Colters' Gift - Colters' Legacy #5 - Maya Banks

Maya Banks - Colters' Legacy #5 - Colters' Gift

Colters' Gift (Colters' Legacy #5)
Maya Banks

Chapter 1

LAUREN Wilder descended the steps from her second-story apartment above the Main Street Medical Clinic and breathed in the crisp spring mountain air.

The wind kicked up and a few tendrils of hair escaped the hastily done ponytail. She pulled her light sweater tighter around her and looked for traffic before crossing the street to the diner where she worked.

Not that there was ever much traffic in Clyde, and certainly not this early in the morning, but later, the sleepy town would come alive and a host of regulars would filter into the diner for their morning coffee, breakfast and, more importantly, the day’s gossip.

The bell jangled when she entered the front door. It was a sound she never heard when the small diner was filled with customers, but in the morning, it seemed jarringly loud and it always startled the quiet peace that blanketed the tiny mountain town.

Her town.

It had taken her months to settle in and truly feel as though she belonged here. It was a far cry from the hustle and bustle of New York City, and a year ago, if someone had told her that she’d end up taking refuge here, in a place that still hadn’t caught up to the rest of the world, she would have laughed and said never.

She was, or at least she had been, a total city girl. She loved the conveniences of living in one of the world’s largest cities. Everything was at her fingertips. A walk, or a subway ride away. Sometimes a cab ride if she was in a hurry.

Max, her older brother, had found his way to Clyde when he’d fallen in love with Callie. Her family had lived here for decades. They were as much a part of this small town as the fixtures and buildings themselves.

Lauren had always assumed she’d stay in the city. Settle down with a businessman who shared the same interests as she. Have two children, a boy and a girl, and complete the American dream.

The problem with that fantasy was that she’d chosen the wrong man, and now she could never return to her old life. She didn’t want to return to her old life.

She’d found more than just sanctuary in Clyde. She’d found the family she’d always longed for in the Colters. She understood well why Max had been willing to give up his wanderlust and settle in these mountains, surrounded by the family who’d pulled him—and Lauren—into their arms.

For the first time in months, she was starting to regain some of her old confidence. More importantly, she was learning to forgive herself for the choices she’d made. She could now go to sleep at night without cringing over her naïveté. Or at least most nights.

The first step for her had been moving out of Max and Callie’s home and into her own apartment in town. It hadn’t been easy to convince her protective older brother—or the Colters for that matter—that she was ready to be out on her own. They’d grown used to having her close and watching over her, and while she adored them for their unconditional love and protection, she’d been thrilled to take that step.

She had a place of her own, and she had a job. So it wasn’t the career she’d planned, nor was it a job worthy of her college degree, but it was a job that paid well. She made enough to get by on, and she wasn’t depending on her brother’s fortune to support her.

She went into the kitchen, where