Home>>read Take a Chance on Me free online | Romance

Take a Chance on Me

By:Susan May Warren

My dearest Darek,

Even as I write this letter, I know I’ll tuck it away; the words on it are more of a prayer, meant for the Lord more than you. Or maybe, in the scribbling upon this journal page, the words might somehow find your heart, a cry that extends across the bond of mother and child.

The firstborn child is always the one who solves the mystery of parenthood. Before I had you, I watched other mothers and wondered at the bond between a child and a parent, the strength of it, the power to mold a woman, making her put all hopes and wishes into this tiny bundle of life that she had the responsibility to raise.

It’s an awe-filled, wonderful, terrifying act to have a child, for you suddenly wear your heart on the outside of your body. You risk a little more each day as he wanders from your arms into the world. You, Darek, were no protector of my heart. You were born with a willfulness, a courage, and a bent toward adventure that would bring me to the edge of my faith and keep me on my knees. The day I first saw you swinging from that too-enticing oak tree into the lake should have told me that I would be tested.

Your brothers shortened your name to Dare, and you took it to heart. I was never so terrified as the day you came home from Montana, fresh from your first year as a hotshot, feeling your own strength. I knew your future would take you far from Evergreen Lake. I feared it would take you far, also, from your legacy of faith.

Watching your son leave your arms has no comparison to watching him leave God’s. You never seemed to question the beliefs your father and I taught you. Perhaps that is what unsettled me the most, because without questioning, I wondered how there could be true understanding. I held my breath against the day when it would happen—life would shatter you and leave your faith bereft.

And then it did.

It brought you home, in presence if not soul. If it hadn’t been for your son, I might have done the unthinkable—stood in our gravel driveway and barred you from returning, from hiding.

Because, my courageous, bold oldest son, that is what you are doing. Hiding. Bitter and dark, you have let guilt and regret destroy your foundation, imprison you, and steal your joy. You may believe you are building a future for your son, but without faith, you have nothing to build it on. Evergreen Resort is not just a place. It’s a legacy. A foundation. A belief.

It’s the best of what I have to give you. That, and my unending prayers that somehow God will destroy those walls you’ve constructed around your heart.

Darek, you have become a mystery to me again. I don’t know how to help free you. Or to restore all you’ve lost. But I believe that if you give God a chance, He will heal your heart. He will give you a future. He will truly lead you home.

Lovingly,

Your mother

IVY MADISON would do just about anything to stay in the secluded, beautiful, innocent town of Deep Haven.

Even if she had to buy a man.

A bachelor, to be exact, although maybe not the one currently standing on the stage of the Deep Haven Emergency Services annual charity auction. He looked like a redneck from the woolly woods of northern Minnesota, with curly dark-blond hair, a skim of whiskers on his face, and a black T-shirt that read, Hug a logger—you’ll never go back to trees. Sure, he filled out his shirt and looked the part in a pair of ripped jeans and boots, but he wore just a little too much “Come and get me, girls,” in his smile.

The auctioneer on stage knew how to work his audience. He regularly called out names from the crowd to entice them to bid. And apparently the town of Deep Haven loved their firefighters, EMTs, and cops because the tiny VFW was packed, the waitresses running out orders of bacon cheeseburgers and hot wings to the bidding crowd.

After the show was over, a local band would take the stage. The auction was part of the summer solstice festival—the first of many summer celebrations Deep Haven hosted. Frankly it felt like the village dreamed up events to lure tourists, but Ivy counted it as her welcoming party.

Oh, how she loved this town. And she’d only lived here for roughly a day. Imagine how she’d love it by the end of the summer, after she’d spent three months learning the names of locals, investing herself in this lakeside hamlet.

Her days of hitching her measly worldly possessions—four hand-me-down suitcases; a loose cardboard box of pictures; a garbage bag containing The Elements of Legal Style, How to Argue and Win Every Time, and To Kill a Mockingbird; and most of all, her green vintage beach bike—onto the back of her red Nissan Pathfinder were over.

Time to put down roots. Make friends.

Okay, buying a friend didn’t exactly qualify, but the fact that her money would go to help the local emergency services seemed like a good cause. And if Ivy had learned anything growing up in foster care, it was that a person had to work the system to get what she wanted.

She should be unpacking; she started work in the morning. But how long would it take, really, to settle into the tiny, furnished efficiency apartment over the garage behind the Footstep of Heaven Bookstore? And with her new job as assistant county attorney, she expected to have plenty of free time. So when the twilight hues of evening had lured her into the romance of a walk along the shoreline of the Deep Haven harbor, she couldn’t stop herself.

She couldn’t remember the last time she’d taken a lazy walk, stopping at storefronts, reading the real estate ads pasted to the window of a local office.

Cute, two-bedroom log cabin on Poplar Lake. She could imagine the evergreen smell nudging her awake every morning, the twitter of cardinals and sparrows as she took her cup of coffee on the front porch.

Except she loved the bustle of the Deep Haven hamlet. Nestled on the north shore of Minnesota, two hours from the nearest hint of civilization, the fish

Loading...