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Somewhere Only We Know

Somewhere Only We Know

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"Loved the characters, the suspense, and the emotions coming through the pages. Five stars for Burke and Maddy." Jennifer - Goodreads

Firefighter Burke Callaway has been living in the shadows since the tragic death of his fiancée. He had no interest in coming out of the dark, until the beautiful and unpredictable Maddie came back to town.

Maddie Heller is the ultimate free spirit, her love of life and cooking taking her all over the globe, and only a few people know that her easy smile covers a personal tragedy. With a new job offer in San Francisco, Maddie thinks it might be time to stay in one place, especially when she runs into Burke again.

Burke was the handsome, sexy hero of her youth who could do no wrong. Maddie was the pretty, fun-loving girl of his youth who loved to break the rules. They were opposites in every way, but there was always a connection. It was just never the right time or the right place—until maybe now.

But their budding love story suddenly takes a dangerous turn, and a series of escalating incidents makes them realize that falling in love might not just be terrifying but also deadly.

What the readers are saying…

"SOMEWHERE ONLY WE KNOW was a thrill-seeker for me—full of mystery, drama, and love. Like most Callaway novels, Barbara keeps you reading until the end. 5 STARS!" Ashley

"Opposites attract in SOMEWHERE ONLY WE KNOW! Compelling story, believable characters, enjoyable dialogue and easy to follow story line." Bookzilla

"This is by far the best Callaway book yet. Burke is amazing. And Maddie is a hysterically funny free spirit that you can't help but fall in love with. From start to finish it held my interest." Yvonne

 

CHAPTER ONE

The cold wintry night was eerily similar to the one three years ago when thick clouds of fog had swept into San Francisco just after dusk, shutting out the last bit of daylight, holding the city in the icy fingers of late January. And just like that night, Burke felt a chill run down his spine, an uneasy feeling that was heightened by the sirens that suddenly lit up the air. 

As a firefighter, he was used to sirens, to emergencies, to the unthinkable happening in a second, but nothing had prepared him for that night. 

He tried to force the horrific images out of his mind. 

It wasn't the same, he told himself, but three years had done little to erase the memories, which was why the last thing he wanted to do was attend yet another memorial dinner in honor of his late fiancée Leanne Parker. But Chuck and Marjorie Parker insisted on remembering their only daughter's death every year since the tragic car accident had taken her life. As Leanne's former fiancé, he could do nothing but support them. It was his duty to attend, and he'd never been a man to shirk his duty. 

As a cold blast of wind rocketed through the tall buildings that surrounded him, he zipped up his jacket and proceeded up the steep hill to the Hanover Club. Originally a private gentlemen's establishment started by one of San Francisco's first families, the Hanover Club now catered to high-powered executives and politicians of both genders interested in holding parties or meetings. Tonight was something in between…

"Burke, wait up." 

He stopped, surprised at the sound of his sister's voice. He turned around to see Emma and his younger brother Sean walking quickly up the hill behind him. Emma was a slender blonde with snapping blue eyes that reflected her sparkling, often stubborn personality. A fire investigator for the San Francisco Fire Department, she'd obviously come straight from work, wearing her navy blue slacks and matching jacket. 

Sean wore dark jeans under a black wool coat, and like all the Callaway men, he had brown hair and blue eyes. But while Sean looked like everyone else in the family, he was in many ways the odd man out: the musician, the soulful, emotional singer/songwriter in a family of overachievers, many of whom were firefighters. 

"What are you guys doing here?" Burke asked. 

"Supporting you," Emma said with a purposeful smile, as if she was expecting to get an argument from him. "You should have told us about the dinner, Burke." 

"I didn't tell you, because I didn't want you to come." Bluntness was the only thing that worked when it came to his stubborn younger sister. "How did you find out?"

"Mrs. Parker called Mom to see who from the family would be attending. You can imagine how thrilled Mom was that you hadn't told her."

Now he knew why he had four voice messages from his mother that he had yet to listen to. He'd also been avoiding his text messages, which had been pinging away all day. He glanced at Sean and frowned. "And you—this is what you decide to show up for? The guy who misses almost every family event? This one you have to make?"

Sean gave him an understanding look. "Emma insisted. Drew and Ria are on their way as well as Aiden, Sara and Mom. Jessica and Nicole send their regards, but they had a school function with Brandon and Kyle tonight. I'm not sure what's up with Shayla or Colton."

"They're both stuck at work," Emma put in. "And Dad had a dinner meeting he couldn't miss."

"Thank God for that," Burke muttered. While he was close to his father, Jack Callaway had a huge personality, and Jack had never gotten along that well with Leanne's dad. Chuck was a white-collar investment banker and staunch conservative. Jack was blue collar all the way, although he now served as Deputy Chief of Operations for the San Francisco Fire Department. 

"How are you doing, Burke?" Emma asked, her blue eyes filled with worry.  

"I'm fine, and you really didn't have to come." 

"We all loved Leanne. She was going to be part of the family."

"It seems like a long time ago now."

"There's Mom." Sean tipped his head toward the top of the hill where his mother, his brother Aiden and Aiden's wife Sara were getting out of a car. "Don't fight it," Sean advised. "We're going to be here for you whether you like it or not. It's the Callaway way."

He knew it was the Callaway way. Usually, he was the first one to support a sibling or parent or cousin in need, but he wasn't used to being on the receiving end of the attention, and he didn't like it. As the oldest of eight siblings, he'd always been the one to take care of everyone else, to be the strong, independent leader of the family. It was a role he both loved and hated. It was tiring to always have to set the bar high. On the other hand, as his brother Aiden liked to remind him, he did have the chance to set the bar while the rest of his siblings had to follow. 

They walked up the hill together, meeting up with his other family members outside the entrance to the club. 

His mom Lynda gave him a hug. Aiden nodded, concern in his eyes, and Sara sent him a warm smile and told him that Drew and Ria were on the way. 

"Great," he muttered. "I guess we should go in."

As they walked through the lobby and into the private dining room, he saw Leanne's family and friends chatting around tall cocktail tables while waiters served champagne and appetizers. Despite the party set-up, there was a somber air in the room, and Burke felt better having some members of his family walking behind him. 

Chuck saw him and immediately came over to shake his hand. Dressed in a dark suit, Chuck had aged in the last few years, his gray hair now completely white, and the shadows under his brown eyes had become permanent fixtures. 

"Burke, I was beginning to think you might not make it," Chuck said. 

There was a hint of censure in his voice, but that was Chuck. He was always demanding and often disappointed in the people around him. Leanne had told him many times that she just couldn't seem to make her father happy. 

"Don't give him a hard time," Marjorie interrupted with a smile that was very much like her daughter's, and that smile made his heart squeeze a little tighter. "It's nice to see you, Burke. It's been a long time." 

"Yes," he admitted. "I like your hair." Her normally brown hair was now a deep rich auburn.

She gave him a dimpled smile. "I decided to go red. Leanne always used to tell me I should change things up every once in a while, so today I decided to finally do that." Her gaze swept across the rest of his family. "I'm so glad you could all come. It means so much to us." 

Burke stepped back as his mother and Marjorie exchanged a hug and Chuck shook hands with the rest of his siblings. 

As he looked around the dining room, he saw four of his coworkers at one of the tall tables. Apparently, they'd also heard about the event. Since his cousin and fellow firefighter Dylan Callaway was at the table, Burke wasn't surprised they'd found out about the event. Next to Dylan was Frank Harding, who'd been friends with him since the fire academy, Rachel Briggs, a paramedic at their firehouse, and Shelby Cooper, one of their long-time dispatchers who also worked out of the firehouse. 

He was touched by their attendance and not that surprised by their presence. His firehouse family was as close as his Callaway family. 

Rachel and Shelby both gave him hugs while Frank slapped him on the shoulder and Dylan gave him a nod. 

"Thanks for coming," he said. 

"No problem," Dylan replied. "I remember last year the Parkers put on a good spread."

"You're always looking for your next meal," he said, appreciating Dylan's attempt to lighten the mood. 

"Are you all right, Burke?" Shelby asked. 

Shelby was a dark-eyed brunette in her mid-thirties who worked dispatch with a calm coolness that always kept them on track. Since Leanne's death, Shelby had offered him a friendly ear on more than one occasion. She'd also been friends with Leanne, so it was easy to share memories with her, not that they spent much time talking about Leanne anymore. It had been three years, but tonight it felt like yesterday.

"I'm fine." He wondered how many more times he would say those words tonight.

"Are you?" Rachel challenged. A tall, slender blonde, Rachel could have been a model if she'd had any interest in posing in front of a camera. But she was a tomboy at heart, a girl who loved action sports and pushing herself to the limit. 

"I'd just like to get this over with," he told her. 

She nodded in understanding. "I'm sure."

"We're going to Brady's after this," Shelby added. "You should come with us after you pay your respects to the Parkers."

"I'll think about it." 

"Looks like the buffet table is open," Dylan said. "Anyone want to get some food?"

"You guys go ahead." He wasn't the least bit hungry. 

As his friends moved over to the buffet, Aiden crossed the room and put a bottle of beer into his hand. 

"Thanks," he said, taking a long swig of cold beer. 

"What do you figure? Give this a half hour, then say goodbye?" Aiden asked.

"Definitely not longer than that." He looked towards the front of the room and saw Leanne's smiling face gazing back at him from a large poster. Her parents had set up the same photos that they'd had at the funeral—a display of Leanne's life in photographs. He shook his head in bewilderment. "What are they thinking? When does this end? When do we stop celebrating the worst day in all of our lives?"

"They're thinking that they don't want anyone to forget their daughter," Aiden said quietly.

"I don't need a poster to remind me of Leanne."

"Maybe they do," Sara suggested, joining them. "Sometimes memories start to fade and people worry that they'll forget. I remember feeling that way after my mom died. As the years went by, I couldn't see her face as clearly. I couldn't hear her voice in my head. I couldn't remember her laugh. To tell you the truth, it scared me. I felt like she was slipping away. Perhaps the Parkers feel like that, too."

Sara's words rang true in his head. Leanne had been fading in his mind. While he hadn't been in a serious romantic relationship since then, he had dated other women. He had gone on with his life. Maybe that was why he hadn't wanted to come tonight. He felt like the Parkers were trying to pull him back into the darkness, and he didn't want to be there anymore. He'd gone through the anger, the guilt, the sadness and the multitude of what ifs that could have changed the outcome if only he'd done something different. He was over all that.

He looked away from the pictures, his gaze coming to rest on the newest arrival to the gathering—Mitch Warren. His heart sank. This was not going to go well. 

Mitch was in his mid-thirties and was a fellow firefighter. Mitch had also been a good friend of Leanne's long before Burke had met her. In fact, Burke had always thought that Mitch had felt a lot more than friendship for Leanne, but Leanne had always dismissed that idea with a laugh, saying they were just good friends. 

As much as Mitch liked Leanne, he did not care for Burke. And that dislike had only grown after Leanne's death. Mitch was convinced that Leanne's death was not an accident, that somehow Burke was to blame. He could understand that Mitch needed someone to blame, because he'd looked for a scapegoat himself, but some accidents were just that—unexpected, unexplainable and tragic. 

Next to Mitch was Burke's youngest brother Colton. 

Burke could see the worry in Colton's eyes. His brother worked under Mitch at a firehouse on the other side of the city, but he was caught in the war between Burke and Mitch, and there was nothing Burke could do about it. Colton would have to find his own way to a relationship with Mitch Warren. 

He stiffened as Mitch saw him and headed in his direction. The last thing he wanted was a confrontation here, but there was nowhere to run, and it seemed obvious from the aggressive look in Mitch's eyes that he wanted to make a scene. He was itching for a fight. 

"I can't believe you had the nerve to show up," Mitch ground out, anger burning in his eyes.

He told himself not to react. Mitch's anger came from a place of grief, and that was something they had in common. It wasn't something to fight over.

"Let's get something to eat, Captain," Colton suggested.

"Not yet. I'm done letting your brother act like he had nothing to do with Leanne's death, when we all know he did."

As Mitch spat out the words, Burke could smell the liquor on Mitch's breath. There was no question that alcohol was fueling his fire. 

"Why don't we go outside?" Burke suggested calmly, seeing Chuck and Marjorie approaching, tense looks on their faces. 

"I'm not going anywhere with you," Mitch replied. "You and I are going to have it out. I'm tired of playing your games. You don't want to answer my questions, but tonight you're going to have to do just that."

"Captain," Colton began again.

"Get out of my face, Callaway," Mitch said forcefully, shoving Colton away. 

"What's going on?" Chuck Parker asked. 

"It's Burke's fault, Chuck," Mitch said, looking at Leanne's father. "I know you don't want to hear that, but it's true."

"I don't understand." Chuck sent Burke a sharp look. "What's he talking about?"

"I'll tell you what I'm talking about," Mitch answered, not giving Burke a chance to explain. "Ask Burke why Leanne was on the road that night. Ask him why she was so close to the firehouse. Ask him why there didn't happen to be any security cameras in that particular neighborhood. Go on, ask him." 

"Leanne was going to her yoga class," Marjorie cut in. "We already know that, Mitch. She went there every Thursday night."

"And it's not far from the firehouse," Chuck said. 

"She wasn't going to yoga. That wasn't the way to the studio."

"She took a shortcut," Marjorie interrupted. "Leanne was always cutting through back alleys."

"I don't believe that. Leanne was upset with him." Mitch pointed an accusatory finger at Burke. "Leanne left me a message that day. She was crying. She said she had to talk to me about him."

Marjorie put a hand on Mitch's arm. "Mitch, we understand that you're upset. You and Leanne were so close. But this isn't going to solve anything. We'll never know what Leanne wanted to talk to you about."

"We'd know if he'd talk," Mitch said, glaring at him again. "But he just stands there and says nothing." 

Burke had more than a couple of reasons for why he'd never responded to Mitch's questions, but there was no point in trying to explain that now…or ever. Nothing would bring Leanne back or change the past.

"Let it go," Chuck said firmly.

Mitch shook his head. "So he gets a free pass? No, he needs to pay. He needs to feel some of the pain that the rest of us are in." 

Burke saw Mitch pull his hand back a split second too late. He tried to duck, but he was pinned in. Mitch's fist connected with his jawbone, the force of the man's anger making it a solid, purposeful punch. 

He stumbled backwards, his head spinning, and knocked into one of the waitresses handing out glasses of champagne. He tried to stop himself from falling, but he got tangled up with the woman, and the next thing he knew he was on his ass on the floor with champagne splashing into his eyes and across his stinging face. 

"Oh, my God," the waitress said, on her knees next to him. "I'm so sorry. Are you all right?" 

He looked into a pair of emerald green eyes framed by thick dark lashes and felt like he'd been punched again. "Maddie Heller?"

"Burke Callaway?" she asked, the same amazement in her voice. 

As he stared into Maddie's face, he didn’t know whether his night had just gotten better or a whole lot worse.

The Callaways are a family born to serve and protect, many as firefighters. Set primarily in San Francisco, the series features a blended family, with each member in the family getting their own book.

Each book stands alone with a complete story. No cliffhangers! But reading the entire series will give readers a chance to spend more time with this
amazing family!

The books feature romance, mystery and family drama with popular storylines featuring alpha heroes, firefighter romance, girl next door, love at first
sight, enemies to lovers, opposites attract, grumpy sunshine, meet cute, and second chance at love.

I love to write complex books that provide reading pleasure, a mystery to unravel, characters to fall in love with, and a story that will keep readers turning the pages. Start reading the Callaways today!

Don't Miss Any of the Callaway Novels:

  • On A Night Like This (#1)
  • So This Is Love (#2)
  • Falling For A Stranger (#3)
  • Between Now And Forever (#4)
  • Nobody But You (#5) A Callaway Wedding Novella)
  • All A Heart Needs (#6)
  • That Summer Night (#7)
  • When Shadows Fall (#8)
  • Somewhere Only We Know (#9)

Callaway Cousins

  • If I Didn't Know Better (#1)
  • Tender Is The Night (#2)
  • Take Me Home (#3) (Callaway Novella)
  • Closer To You (#4)
  • Once You're Mine (#5)
  • Can't Let Go (#6)
  • Secrets We Keep (#7)

Callaway Series Box Sets

  • Callaways Box Set, Books 1-3
  • Callaways Box Set, Books 4-6
  • Callaways Box Set, Books 7-9
  • Callaways Complete Box Set, Books 1-8
  • Callaway Cousins Box Set, Books 1-4
  • Callaway Cousins Box Set, Books 5-7

Customer Reviews

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Renee Futrell
Callaway series’

Love all of them.