Funerals can bring people together who are best kept apart. Ethan Foster, home to mourn his sister–in–law, finds himself as unwelcome as ever in the town that once meant the world to him. For more than a decade he's been saddled with a bad reputation – a drunk, a deserter – and he's lived with it, will keep living with it, because the only way to clear his name is to share his secrets. But the secrets are not his to tell and their telling would destroy the family he loves and the woman he's never forgiven himself for leaving behind.
Samantha O'Hara once loved freely, but now she doesn't. Now she leaves before she's left and keeps her vulnerabilities tucked away. But when Ethan Foster walks back into town, finally looking at her the way she always wanted him to, she finds her hard–won armour developing chinks. She can't – won't – have anything to do with any reinvention Ethan is going through. But maybe this isn't a new Ethan... Maybe he's the same Ethan she fell in love with all those years ago.
And maybe, just maybe, this time their love will be strong enough to make him stay.
*Originally published as Ask Me To Stay. Expanded and revised edition.
Dean Foster needs Alice Jaye. Hiring her to manage all things administration and customer service at Foster's Garage is giving him back something he's been lacking for years: time. Time to focus on his business, time to be with his family. Time, even, to learn how to be something more than the town's favourite widower.
Alice Jaye needs Dean Foster. As a financially struggling single mother, Alice relies on the second income from Foster's Garage to help make ends meet. But by taking a second job, Alice is losing the very thing she needs most: time. Time with her son. Time to rest. Time to be more than a money–chasing zombie who hasn't had a grown–up dinner conversation in years.
Both Dean and Alice feel like they've left romance behind, but as they start spending their days together and as their kids start to bond, it becomes clear that what begins in winter could grow into a very sweet spring.