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A Second Chances Romance Book 1
BY PAULA JUDITH JOHNSON
Sometimes, no matter how hard we try to start fresh, the past has a way of finding us. Britney Thompson was more than ready to start over with a new career, a new home, and a new lover.
But just as she is finding her feet with handsome lawyer Justin Peters, the past comes knocking. With her ex-fiancé inserting himself into this love triangle, Britney must choose: does she move forward with the present or does she hope to rewrite history?
Which path will Britney take?
See how this romance tale unfolds before it’s too late for Britney.
A Second Chances Romance Book 1
BY PAULA JUDITH JOHNSON
Oregon’s changeable weather mystified me. The promise of this morning’s cloudless sunrise tricked me into wearing a breezy summer dress, light sweater, and heeled sandals. Then by afternoon, a dull windswept rain drenched the town. After an inconveniently wet but necessary stop at Safeway, I pulled into the covered parking lot of my apartment complex. Indignation surged through me when I saw my assigned space was occupied. Again! Driving around back to the uncovered guest area, I parked and furiously splashed through the downpour with my groceries. Depositing them on the kitchen counter, I decided, since I was already soaked to the skin, to leave a scathing note on the windshield of the car in my parking space. Grabbing a pen and notepad, I wrote:
Read the sign, Moron. Apartment numbers are clearly painted in assigned parking spaces. You’re in mine. I’m reporting your license number to management for towing.
After placing the note under the windshield wiper of the silver Chevy Camaro convertible, I still felt disgruntled. No matter how many requests the manger received to call the tow company, he never did.
As I scurried back to my apartment, I again considered the sensibility of placing my trust in a new beginning, in a new city, and new state, among strangers. Seaside, a small tourist town, four times longer than wide, grips the Oregon coast sixteen miles south of the great Columbia River. When I had sought escape, its quaintness drew me. Now, I worked in a job half a continent away from where I grew up, and a full continent from where I’d hoped to build a career in fashion design. But I no longer dreamed of becoming an icon of the fashion world, designing clothes for the rich and famous. These days, I was the sole beneficiary of my creative efforts.
Ironically, it was my flair for design that landed the job of assistant to Phillip Carey, a successful, past middle-aged, financial and investment advisor. He said whether it was developing clothing patterns or financial plans, both took consideration of the final goal and innovative implementation to succeed. The pay was adequate, considering my lack of experience in the financial industry, with excellent prospects for advancement. Before hiring me, Mr. Carey outlined a twelve-month training program that, when completed, would elevate me to protege status and a career path that might culminate in purchasing his business when he retires ten years down the road.
I, Britney Thompson, was well on my way to securing the multiple insurance and securities licenses required. Although the study material was akin to learning Greek, my boss and mentor patiently explained why and when to use specific concepts with particular clients, a process both intriguing and satisfying.
Entering my apartment, I went upstairs and towel-dried my hair before changing into jeans, a favorite blue sweater that matched my blue eyes, and warm, fuzzy socks. I removed the remainder of my smudged makeup and re-braided my damp, knee-length, brown hair.
Downstairs again, I put the groceries away then poured a glass of Riesling, justifying one glass of wine on a work-study night as a soothing way to ward off a cold after my soaking. As I took a marinated chicken breast from the refrigerator, the doorbell chimed.
After living in New York City for nine years, I was uncomfortable with only one deadbolt lock on the entry door, but the manager had refused to install extras. Now, peering through the peephole, I wished I had been more insistent. A tall stranger loomed outside. He appeared intimidating in an overcoat and a fedora on his lowered head.
“Who is it?” I called out.
When the man looked up, I saw a strong face, clear brow, Grecian nose, and generously sculpted mouth above his angular jaw.
“It’s the moron who stole your parking space.”
“What do you want?” I asked, checking to make sure the deadbolt was secure.
“I came to apologize. From the condition of your waterlogged note, I figure you caught the worst of that downpour a few minutes ago.”
He stood there, expectantly.
“All right,” I called back.
“All right, what?”
“All right, just don’t do it again.”
He scratched the back of his head and resettled his hat. “Ah, I want to apologize.”
“You just did.”
A quizzical look filled his coffee brown eyes, “No, I didn’t. I only said I wanted to apologize.”
“Well,” I coaxed, “go ahead and apologize.”
Now impatience marred his handsome face. “Look, I don’t know where you come from, but around here we apologize face to face. Come on, open the door. I’ll give you a polite and sincere apology and be out of your hair, as well as your parking space, in two shakes.”
I hesitated. He waited.
He crossed his arms, and clouds of irritation gathered on his once clear brow. “I don’t have all night. I have a brief to prepare for court tomorrow.”
“Court? Are you an attorney?”
“Yes, Justin Peters, Esquire, at your service,” he replied as he uncrossed his arms and dug into his breast pocket. Withdrawing his wallet, he extracted a business card and held it up to the peephole.
Wills, Trusts, Estate Settlement
Although I knew the names of the estate attorneys Mr. Carey recommended to his clients; I had never met any of them. I assumed they were all of an age as my boss, but this man was young, in his early to mid-thirties. Then I realized the rich timbre of his voice sounded familiar. I had talked to a Justin Peters on the phone several times over the past few days in connection with an estate settlement for a recently deceased client of Mr. Carey.
I turned the lock and swung the door open. What I had not detected through the peephole was the sharpness of his eyes. With one quick, raking sweep, they must have told him all he needed to know about me, and then they grew serious.
“Please accept my apology for causing you an inconvenience,” he said.
A hesitant smile formed on my lips at his formality. “Apology accepted.” I held out my hand to shake, but he shocked me when he brought it to his lips.
“Have dinner with me tonight,” he proposed, continuing to hold my hand.
I tugged. “I most certainly will not.”
“Then tomorrow night.”
“No.” Perturbed, I tugged again.
“That’s none of your business,” I replied irritably and tugged harder. He released my hand.
“Perhaps we’ll see each other around, and you’ll change your mind.”
“I doubt it. Good night, Mr. Peters.”
Stepping back, I hurriedly closed the door, and with shaking fingers, turned the lock. I already had experience with an over-confident, cocky attorney, and had no interest in repeating the mistake.
Paula Judith Johnson is the author of esteemed romance novels such as Sweetbriar, A Love Triangle Romance (2020 Book Excellence Award Finalist), Starting Over, A Second Chance Romance, Book 1, Second Time Around, A Second Chance Romance, Book 2, and Brewer’s Betrothal: A Love Triangle Romance-Book 2 (2021 Book Excellence Award Finalist).
How did you end up in the romance genre?
It took a while for me to get serious about writing, and in reality, I wasn’t sure I had more than one story to tell. Yet, here we are, with four novels under my belt and a fifth due out later this year.
The novel Sweetbriar, A Love Triangle Romance, is a story that was rattling around inside my head for 25 years. I knew that I wanted to write a story about love and love lost, misplaced expectations, and redemption. Sweetbriar was the vehicle for that. I started writing it early every morning, and eventually, the characters took on lives of their own. And the rest is, well, history!
Paula Judith finds that on some mornings, the words flow effortlessly. Those mornings are rare jewels she cherishes. Other mornings, she scrapes along a barren, rock-strewn path picking up little pebbles, one-by-one. Either way, she loves the process of walking alongside her characters, crying with them over their losses, and rejoicing with them in their triumphs. “After all,” she says, “they are my friends. I hope they become your friends, too.”
What’s something about you that might surprise people?
I’m an avid history buff! My late husband, Wayne, and I were involved with many mountain man-era black powder clubs for 20 years. I’ve carried that excitement and passion with me ever since and often use those experiences when writing about the early 1800s.
While involved in mountain man-era black powder clubs, Paula Judith regularly participated in shooting reproduction muzzle-loading rifles, pistols, and shotguns. She also enjoyed activities that included throwing Bowie knives, tomahawks, and spears.
Paula Judith boasts many competition prizes and is especially proud of placing 1st in woman’s rifle and 1st Overall (rifle, pistol, knife & tomahawk) at the last ever Fort Clatsop Muzzleloaders rendezvous.
Links to Paula’s website, blog, books, #ad etc.:
(universal link for various formats)
Thanks, Paula, for sharing your story with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!