I Could Never Read Online Penelope Ward

Categories Genre: Angst, Contemporary, Forbidden Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 90
Estimated words: 88317 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 442(@200wpm)___ 353(@250wpm)___ 294(@300wpm)

From New York Times bestselling author Penelope Ward comes a new forbidden, enemies-to-lovers story…

It all started with an unexpected phone call.
Two years after my fiancé passed away in an accident, his father died suddenly, leaving Brad’s adult, special-needs brother with no one to care for him.
The next thing I knew, I was on a cross-country drive to New Hampshire where I’d be moving in to look after Scottie until I could get him into a group home.
The last thing I ever expected?
I wouldn’t be taking care of him alone.
Josh Mathers, my fiancé’s best friend—who also happened to be my sworn enemy—insisted he was the better person for the job. He told me to go back to California, and I told him where he could stick that demand.
Our disdain for each other wasn’t anything new. It dated back to a text I’d accidentally read years ago.
We hated each other. But we both loved Scottie, so neither of us budged.
Now we were living together in a tiny house—with one available bedroom. Thank goodness it was only temporary.
Over time, I realized the broody jerk I thought I knew was different than I’d imagined.
I found myself slowly growing attached to someone I once considered the enemy…and growing attracted to him.
Sure, both of us were guilt-ridden over Brad. We were also two grown people with pent-up frustration toward one another—stuck in a cabin in the woods.
But this was Josh.
I could never.

*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************


* * *


“SO YOU DON’T know exactly what you’re walking into?” my friend Christina asked.

A deer wandered through the trees in the distance. You’re definitely not in L.A. anymore, Carly. It hit me for the first time that there could be bears here. New Hampshire was rural. I shivered.

“I’ve only met Scottie a few times,” I said, shifting the phone to my other ear. “He seemed really sweet. I’m certain taking care of him will be a challenge, though. I won’t know what the heck I’m doing. I’ve never taken care of anyone in my life, let alone a grown man.”

My fiancé, Brad, would’ve been the one looking after his younger brother himself if he could have. But because he was no longer here, I felt it was my responsibility. Scottie was twenty-three and had severe autism. He was nonverbal and, in many ways, childlike. Brad’s father, Wayne, had been Scottie’s sole caretaker until he’d passed away after a heart attack last month. And my beloved Brad had died two years ago in a car accident. For the past few weeks, Scottie had been in the temporary care of Wayne’s sister, Lorraine, who’d made it clear she wanted nothing to do with looking after Scottie long term.

Christina sighed. “Are you sure about this? It’s a huge responsibility.”

“It’s what Brad would’ve wanted. There’s no way he would’ve approved of his crazy aunt Lorraine taking care of Scottie. His dad was Scottie’s guardian. Since Lorraine is Wayne’s next of kin, everyone assumed she’d take on the responsibility. But she’s not the right person, and she isn’t interested. Wayne probably wasn’t too worried—he wasn’t even sixty. So there was no plan B besides Lorraine. The first thing she did when I called to check on things was ask if I could come help. She’s planning to sleep back at her own house starting tonight, which means I’ll be alone with Scottie.” I looked over at the house. “Anyway, I have to go. I’ve been parked in front of the house for two minutes already and need to get inside.”

“Okay, well, if you need anything, let me know. I can order stuff and have it shipped to you.”

“Thank you. I appreciate that, Christina. But I didn’t go to Mars, just New Hampshire.” I laughed. “It’s only temporary, right? Until I can get him into a group home.” Staring off into the adjacent woods, I muttered, “I’ll talk to you soon.”

“Good luck, Carly.”

From the limited research I’d done thus far, I knew the waiting list to get into a supervised adult home could be long, so temporary might actually mean years, for all I knew; though I certainly hoped it would be sooner than that.

Exiting my car, I walked over to the front of the small house. I took a deep breath as I readied myself to knock. The wooden log cabin was modest, to say the least. Brad had grown up here in Woodsboro, New Hampshire, a rural New England town. I’d been here with him a few times to visit his dad and brother, but I’d never imagined I’d be living here.

After I knocked, Lorraine opened the door almost immediately and let out an exasperated breath. “Oh, thank God!” She moved aside for me to enter. “Do you happen to have one of those hot spots?”

No hello? No how are you?

“Nice to see you, too, Lorraine.” I parked my suitcase in a corner and dropped my bag, which made a big thud when it hit the ground.

Scottie was pacing and shaking his tablet around, pointing to the screen.

Lorraine went right on complaining.

“He’s been bouncing off the walls because we don’t have Internet.”

Oh, this is not good. I knew Scottie was totally reliant on his devices. “What’s wrong with the Internet?”

“They think it’s one of the lines outside. They’re not sure how long it will take to fix.”

Scottie continued to walk back and forth nervously. With his blond hair and fine features, he reminded me so much of my Brad—the resemblance took my breath away. It was like seeing Brad again, but in the form of an adult child. Brad had been seven years older than Scottie. Their mom had died of cancer when Brad was eighteen and Scottie was eleven. So life hadn’t been easy for this family for a long while. And Scottie’s profound autism meant that while he could communicate simply with the aid of devices, he didn’t converse or express his feelings verbally. Most of the time, he was in his own world and needed one-on-one care.

I lifted my hand awkwardly to try to get his attention. “Hey, Scottie.”

He practically shoved an iPad into my face and pointed to it as if to say, I don’t care who you are, just get this damn thing working.

“I do have a hot spot,” I said. “I’ll get it running for you.”