Jana Richards is a fellow Carina author, but for this post for Boosting the Signal, she approached me about a new non-Carina release of hers! She also asked me to mention that the ebook edition of One More Second Chance is on sale for 99 cents, from August 21st through September 4th! This book’s a contemporary romance, and from the sound of it, Jana’s heroine Julia has a very challenging goal indeed: raising her daughter as a single mother, in the face of multiple other demands. So if small town contemporary romance is your catnip, give this a look, won’t you? Particularly since it’s conveniently on sale!
My name is Julia Stewart. I’m a high school principal in a small town, a place called Lobster Cove. With a name like you’ve probably guessed we’re not in Kansas, Toto. Lobster Cove is located on Mount Desert Island, off the coast of Maine. We’re just down the road from Bar Harbor.
I love this place. Sometimes when I look out at Frenchman Bay and see the islands in the distance, with the sun glinting off the waves, it makes me want to cry. Silly, I know, but the natural beauty of my little island has that effect on me.
The town is cute as a button, too. There are all these quaint little shops painted in bright colors. We have a town square with a bandstand that’s about as American as apple pie. You can walk down to the pier and watch the lobster boats come in.
Mostly I love this town because it’s home. My parents are here, and so are the friends I’ve known since childhood. This is where I want to raise my six year old daughter, Ava.
I’m never leaving Lobster Cove again.
My ex-husband Russ convinced me to go to Thailand to teach English. I thought it would be a big, fun adventure. And it was, sometimes. But mostly I was homesick. I couldn’t believe how much I missed mom and dad, my friends, my hometown. When I got pregnant with Ava, I insisted we move home. I wanted to give birth in Lobster Cove, with my parents and friends close by for support. But Russ wasn’t happy about coming home. When Ava was three he left me to back to Thailand.
I was devastated. Especially when he told me that he was in love with a Thai woman he’d met when we were there together. I didn’t have a clue he’d been having an affair right under my nose. I thought I knew everything about Russ. We’d been together since the tenth grade and I didn’t think we had any secrets. You never really know a person, do you?
So there I was, suddenly a single working mom. I was able to secure the position of principal at the Lobster Cove High School, and I love it, but the job has come with a whole lot of complications. My math teacher, who thinks he should gotten the job as principal, is doing everything he can to undermine my authority. My former father-in-law, who happen to be school board chairman, opposes everything I stand for as a principal. And, oh yeah, he blames me for the divorce. Russ hasn’t sent so much as a birthday card to Ava since he left, and he hasn’t spoken to his parents either. Wyatt blames me for that, too.
But right now those problems seem almost trivial compared to what’s looming on the horizon. There’s something very, very wrong with my mother. She may be responsible for Ava’s broken arm. Dear God, she may have abused her.
I can scarcely believe it. My mom has always been my rock. I wouldn’t have made it through Russ’s desertion and our subsequent divorce without her. I don’t know what to do.
There’s a further complication. Mom and Dad’s new neighbor, Alex Campbell. He’s the new doctor in town. The new temporary doctor. In a few months when completes his contract with the Island Health Board, he’ll head back to San Diego. He’ll soon be gone so I shouldn’t lean on him for help with my parents. My heartbeat shouldn’t accelerate whenever he looks at me. I shouldn’t let Ava fall in love with him.
I shouldn’t fall in love with him either. I’ve been down this road before. I put everything I had into my marriage and it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t enough. The betrayal still aches. And it’s left me very cautious.
Maybe, down the road, I might be ready to find love with a man who loves this place and wants live here as much as I do. A local. Not someone like Alex who’s from away and will be leaving soon. It doesn’t matter how compassionate he is, how supportive he’s been of my parents, or how wildly attracted I am to him. It doesn’t even matter that the thought of losing him makes me physically ill. I can’t love him.
And don’t tell me I should ask him to stay. If he stays he’ll soon grow tired of the smallness of this place. He’ll soon resent me for trapping him here. I know how this will play out.
I let a man drag me away from this island once, and I won’t let it happen again. I can’t.