The Promise of Palm Grove by Shelley Shepard Gray

The Promise of Palm Grove by Shelley Shepard Gray

Author:Shelley Shepard Gray
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: HarperCollins

Chapter 17

The bus ride home from Siesta Key was way too short. As each minute passed, feeling like mere seconds, Zack did everything he could to make Leona want to see him again, and soon.

Every hour in her presence deepened his feelings for her, so much so that it caught him off guard. Never before had he been so certain that he’d found the right woman.

Now, unfortunately, he was fighting a whole new set of worries. Ones that had everything to do with the fact that she was going to head back to Ohio very soon. That meant he only had days to convince her that he was worth taking a chance on.

In an effort to keep such dark thoughts at bay, from the time they’d taken their seats on the bus, he’d talked to Leona about the beach, and Mattie and Danny, and her suspicions that a romance was blossoming between the two of them. He’d asked her questions about their attic room in the inn. Then they’d told each other a bit more about their families.

Through it all, Leona had been responsive and just as chatty. And the way she gazed at him from time to time made him feel like everything he had to say was important.

He hoped he’d been able to convey that he felt the same way about her.

Only when the bus was just minutes from their stop did he dare ask her more about Edmund.

And that was when she’d visibly retreated. “I’d rather not talk about him anymore right now,” she’d said.

In a normal relationship, Zack would have given her space. It wasn’t in his nature to push people too much, especially when it came to discussing things that obviously made them uncomfortable.

But each time he saw her, he became more aware that their time together was winding down. And though he’d never been in a serious relationship, he sensed that it was necessary for her to open up to him. Otherwise, when she left, they’d have more lying between them than miles and miles—they’d have her secrets.

“Leona, I know this makes you uncomfortable, but I really do want to know more about Edmund and what went wrong.”


“Because I like you,” he said simply. If she trusted him enough to tell him about her breakup, he figured he should trust her enough to be completely honest.

She blinked, then to his surprise, she looked amused. “You do?”

He couldn’t resist asking. “Does that amuse you?”

“Nee. Of course not.” She looked down at her hands, swallowed, then seemed to come to a conclusion. “I like you, too, Zack.”

He couldn’t help but smile, though he was trying his best not to look like a love-struck fool. “What are you going to do about Edmund?”



She shrugged. “It’s over. It really is.”

“I can’t help but wonder why you aren’t fighting for him.” He would have never thought she was the type of woman to drift in and out of a relationship so easily. Especially when they’d been engaged.

Looking down at her hands again, she asked, “Zack, have you ever been in love before?”

“I think so.


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