Second Chances2018-12-22T02:28:52+00:00

SECOND CHANCES

Left at the Altar: Book 7

Anna Thompson has led a . . . boring life. She’s ready for adventure and she’s determined to have the time of her life. She talks her best friends into going on a cruise with her where she plans on having an amazingly sensual love affair. Then she’ll be a good girl and return back home to Seattle where it rains ninety-five percent of the time.
 
Some people might say Evan Covington works too much. He’d tell those who do that maybe they need more work ethics. He’s perfectly content with his life. He’s a shark in the boardroom and doesn’t lack for nighttime companions. What could be better than that?
 
Both Anna and Evan are in for a surprise that will have them rushing to the alter . . . where one of them will be left standing. Will it be a vacation fling . . . or will it be a happily ever after? Find out in this whirlwind romance story that travels the world and finds that home truly is where the heart waits.

Second Chances:

  • Genre: Contemporary, Romantic Comedy
  • Series: Left at the Altar, Book 7
  • Original Publication Date: 12/04/2011

READ AN EXCERPT

Prologue

      “I’m through with being a good girl, absolutely positively through with it. Where does it get me? Nowhere, that’s where. You know that saying, good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere? Yep, it’s soooo true, so completely true. Good girls are boring. I’ve done it my entire life and it’s gotten me zip, zero, nada, nothing.”

      “You do realize that zip, zero, nada, and nothing all mean the same thing, right?”

      Anna Thompson stared at her two best friends with a glare. They tried desperately not to smile . . . and failed miserably at it. She shrugged as she paced her small living room.

      “I’m trying to make a point here,” she stated emphatically. “A really important point. I’m done with leading a boring life. I want adventure. I want sex with a hot, hot man whose only desire is to please me. I want to stop being the good girl.”

      “Well then you might want to start by taking off that hideous sweater vest,” Olivia Newman pointed out.

      Anna looked down at her perfectly acceptable black sweater vest, which was over her cotton button-up blouse. She wanted to defend her choice in clothing . . . and almost did. Until she remembered she’d just made the decision to be a new person.

      “Dang straight,” she said with a smile as she marched the ten feet to her small kitchen and grabbed a pair of shears.

      With a smile she started at the bottom of her sweater and cut up the middle of it then ripped it off. When she turned back to her friends she was more than satisfied with the shocked looks on their faces.

      “See? I’m a new girl starting right now.”

      She grabbed the edge of her blouse and tugged. Nothing happened. She pulled again . . . and still nothing happened.

      “Um, darling, I think that only works in the movies,” Olivia said as she giggled.

      “Dammit! I was trying to be extra dramatic,” Anna said before snapping up the scissors again and running them down the center of her blouse.

      “Nice bra,” Grace said with a giggle.

      Anna sighed. She wasn’t going to cut off her bra. They were far too expensive and while it was boring and white, it was practical.

      “Okay, we’re going shopping. My credit card is paid off, and I’m getting vacation clothes. Then . . .” She paused and grinned. “Then we’re going somewhere super hot.”

      “Oh, I’m totally up for a vaca,” Olivia said.

      “You’re always up for a vacation,” Grace told her with a laugh.

      “Look who’s talking. You’re a writer so you need inspiration anyway,” Olivia said.

      “We all need inspiration. Let’s do this. Let’s book something right now. We’ll go somewhere hot and amazing and find more hot men and have wild flings. But we’ll also promise when we come home we won’t be these same boring women. We’re in our twenties, not our eighties. We’ve got to start living life,” Anna insisted.

      Olivia looked pensive for a minute before she smiled. “You’re a hundred percent right. We can totally do anything we want. We’re young, beautiful women, and we have the world at our fingertips.”

      “Dang straight,” Grace said, growing more excited by the minute.

      Anna wasn’t giving them a chance to change their minds. She was more than ready to live her life any way she wanted, not the way someone else had decided she should live it. She grabbed her laptop and squeezed between her two best friends.

      Their life was about to truly begin. They’d been good long enough. It was time to live, laugh, and love . . . hopefully with seriously hot men.

 

Chapter One

      Anna couldn’t believe she was doing it, couldn’t believe she was dragging a bag behind her, walking into a fantastic resort with her two best friends right behind her. She would’ve never dreamed of doing something like this a few weeks ago.

      She had to plan everything out to the last detail. She was stubborn, organized, and always needed to make a plan. But that was the old her. The new girl was going to live her life to the very best of her abilities. She wasn’t going to let anything hold her back.

      The temperature was in the thirties back home in Oregon, freezing cold and miserable. But they were in the Caribbean now and it was warm and sunny without being stifling. She would wear a bikini for the first time in her life and look men straight in the eyes. She would definitely be a new girl.

      Her heart thudded a bit at the thought, but she pushed that down. At this place, no one but her besties knew who she was. She could invent any girl she wanted to be. That was the beauty of this situation. Maybe when she got back home, she’d be a bit mortified at her behavior and take a few steps back. But here, she could be anyone she wanted to be and she was choosing to be a drop-dead-sexy, sassy blonde bombshell.

      “Ohh, we did so good with this place,” Olivia said as she came up beside Anna.

      “We really did,” Anna told her with a smile.

      “We lucked out. Some of these travel places list all sorts of amazing features and then you arrive and it looks like a garbage heap,” Grace told them.

      “We’re only having positive thoughts this week. No negative vibes allowed,” Anna reminded her friend.

      “This new change in attitude is throwing me for a bit of a loop,” Grace admitted.

      “We’re twenty-six years old. We really do have to quit being so serious,” Anna said.

      “I think your breakup with Dave was the best thing that could’ve happened to you. I like this new attitude,” Olivia said.

      “Dave was boring and stupid,” Anna said with a pout. “And he had the nerve to tell me he was leaving me because I wasn’t adventurous enough in the bedroom. Well, screw him. I’m going to be plenty adventurous, and then I’ll send that asshat some pictures.”

      Olivia and Grace laughed at that. “Honey, you might not want to send pics like that. They’ll end up all over the internet,” Olivia said.

      “Yeah, good point. But that ticks me off. Maybe I’d have been more adventurous if he hadn’t been so boring. I never even had an orgasm with him. If it wasn’t for my vibrator I wouldn’t have a damn clue what the big fuss is with sex,” Anna said a bit too loud.

      Olivia and Grace giggled again. “I’ve been there, trust me,” Olivia said with a pout. “I’d be happy with only one great sexual experience, just one man who could completely rock my world.”

      “This is definitely the place to find him,” Anna told her as she looked around.

      There were men everywhere, literally everywhere. Her gut clenched again at the thought of approaching one of them and acting like it was something she did every day. This wasn’t going to be as easy as she’d like it to be, but it would surely be fun.

      Anna had been described as beautiful by people before, but she’d never believed it. She had platinum blonde hair, almost translucent blue eyes, and a curvy figure that made clothes shopping almost impossible. Her boobs and hips were a bit too oversized, and her waist was small. She hated wearing tight clothes that made her feel like a downtown hooker. But she wasn’t obsessing on that any longer. For this trip she was going to be that confident woman she’d always wanted to be.

      As Anna got lost in her daydreams of what this vacation was going to bring her, Grace and Olivia led her to the front desk where the check-in process was a breeze.

      “We hope you enjoy our facilities. If you follow Ricky, he’ll show you to your cabin,” the friendly woman named Gina said.

      “Thank you,” Anna told her.

      “Follow me,” Ricky, who appeared no older than fifteen, said as he took two of their bags and pulled them behind him.

      They stepped out the back doors of the resort and Anna sighed in utter pleasure at the crystal blue skies over the multiple pools surrounded with trees and hiding places. Maybe she’d have enough courage to sneak off into a hidden cove and make out with someone. Maybe, or maybe not. But she’d dang well put some real effort into it.

      None of them spoke as their heads whipped around, looking at all there was to do and see at the resort. Anna was shocked when Ricky suddenly stopped and she ran into his back.

      “Sorry,” she muttered as she tried not to fall on her rump. She was wearing heels, something she was used to, but not so comfortable after a full day of travel. She managed to stay upright . . . for now at least. Sometimes she was a bit of a klutz.

      “Hey, Ricky,” a voice said, and Anna nearly stumbled again at the low, raw power of that voice. She immediately looked to the ground, something she’d always done around masculine men, and from the sound of those two words, she had no doubt that one manly man was speaking.

      It took only a second for her to remember the new her. So with more force than she cared to admit, she looked up . . . then lost all the air in her lungs.

      Yeah, the body and face she’d pictured with that voice told her immediately she didn’t have a good enough imagination. He was absolutely delicious, leaning against the banister of the small cottage.

      His shoulders looked as if they’d take up an entire doorway, and his tanned skin was a perfect complement to his dark brown eyes and unruly brown hair. He wore no shirt, showing his chiseled chest and abs to perfection. Cutoff shorts stretched tightly over muscled thighs, and his bare feet were tapping on the porch.

      He had to be a few inches over six feet, making her respectable five-foot-five body seem inadequate. He was unbelievably good-looking, and her first thought was to run as far and fast from him as possible.

      She gave herself a mini-lecture on the new her, but it didn’t help. She might want to have an amazing vacation fling, but everything within her told her to not do it with this man. Her reaction to him was far too powerful to even attempt to do something as casual as a weeklong love affair. She’d fall for him for sure, and that was the last thing she wanted to do.

      “Hello ladies. Need some help?” the man asked as he stepped toward them.

      “Oh, sugar, you can help me anytime,” Olivia said with drool practically dripping out of the side of her perfectly pouty lips.

      “Heck yeah,” Grace added with a sweet smile that Anna had seen drop men to their knees.

      Anna couldn’t seem to find her own voice, so she looked away from the man. It was safer. Besides, it appeared as if Olivia and Grace were interested in him. One of them could have a go with him. She’d look for a different guy. Sure, she wanted sexy, but maybe not quite that sexy.

      “What about you?” he asked as he stepped in front of Anna. She was now about a foot away from his delectable chest that had a slight gleam from the heat of the sun. He smelled so good her hormones flared to life in a way she’d never felt before.

      “I’m good,” Anna said, hating the slight squeak to her voice. “You can help Liv and Grace.” She refused to meet his eyes, but he was too close for that to happen.

      “I’m Evan Covington,” he said, his voice seeming to drop a few octaves, making her core heat to unbearable levels.

      “Anna,” she said before shaking her head.

      She was growing irritated. She was acting like the girl she’d vowed to never be again, and it ticked her off . . . at herself, and at this man, for making her step back in her newfound journey.

      She looked up, met his eyes, and put on her best fake smile. “It’s great to meet you, Evan. I’ve got this.” She moved around him, but not before noticing his own smile falter a bit as she’d met his eyes. Maybe he didn’t find her as appealing as she found him.

      Paying no attention, she marched up to the cottage and took a few steps.

      “Anna,” Evan called. But it was too late.

      The resort was set up to go barefoot or wear sandals. It wasn’t set up for high heels, which she discovered about a second too late. Her heel caught between the planks on the steps and she began to fall backward.

      She released her bag, but she knew this was going to hurt no matter the outcome. And it was the first day of her vacation. What a way to start it. A squeak escaped her throat as the ground quickly came up to meet her. Squeezing her eyes shut, it felt as if it was all happening in slow motion.

      And there was a definite hard impact, but it wasn’t pain she was feeling as strong arms wrapped around her before her body connected with the hard wooden steps. Shaking from the adrenaline of the moment, Anna slowly opened her eyes, then forgot how to breathe once again.

      Evan looked at her from above, his face only inches from her own. She could feel his heart thudding against hers, feel his fingers clasping her back, feel her breasts pressed against his smooth chest. There was nothing she couldn’t feel with this man.

      His eyes smoldered above her, looking like there were flames leaping through them. She knew that was impossible, but the reaction she was having to that look was happening whether she wanted it to or not.

      “Looks like I’ve caught you,” Evan said, his voice oddly quiet.

      Anna couldn’t speak for several moments as she looked at this beautiful man who at the moment appeared as if he was literally going to eat her up. That wasn’t such an unpleasant thought.

      “Thank you,” she whispered.

      “Yep, he’s taken,” Anna heard Olivia say with a giggle.

      “Definitely,” Grace replied.

      Her friends’ words should’ve shaken her out of this spell she was in, but that seemed almost impossible. Then Evan smiled a bit as he leaned toward her, breaking the magic of the moment.

      “You can let me go now,” she told him, her voice firmer.

      “Maybe I don’t want to,” he said as his arms squeezed a little bit tighter.

      “That’s not your choice,” she told him.

      He looked as if he was going to kiss her anyway for just a moment, but then his smile grew larger, and he lifted her up and set her on her feet, making sure she was stable before he let her go. She felt a bit lightheaded. It was insane.

      He didn’t break eye contact as he gazed at her for several intense moments. Then he finally stepped away.

      “I’ll be seeing you real soon, Ms. Anna,” he said. The words came out as a definite promise.

      “Maybe,” she told him, adding a shrug as if it didn’t matter to her one way or the other.

      He didn’t say anything else, just grinned once more before turning and walking away. The view of his backside was just as intoxicating as his front.

      “Oh, honey, you definitely have to get some of that,” Olivia said when she was sure the man was out of earshot.

      “Oh, I’m very jealous, but I second that,” Grace said in awed wonder.

      “You can have him,” Anna said, but even saying the words sent a shiver of jealousy through her.

      “Believe me, I’d take him if he was available,” Olivia told her. “But that man had eyes for you and you alone.”

      “Agreed,” Grace told her.

      “Enough of this. Let’s get into the cottage and have some fun. He’s only one of many men here,” Anna told them.

      Her friends didn’t argue, but they gave her a look as if she’d lost her mind. She was sure she’d done that many, many years ago. Playing with Evan might take the rest of her brain cells completely away.

      Maybe it’d be worth it.

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