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First pages

Chapter 1

Claire Worthington believed that life moved in only one direction. Forward.

“Mom!” Danielle said excitedly as she approached Claire down the wide university hallway. “My psychology class is so lit. The instructor is on fire.”

Claire gathered up her iPhone and iPad, drew her handbag over her shoulders. She’d been waiting for two hours for her daughter’s classes to end. “So… you like it?” Claire asked for clarification.

Danielle grinned. “It’s gonna be awesome.”

“That’s great,” she said. Claire glanced at her watch. She had just enough time to get Danielle to her counseling session at Resolutions Treatment Center, then they could have a quick lunch before Claire’s meeting with a new artist coming in at two o’clock.

They walked together down the hall at UCLA, dodging students hurrying to their next class, most of them looking down at their phones.

“He runs the Psychology Clinic, so he’s gonna let us observe some sessions. Can you believe it? It’s my first semester and I already get to observe.”

“That’s great, honey,” Claire said. Ever since Danielle began mental health treatment last winter, she’d been dead-set on studying psychology. She’d been so disappointed that her hospitalization had caused her to drop out of her advanced classes in the spring, that Claire had pulled some strings and gotten her into summer classes at the university at the last minute.

Scheduling had been an utter nightmare ever since. Spring had been a process of Danielle finishing up high school in Ft. Worth and moving to Los Angeles. Fortunately, Claire already had a house in L.A. Considering everything that had happened in the last few months, the move had gone smoothly.

Since Claire had to attend mental health counseling with Danielle twice a week, Claire drove her to class those days.

“Grayson is even going to have an art therapist come talk to us so we can see what that’s like.”

Claire stopped and gazed at her daughter, causing the other students to flow around them.

“Mom, what?” Danielle had that panicky Please don’t let the other students find out I have parents look on her face. “Come on.”
Claire followed, but her brain remained frozen. The art therapy part was interesting and Claire wanted to hear more about it. Later.

Something else entirely had her attention, however, at the moment.

Grayson.

A name that was becoming more popular with babies born today, but quite unusual during Claire’s generation. She knew because she’d looked it up.

Did she dare ask?
She had to know. “What’s his last name?” she asked, holding her breath.

Danielle shifted her backpack and smiled as she checked an incoming text. “I don’t know,” she said, keeping her eyes on her phone. “Can we skip therapy today?”

“No,” Claire said automatically, exhaling in frustration. Danielle asked the same question nearly every day. Today, however, her daughter was particularly glowing. The psychologist had warned her that Danielle would have fleeting moments of happiness. But that had been months ago. Surely at some point she no longer had to worry when her daughter was happy.

“What did he look like?” She asked.

“Grayson?”

“Yes. Shouldn’t you call him Dr. or Mr. or something?”

Danielle rolled her eyes. “It’s not the south, Mom. It’s L.A.” Then she stopped texting and looked up at her mother. “Cute,” she said. “About Daddy’s size. Your age maybe. I don’t know. Do you want me to find out if he’s married?”

“Heavens no!” Claire said, feeling the flush on her cheeks.

“Why do you want to know?”

“I had a friend in high school named Grayson. But it couldn’t possibly be the same guy.”

Danielle shook her head and attached her gaze back to her phone. “No way. He wouldn’t have been your type. This guy just retired from the Air Force.”

Claire clasped a hand over her mouth to keep from gasping. Grayson Moore had been in the delayed entry program and entered the Air Force the day after graduation. He’d promised to write, but he hadn’t. Not even once. Not one letter. Not one phone call. It was twenty years ago, so they hadn’t had cell phones. Well, Claire had a cell phone, but Grayson didn’t. Grayson hadn’t had email either.

She sighed as she steered Danielle, whose attention was glued to her phone, her fingers flying over the screen, toward the car. Things would have been so much different if they’d simply had cell phones back then.

The name and the Air Force part matched up, but a psychology instructor? Claire tapped her fingers on the steering wheel as she waited for traffic to move.

That didn’t fit. Not even a little.

 

Danielle’s therapy session was uneventful. Danielle seemed to be truly excited to be starting college. Her daughter had just gotten back from spending a week with her father Noah and his new wife. Claire and Noah been divorced just over six months. Noah had gotten married the day after he and Claire had officially gotten divorced. Talk about not letting the ink dry.

But Claire was happy to have it over with. Now she didn’t have to worry about the obligatory visits to Ft. Worth to be with her husband.

Claire had a house in L.A. and a growing business. She’d been growing her business for years, but her husband had no idea. He thought she was here sipping mimosas with her girlfriends.

Technically, she began to network before she even married Noah. By the time they were married, she was having business meetings several times a week. Throughout the early part of their marriage, Noah thought Claire was taking money from her father to supplement Noah’s income. She never told him the truth. She’d been earning the money and never once touched her father’s. Well, that didn’t include the start-up money her father had given her, but Claire didn’t count that since she’d paid it off in mere months.

After the session, she and Danielle drove back toward the university and had lunch at a trendy little restaurant set up in the middle of a greenhouse. Claire ordered a fried green tomato po’boy with avocadoes, and veggie bacon and Danielle ordered a shrimp po’boy. If the two of them had a favorite restaurant to go to together, it would have to be this one. It was called the York and Orleans and they both had favorite lunch items on the menu.

Claire was sending an email on her phone to a vendor to begin discussing wine options for an upcoming fundraising event. As she hit send, she noticed that Danielle had uncharacteristically set her phone down on the table and was staring across the crowded restaurant.

Though Claire glanced in that direction, she didn’t see anything out of the ordinary.

Then she heard his laugh.

Every nerve cell in her body tensed.

And a memory from twenty plus years ago was awakened.

“Mom?” Danielle whispered. “It’s him.”

“It’s who?” She whispered back, but her eyes were glued to the handsome man in the white shirt and black slacks three tables over. He sported two-day old stubble on his face and his hair was still thick and dark.

Tall, dark, and handsome.

That’s always how she’d thought of Grayson Moore. Now he was even more handsome with twenty years of maturity on him. If she hadn’t heard his laugh, she probably wouldn’t even have noticed him. Well, she would have noticed him, but she wouldn’t have recognized him.

“It’s Grayson,” Danielle said. “My psych teacher.”

No. Way.

“Come on,” Danielle said. “I’ll introduce you.”

Grayson was with another man, a student perhaps? Or a younger colleague? “No,” she said, but Danielle was already standing up and walking toward his table.

Claire was in full panic mode.

This couldn’t happen. Not like this. She got up and walked the other way. Toward the restroom. She needed a second. Just one second.

Claire Worthington didn’t panic.

 

Grayson Moore recognized the student who stood at his table. He rarely did, especially after only the first day, but this particular student had been especially enthusiastic and there had been something about her smile that had caught his attention.

“Hi,” she said with that smile. “I’m sorry to interrupt, but I’m in your psychology class. From today.”

“Sure,” Grayson said. “How are you?”

“I’m good. I’m really excited about the class, but… I think my mom knows you. Or something.” The student was frowning now and looking across the restaurant. “I was going to introduce you, but she… left.”

“Your mother?” He looked past the girl, searching for someone who looked motherly.
“Yeah. We’re having lunch,” The girl stood next to his chair, searching the restaurant for her missing mother.

Grayson glanced at Bob, an applicant for a teaching position. Shrugged as though to say this happens sometimes.

Bob seemed unaffected. In fact, he used the distraction to finish off his sandwich.

“It’s ok,” Grayson said. “I can meet her next time.”

He followed the girl’s gaze toward the restroom and his eyes locked on the woman walking toward them. His dream woman.

Literally. The woman walking toward them had the same lithe movements as his high school sweetheart.

He knew, however, that it wasn’t her. His high school sweetheart was blonde. And this woman was brunette. He looked more closely at the student with her red bow shaped lips. Then back at the woman walking toward them. He knew that smile. “It’s Claire,” he said.

“Yeah,” Danielle said. “That’s my mother.” She jerked her head around to stare at Grayson. “Wait. How do you know her name?”

Grayson couldn’t answer. His tongue was tied up in knots. The man who talked for a living couldn’t put two syllables together in his head to save his own life at this moment.

Claire stood at his table now, next to her daughter, and Grayson knew why the student’s smile had caught his attention. It was her mother’s smile. The one he had known so well.

Twenty years ago.

His eyes strayed to her lips and his neurons traveled down a path he thought had long been severed from his brain.

“Grayson,” Claire said. “It’s good to see you. You’ve met my daughter, Danielle.”

His brain chemistry was scrambled, but he found himself reflexively returning her smile. Claire may be brunette now, but she was still the girl he’d loved in high school. “It’s good to see you, too, Claire. Where have you been?”

“I stepped into the lady’s room,” she said, her eyes wide with innocence.

Grayson didn’t buy the innocence. She knew he wasn’t being literal. But he let it go for now. When her daughter wasn’t standing next to her, he’d ask again and this time he’d add the words for the last twenty years to his question.

“My daughter has been raving about your class since this morning.”

“I try to make things interesting,” he said, trying to ignore the ringing in his ears. He was trying to wrap his head around Claire having a daughter. They’d talked about having children. Claire had wanted two – a boy and a girl. Grayson had wanted four. Did she have other children? Now that his brain was thawing, so many questions were beginning to form.

If Claire had a child, she was married. Claire Beauchamp was nothing if not traditional. He glanced at her ring finger. No ring. Divorced then. There was a simple diamond on her index finger. And a small diamond on a silver chain around her neck and larger diamonds in her ears. She wore a red pencil skirt with a white jacket cropped to her waist. Black pumps with red bottoms graced her feet. A Gucci handbag hung across her shoulders. Grayson had no doubt that the things she wore at this moment cost more than a month’s salary for him.

That was the Claire he knew. Where did you go?

He wanted to talk to her. Needed to talk to her.

 

Claire dropped her daughter off at her friend’s house and drove the thirty minutes to the gallery. She had plenty of time to get everything ready before the artist came in at 2:00. The fundraiser was in two weeks, so she had plenty of time. She had it down to a science.

She could only hope that the artist, Maine D’Court, had come through and had enough paintings ready to show. He’d promised her that he worked fast.

Claire wasn’t sure that fast was necessarily a good thing in the art world, but it was probably like everything else. It wasn’t the speed at which something was done, it was the perseverance.

Maine D’Court had come through. He had brought three paintings in addition to those he had promised.

Maine already had the paintings inside and set up for her look at when Claire got to the gallery.

She should have been elated. Could have been elated. Would have been elated.

If she hadn’t just encountered the one man she had ever loved.

So, instead of elated, she was… edgy.

It was the only way she knew to describe the nerves tingling through her body.

She and Grayson had dated her sophomore and junior years in high school. He was one year older, so when he graduated, he had joined the Air Force with a promise to see her soon.

That had been the last time she had seen him.

The night before he left for San Antonio, Texas. She still flushed at the memory of that night.

“So, Claire, what do you think?” Maine asked.

“They’re impressive,” she said, reining her thoughts back to the present.

He preened. Just a bit. But she saw it. “I’m inclined to celebrate,” he said.

“That’s a great idea,” Claire agreed. “You should do that.” Claire picked up his contract, turned to the signature page.

“You’ll come with me,” he said.

Claire smiled in an effort to turn around the anxiety that washed over her at his words. “Oh, no,” she said, watching his expression change from friendly, excited artist to rejected man. If he pulled his paintings now, the whole fundraiser would crash and burn. There would be no mentorships. No scholarships. It would all be for naught. “I’ll go next time. After the fundraiser. Right now I’m buried in paperwork and,” she glanced at her watch. “I have to be up early for a meeting tomorrow.” She lowered her voice. “And don’t tell anyone, but alcohol gives me the worst possible headache you can imagine.”

She sent up a silent prayer of thanks when he backed off, appeased, for the moment at least. He winked, clicked his tongue, and cocked a finger at her. “I’ll hold you to that,” he said.

Claire held her breath as he signed the contract. “Now, I have to get this to the fundraising attorney,” she checked her watch again. “Before he leaves for the evening. We’re on a strict deadline.” She grabbed up her handbag, and, clutching the signed contract in her other hand, left him standing there in her own office.

Her heels clicked on the stairs as she raced down them and outside to her BMW sedan. She was in her car with the doors locked before she took a deep breath and pressed her hands against the steering wheel.

The paperwork could have easily waited until morning. Even Martie, her personal assistant, could have driven it over. Or they could have faxed a copy to lock in the contract.

She had just needed to get as far away from Maine D’Court as she could. Maybe tonight would be a good night to hibernate at home with some good undistracted rest and relaxation.

She sent Martie a quick text asking her to lock up. When Claire received an affirmative answer, she shoved the contract into her briefcase and headed home.

Claire parked in the garage, went inside, and greeted her silver Persian kitten. Charlie wasn’t even a year old. He’d been her gift to herself after the divorce was finalized. She picked him up, and hugging him to her, took him into the kitchen to feed. She pulled the top on a can of kitten food and stirred it into a saucer.

Laughing at Charlie’s barely audible meow, she ruffled his hair and watched him lap up the food.

She went upstairs, changed into her slim crop pants and a t-shirt. She went into her walk-in closet, keyed in the code to her wall safe, and took out a slim photo album.

She carried the photo album back downstairs, opened a bottle of Dakota Shy Cabernet Sauvignon, poured a glass, and curled up on her sofa.

Claire loved her house. She’s chosen everything from the basic design to the doorknobs. She loved her over-the-top walk-in closet with shelves and drawers. She loved her kitchen with its huge windows overlooking a wooded back yard. She loved her fireplace with the plasma TV hanging on the wall over it.

She could open her iPad and close the shades on her windows, turn on her TV, and see if anyone was at the front door. All that technology blended seamlessly into a warm cozy environment. Her home was her haven – her safe place away from everyone where she didn’t have to worry about saying the right thing or dressing a certain way.

Even when Danielle had friends over, she felt relaxed here. This was her space.

Charlie sat next to her on the floor and stared at her. She picked him up in one hand and put him on the sofa beside her. He slapped at the fringe on a throw she’d tossed across the back of the sofa, then curled into a ball next to her and fell asleep purring.

Claire sipped her wine, then taking a deep breath, opened the photo album. It had been a long time since she’d dared to open it up – probably fifteen years.

It was a photo album she’d started when she was sixteen years old. There were lots of pink hearts drawn with a felt tipped pin. On only the first page, Grayson smiled back at her.

Her heart skipped a little as she studied the picture of the two of them together. They looked so very happy with their arms wrapped around each other.

Claire had given up long ago trying to figure out what went wrong.

It had been so long – twenty years. Did it really matter anymore?

Seeing him today had brought butterflies back to her stomach. Butterflies she thought had flown years ago.

Danielle texted saying she was going out to dinner with her friends and would be home late.

Perfect. Claire had the whole evening to herself.

Claire flipped through the pages, allowing the memories to play through her mind. Some bringing a smile. Others bringing tears.

When the clock chimed seven o’clock, she closed the album and set it aside.

What were the odds that she’d run into Grayson Moore? Why today?

It doesn’t matter. It’s all in the past now.

And Claire Worthington kept her eyes on the future.

Chapter Two

The event was going to be a huge success. Claire could feel it. And she had an instinct for these things. The wine was flowing freely and the artist was charming. Women would be falling over themselves to transfer money. Already, he’d sold three paintings. His artistic style was conservative. The kind an older woman would want displayed in her home. Not too trendy and not the kind that would have shock value.

A few new people had come in that Claire needed to greet.

As she watched, a group of four split, leaving one standing alone as she approached.

Her heart tripped up a notch as she approached him. He stood staring at a painting with splashes of purple and red. Claire’s favorite out of the ones the artist had contributed. He stood with his hands behind his back, his legs a few inches apart. Dark hair curled at his collar.

She stood next to him. Stared into his handsome face. How was it possible he had gotten more handsome than he was at eighteen? He was in his prime now, she admitted, her lips twitching up.

“I wonder why he named it Fireworks,” he said.

“How did you find me?” she asked.

He shrugged, shifted his attention to her. Studied her as though she, too, were a thing to admire. “It wasn’t hard.”

“You like art?” she asked.

“I admire anything with beauty. Where did you go Claire?”

“I didn’t go anywhere,” she said, feeling the lump in her throat. “Why did you disappear?”

“I was in the Air Force. You knew where I was.”

“Not even once,” she said. “You didn’t write. You didn’t call. Not even once.”

The pain she felt saying those words out loud were reflected in his own features. “Of course I did.”

“No,” she said. “I would have known. I was right here. Waiting.”

“Claire,” he said. “I called you every chance I got. The calls were refused. Every time.”

“No,” she said.

“I called collect. I didn’t have any other way to call you.”

She wasn’t sure how to respond. Why would he say that? Grayson had never been one to lie.

“Did you read my letters?” He asked. “I sent you information on how to contact me. But you didn’t.”

“What letters?”

“I wrote you letters and mailed them, mostly every week, at first anyway.”

“Real letters?”

He scoffed. “Real letters. With stamps.”

“You must have had the wrong address.”

He recited her parents’ home address. Claire felt a little light-headed. She needed to sit down, but instead, she took a deep breath and steadied herself. “I never got them,” she breathed.

“Claire,” he said. He almost reached for her, but instead, put his hands in his pockets.

“I have to… um…” She glanced around. “I have to see to my guests.”

She had to think. And she couldn’t think with him staring at her that way. Like he wanted to pull her to him and kiss all the years away.

She turned and walked across the room, keeping her head high. Her imagination was a thing to keep a tight leash on. At least where Grayson Moore was concerned. She put a smile on her face as she approached two middle-aged women standing in front of a very expensive painting.

Weekly etiquette classes for the last years of high school had taught her nothing if not hiding her emotions. Miss Baker’s voice still resonated in Claire’s head. Never let them see you sweat. Or cry. Or have uncontrollable laughter. In fact, always be in control.

Emotional control was so ingrained in Claire’s psyche, she wasn’t sure she could be any other way.

By the time the evening was winding down, only one painting was left unsold. It was Claire’s favorite – the purple and red one. The one the artist had named Fireworks.

The artist, Maine D’Court, was ecstatic. They had agreed that he would receive a small percentage of sales, but mostly he was trying to establish a name for himself. If tonight was any indication, he was well on his way to success.

The members of the Enrich American Minds Foundation were also elated. With the money earned tonight, they would be able to pick five high school students, mentor them through graduation, guide them into college, and provide tuition support.

Now the hard work started. Claire had to hire ten new mentors, two of whom would follow each student who was chosen.

Because of tonight, five students who never would have set foot on a college campus would now have the opportunity to become college educated, productive members of society.

Claire walked around the gallery, reminding her committee members about their meeting Monday afternoon. She stopped in front of the Fireworks painting and wondered why it hadn’t sold.

“Is this the only one left?” Grayson’s voice was like a familiar balm settling over her soul.

“Yes,” she said without turning around.

“I like it.”

She turned then and looked into those blue eyes that had haunted her dreams for years. “It’s curious that no one bought it.”

“How much?”

She lifted an eyebrow.

“How much for the painting?”

“You don’t want to buy it,” she said turning back toward the painting, though her heart was racing and every cell was tuned towards Grayson’s presence.

“How much?” he asked again.

“You can’t afford it.”

She counted to ten before turning back to him.

“I’m not eighteen anymore,” he said.

She smiled. That was an understatement. Very well. She’d play along. She quoted him a figure.

He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a checkbook.

She was pleased that she managed to keep her jaw from dropping.

 

Grayson prided himself on not flinching. There went two months’ salary. This was retirement money, but still…

He’d heard Claire tell three different people that this was her favorite painting by this artist. She hadn’t said that about any of the others, so he felt confident that it was the truth.

As he wrote out the check, he wondered if that was why no one had bought it. Perhaps no one had the heart to buy it out from under her.

Grayson wasn’t buying it out from under her. He was giving her a one hundred percent success rate tonight.

And he planned to give the painting to her when the time was right.

“Is this where you work?” he asked as he handed her the check. Surely he’d earned a bit of information by donating.

“Yes,” she said. “My office is upstairs.”

“Nice,” he said, sweeping his gaze around the spacious, modern, gallery. A wide staircase led upstairs to an open area. Offices, he assumed and meeting space. It was impressive.

“Thank you,” she said, a smile settling over her features. He liked the smile better than her consternation.

“Does Danielle still live at home?” he asked.

“Yes,” she said.

She was making him ask. “Do you have other children?”

“No, just Danielle.”

There was no one else within earshot. He had so many questions but he couldn’t tell if he was making her uncomfortable or not. But she was still standing there, so he could only assume she was willing to talk with him. Claire had always been good at keeping her emotions in check. He knew she’d been schooled to do that. She was the rich girl. The one with every possible door of opportunity in front of her. He had been just a regular guy. Joining the Air Force to serve his country.

He’d often wondered if she was part of what drove him to keep bettering himself. He knew she was the reason he never married. He’d had girlfriends, sure, even lived with one of them, but none of them had ever been marriage material for Grayson. Claire had ruined that for him. She had been the only one.

“Do you have children?” She asked, running her fingers along his check.

He shook his head. “No.”

“Really? You wanted four.”

I wanted four with you. “Things change,” he said, the smile dropping from his lips. It was definitely better to talk about her. “And you wanted two.”

“Things change,” she said. Perhaps telling her about the letters, though she apparently hadn’t gotten them, was helping to keep her here talking to him.

Maine D’Court approached, “Claire,” he said, his voice silky.

“Maine,” Claire said, shifting to include him in their conversation. “We just sold the last of your paintings,” she nodded toward Grayson.

Grayson scowled. Had he really just given this man money? This slim man with a pony-tale of all things. The military man in him cringed.

“Is that so?” Maine said. “Well, I hope you enjoy it.”

“I’m sure I will,” Grayson said, stretching to his full height of six feet. Maine was at least four inches shorter.

“I’ll have your check for you early next week,” Claire said, turning away slightly. Grayson gave her points for gracefully dismissing the man.

“Great,” Maine said. “Let me know when you’re ready to get out of here.”

“Get out?” she echoed.

“Yeah. You owe me a drink, remember?”

Grayson saw the flash of panic shoot through her eyes. She didn’t want to go with him.

She looked directly at him, a smile on her lips. “Not tonight, Maine.”

“You promised.”

She shook her head. “I already have plans,” she said.

Grayson felt his muscles tense. It had been a few years since he’d been in a fight. Might feel good.

“You promised,” he said, shoving a finger at her.

“Hey,” Grayson said, stepping in front of Claire. “The lady said no. When a lady says no, she means no.”

“We had plans,” Maine said, trying to reach behind Grayson for Claire’s hand. She stepped back before he could touch her.

“No,” Grayson said, stepping front of Claire. “The lady is with me.”

Maine glared at him, then at Claire, before, muttering, he walked away.

“He sure knows how to win friends,” Grayson said.

“Thank you,” she said, turning her gaze to Grayson.

“He has some nerve, doesn’t he?”

“I’m afraid so,” Claire said. “But I think he’s harmless.”

Maine, however, didn’t leave. He said on the stairs leading up to Claire’s office. And watched them, his expression surly.

“I hope you’re right,” Grayson said. The gallery was nearly empty now. “If you don’t mind, I’ll hang around until you get to your car.”

“I don’t mind. I have to go up to my office for a few minutes before I leave.”

“I’ll go with you,” Grayson said. He was relieved that she wasn’t one of those women who didn’t want protection from men. Grayson never understood that. What those women didn’t understand was that they may be smarter than most men, but they would never have the testosterone to match. It was like a man who thought he could go up bare handed against a lion. The lion would always win.

Claire was smart though. The smartest woman Grayson had ever known.

Maine watched them, said nothing as they went upstairs to her office. Grayson stood outside her door, bodyguard style while she gathered up what she needed to take with her.

 

 

Claire tossed papers into her briefcase. She planned to work from home this weekend, but she was having trouble thinking about what she need to take with her.

She was having trouble thinking about anything other than Grayson Moore standing outside her office door ready to protect her from an ardent admirer with an inflated self-esteem.

Had she been too friendly with Maine D’Court? She had promised to have a drink with him after the showing, but she hadn’t meant right after on the same night. It had been intended as discouragement. Like sure, we’ll get together sometime and catch up when both people knew that would never happen.

Claire tapped her fingers on the desk as she considered how she was going to get Maine D’Court out of her gallery without making a scene. It was because of him that tonight had been so successful. She didn’t want to seem ungrateful. But it had been a business arrangement. He’d made a lot of money. Sold paintings he never would have sold. It was a win-win.

She was mostly cross with him because he was disrupting her thought process about Grayson. Grayson was the one she wanted to be thinking about. Not a narcissistic artist.

She gathered up her handbag and drew it over her shoulders. She was thankful Grayson was here tonight. She wasn’t sure what she would have done about Maine D’Court. His persistence bordered on stalking.

Would she have to be afraid now? And afraid for Danielle?

As they walked back downstairs, side by side, Claire was struck by the familiarity of walking next to Grayson. He was a full head taller than she was. And, she readily admitted, she felt safe with him at her side.

Maine D’Court, however, was nowhere in sight. They did a quick search, but the building was empty.

Claire locked up with Grayson keeping watch. Their cars were the only two cars left in the parking lot. Maine D’Court, it seemed, had decided to go his own way.

Nonetheless, Grayson walked around her BMW and peeked through the glass into the backseat.

“Were you deployed?” she asked.

“You could say that. All in all, I spent about ten years overseas.”


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

Kathryn has a Ph.D. from Louisiana Tech University. She lives with her family in north Louisiana where she works with veterans in her private practice as a psychologist. But writing has always been her first love and passion. When not helping others or making up people in her head, she can be found reading, shopping, or running on the treadmill. She believes we find our soul mates no matter where—or when—we have to go to find them. Kathryn is a Kindle Scout winner for her novel, Begin Again.

Q. This book is part of a series, tell us about your series.
A.
Love Again continues Kathryn Kelly’s sweet, wholesome “Love's Second Chance” series. Connected by related characters, each book explores the scary and wonderful possibilities of love lost and found again. Can we truly start over with the one who broke our heart? Is it worth the risk to love again?
Q. Where did the idea for this book come from?
A.
I hadn't planned on writing this book. But after writing the first book in the series, Begin Again, I didn't want to leave the world and characters I had created. I wasn't ready to let them go. So, I delved into the world of Claire, a secondary character and discovered that I liked her very much.
Q. What draws you to this genre?
A.
I grew up reading fairy tales. Then, as a teenager, I discovered romance novels, and I've kept my head in books ever since. I love creating characters and putting them in what seem to be impossible situations and watching them work their way out, knowing that love will ultimately prevail.

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