Title: His Harbor Girl
Author: Rekha Ambardar
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published in December 2004 by Whiskey Creek Press
Leanna Reed knows what it means to struggle to survive. In the last 5 years, she quit college, left the man she was in love with, watched her mother die, raised her daughter Kai by herself, and started up her own business. The only ones that she could rely on were her father, Chester, and family friend, Alice. When Leanna was growing up, her father had been absent for months at a time. Leanna and her mother would only get to see him when he came home on shore leave. She saw how his absence affected her mother. Leanna is not willing to settle for the same for her and her daughter. After her father retired, they turned his boat into The Tug, which is a quaint little gift and supply store. During the last year, The Tug and her daughter have been her entire life. Pelican Harbor, Michigan is where she has been calling home for the past five years. Leanna is content with how her life is going now, that is, until a man she never expected to see again walks into her store.
Leanna is stunned to see Bryce after so many years. The sight of Bryce is enough to take her breath away even after so much time. When they were in college together, they had become inseparable and madly in love. However, Leanna had seen how much Bryce was dedicated to his work and would not settle for being left out in the dark as her mother was all those months when her father was gone. The hardest decision she ever made was to leave Bryce and move back home, but she knew that she would never be happy settling for less. Just seeing him in her store brings back so many memories. Leanna is unsure what to do about telling Bryce that Kai is his daughter too. She realizes that he has a right to know, but he when never came looking for her after she left him, she convinced herself that he did not love her enough.
Bryce Robertson is in Pelican Harbor, Michigan to study the wolves on Benedict Island. When he walks into The Tug, he is enticed by the sight of Leanna after so long. All those years ago, he knew that she would be either in Pelican Harbor or in a nearby town, but he gave her the space that she obviously needed when she walked out on him. He never heard a word or an explanation from her when she left. One day she was there and the next she was gone. Leanna was the only woman that he had ever loved and when she left him, he did the only thing that he could to survive. He dedicated himself further to his second love, his work, and became a first rate researcher.
The feelings that Bryce had suppressed for Leanna washed over him when he sees her again behind the counter at The Tug. Bryceís team is unable to get over to Benedict Island until Leannaís father comes to the rescue. On their way over to the island, Chester lets it slip that Leanna has a 4-year-old daughter. This news stuns Bryce, but her leaving him without a word now makes sense. Bryce reasons that Leanna would not want to stay with him if she was pregnant with another manís child. He knows that if the baby were his, she would have let him know. During his time on Benedict Island and coming across to the mainland to get supplies, Bryce keeps running into Leanna. While driving Leanna and Kai home one day, Bryce gets a surprise. Leanna still has Cody, the dog, which Bryce and Leanna had picked out 5 years ago when they were still together. Bryce and Leanna start to spend time together and renew the love that they shared years ago. Bryce does not know what he is going to do about their relationship, since he will be leaving once his research is finished.
His Harbor Girl by Rekha Ambardar looks at living with decisions that you make in your youth and the affect that they have on not only yourself, but others as well. Leanna made the most difficult decision of her life when she walked out on Bryce. She knew that she deserved more from their relationship and did not want to take second place to Bryceís work. Leanna has dedicated the last five years to becoming self-sufficient and raising her daughter. She is not sure if there is room in her life for Bryce now. The research on Benedict Island allows Bryce to seek Leanna out and to see if he can finally get an explanation for why she left him without a backward glance. The feelings that they share for each other can no longer be denied, but the question of whether they can reach a compromise is still up in the air.
The scenery and environment add to the appeal of His Harbor Girl by Rekha Ambardar. I enjoyed reading about how Bryce and Leanna interacted with each and the time that they spent together involved in Bryceís research. Getting a glimpse of the danger of extinction that wolves are facing made this a tale that is grounded in the real life struggles that researchers are facing. We get to see a small part of what they are doing to help prevent the total loss of these magnificent animals. In looking at the relationship and interaction between Bryce and Leanna, you have got to love a man that cannot see the truth even if it hit him in the face. When Bryce finds out about Kai, he thinks he has all of the answers, but life is not always that black and white. Leanna struggles with doing the right thing even though she knows that it will disrupt her life. Pick up a copy today from Whiskey Creek Press to find out if Leanna lets Bryce continue to think that she was carrying another manís baby when she left him or if she reveals that the baby was his.