before work. Sarah could get them both off to school and that way the boys could get to know each other better. Somehow things kept working out for the best. Other than the plumbing anyway. Once she’d explained the problem to the only plumber in town, he went off on neglected pipes and terrible homeowners. She just knew the repair was going to cost a fortune. One she didn’t have at the moment. Apparently that was what credit was for. Mel hated to put anything on her credit card, but she kept one for emergencies and this was definitely an emergency. She stepped onto the porch and smiled as Jeremy came barreling down the driveway on his almost new bike. Just another thing she was grateful for. If she and Mitch hadn’t bought such an extravagant gift for Jeremy’s seventh birthday, she’d be shopping garage sales for something used and probably decrepit. Melissa still felt bad that Mitch hadn’t lived to see the pure joy on Jeremy’s face when she gave him that gift. Remembering that day, almost a year ago, made her a little sad. But Jeremy was so happy here. Mitch had helped her make that happen. Mel thought about their situation. She had a new car and Jeremy had a new bike. Appearances were everything. This way nobody would know just how broke she really was. And Jeremy could start acting like a kid again. He could run and play, and ride his bike around the neighborhood. Oh, he could play in the back yard back in Denver, but Mel never let Jeremy wander out alone. Which meant his playtime was limited by her availability. She didn’t worry so much here. She knew as long as he stayed in the area, he was safe. She glanced up just in time to see a fancy new truck pull up behind her car. She’d parked on the curb to give Jer more room to ride his bike. Her face fell when she saw Shane Chandler casually exit the cab. He swung the door shut and immediately headed her way. For a moment she panicked. Her eyes shot to Jeremy then back to Shane. She had to stay calm. She could do this. She knew this day would come eventually, she’d just hoped for a little more time. Shane spotted Melissa on the porch and some of his tension lifted. He knew he could trust Sarah, but he also knew if push came to shove, she was loyal to Mel. He didn’t notice the boy until the kid’s bike screeched to a halt in front of him, almost stopping on his left boot. Shane glanced down casually, wondering who the kid was and froze when bright blue eyes stared up at him. His eyes. But that wasn’t possible. It couldn’t be. Half the population had blue eyes, he assured himself. Mel had blue eyes. His head shot to Mel then back to the kid. “Hi, mister.” The boy said clearly sizing him up. “Can I help you?” Shane had to smile. The kid had guts. “I’m just here to see an old friend. Who might you be?” “Jeremy.” The kid said proudly. “Who are you? And who is your friend? We just moved here but I might know him.” “Shane Chandler and my friend is that lovely lady standing on the porch over there.” “Hey, that’s my mom.” Jeremy said proudly. “You know her?” Shane studied the boy closer, then turned to look at Melissa. She wasn’t moving. He knew that look, something was wrong. “I did a long time ago.” He answered, trying to ignore the hurricane churning in his gut. “I like your name, Shane.” Jeremy said. “Is it okay if I call you Shane, Mr. Chandler?” “Absolutely. I like yours too. Is it okay if I call you Jeremy?” “Of course.