Remember Me

By: Ashlee Mallory

Chapter One


Salt Lake City, Utah

“I think I see him!” Allie McBride’s sister rose on tiptoes, an action that seemed unnecessary in Allie’s opinion, since Laney already towered over most of the people around her at the Salt Lake International Airport terminal. “Wait.” Laney squinted again and heaved a loud sigh of disappointment. “No. Never mind.”

Allie groaned. That had been about the twelfth time in ten minutes that her sister had bellowed in her ear that their nephew was finally in sight. Each time she was wrong, Allie’s patience ebbed.

“Are you sure the message board said the plane has landed?” Allie glanced at her younger half-sister. It had been over an hour since Jared’s flight was scheduled to arrive, the delay not entirely surprising considering the heavy snowstorm raging outside.

“Of course.” Laney chewed on her bottom lip. “But…maybe I’ll go double check. I need to use the restroom anyway.”

Laney wandered away, and Allie brought her attention back to the top of the escalator, as did the rest of her family waiting alongside her. Well, almost everyone. Her ten-year old twin nephews were more interested in wrestling each other than paying attention to the faces of the arrivals, even though it had been two years since they’d seen their older brother while he completed his two-year LDS mission to Taiwan.

Why had she agreed to come to this thing again?

When Laney called earlier to see if she was coming, Allie had tried to pull the usual card—that she, unlike her stepmother and large extended family, wasn’t even Mormon. That hadn’t gone over well. Allie’s other standby excuse—that she didn’t want to keep her young daughter up too late on a school night—wasn’t available since Violet was at her father’s. Then Laney’d had to go and pull out the big guns. Guilt. After all, her sister didn’t have the luxury of four-wheel drive, and everyone knew she was a terrible driver. Especially in the snow. And so, family duty prevailed.

Laney owed her big time.

Allie focused on the faces of the new glut of arrivals lining up at the top of the escalator. First up, a cute family of four in T-shirts, shorts, and flip flops. Man, were they going to be stunned when they stepped outside and got a taste of what the first week of April looked like in Utah. Behind them was an older couple with their arms filled with gift bags that Allie guessed were probably for spoiling grandchildren. Next was a lone figure with dark brown hair and a duffel bag slung over his shoulder. He looked oddly familiar. But since he had about a decade on her nephew’s twenty-one years, he was unlikely their man.

And yet…there was something about him. Strong jaw, slightly off-center nose, thick wavy hair that begged to be—

Her breath caught in her throat.

Oh, dear God. It couldn’t be. Not here. Not now, of all times.

Not when she was surrounded by her mob of a family, wearing a poufy, white snow parka and clunky boots. Her hair—she brought her hands up. Yep. Styled in the efficient but plain ponytail she’d opted for as she raced out the door. Hardly the image of sexiness she would have envisioned for this moment.

She wiped her sweaty palms on the sides of her jeans while Sam Fratto’s achingly familiar figure drew closer. Though drawn and tired, he looked no less handsome now than he had in high school, a dozen years before. Once a stoic and slender eighteen-year old athlete, Sam still looked stoic and slender, but with broader shoulders and the confidence of a grown man who had moved past the doubts and self-consciousness of youth. Unfortunately, he still looked just as temptingly touchable as she’d always found him.

He was almost at the bottom of the elevator.

“It’s him!” This time, it was her stepmother, Peg, who had taken up the cry. “It’s Jared!”

Sure enough, Allie could see the tall, lanky figure of her nephew finally coming into view just above Sam’s broad shoulders. Immediately, the family’s hand-painted welcome signs thrust into the air as they waved them to get Jared’s attention.

But Allie was unable to tear her gaze away from Sam.

Which meant she didn’t see the twins barreling toward him until they were only a foot away. Sam easily stepped around the pair, even if the tight line around his mouth indicated frustration. He swung his gaze to her.

Hazel eyes she could never decide were sea green or stormy gray stared at her in clear judgment. She held her breath and waited for any sign of recognition.

Instead, his gaze jerked away, he strode past her, and was gone.

Her body wilted as the adrenaline that had peaked earlier was swept away with acute disappointment.

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