(Copyright 2006 Harlequin Enterprises Limited® and ™ are trademarks of the publisher)

Perry Square: Where Love is Found...and Lasts ForeverHERE WITH ME


by Holly Jacobs

Silhouette Romance, 7/06
ISBN #0-373-19825-6

Colorado Award of Excellence WINNER
Write Touch Readers' Choice Award WINNER
Golden Quill WINNER
National Readers' Choice Award WINNER
Booksellers' Best Finalist
Holt Medallion Finalist
Golden Leaf Finalist
CataRomance Reviewers' Choice Nominee

Thorndike Large Print Edition, 1/07

Before dawn on Mary Eileen Singer’s thirteenth birthday, she went onto the front lawn and washed her face in the dew. According to her grandmother, the first man she saw would be the man she would someday marry. Right after breakfast Matty Benton showed up. Thankfully she didn’t exactly see him. She quickly covered her eyes, because there was no way she was going to marry Matty. He picked on her more than any boy in school. He made it his mission in life to make her miserable. Okay, so there was that one time he saved her from a bunch of bullies, but he still picked on her. He tells her--as she sits with a hand over her eyes--that he’s leaving. He’s going to live with an uncle in New York. He just wanted to say goodbye. She’s surprised to feel him gently kiss her cheek. He says he’s left her a present on the fence post. When she’s sure he’s gone, she looks...it’s a piece of beach glass shaped like a heart. She falls in love with the glass, even though she’s sure she’ll never love Matty Benton. That night she sees a tall, dark-haired man in her dreams and decides that he must be the man she was destined for...not Matty. She dreams of her dark-haired man frequently after that.

Lee Singer is a woman who loves the quiet, safe life she’s built for herself after a messy divorce and losing a baby. But when Adam Benton, a childhood friend/nemesis, walks into her shop all grown up and pretty heavenly looking, things get a little less than quiet. They get even noisier when it turns out Adam comes equipped with a one-year-old niece, Jessie. He’s been named Jessie’s guardian and has a month to decide if he can balance her needs with his work. Since he’s a work-a-holic, that’s going to take a lot of balancing. The icing on Lee’s strange-summer- on-the-lake arrives in...an RV. Her normally disinterested parents decide to visit, park their RV behind Lee’s cottage, and prepare to get real interested in Lee’s life.

Yes, quiet and safe is all but a distant memory for Lee. But sometimes it takes a bit of chaos to find where your heart truly belongs.

Visit the real Perry Square

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"Holly Jacobs tackles this sensitive subject with ease in Here with Me, using her unique brand of humor to draw readers in to the story of so many different complicated relationships...Though Here with Me brings an end to our visits to Perry Square, this cornerstone of the big city with a small town spirit, will continue to live on in the hearts and minds of all of Holly’s loyal fans." ~© Kelley A. Hartsell, June 2006. All rights reserved.

"The matchmakers in Perry Square are at it again! Fans of Ms. Jacobs Perry Square Romances will be thrilled once again. All the usual suspects are there and just waiting to meddle in Lee’s love life. This refreshingly sweet story will have you breathing a happy sigh when you read the last page and looking for the first plane to Erie. HERE WITH ME is a sure pick-me-up that you won’t want to miss." ~Cat Cody, Romance Junkies

Holly Jacobs takes us back to the enchanting Perry Square in her latest writing gem. Emotionally charged, Here With Me is sure to be another favorite. ~Debby Guyette, CataRomance

"Holly Jacobs' Here With Me (4) is sweetly humorous, and the characters have interesting flaws and edges." ~ Catherine Witmer, Romantic Times Bookclub

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Here With Me


Mary Eileen Singer crept from her grandmother’s house before the sun rose on her thirteenth birthday, just as the first pink rays danced over the lake. Even though it was August, the morning air was cool. The ground felt wet beneath her barefeet, which was just perfect.

She bent, ran her hands over the damp grass, then raised them to her face and scrubbed.

"Ah, there's something magic in that first dew. Back home they said if you washed your face in it you'd meet the man you'd someday wed. There's something magic about becoming a woman, too. You put those two wee bits of magic together and you have something special," her grandmother had said the night before.

Her grandmother had been right about so many things, that Mary Eileen fully expected to meet the man she’d one day marry today.

"When you’ve washed your face in the morning dew, you’ll see him and you’ll know," Grandma had promised.

Face duly washed, Mary Eileen hurriedly ate her breakfast and dressed carefully. It wouldn’t do to meet the man she was going to marry looking less than her best.

She went and sat out in front of the cottage on her favorite rock, waiting for him.

Waiting was no hardship. Her grandmother’s small cottage overlooked the lake. Not the well-tamed sandy beaches that line Lake Erie’s peninsula, Presque Isle, farther to the west, but a rocky, wild section of shoreline east of the city.

As she sat, she daydreamed about the man she would one day marry. He’d be tall and he’d smile a lot. He’d want nothing more than to spend all his time with her. He wouldn’t work long hours like her parents did and he’d...

Her daydream list of future husband do’s-and-don’ts were interrupted by a voice calling her name.

"Mary, Mary Eileen."

Panic swamped her as she recognized the voice.

What had she done?

This couldn’t be the magic.

Oh, yes she knew that voice. She was waiting for the man she was going to marry, not for Matty Benton. There was no way she was going to marry him someday in the distant future.

She covered her eyes with her hands. Hoping that if she didn’t actually see him she’d be safe from the magic.

She heard his feet crunch the stones as he approached.

"Mary Eileen, what are you doing?"

She pressed her hands harder against her eyes so that not even the slightest sliver of light penetrated. "Nothing for you to worry about, Matty Benton."

"I came to see you," he said.

"Well, I can’t see you today." She tried to think of an explanation for her covered eyes and finally said, "I had stuff put in my eyes at the doctor’s and can’t open them until tomorrow. If I look at the sun, I could go blind."

"Oh." He paused and said, "I’m sorry."

"Thank you. You can go now."

Even at thirteen Mary Eileen knew she was being more than a little rude, but the longer Matty stayed the greater the risk. No way did she want to marry him. Not horrible old Matty Benton. If she had to be mean in order to prevent it, she would be.

"That’s what I came to tell you, I am going. I’m leaving Erie."

"Leaving?" she echoed.

Matty was a pain. He’d moved in with the Johnson’s a year ago and was two years older than she was. He should spend his time willingly ignoring her like the rest of the older neighborhood kids did, but Matty wasn’t the type to do what he should do. So not only did he not ignore her, he seemed to live to tease her.

She hated that, but it didn’t mean Mary Eileen wanted him to leave.

"Yeah. Social Services found my dad’s brother. My Uncle Paul. He lives in New York City, so I’m moving there."

"Oh." New York City seemed worlds away from the sleepy beach outside Erie. "Are you glad?"

There was a small rush of air and Mary could almost picture Matty’s characteristic shrug.

"Doesn’t much matter," he said.

But it did matter.

She knew it did, even if Matty wouldn’t say so.

"I’m sorry, Matty," she said softly.

It was her birthday and she was going to meet the man she’d someday marry. She should be celebrating, but instead, she felt sad and realized it was because she’d miss Matty Benton. He might be a pain, but there were occasions, like now, when he wasn’t teasing her and she sort of liked him.

"What have I told you about calling me Matty?" he asked, his voice all deep and scary.

Matty had never scared her a bit. Annoyed, yes, but not scared. She laughed at his attempt to do so now. "Matty’s better than Matt. There’s just no way you’re a Matt."

"Everyone else and their brother calls me Matt.

"They’re wrong," she paused a minute and added, "But you’re right. You’re not exactly a Matty either."

"So who am I?" he asked.

"I don’t know." And she felt a wave of sadness that he was leaving and she’d never get to find out just what his name should be.

"Sorry about your eyes," he said.

She felt guilty for that lie. "Sorry you’re leaving." She thought about telling him she’d miss him, but she couldn’t quite get the words out.

There was another slight rustling of the air, and she knew Matty had moved. Something soft brushed against her cheek.

Matty Benton had kissed her.

Right after that thought she heard the sound of rapid footsteps down the small stone path.

The gate creaked. "Bye, Mary Eileen. There’s not much I’ll miss about Erie, but I’ll miss you. I left you something on the fence post."

"Bye, Matty."

And though she knew she shouldn’t, though she knew she was tempting fates, she cracked her interlaced fingers the merest smidgeon and peeked at the boy who was walking down the path.

"Goodbye, Matty."

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From the book: HERE WITH ME
By: Holly Jacobs
Imprint and Series: Silhouette Romance
Publication Date: 7/06
Copyright © 2006
By: Harlequin Enterprises
® and ™ are trademarks of the publisher.
The edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.
For more romance information surf Harlequin.com

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