On Lavender Lane

Read On Lavender Lane for Free Online

Book: Read On Lavender Lane for Free Online
Authors: Joann Ross
Tags: Fiction, General, Romance, Contemporary
cooking because the recipes she created seemed so accessible.
    That’s what she was expecting now.
    She was wrong.
    Because, although she wouldn’t have thought it possible, Madeline’s already horrible day was about to get worse.

4
     
    The French lavender lining the roadway leading to Sofia De Luca’s Lavender Hill farm had burst into bloom, the grounds were bright with iris and rhododendron, fields of herbs were beginning to green up, and the rooms were perfumed with the quiet, soft scent of dried lavender potpourri. Lucas could not have thought of a better place to celebrate his father’s amazing life with friends.
    “Wow, what a crowd,” Charity murmured as she found him alone in the octagon-shaped parlor. “Not that I’m surprised. Your dad was a popular guy.”
    “He touched a lot of lives.” It seemed half the town had come to the supper, clasped Lucas’ hand, and shared some personal story of Duncan Chafee. So many so that after a while he’d just needed to escape.
    “That’s how people live on,” she said mildly. “In memories and stories. He truly did touch many lives. And was so proud of you,” she added, making him wonder if she’d realized that as much as Lucas appreciated all those anecdotes, they’d left him realizing what a huge legacy his dad had left behind. A legacy that wouldn’t be easy to live up to.
    “He sailed into town a couple weeks ago and we had dinner. He told me all about what a hero you were. And how you’d saved so many of your teammate’s lives.”
    “I’m no hero. I was just doing my job.”
    “Yeah. Kara told me that’s what Sax always says when people bring it up. I don’t believe him, either.”
    When he didn’t respond, they went back to looking out the window, as comfortable with each other as if they’d been lifelong siblings, and not steps who only shared a summer together a very long time ago.
    “I love wisteria,” she murmured.
    “Which would be?”
    “Those.” She pointed at the flowers that had climbed over the arbor. “The ones that look like a purple waterfall dropping from the sky.”
    It was a good description.
    Another silence settled over them.
    “It was nice of Sofia to hold this supper,” he said after a time.
    “Wild horses couldn’t have stopped her. And…”
    “What?” he asked when her voice trailed off.
    She paused, as if carefully choosing her words. Then shook her head. “It’s not any secret. You know her husband died.”
    “Yeah. Sax and Kara told me about that. I guess it was rough.”
    “Losing a life partner and your best friend can’t be easy at any time. But yes, his cancer made it worse.” She sighed. “Then Rosemary—that was her dog, who her husband had talked her into adopting—had to be put down last summer.”
    “That is tough.”
    “True. But I found her another—”
    “Why am I not surprised at that?” The idea made him smile. His old teammate had also told him that Charity seemed determined to place a pet with everyone up and down the Oregon coast.
    “It’s an older bulldog who was abandoned pregnant. I was hoping Sofia and Winnie would fit. And they did.” It was her turn to smile. “But although it’s a cliché, she’s notgetting any younger, and I worry that this place might be becoming too much for her.”
    “She seemed distracted.”
    “She does, doesn’t she?” Charity agreed. “I wonder if it has anything to do with that phone call she got after we got back to the pier?”
    “I hope it wasn’t bad news,” they both said at once.
    “Jinx.” She hit him lightly on the arm. “You owe me a Coke.”
    They were laughing at the old schoolyard saying when the subject of their conversation joined them in the room.
    “You’ve got quite a crowd out there,” Sofia said. “Good thing I planned ahead and cooked for an army.”
    “I really appreciate you going to all this trouble.” Lucas repeated what he’d been saying since she’d first approached him with the idea. “But

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