Read Fool for Love Online

Authors: Marie Force

Tags: #beach read, #New England, #island setting, #Family Saga

Fool for Love

for Love

McCarthys of Gansett Island: Book 2


Copyright 2011 by Marie Force

Smashwords Edition


All characters in this book are fiction and figments
of the author's imagination.

Author's Note

My favorite place in the world is Block Island, located twelve miles off the
southern coast of Rhode Island. A tiny slip of land with a Great Salt Pond in
the middle, Block Island is the place time forgot. You won't find a stop light
on the island or a hospital. Internet connections are sketchy at best, and good
luck finding a hotel room or a spot on the ferry for your car in the summer if
you haven't planned months in advance. What you will find is peace and quiet
and beaches and bluffs and quaint shops and a laidback atmosphere that soothes
the soul.

The island has played an important role in
my life from the time I was a small child arriving on my parents' boat, through
a college romance and now as a favorite family vacation spot each summer. I've
never been anywhere that inspires me more. Block Island pops up often in my
books, so I suppose it was only a matter of time before I made up my own
version of the island and set a series there. Thus Gansett Island and the
McCarthy Family were born. "Gansett" is a tip of the hat to Rhode
Island's Narragansett Bay, one of my favorite places to spend a summer day.

Maid for Love
was the first book in a three-part series, released
on May 1, 2011.
Fool for Love
is book 2 and
Ready for Love
be out July 1, 2011. Will there be a second trilogy featuring Grant, Adam and
Evan McCarthy? What about Maddie's sister Tiffany? That's up to you, the
readers, to let me know if you want more of the McCarthy Family and their

I love to hear from readers! Contact me at
[email protected]

Welcome to Gansett Island! I so hope you
enjoy Joe and Janey's story. Stay tuned at the end for a sneak peek at Luke and
Sydney's story,
Ready for Love



Chapter 1


The phone call Joe Cantrell had waited half his life
to receive came in around nine on an otherwise average Tuesday evening. He'd
put in a twelve-hour day on the ferries, done four round-trips to the island,
and had just sat down to eat when his cell phone rang. Since he'd been in a
foul mood all day, tortured by images of Janey in Boston with her fiancé, he'd
almost ignored the call. Thank God he grabbed it on the last ring before voicemail
picked up.


One word set his heart to racing. He'd
know that voice anywhere. "Janey? Why are you calling me when you're
visiting David?" He kept his tone light, but just saying the guy's name
made Joe sick. He couldn't stand the way David went weeks, sometimes months,
without so much as a visit to his fiancée. Sometimes Joe wished he didn't have
front-row access to who came and went from the island. Some things he was
better off not knowing.

He'd seen her earlier in the day, skipping
onto the ferry on her way to surprise her doctor-in-training for their
anniversary. Thirteen years together. Lucky thirteen, she'd joked. Joe had
found nothing funny about it.

"I need…"

Was she
"Janey, honey.
What do you need?"


Joe almost swallowed his tongue. How long
had he fantasized about hearing those very words from her? Forever, or so it
seemed. "What's wrong?"

"My car broke down on 95, just south
of Foxboro."

Why was she south of Boston when she'd
gone to visit David for a few days? "Where's David?"

"I'm calling
, Joe. Can you
come?" More sniffling. "What was I thinking? It's too far—"

He was already leaving a cloud of dust
behind his red pickup as he peeled out of the driveway. "Don't be
ridiculous. I'll be there in less than an hour." Under normal
circumstances, it would take much longer to reach her, but these were anything
but normal circumstances. Something had happened. Something bad. If the bad
thing was between her and David, then all of Joe's dreams had finally come
true. But hers had been crushed. He had to remember that. No matter what this
night might bring, he couldn't forget that she'd been with David for almost as
long as Joe had harbored a secret, burning love for his best friend's little

On the way, he tried to keep her talking
and his heart from leaping out of his chest. "You want to tell me about


"You aren't hurt or anything, are

"Not physically."

Oh, man.
What the hell happened?
Joe was dying to know, but he didn't ask again. He drove as fast as he dared
and was stymied half an hour later by traffic in Providence.

"Are you still there?" she asked
in a small voice. Janey McCarthy,
Janey, didn't have a small voice.

"I'm here, honey. I'm coming. Hang in

More sniffling.

Jesus H. Christ. Why the hell wasn't
? Even knowing it wouldn't do an ounce of good, Joe laid
on the horn. That earned him a raised middle finger from the guy in front of
him. As his desperation to get to her inched into the red zone, he wished he
could call Mac and get his take on things, but until he knew more about what
had happened, he didn't think Janey would appreciate him cueing in her older
brother that something was wrong.

As if she had read his mind, Janey said,
"Don't tell Mac."

"Wouldn't dream of it." Traffic
inched along, and Joe was certain his blood pressure had to be approaching
stroke level.

Twenty minutes later, he flew across the
border into Massachusetts. "Here I come."


When he finally reached her location, Joe
wanted to die when he saw her sitting in the front seat of her old blue Honda
Civic, hunched over the wheel. Janey didn't hunch. She barreled through life
with exuberance and optimism that brightened every room she entered.

He had to drive past her to the next exit,
where he endured two of the longest red lights of his life before he was able
to merge onto the southbound ramp. By the time he came to a stop behind Janey's
car, his hands were sweaty, his heart was racing and he realized he had
absolutely no idea what to say to her. Women in crisis were hardly his forte.
He took a deep breath and got out of the truck.

She didn't seem to know he was there until
he opened the door and squatted down.

Turning to him, her ravaged face was like
a knife to his heart.

Tears pooled in her pale blue eyes.

"What happened, honey?"

"He was… He…"

Joe reached up to caress her soft blonde
hair. "Take a deep breath."

She gulped in air as a sob hiccupped
through her. "He was with someone else. In
bed. In the bed I helped
him buy. The bed he was going to bring with him when he moved home to the
island to marry

"Okay, honey," Joe said through
gritted teeth, not wanting to hear another word. If she kept talking, he
wouldn't be able to contain the white-hot rage that possessed him, and he'd
become an expert at hiding his every emotion from her. "You don't have to
talk about it now."

"It's all I can see. She was on top
of him, and he had his eyes closed. He didn't see me. I couldn't move. I just
stood there watching—"

"Stop." Joe simply couldn't bear
the raw pain he heard in her voice. He wanted her for himself. He wanted her
more than he wanted his next breath. But not like this. Never like this.
"Let's get you out of here." Joe slid his arms under her and scooped
her out of the seat.

She clung to his neck, and in that one
instant with her soft and pliant in his arms, everything was right in his

"I can't leave my car here."

"I'll deal with it. Don't

"I'm sorry. You probably had better
things to do tonight."

"No, I didn't." Surrounded by
the scent of jasmine, the scent of Janey, Joe wished he could hold her and
never let her go. But he deposited her into the front seat of his truck and
went back for the bag she'd packed to spend a few days with David. Joe wanted
to hunt down that son of a bitch and teach him a lesson he'd never forget. But
he figured Mac would take care of that when he heard about what David had done
to his sister. Right now, Joe's top priority was Janey.

Before he joined her in his truck, Joe
called for a tow truck. The operator asked for a contact number, and Joe
rattled off his. He ended the call and rested his hand on the door handle,
taking a moment to summon the courage he needed to get her through this—to get
them both through it.

"I didn't even ask if you were
busy," Janey said, swiping at the dampness on her cheeks.

"I wasn't. I'm glad you called

"I didn't know who else to

He reached over and rested his hand on top
of hers. Even though it was summer and damn near eighty degrees, her hand was
cold and trembling. "You can always call me. Anytime you need me. That's
what friends are for." Her normally robust complexion was pale and wan,
her eyes and nose red from crying, and looking at her in that condition, Joe
discovered it was possible to feel someone else's pain almost as acutely as
they were feeling it themselves.

She ran her free hand over her face.
"I must look horrible. I didn't know it was possible to cry so much."

Tucking a strand of her thick ash-blonde
hair behind her ear, he resisted the urge to draw her into his arms.
"You're as beautiful as always. He's a fool, Janey. Anyone who would
disrespect you that way doesn't deserve you."

"Thirteen years," she said,
shaking her head. "I've spent thirteen years of my life waiting for
something that's never going to happen now." She gasped. "Oh, God,
the wedding. I have to cancel everything." A shudder rippled through her
petite frame, and he wondered for a second if she was going to be sick.

"You don't have to think about any of
that today. Right now, let's just focus on getting you home."

A panicked look crossed her expressive
face. "I can't go back to the island. Everyone will know. I can't—"

Joe couldn't resist any longer. He brought
her into his arms and ran a hand over her silky hair. "You don't have to
do anything until you're ready." Swallowing hard, he pushed the doubts and
worries and despair from his mind. "You can stay with me for as long as
you need to." The words were out before he could stop them. His mouth, it
seemed, was operating on autopilot.

"I can't do that. It's too much of an

God, if only she knew… "Would you do
it for me? If I needed a place to hide out for a while, would you let me stay
with you?"

"Of course I would. You know

"Then why can't I do the same for
you?" Even as he said the words, Joe questioned the wisdom of opening his
home to her. She'd stay a few days and recover enough to go on with her life,
but her essence would linger in his home and heart forever. Well, he could always
move, if it came to that.

A deep rattling sigh, the kind that
followed a serious cry, echoed through her. "You really don't mind?"

"No, Janey," he said. "I
really don't mind."

Janey focused on getting through each minute. Breathe in. Breathe out. Don't
think. Don't remember. Don't go there. But despite her best efforts, the sight
of her fiancé writhing in ecstasy beneath the enthusiastic hips of another
woman was burned indelibly into her memory. He'd had his hands full of breasts that
were much larger than hers. Had they been the draw? Or was it simple
availability? Was it the first and only time? Or had there been others? Oh,
God, she'd been such a fool!

She'd never suspected for one second that
he'd cheat on her. He was always so busy with his internship and his life as a
doctor. And she'd just accepted his many excuses because she wanted to be
supportive and not add to his stress by nagging him for more of his time and

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