Read on for a first look at book six, Just One Touch (by the way, the whole Just One...theme totally isn't something I'm doing on purpose...lol...it's just kind of happening :-), book seven, Vicki's story will be titled Is This Love? That's coming later this year!)
*This excerpt is unedited and subject to change*
Savannah was startled by the pounding of the door. She got up out of her seat to go and answer it when Drew rushed past her, holding up a hand. He pulled the door open and Savannah nearly gasped when she heard his voice.
"Is Savannah here?"
It was deeper, older. But it was him. And though she wanted to loathe the sound of his voice, it made her heart still skip a beat.
"Who wants to know?" Drew asked, breaking her from her thoughts.
Savannah moved forward. "Ethan?"
Drew's headed whipped around in surprise, which spoke volumes because not much surprised her cousin. Savannah and Ethan's summer fling all those years had been a secret, which was almost impossible with such a large family, but she'd managed to pull it off somehow. So when she got pregnant, she didn't tell anyone who the father was.
"Where is he?" Ethan asked, through clenched teeth, glaring at Savannah.
That was when she finally took a good look at his face. He was pissed. She turned to Drew. She didn't even have to ask. Drew nodded, turned and headed upstairs.
"How did you even know I was here?" she asked Ethan.
"Does it matter, Savvy?" Ethan asked, stepping in the house. "Or did you come, hoping for some reason I wouldn't be here so I wouldn't see my son."
He paced the living room, before turning to face Savannah. "EJ?" There was a pained expression on his face. "Ethan James. You name my son after me, yet you keep him from me? How could you do that to me?"
"How could I..." Savannah's temper spiked. "You've got some nerve, coming in here stomping around saying I'm keeping my son away from you, when you've ignored us for the last six years."
"Ignored you?" Ethan repeated. "What are you talking about? How could I ignore something...someone I never even knew existed?"
Savannah looked at him confused. "I wrote you!" she shouted. "You were the one who left without saying goodbye...without giving me your home address. So I sent the letters to your house here. I sent letters all through my pregnancy and then after EJ was born. I even sent pictures."
"What?" Ethan whispered.
"I knew there was a chance that it would take a while for you to get them. Especially with you going off to college. But I knew you always came here for the summers like we did, so I figured you'd eventually get them and when you did...you would find me. But you didn't...so I thought..." She looked away from Ethan. "I thought you didn't want us...him."
Ethan shook his head. "This is the first time I've been back since that summer," he told her. "I...I never got any letters."
Her head snapped back in his direction.
"I never got the letters, Savvy," he repeated. "I never knew I had a son."
That one fact changed everything, Savannah thought, suddenly she felt dizzy.
"Savvy?" Ethan said, reaching out to her. And with just one touch from him, all of the feelings she'd had for him as a young girl came flooding back with full force.
"I need to sit down."
Ethan helped her over to the couch and sat down with her. After a moment, she looked up at him, with tears in her eyes.
"You didn't know..." she whispered.
"No," Ethan said, his voice trembling slightly.
"Oh my god, Ethan. I'm so sorry. I thought...all this time..." She looked up at him. "You've missed so much...I can't believe this."
He squeezed her hand. "Where is he, Savvy?" Ethan asked, his voice sounding so raw.
She wiped her tears away with the back of her hand. "He's upstairs. He's sleeping...but come on." She stood and took his hand and then led him upstairs and opened up the door to Ethan's room. The room was dark, but the window curtains were pushed open and the moon was streaming through.
Savannah stood in the doorway and watched as Ethan slowly walked over to the bed. Her heart ached as she watched him fall to his knees, staring at his son in complete awe. He just kneeled there for several minutes watching the young boy sleep with his lips parted slightly, his light snores filling the air.
Finally, reached out and lightly brushed his fingers across the waves of EJ's hair and bent over, pressing his lips to the boys forehead. EJ stirred slightly, and rolled over, putting his back to face them.
Ethan stood and turned to Savannah, his cheeks stained with tears. She took a step out into the hallway as Ethan came out of the room and gently closed the door.
"He's beautiful, Savvy."
Savannah couldn't speak over the lump in her throat so she simply nodded.
"It seems we have a lot to discuss."
Savannah nodded again. That seemed to be an understatement.
"I'm coming..." He stopped and changed his wording. "Would it be okay...if I came back tomorrow? During the day. I'd like to really meet him."
"Of course," Savannah said, as she reached out and grabbed his arm reassuringly.
"Thanks," he said, looking down at her hand. She quickly pulled her hand away and took a step back.
Ethan looked as drained as she now felt. They headed back downstairs and to the front door.
"I'll be by tomorrow," Ethan said, after he'd stepped out onto the porch.
"Okay," Savannah said.
He turned back to face her.
"If I'd known...that you didn't know. I would have tried harder to reach out to you. It's never been my intent to keep him from you."
Ethan stared at her for several moments before finally nodding to acknowledge her words. "I'll see you tomorrow," he said, before getting into his car.
Once he drove off, Savannah shut the front door, then turned around to lean on it. Her eyes drifted shut and her head head hit the door with a thud as she blew out a shaky breath.