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For The Love Of Pete-FOR THE LOVE OF PETE-

By Rosalyn Alsobrook

St. Martin's Press, Seascape, 3/97
(book four of the series, but this book stands alone)
ISBN: 0-312-96136-7 
Excerpts from Chapter One
<Opening Scene:>
"So why should you look so unhappy?" Pete grumbled, scowling from across the rented car as he muttered the first words spoken to his mother, Jillian Westworth, during the past twenty miles. "You aren't the one who had to go and give up two whole weeks of baseball just when the best part of ball season really got going good just so you could fly way up here and be nice to a bunch of grown ups you don't even know."
"Coming here also pulled you out of your last two weeks of school," Jillian pointed out, forcing what she could of a cheerful smile. She had to keep a brave front. It would serve no purpose for Pete to know just how heart wrenching it was for her to return to the Seascape Inn, even after all these years. "If it weren't for this trip, you would never have been allowed to finish out your work or take your tests early."
"Yeah, that part was pretty neat, I guess." He shifted away from the passenger door where he had slumped since having left the airport an hour earlier. He craned to get a better look at the tiny pin-pricks of ocean flickering through the tall pines and ancient oaks shading the narrow tar-patched road.
Despite Pete's determination to be miserable, the rugged countryside and the quaint, colorful houses nestled in the trees had caught his interest, coming as no surprise to Jillian. Pete loved the outdoors and had always yearned to live in a small town or somewhere out in the country, but the suburbs was as close as they've ever gotten.
Even his pouty disposition couldn't keep him from appreciating the beautiful countryside.
"Besides, I thought you were supposed to like this place," he continued while stretching his neck to get a look at a fat raccoon that obviously had its days and nights confused. It paused in its waddley trek along a roadside path to glance at the passing car. Pete's attention locked on the peculiar animal as they passed at a moderate speed. Although they had raccoons in Texas, they weren't as fat, nor as dark and shaggy as this animal. "I thought this was one of the places where you and Grandpa and Grandma used to come on vacation when you were a kid like me."
"It is." Jillian glanced again at the painfully familiar woodlands as she turned off the main highway and headed east toward Sea Haven Village for the first time since that fateful summer nearly nine years earlier--returning only because Reynold insisted she meet him there. "Your grandma and I often spent months at a time up here during the hottest part of summer when Dallas becomes such a broiler oven." The afternoon sun splashed through the glass across her bare arm and leg just below the cap sleeve of her turquoise and pink plaid shirt and the one inch cuff of her pink shorts. "Your grandpa would join us during his regular two week vacation plus whatever weekends he didn't have hospital call."
"Why'd you ever stop coming up here?"
Jillian paused, then decided on a partial truth. "After grandma died, grandpa lost interest in this place." No reason to divulge that she had stopped coming even before then, or hint that Pete was in any way connected to her last summer there...
<Final scene of Chapter One:>

Well remembering 'the couple that got away', Hattie waited until she heard the door close upstairs before reaching for the telephone. She had considered the meddlesome plan for days now, ever since earing that Jillian Westworth was about to return with friends. But now that Hattie had seen the boy for herself, she knew it was the thing to do.
Having memorized the telephone number, she dialed Brad Pierce then waited for someone to pick up.
"Dr. Pierce, here," Brad answered, sounding extremely tired for so early in the afternoon.
Hattie wondered why an assistant or nurse hadn't answered the telephone, as busy as Brad must be taking care of the general medical needs of two rural counties in northern Maine. "Dr. Pierce? It's Hattie Stillman. I hope I'm not bothering you but I have some wonderful news."
Because Brad returned to Sea Haven Village every year to visit with the friends he'd made years earlier, he had little problem recognizing the voice. Suddenly, he didn't sound so tired. "And what good news is that?"
Since Brad did not like to talk about Jillian, or how the two had parted Sea Haven Village not speaking so many years ago, Hattie did not mention her current guest. She didn't dare. Nothing clammed him up quicker than to mention Jillian by name. Instead, she went right to the plan. "There's been a little prize drawing involving the names of all the guests who stayed here last year and guess who won?"
"Me?"
"That's right. You. You've just won a week at the Seascape in addition to all the other surprises that go with it." She pressed a hand over her mouth to keep from giggling at that last comment, thinking herself quite witty. 'Surprises indeed!'
"I have?"
"A-yuh, but there is one catch to this. I know you usually like to come in late summer, but for this, the week has to be taken right away, before the busy season starts. Are you at all interested in collecting such a nice prize?" She held her breath and awaited the answer.
After a unbearably long pause, Brad responded, "To tell you the truth, you couldn't have called at a better time. As it turns out, I'm just coming off a very emotionally draining week and could really use a little R & R. And Dr. Mack still owes me from having covered for him a couple of weeks back in March." Another bit of silence was followed by a deep laugh. "And my nurse has already deserted me for the rest of the month, having just had that baby of hers. Yes, this is definitely doable. Unless I call you back, expect me sometime tomorrow."
Hattie felt light as air as, seconds later, she plopped the receiver back into its cradle. Tomorrow was perfect. He'd be there a full day before this Reynold Johnstone fellow arrived, whoever he was.
Glancing ceilingward with an impish grin, she wondered what her Tony thought about all this. He had always considered Jillian and Brad one of his few failures. She knew that was why Tony had never tried to pair Brad with one of the other guests at the Inn during the nine years following. They all felt Brad had belonged with Jilly.
Tony must be delighted to have this second shot at the pair--and even more delighted to see that they shared a son. Dressed the way the boy was, in a baggy white Astros t-shirt nearly as long as his shorts, and wearing a Rangers ball cap turned backward, the small seven-year-old looked amazingly like his thirty-one year-old father, though there was plenty of his mother in him, too. Such a handsome child.
What would Brad's reaction be when he arrived that next day and discovered not only was his lost love there, but so was his son?
A son, Brad obviously didn't know existed.

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Quotes:

"As in previous Seascape novels, the delightful Miss Hattie carefully manipulates the characters while Tony provides any necessary ghostly magic. Yet, in FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, as the title suggests, the primary director of events is Pete, a lonely boy who only wants a father who can play baseball with him. This unique focus on the child who bonds Jillian and brad together makes the book special."
---Gothic Journal, March 1997

"Fans of the enchanting series are in for a treat with this sensitive and touching tale of long-lost lovers reunited with a little ghostly help."
---Romantic Times Magazine, March issue 1997

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