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If We Never Met Signed Books

If We Never Met Signed Books

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"This is such a good book! It's a charming, fun, intriguing and moving story. Captivated me from the first page to the last. 5 STARS!" Doni - Goodreads

One moment can change two lives…

Keira Blake agrees to the blind date simply because she has a wedding coming up and no plus one. Tired of being the last single girl standing in her group of friends, she shows up at the bar with low expectations, but her ruggedly handsome date is far more attractive and interesting than she'd imagined. In fact, he seems too good to be true…

Dante DeAngelis, the star pitcher for the Miami Mavericks, is in Whisper Lake for a month to rehab a shoulder injury away from the spotlight of his baseball career and his famous girlfriend. When the beautiful brunette assumes he's her date, he momentarily plays along, enjoying the rare instance of not being seen as a celebrity but as himself...

When their true identities are revealed, Keira and Dante try to stay away from one another. Keira has family commitments that will keep her in Whisper Lake, and Dante is just passing through. He also has a girlfriend and a job miles away. But sometimes love gets in the way of the best laid plans… 

What the readers are saying about IF WE NEVER MET:

"The latest Whisper Lake novel by Barbara Freethy is refreshing, well-written and just plain fun to read! As with Barbara Freethy books, there is intrigue & mystery within this romance. I highly recommend this 5 star romance! Looking forward to returning to Whisper Lake soon." Geri – Goodreads

"Barbara Freethy’s latest novel on Whisper Lake series is an absolutely superb novel! I just read it in one go, from the moment Dante and Keira meet to the last page it’s simply wonderful. Ms. Freethy has written a well- developed story with likeable characters. This book is highly recommended if you’re looking for a weekend or a beach read." Lishani - BookBub

"Loved it. From the meet cute to the wedding (not theirs) at the end it is an enjoyable and entertaining tale. Some nail-biting moments. Many personal growth issues. Family ties and losses. A delight to be back in Whisper Lake once again." Barbara – Goodreads on If We Never Met

"This series just keeps getting better. A fantastic and suspenseful romance." Debbie - Goodreads


Dante DeAngelis sighed as the never-ending questions came once more: How are you feeling? What does the doctor say about your shoulder? Will you be ready to pitch again before the end of the season? Or the worst question: Will you be able to pitch the way you once did?

He didn't have answers for any of those questions, but that didn't stop his friends, his teammates, the media, or his family from asking them. Today's questions were coming from his younger brother, Micah, whose call he should not have answered. 

He shifted his phone to his other ear as Micah's voice pierced through his reverie.

"What's the deal?" Micah demanded. "Nikki says you haven't been talking to anyone, including her." 

"I texted her last night. And I can't answer your questions, Micah. It's too soon. I have my first rehab assessment tomorrow morning, with my official therapy sessions starting on Monday."

"And you're going to stay in Colorado to do that?"

"Yes. There's a new rehab center in Whisper Lake, and my orthopedic surgeon highly recommended it. Plus, I like being far away. It makes it…easier." 

It felt absurd to say easier because nothing about his possible career-ending shoulder injury was easy. Whether he'd be back this season or never was the big question. But right now, he could only focus on what was right in front of him, and that was three weeks of intense rehab at a state-of-the-art facility. The fact that the rehab center was in a mountain resort town was a bonus. He'd been sitting in Micky's Bar and Grill for the past twenty minutes, and not one person had come up to ask him for an autograph. That felt both shocking and amazing. 


"Sorry, what did you say?"

"I'm worried about you. Why don't you come home? You don't have to stay with Dad. You can hang at my apartment. We have rehab centers in San Francisco."

"This one is the best. It's brand new. It's going to be part of a new Olympic Training Center in Whisper Lake, and they have therapists who are specifically skilled in dealing with professional athletes. I will be getting the best care, and I like being away from a big city." 

He looked up as a loud group of guys entered the bar. They appeared to be a softball team with the bar's name scrawled across their jerseys, just the kind of men who might know exactly who he was. Luckily, they were too caught up in conversation to notice him. So far, he'd managed to stay under the radar, but that wouldn't last forever. 

"Where are you?" Micah asked. "It sounds loud."

"A bar."

"Well, that's good. I was thinking you were sitting in some hotel room alone on a Friday night. Where are you staying?"

"An inn owned by my doctor's sister. I would have preferred a more impersonal hotel, but Grayson insisted that Lizzie would give me privacy. We'll see. She does make awesome chocolate chip cookies every afternoon."

"Is she single?"

"Engaged. And I'm here to heal, not find myself a date."

"All right. Well, I gotta go. Call me if you get bored. Or if you want company…"

"Thanks. But you're busy with your food truck. You don't need to babysit me." 

"Not so busy. The truck has some problems."

"What's going on?"

"I can't get into it now. We'll talk soon."

"All right." He set his phone on the table and picked up his beer. He was thinking about getting some food to go with it when a very attractive brunette approached his table with an uncertain look. Apparently, he wasn't as unrecognizable as he'd hoped. She had on a short, silky floral dress that clung to her curves and showed off her tanned legs. Her dark-brown hair fell past her shoulders in thick waves. His gut tightened, but it wasn't because he wanted her to go away.

"You're Danny, right?" she said. 

It wasn't the first time his name had been skewed. "Yes."

"Oh, good." Relief ran through her wide-set, big brown eyes. She pulled out the chair across from him and sat down. "I'm Keira, but you probably figured that out, since you've been waiting for me. I'm sorry I'm late. I had a customer come into the shop right at closing." She paused. "And now I'm talking too much."

He was a little bemused by not only how much she was talking but also how pretty she was, with a bright, self-deprecating smile curving her very kissable mouth. 

"Can I get you a drink, Keira?" the waitress asked as she stopped by the table.

"Hi, Joanne. I'd love a glass of Merlot," Keira replied. 

"You got it," Joanne said, glancing back at him. 

"I'm fine," he said at her unspoken question.

"So, your turn to talk," Keira said.

He honestly had no idea what to say. It was becoming clear that she had no idea who he was. She hadn't confused Dante with Danny. She'd taken him for someone else entirely.

"I'd love to hear what you think of Whisper Lake," she added. "You said you recently got to town?" 

"I did." He had finally gotten a question he could answer. "I like the town. I haven't seen a lot yet, but the mountains and the lake are spectacular."

She nodded, pride in her eyes. "It's one of the prettiest spots in the country. But I'm prejudiced—I was born here."

"Have you always lived here?" 

"No. I went to New York for college and stayed there for my dream job. I was going to be a fashion designer." Shadows entered her eyes. "But my mom got into an accident and needed not only care but someone to help with her real-estate business, so I came home. That was six years ago."

"That's very generous. It sounds like you gave up a lot."

"I'm not sure it was that much. I was just getting started in the business, and I was mostly doing grunt work at a fashion house. When I came home, I got my real-estate license and took over my mom's business." 

"Wait a second. I thought you said you worked at a store."

"I do. I opened a clothing boutique two years ago. I've been juggling both careers since then." She tilted her head to the right as she gave him a thoughtful look. "Didn't I mention that when we were texting?"

Before he had to answer that question, the waitress set down Keira's wine as well as crackers and dip. He really should tell Keira that she was at the wrong table with the wrong guy, but it was actually nice to talk to someone who had no idea who he was or what he'd just been through. 

"Micky sent his famous artichoke and crab dip over—on the house," the waitress said. "He said he owes you, Keira, for finding a rental for his cousin."

Keira waved a dismissive hand. "That was no big deal but tell him thanks." As the waitress left, Keira picked up a cracker. "Have you had Micky's special dip?"


"Then prepare to be amazed."

"Amazed, huh?"

"I am not exaggerating." She popped the cracker in her mouth and then gave him such a look of intense satisfaction, his whole body tightened. "Give it a try."

He took a cracker and lathered it with dip. The bite was absolutely perfect—hot, spicy, and creamy. 


"I'm amazed," he admitted.

"Told you. If you want to continue to be impressed, you should order the fish tacos. They are out of this world." 

"I'll keep that in mind. So, you have two careers going, huh? How do you find the time?"

"I have help. And it's not really two careers, more like three. I also design for friends and family. Still thinking about how to get the custom design business off the ground."

"Busy woman. How do you juggle it all?"

"Sometimes not very well. It's super busy right now. I have a wedding coming up on July seventh for one of my best friends, Hannah Stark. I'm doing her gown and the bridesmaids' dresses. I'm also in the wedding party, so I have to make sure everything is perfect."

"And yet you find time to date," he mused.

"Actually, I don't date very often, but my friends have been pressuring me to get out there. Hannah, in particular, would love for me to have a plus one at her wedding," she said candidly. "That's why I got on the app last week and then you popped up." She frowned. "You don't look exactly like your photo, though."

"Better or worse?" he asked curiously.


"That's good." 

"Tell me about yourself. You haven't said too much. I know you're changing careers and you're giving up being an attorney to become a writer. I think that's great. I admire people who go after their dreams."

"I admire that, too," he said soberly. Talking about dreams just reminded him how close he was to losing his. 

"Danny?" she queried with concern. "You suddenly look serious."

"Sorry. Just thinking about dreams."

"It's something I think about, too. Sometimes they can come true and sometimes they just stay dreams."

Now she was the one who looked solemn. "You mentioned your mother was in an accident, and that's why you came back from New York. How is she doing now?"

"She's much better. She had a head injury, and it was a long road back, but she's been improving every year. I'm starting to feel like she's going to be okay."

"I'm glad to hear that."

"Me, too. The days after her accident were the scariest days of my life, and that is an understatement." 

He was surprised at how easily they'd fallen into a personal conversation with so much depth. It certainly wasn't his usual first-date conversation, but he was enjoying it. "Was your father able to help?"

"No. My dad died before I was a year old. I don't even remember him. We lived with my grandmother during most of my childhood. Unfortunately, she passed away when I was fourteen, and then it was just my mother and me." She sipped her wine. "I'm talking too much. What about you? Are you an only child or do you have siblings?"  

"I have three brothers."

She arched a brow in surprise. "That's a lot of testosterone in one family."

"You could say that." 

"Where are you in the line-up?"

"I'm the second oldest."

"So, a middle child."


"Did your parents keep trying for a girl?"

"My mom always wanted a daughter, but she never got one." 

"Are your parents alive and well?"

"No. Like you, I grew up with mostly one parent and some grandparents. My mom died when I was twelve." 

"I'm sorry. How did she die?"

He was actually surprised by the question. Most people stopped talking when he brought up an uncomfortable subject like his mother's death. But Keira was gazing at him with genuine, compassionate interest. 

"She had cancer. It was aggressive and fast. One minute she was baking cookies and volunteering at school, the next minute she was in a hospital bed in our living room. I hated coming home and seeing her there. It felt so wrong. Even after she passed away, I went into the house through the back door for at least another year, so I wouldn't have to remember…" He shook his head and cleared his throat. "That was too much information." He couldn't believe he'd shared such a personal story with her. 

"We're getting to know each other. There's never too much information. I didn't realize we'd both lost parents. Although, your situation is much different. I never knew my father, so while I felt the loss of not having two parents, I didn't know my dad. I didn't have good or bad memories of him."

"It sounds like you have a good relationship with your mother."

"We've always been tight." 

"It says a lot about you that you gave up your career to come home and take care of her."

"I never had a second thought about it. She would have done it for me." Keira took a breath. "I don't talk this much normally. I guess I'm a little out of practice when it comes to dating. What about you? Do you do this a lot?"

"This? I almost never do this," he said with a dry smile. "Online dating has always felt awkward to me."

"Me, too, but it's one way to meet someone."

"It is one way," he agreed. 

She sipped her wine, then set her glass down. "Tell me about your novel. You said it's going to be a thriller. How far along are you?"

He took a long sip of beer, knowing he had to tell her the truth. But as soon as he did, she'd probably be embarrassed. Or she might be angry that he'd been stringing her along when her real date was probably waiting for her somewhere in the bar. In fact, he was starting to feel like an ass for not having told her before now. 

As he opened his mouth to say something, the waitress interrupted them once more. She gave them an odd look. "Uh, Keira, there's a guy who says he's waiting for you, that he's your date. He asked me if I'd seen you."

"What are you talking about? This is my date," Keira said, tipping her head in his direction.

"Well, he's over there." The waitress pointed toward a brown-haired guy sitting alone at a table for two near the front door. "He said his name is Danny."

As the waitress moved away, Keira gave him a wary look. "Your name is Danny, too?"

"Actually, it's Dante. I thought you got it wrong when you first sat down, but I wasn't sure."

"Wait. So, you're not my date?"

"No, I'm not."

"Why didn't you say something?" 

"I don't know. You started talking, and you're really pretty, and uh, yeah, I don't have a good excuse." 

She flushed. "Well, I'll have to add tonight to one of my more embarrassing moments."

"Don't feel that way. I enjoyed talking to you." 

"I'm an idiot. I thought you were a great listener, but you had no idea what to say, because you're not Danny."

"You're not an idiot. I should have corrected you. I was about to, if that helps."

"Not really. You shouldn't have waited so long. We talked about our dead parents."

"I know. That was weird. I haven't actually talked about that with anyone outside my family."

"Why did you tell me?"

"I honestly have no idea." 

She stared back at him with a mix of confusion and embarrassment. "Are you meeting a date tonight?"

"No. I just came in for dinner. The innkeeper where I'm staying recommended this place."

"Are you staying at the Firefly Inn?" 

"I am."

"Lizzie, the owner, is one of my best friends. You'll love it there." 

"It's very nice."

"How long have you been in town?"

"I just got in last night." 

"Oh." She drew in a breath and let it out. "I should go and talk to the real Danny."

"Probably. I hope he's fun and plus-one material."

"Me, too." She got up, then hesitated. "Are you even single?"

His pause was a second too long.

She shook her head, anger entering her brown eyes. "Really? You're married?"

"No, I'm not married or engaged," he said quickly.


"I am seeing someone. It's not serious." He didn't know why he'd said that. It wasn't like he was going to date Keira. He was in town for three weeks. And most of that time would be spent in rehab. 

"I wonder if she knows that," Keira said dryly. Then she walked away. 

He watched her greet Danny and take a seat. She had her back to him, and he couldn't see her expression as she spoke to her date, but it didn't feel like she had the same energy with this guy that she'd had with him.

He felt somewhat happy about that. 

* * *

Danny was nowhere near as attractive as Dante. He had similar features and his hair was the same shade of brown. But Danny didn't have Dante's sharp blue eyes or full, sexy mouth, or deliciously appealing stubble on a strong, masculine jaw.

However, Danny was nice. And he did talk more than Dante. In fact, he spoke endlessly about himself, his former career in law, and now his new writing project, which seemed to be based on some of the cases he'd worked on. 

Danny was a Colorado native, who had grown up in Denver and moved to the lake to find more solitude and time for writing. He was an only child like her, so they had that in common. But he didn't ask her much about herself, except to wonder if her mom required a lot of medical care and her full-time attention. She didn't know if he was digging to see how busy she was, although she could have told him it wasn't her mom who put a lot of demands on her time, it was her businesses. 

As he spoke more about his book plot, her mind wandered to Dante. She'd deliberately sat with her back to him, but over the past several minutes, she'd been inching her chair sideways, as if to stretch out her legs, but it was really just to get another look at him. 

She had to admit when she'd sat down at his table and caught his gaze, she'd felt butterflies in her chest. Her breath had sped up and her palms felt sweaty. She hadn't met anyone who'd made her feel like that in a very long time. 

She finally managed to turn her head and take another quick peek at him. He was talking to Joanne, and he had a burger in front of him now. It looked good. He looked good. She inwardly sighed and then turned away, forcing herself to give Danny a smile. 

Dante had a girlfriend, or at least someone he was seeing. And aside from the fact that she knew he had three brothers and had lost his mother at a young age, she didn't really know anything else about him. Since he was staying at the inn, he was probably just passing through town. Lizzie would know. But she wasn't going to ask her friend. There was no point to that. 

"Do you want to order food?" Danny asked, his question interrupting her thoughts. 

She should say yes. She should give him a chance, but she wasn't feeling him at all. And even if she wasn't caught up in the blue-eyed Dante, she had a lot of work waiting for her. But wasn't that always her excuse for not dating? "Sure," she said finally. 

"Great. What's good here?"

"The fish tacos are excellent."

"Not a fish fan."

"Well, everything is tasty. We could share a pizza."

He glanced down at the menu. "Why don't we each get our own thing?"

"Then I'll get the tacos." She already wished she could change her answer about having a meal. But it was just dinner. She'd survive. 

While Danny took several more minutes to study the menu, she glanced at Dante. He'd finished his burger and was sipping the last of his beer. He gave her a nod and a small smile. She kind of wished he'd throw her a life raft, because she could really use one. 

She turned her attention back to Danny. "What are you going to go with?"

"Still thinking. I'm torn between the Thai noodles and the Cobb salad." 

"Very different choices." 

"What to do, what to do…" He drummed his fingernails on the table as he debated.

Five minutes later, she was still waiting for him to decide. If it took him this long to make a menu decision, she couldn't imagine how long it had taken him to decide to quit being an attorney. In fact, she was kind of shocked he'd actually done it.

"What made you change careers?" she asked. "Was it a quick decision or did you think about it for a long time?"

For a moment, she thought he might pick up on the irony of her question, but instead he set his menu aside. "It was a decision that was years in the making. I went into law to follow in my father's footsteps. I didn't like being a lawyer, but I just hung in there, thinking it was what I should do. After my dad died, I went into work one day, and I realized I couldn't do it anymore. I had to do something I was interested in."

"Then your dad's death was the impetus."

"It's not like he forced me to be a lawyer; I just didn't want to let him down." 

"That makes sense. At least now you're doing what you want."

"I think so. My mom is a great writer, so I have it in my genes."

"I didn't realize your mother was also a writer." His father died, so he quit the job that he'd done to follow in his father's footsteps and now he was following in his mother's footsteps. It seemed like he was better at following than forging his own path. 

"She writes historical fiction, so we're in different genres." He glanced back at the menu. "Maybe I'll get those fish tacos."

"You said you don't like fish," she reminded him.

"But you said they were good."

"They are, but not if you don't like seafood."

He shrugged. "I like it if it's done well."

He liked it because he couldn't make a decision on his own. She tapped her fingers restlessly on her thighs, sending another look in Dante's direction. He had just paid the check. He was leaving. It was just going to be her and Danny now. 

"Maybe I won't do the fish tacos," Danny said. "Salad might be better. It's warm tonight."

She bit back a frustrated groan. At this rate, they'd be here until midnight. 

As a shadow fell over the table, she looked up, surprised to see Dante standing next to her. 

"I'm sorry to interrupt," he said. "But there's a problem at your shop, Keira."

"What?" she asked in confusion.

"The burglar alarm is going off. You need to take care of it."

She looked at him in astonishment. She didn't have an alarm, so she knew it wasn't going off. "Okay. Thanks for letting me know." She looked at Danny. "I'm sorry. I need to check on my store."

"Someone else can't do that?"

"I'm the owner." She grabbed her purse and stood up. "It was nice to meet you."

"I'll text you."

"Great," she said, as she followed Dante out of the restaurant. When they got outside, she turned and shook her head. "I can't believe you made that up."

"You sent me an SOS, I answered. At least, I thought it was an SOS. Was I wrong?" he queried.

"No, you weren't wrong." Now that they were standing, she suddenly realized how tall and athletically built he was, with broad shoulders and long, lean legs. More butterflies danced through her stomach. "Thank you. I was feeling a little desperate."

"Are you also feeling a little hungry?" He held up the bag in his hand. 

"Is that what's left of your burger?"

"Fish tacos. I ordered them for you."

She was shocked. "No way. Why?"

He tipped his head. "I felt bad for not telling you that you had the wrong guy." 

She had a feeling she'd actually had the right guy, but he was taken. 

"Forgive me? You did say the tacos are out of this world."

"And yet you ordered a burger," she couldn't help pointing out.

"Next time I'll get the tacos. I was craving some red meat tonight." He handed her the bag. 

"Thank you for the food and for the save. He was a nice guy, but I think it was going to take him another hour to decide what he wanted to eat."

"I hate people who take forever to read a menu," he said lightly.

"Me, too. And I gave him recommendations. I even suggested we share something, but I don't think he's a guy who shares his food."

"Very telling."

"I think so," she said. "If you share, you get to eat two things instead of one." 

"You don't have to convince me. I love to share."

She licked her lips, wanting to keep Dante talking, even though she shouldn't. "Do you want to walk down to the park, keep me company while I eat my tacos? There's a nice view of the lake from there."

"That sounds good." He suddenly swore, his gaze darting across the street. "Dammit. Sorry. I gotta go." 

Her jaw dropped as he took off running across the parking lot. A van came to a squealing stop not far from her, and a photographer jumped out, racing after Dante, but he had already disappeared around the corner of the building. 

What was going on? Who the hell was Dante?

Irresistible romance, compelling characters, heartwarming emotion, mystery, and drama await in the Whisper Lake Series. Set in the Colorado mountains, this small-town romance series features some of your favorite storylines including runaway bride, second chance romance, enemies to lovers and more... Along with the romance, you'll find secrets and family drama, because I love to complicate a good love story and send my characters on a life-changing journey.

Each book can be read as a standalone novel. No cliffhangers.

Don't miss any of the books in the series:

  • Always With Me
  • My Wildest Dream 
  • Can't Fight The Moonlight
  • Just One Kiss
  • If We Never Met
  • Tangled Up In You
  • Next Time I Fall

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