Series: Family Renewal (Book 2)
For waitress Dana Peterson, it's now or never.
For a year, she's flirted with her regular diner customer, widower Erik
Reeves. Who cares if he's a little older? He's yummy! So she takes the
plunge and asks him out -- on Valentine's Day, no less.
Against his better judgment, Erik lets this ray of sunshine into his
life. But things quickly spin out of control and now Dana's pregnant.
Erik will do the right thing and marry her. But can he retrieve his
heart from the lost and found to give this feisty beauty the love she
We first met Erik in Lost and Found Father as the adoptive dad of the daughter that Ryan and Victoria gave up for adoption. He lost his wife to cancer seven years ago and still mourns her loss. With his daughter off at college he eats many of his meals at the diner where Dana works. She is young and pretty and likes to flirt with him when he's there. When she asks him out he is hesitant since he's so much older than she is, but she teases him into it. He doesn't expect the intense attraction that he feels for her, and things get quickly out of control that night. He makes sure she knows that there is no possibility of a relationship and she's okay with that. Neither one expects her to become pregnant from that one night. Now Erik has to face the idea of becoming a father and husband again while trying to protect his heart.
I really liked Dana. She has a great outlook on life, always keeping a cheerful attitude even though her life hasn't been the easiest. She has been interested in Erik for a year, always flirting with him when she waits on him and taking an interest in his life. She knows he's older than she is but it makes no difference to her - she calls him "yummy". She finally works up the courage to ask him out to an art show, figuring that since he's an art teacher it would appeal. I really liked the way that she went after what she wanted and didn't really give him a chance to say no. She made sure he knew what she wanted from him and when that simple kiss spiraled out of control she ran with it. She was upset when she got pregnant because as the daughter and granddaughter of single mothers she hadn't ever intended to go that route herself. When Erik proposes to her in order to do the right thing she knows he doesn't love her and doesn't ever plan to love her but hopes that they can have a good life together. I really loved seeing how her cheerful casual style starts to change Erik's life. She brightens it up, while his steadiness grounds her. I loved the way that she and his daughter became great friends. Dana found that Erik's kindness and care for her quickly changed her feelings from friendship to love, but feared that it would always be one-sided. I really loved the evolution of their romance and how she started to see his actions for what they were rather than just what he said.
Erik had been devastated by his wife's death. He still visits her grave and talks to her on a regular basis. He enjoys his meals at the diner and is amused by Dana and her flirting. There is a certain amount of attraction to her but he considers himself an "old man" compared to her. He is surprised by her invitation to take her to the art show and tries to decline, but she talks him into it. Though he has a good time with her he is disturbed by the attraction he feels for her. When he gives her the promised kiss goodnight at her door that attraction burns out of control and he ends up spending the night. They part ways not expecting to do anything like that again. When she contacts Erik to tell him she is pregnant he is stunned and dismayed. He feels there is no way that he can be a father again. He offers to help her financially but that's all he'll commit to, until his daughter makes him see that that isn't fair to Dana. He goes back and proposes marriage, but lets her know that there is no way he'll ever love her. I loved seeing him fight his feelings. It was obvious he cared but he wasn't going to allow himself to love. He equates love to loss and feels that he can't go through that again. No matter how hard he tries Dana's upbeat personality keeps drawing him closer and closer. I loved the way that they worked together on the garden and also decorating the baby's room. He also got really involved in the pregnancy which was a new experience for him. The ending was so sweet and moving.
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