After spending years in foster care, Bonnie Blakley starts her bid for independence only to find herself attracted to single dad Morgan Masterson.
Morgan finds his attraction to Bonnie as a betrayal to his wife who passed away.

Can Bonnie get over her fear of family to forge a future with Morgan and his toddler Maddie?
Does family really matter?

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Her new heels clicked a happy beat on the sidewalk as Bonnie Blakley hiked the block and a half to the florist shop from the Elmvale Nursing Home. The schedule left by the previous Activity Director called for Bonnie to teach a flower-arranging class with the residents in the afternoon. David Barnes, her new boss, said the partners at Petals and Posies expected her to pick up older flowers at a discount. After finishing her training and moving far away from her past, Bonnie knew this job was her chance for happiness and a life of independence.

She smiled at the young family coming toward her, holding hands. Bonnie envied their contentment. An elderly woman beamed up into the eyes of her husband as he helped her from their car. Bonnie was not going to lie awake anymore, thinking about problems she had no control over. Determined to leave dysfunction in the dust behind her, she gave her foot an extra scrape on the sidewalk as if that made her decision final.

Perspiration from the summer heat gathered on her forehead and threatened to run down her cheeks. Today, her first day as the new Activity Director, she didn’t need her hair frizzing or her face all flushed while she tried to make a good impression.

She stopped on the curb opposite the flower shop on the corner of Brock and Main. A gust of wind picked up tendrils of her long hair and whipped them across her face. She battled with the errant strands for a moment then stepped off the sidewalk.

A shrill voice yelled, “Watch out!”

A large, box-style delivery truck sped past her. Startled, she swayed, almost knocked off her feet. A gust of air flattened her clothes to her body. The words Petals and Posies, spelled out in colorful flowers, were painted on the side of the truck.

It almost ran her over!

Coughing on exhaust fumes, on shaky legs she reached the safety of the florist shop.

Cool air and heavenly fragrances greeted Bonnie as a bell tinkled a welcome overhead. She stepped onto the clean wood floor as the beveled-glass door whispered shut.

A woman approached with a perky smile, her dark ponytail swaying. “Good morning.”

“Did you see that? Your delivery truck almost knocked me down.” She took a breath to calm herself. “I’m Bonnie from the Elmvale Nursing Home. I think you have some flowers ready for me.” She mopped the perspiration from her forehead.

“Are you all right?”

“Yes, just a little shaken.”

“Nice to meet you. I’m Dawn.” The woman wiped her hands on her apron before they shook hands. “I’ll just get the order for you.”

Bonnie crossed her arms and looked around, finding relief in the cool environment. The pleasant room helped to compose her. Flowers of every color and shade captured her gaze. Astonished, she took in the variety of tulips, hibiscus, mums, and others she didn’t recognize. Crossing to a wall of coolers, she admired the arrangements behind the glass. Daisies tucked among baby’s breath caught her attention, delicate and arrestingly pretty. Someday she would make enough money to buy and enjoy a bouquet.

The door to the back room banged open, and an elegant woman entered holding a long, white box—the kind long-stemmed roses came in. “Hi, I’m Grace.”

“Good to meet you. I’m Bonnie,” she acknowledged, shaking the stately woman’s offered hand.

“Ah, these are for you then.” She laid the box on the counter and opened it.

Roses mixed with other flowers lay on a bed of ferns. Some were beginning to wilt, and others had lost their leaves or petals. Bonnie closed her eyes as the aroma filled her with memories. The sweet fragrances brought visions of her childhood—picking flowers with her granddad in his garden. The memory was so poignant she choked up.

She signed a receipt and turned to leave when the man who nearly ran her down entered from the back room. Dressed in a blue uniform with the Petals and Posies’ logo, he filled the doorway with his broad shoulders. He swiped at a
loose blond curl that hung over his left eye.

“You were driving the truck!” Bonnie gasped.

“Miss, I’m sorry. I didn’t see you. I turned onto Brock and there you were, tugging at your hair. I swerved to miss you.” The expression in his big brown eyes begged forgiveness.
His open palms confirmed it.

“Do you know each other?” Grace stepped forward.

“No.” Bonnie kept her tone crisp. With the flowers signed for, she swung toward the door to make her escape from the suddenly charged atmosphere. “Thank you,” she called.

A buzzing sound erupted near her ear, then something tangled in her hair. She screamed, dropping the box. Her precious cargo spilled onto the polished floor.
“Help me. Get it out.” The urge to run was strong. A flashback clenched her throat.

Mrs. Grimes dragging her by the hand and locking her in the shed for punishment, where she couldn’t escape the bugs. Bees had made a hive in the corner, and she was forced to sit still for hours to avoid getting stung.

Bonnie slammed her heart shut on those bitter memories and concentrated on the bee. She pulled at the strands to rid herself of the insect. It thrashed and buzzed all the louder. She danced and bent like a native person in a primitive dance, trying to untangle the bug from her long curls. Strong male hands grasped her and pressed her against the wall of coolers.

“Stand still.” The man’s voice held annoyance as he plucked at her hair. Bonnie squirmed. She understood firsthand what bee stings were all about—huge, painful welts that lasted for days.

“Oh, please, get it out.” Her cheeks heated as tears slipped down her face while she shifted from foot to foot. Why was he taking so long?