[BookStrand Contemporary Romance]
Chance encounters bring together three women from very different walks of life and with little in common except for the desire to obtain a second chance at life and perhaps even love.
A mysterious birthday gift, a husband's devastating deception, and a secret past during World War II send the women on an unforgettable journey to France that will change their lives forever. Will Delia, the young runaway, find the father she never knew, a father who knows nothing of her existence? Will one impulsive night change Gwen, a soon-to-be-divorcee's, life forever? Can Jeanne, a French war bride, face her past and rekindle a romance with a lost love? When Delia disappears, the answers to these questions must wait.
"Are second chances really possible? Can dreams come true? I'm here to tell you the answer is yes if you're willing to take a chance and take that first step. The inspiration for Second Chances was born of the knowledge that anything is possible, if you're open to the possibilities. Go ahead, it's your turn. Take that first step today." ~ Ursula ~ A BookStrand Mainstream Romance
Gwen reveled in the rustic peacefulness of her surroundings. The farther she strayed from the hectic life of the city, the more free she felt.
I could live in a place like this, she thought.
She was struck by the sudden realization that nothing stopped her from doing so if she wished. She could jumpstart the divorce proceedings before departing France and finalize them upon her return to the States. She had Delia to thank for this new sense of freedom. Where might she have ended up had she not stumbled upon the girl, had not stopped to assist her? She cringed at the thought.
Daydreaming, she imagined her own place in the French countryside. What might she do to occupy her time? She glanced up, and as if in answer to her question, Karl entered the room. She admired his composure. It couldn’t have been easy to receive the unexpected report of his father’s death. She prayed that speaking with Edith provided some comfort and soothed the impact of the news.
“Is everything okay?”
“Yes, Mother is fine. Admittedly, I haven’t kept in touch as often as I should have. I regret she had to deal with his death alone. But to be honest, she never sounded better. All she could talk about was the fact that she now has a granddaughter.”
“What about you? How do you feel?”
He ran his fingers through his hair and sat down across from her. “Honestly, I’m still in shock. Looking back, I could kick myself for not digging deeper into the reason for Eve’s sudden change of heart. She was just so damn adamant about it that I gave up. But I never forgot her.”
He spoke softly now, as if speaking to himself. “Art was my life—is my life. I shut everything and everyone else out. I can’t explain it in words, but a burden has been lifted. Something has changed. When you told me I had a daughter, I thought you were insane. I was incredulous. But when I saw her, I knew you were telling the truth.”
He reached for his glass and emptied it. “I owe you, you know. For bringing her here and watching over her. My mother, regardless of what she may say, isn’t strong enough to endure a transatlantic flight, nor is she up to chasing an adult son across Europe to ensure he meets a daughter he didn’t know existed.”
“Your mother is a remarkable woman, and very perceptive. I really like her. But please,” she said, “I’m not the only one responsible for bringing Delia here. You’ve yet to meet Jeanne. She is acting as our translator.” Gwen laughed, trying to lighten the mood. “Believe it or not, she met her long lost love in Paris, and they’ve been inseparable ever since.”
He looked at her strangely, as if he was seeing her for the first time.
Yes, that’s it, she thought, he’s looking at me the way a man looks at woman.
She blushed and turned her eyes from his.
What am I thinking? I certainly have a vivid imagination these days…what could he possibly see in me?
She giggled like a school girl, then fell silent, embarrassed by her juvenile behavior.
“I’d love to meet her.”
Gwen jumped from the sofa in alarm. “Oh dear, they must be wondering where we are. It’s been hours since we left.” She’d forgotten to jot down the number to the Aubert’s. How would she inform Jeanne of their whereabouts?
“Well, let’s do this—” Before he could finish, the door opened and Louise stepped inside holding two large bags of groceries in her arms. Karl sprang up to help her.
Louise, a stout and compact woman, could probably have carried those groceries for miles, she thought.
The woman began speaking rapidly in that same odd mixture that Gwen couldn’t decipher if her life depended on it.
“It seems Louise has decided to prepare a quick meal for us for our family reunion. She claims she immediately recognized Delia as my daughter…and she thinks you’re her mother,” said Karl, amused.
Gwen blushed. She always hated that her feelings could be read so easily by the rush of blood to her face.
Darn, she thought, why must I be so transparent?
She watched as his eyes continued down to her ring finger. Thank God she’d removed her wedding bands. At first it was for no reason other than they’d reminded her of the biggest mistake she’d ever made. She never imagined there might be a second reason.
Then again, she thought, maybe I have a good imagination.