The Forever Farmhouse (Hometown Brothers #1) Read Online Lee Tobin McClain

Categories Genre: Romance Tags Authors: Series: Hometown Brothers Series by Lee Tobin McClain
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Total pages in book: 96
Estimated words: 90727 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 454(@200wpm)___ 363(@250wpm)___ 302(@300wpm)
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A Chesapeake island homecoming—and a life-changing discovery

When Ryan Hastings first came to Teaberry Island, he was a troubled teen on his last chance. He’s returning as a renowned scientist, checking in on his widowed foster mother. But one thing hasn’t changed—Ryan’s feelings for the girl next door who he loved…and left. Mellie Anderson has a son now, and a good life that Ryan believes he’s still too damaged to share. But he knows he can help young Alfie, who’s getting picked on at his new school.
Mellie is grateful her gifted son is getting extra support, and torn about where it’s coming from. Ryan has no idea he’s Alfie’s father. No matter how valid her reasons were, could Ryan ever understand why she didn’t tell him? But in this close-knit community, friendship and forgiveness are always near at hand, and forever love might be waiting just next door.

FULL BOOK START HERE:

CHAPTER ONE

THE FERRYBOAT REACHED Teaberry Island just as the last bit of sun sank behind it, turning the bay into a glossy golden mirror.

Ryan Hastings considered himself a serious scientist, not given to surges of emotion. Nonetheless, as he stepped onto the small, isolated island, happiness washed over him like a gentle Chesapeake wave.

“Traveling light, are you?” The ferryman handed Ryan his single suitcase and accepted the substantial bonus Ryan had offered for the late-evening ride. “Got a place to stay?”

Ryan nodded, even though he wasn’t sure of his welcome. “With Betty Raines.”

“Oh, uh-huh. Shame about Wayne.” Then he squinted at Ryan. “You’re one of their foster kids. The genius, right?”

Ryan’s face heated. “I lived here with them as a teenager, yeah.”

The man shook his head. “Never thought the three of you would amount to anything. Shows what I know.”

“You weren’t alone.” None of their social workers had expected much from the foster placement. It had been a last-ditch effort to isolate three near-hopeless teens so that at least they didn’t influence or harm anyone else.

Ryan, Cody and Luis weren’t related by blood. They had never met one another before they’d arrived, separately but within a month of each other, broken, hurting, in trouble with the law. Wayne and Betty Raines had welcomed them into their rambling farmhouse on the shoreline, had provided them with good meals and warm beds and rules.

But most of all, there had been the bay, stretching all around them, a protective moat against their different but equally ugly pasts. There’d been a canoe and a rowboat and the freedom to spend endless hours exploring the marshes and wetlands, the sun baking their pain away, the lap of water against the dock’s pilings soothing whatever nightmares each of them had faced in childhood.

Four years of that, and they’d all healed enough to make something of themselves. They’d also become brothers in every way that mattered.

As the ferryboat chugged away, Ryan turned and lifted his head to sniff the salty, beachy fragrance of the small fishing port. He was traveling light. Was hoping this would be a short trip.

Get here, check on Mama Betty, get out. Hopefully within twenty-four hours.

Silvery moonlight lit his path as he walked the half mile from the docks to Betty’s home. He glanced to his right, toward the island’s tiny downtown, but saw few lights. That was the reason the stars shone brighter here, a welcome contrast from his home in Baltimore.

Betty’s two-story clapboard house rose in front of him, circled on two sides by a wide porch where Ryan had spent plenty of time staring at the cottage—actually, the girl—next door.

He didn’t look in that direction now. Mama Betty was the focus, not himself and his childish, romantic dreams.

After ascertaining that there were a couple of lights on upstairs, Ryan climbed the steps and tapped on the front door. Arriving at 9:00 p.m.—especially as a surprise visitor—could be considered rude, but Betty wasn’t an early-to-bed type.

And if he’d warned her he was coming, he was afraid she’d have declined the visit.

There was the Forever sign that had always hung beside the front door. It had meant the world to him when Betty had told him that, foster or not, she’d act as his mom forever. That he’d always have a place here. But that went both ways; he needed to be here for her, too.

He tapped again, louder, and rang the doorbell, anticipating Betty’s face when she saw him. No matter what dirt he and his brothers had acquired on their traipses through the marshland back in their teenage years, no matter what trouble they’d gotten into, she’d always welcomed them with open arms.

He owed her everything: his career, his sanity, his life.

Ryan knocked and rang the bell once more, uneasy. Could Betty be away, visiting a friend? But no, she never left more than a tiny light on when she went out. Like most of the islanders, she was frugal, had to be. Likely she was caught up in a book from the tiny island library.


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