When architect Elise Springer’s father is injured, she immediately leaves San Francisco to care for him. The last person she expects to encounter in her Pennsylvania hometown is her childhood friend Lucas Fisher. Lucas is investigating his brother’s death, and Elise can’t resist lending a hand.
Lucas longs for the close family ties he never had. He’s back in Scranton to set up a classic car restoration business and build a future. The torch he carries for Elise burns brighter than ever, but before he can declare his love, he must obtain the legal rights to adopt his nephew—and prove his brother’s death was no accident.
As they unearth clues pointing to find a murderer and a missing stash of money, Elise faces a dilemma. Is her career on the West Coast the key to her happiness, or is it an animal-cracker-eating four-year-old and his handsome uncle instead?
Never in her entire harried life did Elise Springer think she’d ever be sitting at the kitchen table with a four-year-old, sorting animal crackers into Zip lock bags as if they were gathering essential supplies for a hike up Montage Mountain. Four boxes of Barnum’s Animal Crackers were spilled out into a heap before them. Juice boxes stood on the counter, waiting to be packed with a bag of toys and the crackers.
“Tell me again, Todd, why can’t we take all the animals in one box of crackers to the cottage?” she asked and watched in fascination as he patiently and carefully separated the kangaroos, elephants, and polar bears and put them into individual piles.
“Because only certain ones can come,” he said, “and some of them don’t get along. The monkeys and sheep don’t like the mean lions and tigers, you know.”
“But we’re not taking the monkeys, sheep, lions or tigers.”
The little boy looked at her with exasperated gray Fisher eyes. “But we can’t leave them here all mixed up if they’re not friends, Eee-lise.”
“Todd, if we don’t get started soon there won’t be enough daylight to play outside. How about we leave a note for Lucas and Cindy and tell them to finish sorting these?”
Beside them, Bess whined. Elise looked down at the bored canine and commiserated with her. She secretly popped a mean tiger into her mouth and then slipped a couple of lions and tigers into the dog’s awaiting mouth.
There is nothing more rewarding than destroying your enemies with a couple of chews and a swallow. If only life could be so easy.