THE LAST SONG
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental. Copyright © 2009 by Nicholas Sparks All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, nopart of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Grand Central Publishing Hachette Book Group 237 Park Avenue New York, NY 10017 Visit our website at www.HachetteBookGroup.com. www.twitter.com/grandcentralpub First eBook Edition: September 2009Grand Central Publishing is a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc. The Grand Central Publishing name and logo is a trademark of Hachette Book Group, Inc. ISBN 978-0-446-55815-0
ALSO BY NICHOLAS SPARKS The Notebook Message in a Bottle A Walk to Remember The Rescue A Bend in the Road Nights in Rodanthe The Guardian The Wedding Three Weeks with My Brother (with Micah Sparks) True Believer At FirstSight Dear John The Choice The Lucky One
For Theresa Park and Greg Irikura My friends
As always, I have to start by thanking Cathy, my wife and my dream. It’s been an amazing twenty years and when I wake in the morning, my first thought is how lucky I am for having spent these years with you. My children—Miles, Ryan, Landon, Lexie, and Savannah—are sources of endless joyin my life. I love you all. Jamie Raab, my editor at Grand Central Publishers, always deserves my thanks, not only for her brilliant editing, but for the kindness she always shows me. Thank you. Denise DiNovi, the producer of Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, Nights in Rodanthe, and The Lucky One is not only a genius, but one of the friendliest people I know. Thanks for everything. DavidYoung, the CEO of Hachette Book Group, has earned my respect and gratitude in the years we’ve been working together. Thanks, David. Jennifer Romanello and Edna Farley, my publicists, are not only good friends, but wonderful people. Thanks for all. Harvey-Jane Kowal and Sona Vogel, as usual, deserve my thanks, if only because I’m always late with my manuscripts, thus making their jobs a whole lotharder. Howie Sanders and Keya Khayatian, my agents at UTA, are fantastic. Thanks for everything, guys! Scott Schwimer, my attorney, is quite simply the best at what he does. Thanks, Scott! Thanks also go to Marty Bowen (the producer of Dear John), as well as Lynn Harris and Mark Johnson. Amanda Cardinale, Abby Koons, Emily Sweet, and Sharon Krassney also deserve my thanks. I appreciate all that youdo. The Cyrus family deserves my thanks not only for welcoming me into their home, but for all they’ve done with the film. And a special thanks goes to Miley, who chose Ronnie’s name. As soon as I heard it, I knew it was perfect! And finally, thanks to Jason Reed, Jennifer Gipgot, and Adam Shankman for their work on the film version of The Last Song.
Staring out the bedroomwindow, Ronnie wondered whether Pastor Harris was already at the
church. She assumed that he was, and as she watched the waves breaking over the beach, she questioned whether he was still able to notice the play of light as it streamed through the stainedglass window above him. Perhaps not—the window had been installed more than a month ago, after all, and he was probably too preoccupied tonotice anymore. Still, she hoped that someone new in town had stumbled into the church this morning and experienced the same sense of wonder she’d had when she’d first seen the light flood the church on that cold day in November. And she hoped the visitor had taken some time to consider where the window had come from and to admire its beauty. She’d been awake for an hour, but she wasn’t ready to face...