Title: One More Second Chance
Author: Jana Richards
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Dr. Alex Campbell has an agenda—finish his contract to provide medical services in Maine, pay off his medical school debt, and head back to his real life in San Diego. But when he meets Julia, all his carefully laid plans are put in jeopardy.
Julia Stewart, Lobster Cove’s high school principal, swears she’ll never let another man drag her away from the home she loves. Her aging parents need her, and the Cove is where she wants to raise her daughter. When her mother’s illness brings her and the big city doctor closer together, panic sets in. Her marriage taught her men don’t stay.
Can she put aside the heartaches of the past and trust Alex enough to accept the love he’s offering? Or will her fear of abandonment mean she’ll send him away forever?
“Mrs. Stewart, hi. Sorry I didn’t answer the door right away. I just got out of the shower.”
As Julia stared at the dusting of dark hair across his broad chest, down to a flat, muscled stomach, she had a sudden vision of him stepping naked and wet from the shower, all hard muscle and sleek, lean power. She had to blink a few times to dispel the scene in her head.
“I’m sorry to intrude on you at home. I was at my parents’ house, and I saw that your car was home…”
What was she doing here? Alex Campbell didn’t want to hear her problems. She took a step back. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have bothered you.”
Alex stopped her with a hand on her arm. “You’re not bothering me. Come inside and tell me how your meeting with your parents went.”
She looked at his hand on her arm, at the contrast of his olive skin against the paleness of hers. She felt the warmth of his hand, the strength of it. She desperately needed to borrow some of that strength, needed someone to talk to. Looking up into his dark eyes, she nodded her assent. “Okay. Thank you.”
She stepped inside the house, and he closed the door behind her. “I was about to make some tea,” he said as he buttoned his shirt. “Would you like a cup?”
“Sure, I’d love some.”
She followed him to the kitchen and sat at the table while Alex filled a kettle with water and set it on the stove to boil. His movements were economical and graceful as he moved around his kitchen in his bare feet. Reaching into a cupboard, he pulled out a china teapot in a flowery pattern. The idea of such a masculine man using an object so feminine-looking made her smile.
“I wouldn’t have pegged you as a tea-drinking, flowered-teapot-owning kind of guy.”
He grinned at her over his shoulder. “You can blame my grandmother. She’s Mexican-American, but she has an obsession with all things English. She’s a big fan of afternoon tea.”
“My grandmother used to believe all problems could be solved over a hot cup of Earl Grey.” Happy recollections flashed through her memory. “I was only twelve when she died, but I still miss her.”
“I’m lucky. My grandmother is still alive, but I’ve been kind of blindsided by how much I’ve missed her since I’ve been here. It’s tough not being able to drive across town to see her.”
“I know what you mean. I missed my parents terribly when I lived in Thailand.”
“You lived in Thailand?”
“Yes. My ex-husband and I taught English there for a few years. It was a fun adventure, but I was homesick a lot of the time. I guess I’m not meant to be a world traveler.”
After bringing the teapot to the table, along with a strainer to catch the loose tea, he sat across from Julia.
“Tell me what happened with your parents.” He poured her tea, and Julia wrapped her hands around the cup, savoring the warmth.
“My mother remembered nothing about talking to you or being outside in the middle of the night, and my father said she was sleepwalking. When I tried to tell him that we should take Mom to have her checked by a doctor, he became very agitated, so I dropped it. I was afraid he was going to get sick again. I don’t know what to do.”
“I’m no expert in this area either, but I understand it’s not unusual for a spouse of an Alzheimer’s patient to deny the symptoms. I’ll talk to the hospital social worker tomorrow and have her get in touch with you. Maybe she’s got some ideas.”
“Okay.” Relief flowed through her. At least she wouldn’t have to face this problem on her own.
They drank their tea in silence, but the silence didn’t feel awkward. Julia felt soothed, the stress slowly leaving her body. Perhaps her grandmother had been onto something. The tea seemed to be working.
She finished the last of it and set down the cup. “I should be going. I left Ava with Tracy, and she’s probably hungry by now.”
Julia got to her feet and headed to the front door, with Alex following her. “Thanks for the tea, and for listening. I guess I needed both today.”
“Anytime. Seriously, Julia, anytime you need to talk, about anything, give me a call.”
She wondered if he was speaking as a doctor, as a friend, or as a man. Which one did she want him to be?
“I’ll try to keep an eye out for your folks, see if there’s anything I can do for them.”
She was touched by his offer. “I really appreciate that, but I know how busy you are.”
He waved away her concern. “It’s no big deal. I appreciate my grandmother’s neighbors checking in on her, and I’d be happy to do the same.”
He really did understand how she felt. “In that case, thank you.”
She opened the front door and stepped outside. Turning to Alex, she smiled. His thick hair had begun to dry, and the dark strands gleamed in the spring sunshine. Her breath caught in her throat at his beauty.
“Bye. Take care.”
Julia hurried down the steps and across the lawn to her car. An appreciation for his looks was as far she could take any relationship with him. Her life was too complicated, too full already. And she would never get involved with a man who planned to leave Lobster Cove in only a few more months.
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Why is your featured book a must-read?
I like to tackle serious issues in many of my books. Characters in ONE MORE SECOND CHANCE deal with Alzheimer’s Disease, cancer, infidelity and more. Though these are difficult subjects, the message of the book is one of hope. With love and family and community, problems are easier to bear, and some can even be overcome. In these times, I believe it’s a message we all need.
But at the heart of ONE MORE SECOND CHANCE is a tender, and sometimes hot, love story. Alex and Julia discover a love they didn’t realize they’d been looking for and find the courage to accept it.
And a practical reason ONE MORE SECOND CHANCE is a must-read right now is because it is currently on sale for .99 cents!
Enter to win an e-book bundle of all 27 books featured in the Black Friday Book Deals: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/92db775086
Open Internationally. Runs November 27 – December 2, 2020. Winner will be drawn on December 3, 2020.
Jana Richards has tried her hand at many writing projects over the years, from magazine articles and short stories to full-length paranormal suspense and romantic comedy. She loves to create characters with a sense of humor, but also a serious side. She believes there’s nothing more interesting then peeling back the layers of a character to see what makes them tick.
When not writing up a storm, working at her part-time day job as bookkeeper, or dealing with dust bunnies, Jana can be found pursuing hobbies such as golf (which she plays very badly) or reading (which she does much better).
Jana lives in Western Canada with her husband Warren. You can reach her through her website at http://www.janarichards.com
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