A Forever Kind of Love…#7

ebook release April 2011

You can always come home.

Second chances come a little harder.

Chase and Zoe were the high school golden couple. Football captain, cheerleader, prom royalty.

After graduation, though, Chase couldn’t resist the urge to experience life outside their small town. He didn’t exactly expect Zoe to wait twelve years for him, but now that he’s back, he finds some small part of him hoping she did.

It’s no big surprise she’s married. The kick in the face is she married his best friend.

Zoe was devastated when Chase left, but she’s filed those bittersweet memories under “Moved On”. She loves her life, and loves her husband. She has all she needs. And Chase keeps an honorable distance.

One cold, wet, miserable day, tragedy turns Zoe’s world upside down. Chase never expected her to simply fall into his arms, but a man can dream. Except his dream doesn’t include the fact that this time, she’s the one hitting the road…and he’s the one left behind.

Slamming on the brakes, he stared at her.

She didn’t notice. She was staring straight ahead, so still, so motionless. She could have been a statue. Her hair was wet, hanging down her back in dark gold ropes, a few tendrils curling around her heart-shaped face. Her mouth was unsmiling, her eyes wide and unblinking.

His heart bumped against his ribcage and he pulled his car over to the side of the road and got out.

In the past few months, they’d bumped into each other a few times. Always casual, and every single time, Roger had been there.

Not once had he been alone with her.

Not once had he been with her without Roger’s presence to serve as a buffer.

Chase couldn’t have said if that was a good thing or bad thing.

Now, as he crouched down in front of her, he realized he felt about as nervous as he had the first time he’d asked her out. How many years ago? Eighteen years. Eighteen years ago now…they’d been together almost all through high school.


She blinked slowly and shifted her eyes to his face. A slow, polite smile tugged at her lips and she murmured, “Hello, Chase. How are you this evening?”

He peered up at the sky and then looked back at her. Rain clung to her lashes, dripped off her nose. She didn’t seem to notice.

“Well, kind of wet.” Very wet. The rain was already snaking down past his collar, inside his shirt to trickle down his spine, and it was so damn cold. “Zoe, what are you doing sitting out here? It’s pouring out. Are you okay? Is…is your mom all right?”

He’d heard about her mother. Shit, that had to be hell. Zoe’s relationship with her hadn’t ever been easy, and now the woman was in a nursing home because she couldn’t take care of herself anymore. Couldn’t take care of herself, and there was no way she’d let Zoe do it, if even half of the stories he heard were true. She’d never been a pleasant woman, but lately, it was worse.

Zoe just stared at him. In the poor light, he could hardly make out her eyes, but he knew that soft, pale green better than he knew the color of his own eyes. They were too dark, the pupils large and dilated…shock, he realized.

Reaching out, he touched her hand. “Zoe?” he said quietly.

She blinked, a slow drift of her lashes over her eyes and then she looked down at his hand touching hers. When she looked up at him, there was some sense of awareness in her eyes, but only just. “Hello, Chase,” she said, again.

Hello, Chase.

Like she had bumped into him on the street.

Not like he’d found her sitting in the middle of downpour, sitting alone in the square. Scowling, he closed his fingers around her wrist and tugged as he stood. “Come on, I’m taking you home.”

He was half-prepared for her to argue.

There was a time when she would have.

But she followed along behind him, not saying a word.

He wasn’t sure what bothered him more—her silence now, or the way he’d found her.


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