It’s release day, so this will be the last excerpt from First Choice, Second Chance. From Chapter 7, Lila is having dinner with her old friend, Ashley(who happened to marry Mason’s friend, Brian).
Ashley reached across the table and put her hand over Lila’s. “I saw what the papers said. I’d imagine almost everyone in town has. You know there are few around here who will believe it.”
“I’m not sure what I’d rather have them believe. That I really was a bad girl in a good girl’s skin, or I was so deceived by someone like Kyle. Both are humiliating. Now, my career’s over.”
“Don’t say that, Lila. I’m sure you can go back to it. Other stars have had bad press, and it’s forgotten the next time someone else’s name is splashed across the tabloids.”
Lila shook her head. “You don’t understand. It’s not just the tabloids. He spread lies to producers, to the venues. No one wants me. He’s essentially ruined any chances of me performing again any time soon. I don’t know if I could even handle going back on the stage. It was never easy for me before. I don’t think I have the confidence to do it now.”
“I’ve never known you to not have confidence, and I’ve known you a long time.”
“Getting on stage, especially the bigger ones, scared me to death. It was easier that summer I was home. When I knew Mason was out there. When I had his support.” She dropped her head into her hands. “God. Why was I so stupid?”
When Ashley didn’t respond after a minute, she looked back up and realized her friend’s attention had focused past her. “What? What is it?” A stone weighed heavy in her stomach.
“He’s here. With his parents.”
She wanted to turn and look too much. She kept her eyes trained ahead of her and saw the sadness in Ashley’s eyes. “What is it? Is something wrong with him?”
“You never heard about Scott, either? About his accident?”
“What happened? Is he okay?”
“Well, since the doctors didn’t expect him to live, I’d say it’s a pretty good thing he’s walking, even with the use of a cane.”
“What happened?” She wasn’t sure she wanted to know. She had always cared for Scott. Had loved how he supported Mason even when he didn’t agree with his choices. So many times she had wished her father was more like him.
“An accident with his tractor. I’m not exactly sure what happened. Mason found him out in the field, stuck under that big beast. He was in the hospital for nearly two months. Like I said, the doctors said he was lucky to still be alive, let alone walking. Mason’s handled most of the work on the farm since.”
“How can he do that on his own? I can’t imagine one man handling it alone.”
“They hired a couple of high school kids. I know they’ve sold off close to half of the cows. Scott has started talking about finding a buyer for it. He told Brian he’s tired of feeling like a burden. Thinks if he sells, it will make things better for everyone.”
“Poor Mason.” She hadn’t meant to let the words slip out. “Poor Scott, too. I know how much Mason has always loved that place. What will he do if they sell it?”
Ashley shook her head. “I don’t know. Brian’s talked to Scott about it. They’ve been tossing ideas around, but Scott hasn’t been ready to sell. I think it’s getting to be too much now, and he’s ready. From what Brian says, Mason’s the only resistant one now.”
“It’s his home,” Lila murmured. “It’s his whole life.”
“For being gone seven years, you still know him pretty well.”
Add First Choice, Second Chance to Goodreads or buy it now!
Only 1 more week until First Choice, Second Chance is out. Not much longer, and I’ll need a new story to tease you all with. For today, I have a scene from Chapter 6 between Mason and his friend, Brian.
He couldn’t be here. He didn’t care about the wasted money. He would certainly lose his sanity if he stayed. He didn’t know why he ever thought he could do it. He’d go home and wait to even venture into town until she left. He’d turned back toward the gate when someone called his name. He turned his head as Brian walked toward him. He couldn’t help the smile. The two of them hadn’t been great friends in school, but since that summer after graduation they’d grown close.
He turned fully around. “Hey, Brian. Where’s the family?”
“Alyssa wanted to see the ponies. Ashley’s walking through the barns with her. How are you doing, man? Haven’t seen you around much lately.”
It was true. The farm kept him busy, especially since his father’s accident. They employed a couple of kids from the high school, but the farm couldn’t support more workers. He did most of the work himself, one reason they’d sold off about half of their cows, and to help pay his father’s medical bills. “Summer. It’s busy for us.” It’s all he would say. He wouldn’t burden anyone else.
“How’s your dad?” Brian asked, walking forward. Mason fell into step with him.
“He has his days. Summer’s not so bad. His pain gets worse when it’s cold. Not that he’ll admit it.”
That brought a grin out of his friend. “Your old man always was stubborn.”
“Yeah, he was. He is.” That’s the reason the doctors gave for why he even survived the accident. Or he had a guardian angel looking after him.
They walked in silence for a moment then Brian asked, “Have you seen her?”
Mason’s stomach twisted around itself. He didn’t need him to clarify who he asked about. “Ran into her at the bar the other night. She came to see me the next day.”
“Fine.” Not even close. “I made it clear there was nothing between us anymore. She’s my brother’s wife, for God’s sake.” His hands shook as he said the words, so he shoved them in his pockets. He hoped Brian hadn’t noticed.
There was precious little the other man didn’t notice. One reason he was the youngest member of the town’s small law firm. Why he had been snatched up as soon as he passed the bar, over a year ago. Already he was making a name for himself. “They’re divorced, man. You can go after her if you want.”
Mason shook his head. “I don’t want. She chose him over me seven years ago. I can’t forget that.” It made his heart ache to remember it. “She’ll be leaving again. What’s the point?”
“What if she were to stay?”
“It wouldn’t matter. I can’t be her second choice. I can’t, Brian.”
“All right, man. What are you doing here tonight? I imagine you aren’t going to the concert.”
Mason shook his head. “I don’t think it would be smart to torture myself, but I couldn’t stay away. Maybe I’m not so smart.”
Brian squeezed his shoulder. “You’ll be all right. I see Ashley and Alyssa up there. I better catch up to them. I’ll see you around, okay?”
“Yeah, Brian, go be with your family,” he said as they announced Lila on the stage. She was the opening act tonight. His mouth went dry as her voice rose over the applause. “I’m going to get something to eat then head back home. I never should have come here.”
You still have time to pre-order: Kindle|Kobo|Nook|iBooks or add it to your Goodreads shelf.
Have another snippet from the upcoming First Choice, Second Chance this week. This one comes from Chapter 3, which is the first one that goes back into the past.
“Mason.” He dropped the beer back into the cooler and turned toward her, and there went his traitorous heart again. “Lila.” He tried to keep his voice cold, but the way his heart kept stopping then racing again made it catch in his throat. “I wouldn’t have expected you to be here. Your father actually let you out of the house?” It was a struggle, but he’d brought his armor back into place. He couldn’t let her see how much she actually affected him. “I’m eighteen now, Mason. You know that, right?” He’d bought her a card but hadn’t been able to get the nerve to make it out. He could have found her address without a problem. That would have taken more courage than he’d been able to scrape up as well. He wasn’t going to tell her, though. He shrugged. “I wouldn’t think that would make a difference to Luca Corelli.” Something flashed through her eyes. He wasn’t sure if it was guilt or anger. “Like I said, I’m eighteen now. He doesn’t control me.” She stepped closer to him and ran her hand along his arm. “I’ve missed you, Mason. I know you probably don’t believe me. I probably burnt this bridge when I left. I’d like it if you’d help me over the water, anyway.” This was a mistake. He knew it even before he turned to her. He couldn’t bring himself to care if it was the biggest mistake of his life. He couldn’t remember ever wanting anyone else like he’d always wanted her. So, he did turn to her. He put his hands on her shoulders, his fingers sliding over bare skin. “The creek’s low, Babe. You can step over.” She did, right into him. His mouth met hers halfway there. He couldn’t think of anyplace else he’d rather be. Any place that made more sense than right here in her arms. For now, he could pretend he’d always be there.
First Choice, Second Chance comes out in 2 weeks, but it can be pre-ordered on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, or iBooks. Or add it to Goodreads.
It’s Tuesday again, which means time for another snippet from First Choice, Second Chance. Only 3 more weeks until it releases, but you can pre-order it now for Kindle or add it to your Goodreads.
Jess hesitated then poured the drink and passed it over to him. He took the first sip and winced at the burn. He wasn’t sure if he would ever get used to it. The whiskey warmed the parts of him that had gone cold with Lila’s arrival. He kept his eyes focused on the wall across the bar as he took the second sip. He still knew the moment she stepped up beside him. He didn’t know if her scent still lived in his memory and he recognized it, or if it went deeper. He didn’t even have to hear her voice. It was in his head, in his dreams, every day and every night. When she ordered a drink, it twisted around his heart again.
His fingers tightened around the glass. He was almost afraid it would shatter right there in his fist. He dragged in some air through his nose, but it only came back out sounding strangled. He started to turn away. He needed to put some space between them. He couldn’t handle having her so close. As soon as he took a step, her hand was on his arm, the muscles in it cording tighter. “Mason.”
He was going to explode, shatter into tiny pieces no one would ever be able to put back together again. He had to get away. He didn’t even respond to her saying his name. He set the glass on the top of the bar. It must have been harder than he planned because a crack sounded when he did it. He didn’t even look back. “Put it on my tab, Jess. All of it.”