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Echoes of Summer

Echoes of Summer

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When her former boyfriend shows up eight years later, Madison isn’t sure if she’s more relieved or angry he doesn’t recognize her. Especially since she’s forced to work with him for a few months and he has no clue she kept such a huge secret from him.

When Stephen finally realizes Madison is the same girl he knew as Bea from his grandparents’ town, he’s excited to catch up and reminisce about those summers — but she seems cold and wants nothing to do with him.

The truth comes out and he learns he’s the father of a seven-year-old son, throwing him into completely unfamiliar territory as he tries to develop a relationship with his child and attempts to rekindle the romance he’d once shared with Bea.

Can they each overcome their sense of betrayal and learn to be united for the sake of their son, and perhaps find love again?

Intro into Chapter One

Madison peeled the wrapper off her fun-sized Butterfinger and popped it in her mouth. She rarely indulged, leaving the candies on her desk for clients, but she’d worked through lunch on a presentation and was starving. Only seventy-three minutes until she was off and could head home. She’d swing by Jessie’s Grill and get a juicy burger and a huge order of cheese fries and some plain ones for Milo. Her seven-year-old thought the only good thing on a fry was ketchup.
She took a drink of water and swished her mouth out then took a breath mint before her appointment with her boss. She grabbed her laptop, wondering if he wanted to see the proposals for snagging the Doewin’s company she’d been working on with Robert for the last few weeks. If they could nab that new personal hygiene manufacturer, it would skyrocket Carlson Ad Agency to the top.
A quick glance at her clock told her it was time to head to Mr. Carlson’s office. She opened the glass door and fitted her smile into place. First impressions happened more than once, no matter what it was called. Every time you saw or heard of a person or product, a new opinion formed. That’s why she went by her middle name instead of Beatrice. Madison sounded much more professional, yet still fun and interesting. Not old lady. It was always a good idea to show her best, and a smile was the place to start.
“Great work on the cereal account, Madison,” Robert said as he joined her in the hallway on his way to his office.
“Thanks, Robert. I hear you’ve almost closed the deal with the sports drink. You’ve got this.” Madison gave him a thumbs up, and Robert returned it half-heartedly before disappearing through his door. He’d been struggling lately to stay focused with his daughter fighting leukemia. Madison had been filling in for him on the Doewin’s proposal and was close to being ready.
Madison smiled and nodded at the others in the office as she made her way to Mr. Carlson’s door.
His secretary smiled and waved her in. “He’s expecting you.”
“Thanks, Kathryn. I love your necklace. Was that something from your trip?”
Kathryn’s eyes lit up. “Yes, my husband picked it out at this cute little shop we’d stopped at after touring the lava tubes. Oh, I wish I could go to Hawaii once a month.”
Madison smiled. “Wouldn’t that be fun? I’m so glad you got to go.” Hawaii was on her to-do list. As long as she didn’t visit his island, she’d be fine. Maybe once she closed this latest deal, she would go, but she didn’t really want to go to Hawaii with a young child alone, and there was no one in her life at the moment who could accompany her.
The secretary rubbed the plumeria flower design between her fingers with a dreamy look on her face.
Madison sighed. “You’ll have to tell me all about it soon. Tell Trisha hi for me, will ya?”
Kathryn nodded. “Will do.” She returned her attention to the computer monitor, and Madison reached for the door to Howard Carlson’s office, thinking about the guy she swore she’d never waste another minute on. Stupid Hawaii. Stupid Hawaiian family who sent their drop-dead gorgeous son to work his grandpa’s farm every summer since he was fourteen. Stupid first kiss that had melted her soul and then turned her into an idiot with every one of his kisses that followed. She hated thinking of Stephen, but every time she looked into her son’s eyes, she could see his father clearly.
Madison forced the memory of Stephen Kohalohini back into the box he’d been breaking out of for the past eight years and opened the door. Mr. Carlson stood as she entered, and a man with broad shoulders, shiny black hair, and beautiful brown skin stood and turned toward the door.
Her mouth dropped open to see the very man she’d just banished from her thoughts standing in front of her. He smiled, showing perfect white teeth against his full lips, and that familiar crinkle that surrounded his eyes reminded her of all the good times they’d shared over that summer. Of the mischief they’d gotten into. Of the only time she’d been arrested.
“Madison,” Mr. Carlson said, waving her closer. “I’d like you to meet Stephen Kohalohini.” Mr. Carlson looked at Stephen as if asking if he’d pronounced the name right.
Stephen smiled, “You’re a natural, Mr. Carlson.”
“Stephen, this is Madison Perry, the best account executive we’ve ever had.”
Madison froze a few feet away from the desk and stared at the dark brown eyes studying her. He didn’t remember her. She’d gone from chestnut to blonde, learned how to use makeup, went by her middle name for work, and had gained twenty pounds, but apparently she’d been so forgettable Stephen didn’t remember those summers together at all.
Mr. Carlson took a few steps around his desk and stood next to Madison. “I’d like you to show Stephen around the office. I’ve hired him as a consultant to help us increase our productivity and get some more clients. He’ll also help you cover for Robert as new client manager until Robert gets back into full swing.” Mr. Carlson looked at Stephen. “I’m excited to have you with us.”
“I’m excited to be here as well, Mr. Carlson. And Madison, I’ve heard so much about you. It will be a pleasure learning the ins and outs of this office from you.” Stephen extended his hand, and Madison forced the smile to return to her lips. First impressions and all that. The second his long fingers wrapped themselves around her small hand her heart fluttered, and she knew she was in trouble.
Stupid heart.


Stephen couldn’t believe his luck. He’d be working closely with this blond-headed beauty. If he understood right, this was the little lady he’d be working with on the Doewin’s account. Mr. Carlson wanted that deal. He was sure he could help bring this agency into the twenty-first century and get them utilizing the social media and Internet options for advertising.
Madison’s smile captivated him, and something about it seemed familiar, but he couldn’t place it. Not many women left a lasting impression on him, but Madison was well on her way to it. In fact, the more he looked at her, the more he felt he knew her from somewhere.
Madison turned to Mr. Carlson, and Stephen felt the loss of her hand as she pulled back from the handshake he hadn’t released yet. He wanted to look into her hazel eyes and see that smile turned back to him but focused on the words Mr. Carlson said.
“Stephen will be a wonderful resource to work with. I’d like the two of you to collaborate on the Doewin’s pitch. He can give you some pointers on how to catch the new crowd.”
Madison’s smile slipped, and her face whipped around to study Stephen. The daggers in her gaze surprised him, and his own smile dropped away. Was this the first she knew about their working together? Madison turned back to Mr. Carlson and stammered for a moment before taking a quick breath and starting over.
“I am sure Mr. Kohalohini is a wonderful consultant, but I don’t think I need his help on this.” Stephen was surprised she hadn’t butchered his name like most mainlanders did. “Robert and I have some really good ideas. Besides, what will Doewin think about switching from Robert this far into the negotiations? I don’t think it’s the best thing for us to do at this time.”
“Nonsense,” Mr. Carlson said. “Things like this happen all the time, and you are still involved. In fact, I don’t think Robert has spent more than a few hours with any of the representatives from Doewin. You’ve been our face. Stephen here will slip into position easily, give you pointers, and help you hook them deep, and reel them in. Besides, Robert has requested time off to spend more time with his family. When things improve with his daughter, we’ll bring him back in and you can share what you’ve learned from Stephen.” He patted Madison on the shoulder.
Madison nodded slowly as if coming to terms with the changes, but she didn’t look pleased. Mr. Carlson turned to Stephen. “I expect a detailed proposal from you tomorrow morning first thing. Doewin is being courted by too many agencies. I want them signed with us soon.”
Stephen nodded. “We’ll get them.” He turned his gaze to Madison. “I’ve got some great ideas and would love to hear what you’ve got as well.”
“Have her explain them over dinner,” Mr. Carlson said. “You can count it as business expenses and get her out of the office. She spends too much time in here as it is.”
Madison stared at Mr. Carlson as if she couldn’t believe what he’d just said, but Stephen wasn’t going to argue. Especially when just given permission to take this lovely woman out to dinner. Madison couldn’t turn him down for dinner without upsetting the boss, and he was going to make sure he took advantage of this opportunity to impress the heck out of her.
Stephen thanked Mr. Carlson and ushered Madison toward the door. “So tell me what you’ve got so far. I understand you’ve been working on this proposal for quite some time.” Stephen glanced back at Mr. Carlson who had returned to his desk chair and picked up his phone exuding the attitude of don’t interrupt me.
The second they got out the door, Madison smiled at the secretary who nodded sweetly in return and waved a couple fingers as she talked to the person on the other end of the phone. It was obvious Madison was well-liked in the office, and her open personality would help them land this account. She dropped the smile the moment she caught sight of him, making him second-guess his assessment of her qualities. She marched down the hallway, and Stephen had to take huge strides to catch up.
“Should we save the tour of the office until tomorrow, and we can get started on the proposal right away?” Stephen asked.
Madison slowed down a fraction and pointed stiffly with one hand. “The copy room and supply closet is over there. The breakroom is over there. The restrooms are behind you down this hall. And I have no clue where your office is.”
Stephen blinked in surprise at her tone but tried to ignore it. “No worries, I’ll just follow you to your office where we can get to work. Then we can head right to dinner.” He pulled out his phone and instructed the voice-activated assistance to find the phone number to his favorite restaurant.
Madison stopped and whirled around. “I’m not going to dinner with you. You can order take-out if needed, but we’ll be here in the office until seven. Then I’m leaving. I have a prior commitment.”
Stephen shut off his phone and nodded. “Chinese… or pizza?”
Madison blinked, and a strange expression crossed her face. It reminded him of something, but she shook her head and said, “Pizza. Deep dish. Chicago-style.” She spun on her heels and marched forward, giving him a view of her long hair that reached the center of her back, her healthy curves below that, and strong calves leading to her fitted knee-length skirt before she disappeared into what he assumed was her office.
Oh, was he going to enjoy working here with someone of her spunk and personality.

She's the girl who got away. He's the guy who left her without a word. Can they overcome their hurt and become a family for the sake of their son?

Main Tropes

  • Secret Baby
  • Second Chance at Love
  • Office Romance
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