He seemed to come to his senses and let go of her hand. He could probably feel her mom and Cal watching them, just like she could. Cal was great, but she was wishing he wasn’t here right now. He’d be enough to scare any guy off.

    To her surprise, instead of turning away scared, Donovan squatted down in front of Skye. Elle’s heart melted a little bit when he held his hand out to her daughter with a solemn expression on his face. “Hello, Skye. It’s nice to meet you. I’m Donovan.”

    Her heart melted the rest of the way when Skye giggled as she shook hands with him and said, “Hello, Dondervan.” Then, she looked up at Elle. “He’s nice!”

    Elle had to laugh. Her mom laughed, too, but Cal didn’t seem impressed.

    Skye, as per usual, was oblivious to any tension. She looked up at Cal and held her little arms up. “Want out, Grandpa!”

    Elle’s heart sank when Donovan’s eyes widened as he looked up at Cal. He got to his feet and stepped back out of the way when Cal came to unfasten Skye and get her out of her stroller. The way Cal swung her up to sit on his hip made Elle smile again. He might be scaring Donovan off but that was a small price to pay.

    She’d already come to see Cal as someone who’d be there for her and Skye. If she was going to allow a man into her life—and especially into her daughter’s life—it was better that it should be a father-figure. Someone like Cal who she knew would have their backs. Someone like Donovan was a nice idea—but nice ideas rarely panned out. She didn’t need to go messing her life up again for another good-looking guy and she’d already sworn to herself that she wouldn’t mess up her daughter’s any more than she already had.

    “Do you want a drink?” Donovan asked.

    “Thanks, I’d love one.” She made herself smile at him the same way she’d smile at Ally’s brother Brayden. Brayden was a nice guy, but not someone Elle would ever date. She’d just have to force herself to see Donovan—and treat him—that way, too.

    She followed him around the side of the house then glanced back over her shoulder. Her mom was kissing Cal’s cheek and Skye kissed his other one. She felt like it was a message—love could wait. If her mom could find and fall in love with such an amazing guy as Cal in her fifties, Elle had to take that as a message from the universe that she could do the same. Skye had to come first.

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