Taking a Chance on Forever (MF)
[BookStrand Contemporary Romance]
Kate Thorne never expected to see her old boyfriend again – especially since he left her for another woman twenty years ago. But fate always has other plans.
Dan Reynolds is shocked to learn his son’s new fiancée is Kate’s daughter. Widowed and in a loveless relationship, he’s always regretted losing Kate and wonders if any old feelings still linger.
Brought together on the eve of their children’s wedding, they share one last, passionate weekend, promising to go their separate ways. But will one weekend be enough, or can they forgive their past mistakes and take a chance on a new life together?
A Bookstrand Mainstream Romance
4 CUPS: "What a sweet romance. I loved this story filled with many choices that we make throughout life, never knowing the “what if?” Besides, who would not want a second chance at their first love? Kate and Dan’s story flows as smooth as silk from beginning to end. There is great chemistry between Kate and Dan as well as the other couple Sara and Brent, who deserve their own story as well." -- Matilda, Coffee Time Romance
“Whatever happened to us?” he asked.
She spent far too much attention on the set of wineglasses on the counter.
“We were too young. Too stupid.”So in love. Oh, God, how I loved being with you.
“Yeah.” He didn’t sound as if he truly agreed.
With a practiced flick of the corkscrew, the cork dislodged and fell to the ground. They both stooped at the same time. Their foreheads knocked, and she tottered back on her heels, smacking her butt on the floor as he clambered forward, his hand grasping her thigh for balance. Her skirt slid toward her waist, and she struggled to sit up, but her hand slipped on the overly waxed parquet floor. In horrified embarrassment, she watched his gaze flick from her exposed thighs to her crotch. A rush of color stained his throat. She snapped her legs closed and pushed his hand away. Ignoring the gesture, he took her elbow and helped her to her feet.
“Sorry about that, Katie. But I couldn’t help but see you still wear cotton panties.”
The warmth in the room was stifling. She pushed a hank of hair from her eyes and straightened her sweater. Amber probably wore gauzy thongs and g-strings.
“I don’t want to discuss my underwear, Mr. Reynolds. Can you just pour the damn wine so we can go to bed?”
His smile deepened. So did the dimple in his chin.
“As you insist, Ms. Thorne.”
She blinked. “I didn’t mean it like that…oh, you know what I meant.” She took one of the filled glasses and waited while he poured the other.
He was quiet for a moment then asked, “What’s Marc doing here now?”
“Sara invited him. I should’ve expected it. She adores him.” She shook the thought away. She didn’t want to think about Marc, not now. She raised her glass. “Let’s drink to the bride and groom. Here’s to a happy life for Sara and Brent.”
In two more days, the name she’d once dreamed of taking would belong to her child. Sudden tears misted her eyes, and she blinked rapidly to disperse them, but he’d already noticed. She faced the counter and set down the glass. Don’t cry, don’t cry, she begged silently.Not now. Not ever. She clenched her hands until her nails bit into her palms. The method had helped her in the past but now failed miserably. Tears spilled down her face.
“It’s been a long time, Katie,” Dan said in a low voice.
He touched her shoulder. She sniffled into her sleeve, dragging the rough wool across her eyes.
“I know, I know. I’m so stupid.” She gulped back a sob. How humiliating, to bare her soul when he’d so clearly forgotten her. Engaged, no less. “It has been a long time. I thought I’d forgotten everything—you, I mean—but when Sara called and told me who she’d met…”
He turned her so she faced him. He grazed her cheek, swiping the tears with it.
“No, I meant…” He cupped her face, his hands warm on her skin.
She inhaled his cologne, the same scent he’d worn when she’d first given it to him, bought with funds from her first paycheck. The thought struck her that maybe he’d purposely worn it—surely, a man as wealthy as he owned more than one brand of cologne.
“I meant it’s been twenty years, and I still…” He shook his head slowly, staring down at her as if he couldn’t believe she were actually there. “For all the good it does me, I never stopped loving you.”
She realized her mouth was gaping open and closed it quickly. The windows rattled with a wind gust from outside, and she turned toward the noise.
“There’s a storm coming,” she said stupidly, and looked back at him.
In the few seconds it had taken her to turn, he’d moved directly in front of her. He dipped his head downward, and kissed her. She stood frozen in shock, even when his tongue slipped between her lips.
Her first instinct was to push him away. Despite their closeness years before, he was a stranger now. Same haircut, but harder jaw. An older man’s body with her younger boyfriend’s eyes. His eyes were the same, of course. How could they change? A shudder rippled through her. It wasn’t from revulsion or fear.
It was the recognition of desire.
He broke away, his gaze boring into hers.
“Kiss me, Katie,” he whispered.
Her pulse quickened, and the blood left her head, taking all thought and reason with it. The shutters banged with another burst of wind, and she jumped. He squeezed her upper arms, waiting for an answer.
“We should find some candles, in case we lose power,” she stammered.
She stared up into his eyes for a moment before moving away. He sighed with what she imagined was disappointment, but she rummaged through the spotless kitchen as though she had a purpose and wasn’t just looking for an excuse to get away from him.
“They left the candles on the counter,” he remarked, and she turned to see a few tapers in his hand. A shadow flitted across his bemused face, but she steeled herself against any rising emotions. She was the mother of the bride, for heaven’s sake. She could be a…a grandma in a few years, and here she was, blushing and stuttering in front of an old boyfriend. She’d left that life behind her, years ago.
The lights flickered and went out.