A young widow and her husband’s bachelor best friend fall in love, but even if it’s what the husband wanted, is it real?
Firefighter Leo McGeary has always joked that, in the event of his death, he wants Garrett, his lifelong best friend and a consummate bachelor, to marry his wife, Audrey. One drunken New Year’s Eve, he goes so far as to make Garrett sign a piece of paper promising to do so. Twelve years later, Garrett receives a phone call from Audrey in the middle of the night: Leo has died in a freak skiing accident. Within hours, Garrett quits his tenure-track job at Boston College, ends his latest casual relationship, and purchases a one-way ticket to Oregon to be with Leo’s family.
As Audrey learns to navigate life as a widow and as a single parent to her and Leo’s three sons, her feelings for Garrett become more than platonic. Garrett finds himself falling for Audrey and her boys, too, as they form a new kind of family together in Portland. But when Audrey learns of the drunken pact Garrett and Leo made all those years ago, the promise that brought Garrett out west and into her world becomes the obstacle to his remaining in it.
Gorgeously crafted and pitch-perfect in its details, The Sweetheart Deal is the heartrending story of how people move on in the wake of devastating loss—and of what happens when the chance for love unexpectedly appears again.
Polly Dugan is the award-winning author of the linked story collection So Much a Part of You, which writer Alan Heathcock said “announces the arrival of a potent and fresh new voice” in fiction. Her debut novel, The Sweetheart Deal, was a Portland Monthly Essential Book pick and one of Library Journal’s “Hot Summer Book Club Reads.” Author Elin Hildebrand raved it was “The most romantic story I’ve read in years,” and Coastal Living called it a “charming, poignant novel of dealing with grief and finding love again.” A former employee of Guide Dogs for the Blind and Powell’s Books, Polly is an alumna of the Tin House Writer’s Workshop and a reader at Tin House magazine. Her short fiction has been featured as a Narrative Story of the Week and awarded an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers contest. She lives in Portland with her husband and two sons, an enormous black Labrador retriever and a yard sale cat.
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