Today, HJ is pleased to share with you Jennifer Ryan’s new release: LOST AND FOUND FAMILY
You won’t want to miss New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Ryan’s riveting new novel about family, secrets, and a woman ready to embrace who she really is by facing down her past.
As Sara Anderson drives up to the house in Carmel, she knows she’s on an impossible quest to make peace with the one person who truly hate her. For years, Sara has hidden the truth about her late husband’s lies from their children and their grandmother. When her mother-in-law, Margaret, threatens her with legal action to see the boys, Sara strikes a bargain: she’ll bring them for a six-week visit, hoping the boys, at least, will find connection and happiness with their extended family.
It doesn’t help that attorney and part-time rancher Luke Thompson lives right next door, and as an old friend of the family’s he’s agreed to investigate Sara’s past. Luke doesn’t feel comfortable poking around in the very successful tech CEO’s private life. What he finds is a truth very different from the one he’s been led to believe. Far from being cold and unloving, Sara is devoted to her boys and as at home on the ranch as she is in a boardroom.
All Sarah ever wanted was a family, and all Luke wants now is her love. The time has come to reveal the terrible secrets that have been kept for so long. In losing the past, a new love—and family—can be found.
Enjoy an exclusive excerpt from Lost and Found Family
hy now?” Sarah sank deeper into her office chair, wallow- ing in her desire to be defiant, knowing this reckoning
disguised as a visit was a long time coming.
Sarah stared at the letter Margaret’s attorney, Luke Thompson, sent her two weeks ago basically telling her to either allow Mar- garet to see the boys voluntarily or face a court battle.
All Margaret had to do was ask.
But no. She had to be difficult and get a lawyer.
“Why can’t Sean’s mother come here if she wants to see the boys? She can make the drive just as well as I can. Why demand such a long visit when the kids have school and I have a business to run?”
Her best friend and assistant, Abby, kept her features and re- sponse neutral. “You haven’t taken a vacation in four years.”
Sarah rolled her eyes. “Spending time with Sean’s mother is not a vacation. It’s an endurance race through hell.”
Sean’s mother and sister knew nothing about the man Sean had become before his death, and treated her with open hostil- ity, making it clear they hated her. She’d endured their disdain followed by two years of cutting silence, and now, out of the blue, Margaret had demanded to see her grandsons.
Sarah despised Sean for making her keep his deep dark secrets. She did it to spare his family, for the sake of her children, and the company they owned and had built into a thriving enterprise.
But keeping the secrets weighed on her mind and heart.
Abby pressed her lips into a flat line. “Maybe you’ll resolve the differences between you. Put the past to rest, then she won’t be so unkind.”
That was a tepid term for the scathing words Margaret liked to spew.
“She doesn’t want to be friends, or even play nice for the boys’ sake. She blames me for Sean’s death and thinks I stole his com- pany from him.”
After the company’s IPO and Sean’s sudden death, the stocks were up and down like a roller coaster. She did what she had to do to stabilize the business and show the investors the company was still solid. “We came so close to losing everything. The boys deserved some small piece of their father to survive.”
Abby folded her arms across her chest. “You are Spencer Soft-
ware. Everything this company is only exists because of you and your genius at programming. You’ve always held the company’s reins. You catapulted us to where we are now.”
Sarah found it difficult to accept the accolades she’d worked hard to deserve but wasn’t comfortable flaunting.
“Spencer Software is the best in the industry, and there are your successful side businesses as well.” Abby prodded Sarah to see her life for what it really was, not how Sean’s family saw it, and how she hid it. “People are banging down the door to get you to do their projects. The boys will have some legacy. Thanks to you.
Not Sean. Stop letting him take credit for your work. You should
have left him long before he started treating you like an employee instead of his wife and the mother of his sons.”
No sense arguing. Sarah had saved the company and, most im- portant, everyone’s jobs. “You’re right. So why the hell did I agree to spend six weeks with his mother, who hates me, and pretend that all the things I allowed her and the world to believe are really true?” “Tell. Her. The. Truth.” Abby held her hands out and let them fall. “What difference does it make now? He’s gone. You shouldn’t
have to pay for his mistakes and misdeeds forever.”
Sarah didn’t see an upside to revealing Sean’s true character. “He was everything to her. The perfect son, who could do no wrong. I can’t take that away.” She understood Margaret in a way. “As a mother, I look at my boys and want to believe they’re perfect in every way. Let her have her untarnished memory of him. I wish for the boy’s sake he’d been that person.”
And telling Sean’s mom everything opened the door to the boys remembering things better left forgotten.
Abby let it go.
Sarah glanced at her calendar and worried about all the meet- ings she’d have to take remotely. “Did you call Margaret and give her the details about our arrival?”
Abby rolled her eyes again. “Yes. And Margaret wanted me to tell you”—she released a frustrated huff—“and I quote, ‘She could have taken five minutes between lunch with friends and spend- ing Sean’s money to call me herself.’” Abby might get a headache from all that eye rolling.
“And so it begins.” Sarah waited for the tide of resentment to pass.
Abby made a disgusted face to let Sarah know what she thought about Margaret’s attitude.
Abby leaned over the desk and put her hand over Sarah’s. “I just wish, for once, someone gave you as much as you give to oth- ers. Only the good things you do in the name of the company are
public knowledge. But that all changes at the benefit next month.” Abby gave her a mischievous smile, excited Sarah would be pub- licly celebrated—mostly against her will.
“I just want to focus on the job I love. I get people want to cel- ebrate a woman in my position and that I’m a role model for young girls who want to be in the tech industry. But I hate doing press.” “As co-CEO you should take credit for all you do and not let
Evan hog the spotlight.”
“He can have it.” Sarah held the position so she had a say in how the company was run, but she left the majority of the public aspect of the CEO job to Evan, who knew how to run the com- pany and loved being the face of Spencer Software.
She and Evan ran the company the way she’d hoped she and Sean would have done if Sean had been a different kind of man.
“Your new security program will innovate the market. And though everyone knows a woman is behind the bestselling Andy’s Antics games, the press and consumers can’t wait to find out that it’s really you behind the obscure photo and bio on the website.”
Because Andy’s Antics wasn’t a public company, Sarah had been able to keep her identity somewhat secret. Insiders knew, but she’d kept the narrative on the games, not who made them.
“It’s about time you had your coming-out party.” Abby held up her hands. “That’s all I have to say. You should get credit for all you’ve accomplished.”
“Margaret won’t like it when I do. I don’t even know how much Margaret knows about what I’ve done with Spencer Software, let alone if she even knows about Andy’s Antics.”
“She’ll know soon enough. If you come clean to Margaret about Sean, you could get all the secrets out of the way in a matter of weeks.”
“Some skeletons are better left buried. You should go home.
Excerpt. ©Jennifer Ryan. Posted by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved.
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Meet the Author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Ryan writes suspenseful contemporary romances about everyday people who do extraordinary things. Her deeply emotional love stories are filled with high stakes and higher drama, love, family, friendship, and the happily-ever-after we all hope to find.
Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children. When she finally leaves those fictional worlds, you’ll find her in the garden, playing in the dirt and daydreaming about people who live only in her head—until she puts them on paper .