Read Twice in a Lifetime Online

Authors: Marta Perry

Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #General, #Religious

Twice in a Lifetime

Twice in a Lifetime

Marta Perr

“I’m here to spend a little time with my favorite grandmother.”

Miz Callie’s cheeks flushed. “Your only grandmother, as you well know. Georgia, this is Matthew Harper. Matthew, my granddaughter, Georgia Bodine.”

She hadn’t identified him as her attorney, and he wondered if the omission was deliberate. He extended his hand again, his eyebrows lifting. Georgia wouldn’t refuse it this time unless she wanted open warfare in front of her grandmother.

Georgia took his hand, and he closed his fingers around hers, holding on a bit longer than she’d probably want.

Small, not much taller than her tiny grandmother, Georgia was all softness—soft curves of her body, soft curls in that long, dark brown hair, a soft curve of smooth cheeks. Until you got to her eyes, that is. A deep, deep brown, he guessed they could look like velvet, but they were hard as stone when they surveyed him.

Those eyes issued a warning, but that wouldn’t deter him. Fulfilling his client’s wishes was a trust to him.

Books by Marta Perry

Love Inspired

A Father’s Promise Since You’ve Been Gone

Desperately Seeking Dad

The Doctor Next Door

Father Most Blessed A Father’s Place

Hunter’s Bride

A Mother’s Wish

A Time To Forgive

Promise Forever Always in Her Heart The Doctor’s Christmas True Devotion

Love Inspired Suspense

In the Enemy’s Sights Land’s End

Tangled Memories Season of Secrets

Hide in Plain Sight


Hero in Her Heart

Unlikely Hero

Hero Dad

Her Only Hero

Hearts Afire

Restless Hearts

A Soldier’s Heart Mission: Motherhood

Twice in a Lifetime

*Hometown Heroes

**Caldwell Kin

†The Flanagans

††The Bodine Family

A Christmas to Die For

Buried Sins Final Justice

‡The Three Sisters Inn

has written everything from Sunday School curriculum to travel articles to magazine stories in more than twenty years of writing, but she feels she’s found her writing home in the stories she writes for the Love Inspired line.

Marta lives in rural Pennsylvania, but she and her husband spend part of each year at their second home in South Carolina. When she’s not writing, she’s probably visiting her children and her six beautiful grandchildren, traveling, gardening or relaxing with a good book.

Marta loves hearing from readers, and she’ll write back with a signed bookmark and/or her brochure of Pennsylvania Dutch recipes. Write to her c/o Steeple Hill Books, 233 Broadway, Suite 1001, New York, NY 10279, e-mail her at
[email protected], or visit her on the Web at

Twice in a Lifetime

Marta Perry

Published by Steeple Hill Books

When I look at thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast established; what is man, that thou should remember him?

Or mortal man, that thou should care for him?



This story is dedicated to my readers, with the hope they will love the Bodine family. And, as always, to Brian, with much love.

Chapter One

eorgia Bodine pulled into the crushed-shell parking space of the aging beach house and got out, the breeze off the ocean lifting her hair and filling her with a wave of courage that was as unexpected as it was welcome. She might be a total failure at standing up for herself, but to protect her beloved grandmother, she could battle anyone.

Couldn’t she?

Refusing to let even the hint of a negative thought take hold, Georgia trotted up the worn wooden stairs. The beach house, like most on the Charleston barrier islands, had an elevated first floor to protect against the storms everyone hoped would never come.

The dolphin knocker smiled its usual welcome. The corners of her lips lifted in response, and she rushed through the door, calling for her grandmother as if she were eight instead of twenty-eight.

“Miz Callie! I’m here!”

Her impetuous run took her through the hall and into the large living room that ran the depth of the house. Sunlight pouring through the windows overlooking the Atlantic made her blink.

Someone sat in the shabby old rocker that was her grandmother’s favorite chair, but it wasn’t Miz Callie.

The man rose, looking as startled by her bursting into the house as she felt finding him here. Aside from the stranger, the room—with its battered, eclectic collection of furniture accumulated over generations and its tall, jammed bookcases—was empty. Where was Miz Callie, and what was this stranger doing here?

The man recovered before she could ask the question. “If you’re looking for Mrs. Bodine, she went upstairs to get something. I’m sure she’ll be right back.”

A warning tingle ran along her skin. The interloper was in his thirties, probably, dressed in a button-down shirt and slacks that were more formal than folks generally wore on Sullivan’s Island. He stood as tall as the Bodine men, who tended to height, but tense, as if ready for a fight. Brown hair showed a trace of gold where the sunlight pouring through the window hit it, and his blue eyes were frosty. The few words he’d spoken had a distinctly northern tang. This was the lawyer, then, the one causing all the trouble. The one who had Uncle Brett muttering about Yankee carpetbaggers and her daddy threatening to call everyone from Charleston’s mayor to the South Carolina governor, with a few council members thrown in for good

measure. This was—had to be—Matthew Harper.

He took a step toward her, holding out his hand. “I’m Matt Harper. And you are…”

“Georgia Lee Bodine.” No matter how rude it was, she would not shake hands with the man. Her fists clenched. “Miz Callie’s granddaughter.”

Wariness registered in his eyes at the name, and he let his hand drop to his side, his mouth tightening. He knew who she was. Maybe he even knew why the family had called her home from Atlanta in such a rush.

Do something about your grandmother, Georgia Lee. You’ve always been close. She’ll listen to you. You have to talk some sense into her before it’s too late.

Who were they kidding? Nobody ever talked Miz Callie out of anything she’d set her mind on. Certainly not Georgia Lee, the least combative of the sprawling Bodine clan.

A flurry of footsteps sounded, and Miz Callie rushed into the room.

“Georgia Lee!”

Georgia barely had time to register a quick impression of her grandmother—five foot nothing, slim and wiry as a girl, white hair that stood out from her head like a halo— before she was wrapped in a warm embrace.

She hugged in return, love rushing through her like a storm tide, and had to blink back tears. Unconditional love, that was what Miz Callie had always offered the shy, uncertain child she’d been, and it was still there for the woman she’d become. Georgia had never been as aware of it as at that moment.

Help me.
Her heart murmured a fervent prayer.
Help me keep her safe.

Over her grandmother’s shoulder she stared at Matthew Harper, her determination welling. She had come home because the family said Miz Callie was in trouble—that she was acting irrationally and that this man, this outsider, was trying to con her out of what was hers.

He wouldn’t succeed. Not without walking over the prone body of Georgia Lee Bodine, he wouldn’t.

Harper’s face tightened, as if he could read her mind.

Fine. They knew where they stood, it seemed, without another word being spoken. The battle lines were drawn.

So this was the granddaughter from Atlanta. Matt couldn’t help having some preconceived notions about the

woman, like it or not, from what he’d seen of Miz Callie and the rest of her family.

He’d already clashed with several members of Miz Callie’s large clan over what she planned to do. The two sons he’d spoken to had had the same goal, though they’d gone about it in different ways. Georgia’s father, the eldest son, had been all Southern charm and hints of powerful influence, while Brett Bodine, the second of the brothers, intimidating in his Coast Guard uniform, had been blustery and outraged. He hadn’t heard from the third brother yet, but no doubt he would.

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