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- Second Chance Romance
- Returning Home
- Small Town
This billionaire never planned to return to his hometown. And she hoped he never would.
Mallory Edwards never wanted to leave her hometown, but she would have followed Pete Collins anywhere. Too bad he never gave her the chance when he left to start his company in New York City and never looked back.
When Pete returns home after his grandmother’s death, he is more afraid of running into Mallory than anything else. But when his friend convinces him to help with a local event, he finds himself partnered with Mallory. Avoiding old feelings as they work together proves hard to do.
To get their second chance, Pete will have to decide what he’s willing to sacrifice, and Mallory will have to decide if trusting him is worth the risk of him breaking her heart all over again.
Chapter One Look Inside
Chapter One Look Inside
Pete Collins had vowed he wouldn’t return to Pine Haven, Alabama. And yet, here he was. His private jet taxied into the hanger, and a car waited for him. His assistant had seen to the details, and Pete had told her he didn’t need a driver. He could navigate the town he had grown up in on his own. He settled into the driver’s seat of the red sports car and left the airport in his rearview mirror, where he wished he could leave the town.
Pete sighed as he left the busy interstate in the city and drove onto the country roads leading to the small town. He did notice the scenery as he drove, the leaves were starting to turn from green to red and yellow. He had to admit that it was prettier here than in New York City. He had made exactly three visits back in the last five years, but he only stayed for a couple of hours before jumping back on the airplane. This time would be different. His mind traveled to the day before, when his phone rang and he saw that his mom was calling. He had been in a business meeting, so he let it go. But when she called again only a minute later, he knew something was wrong.
“Mom?” His voice sounded anxious.
“Pete,” his mother answered, her own voice calm, but sad. “It’s your grandmother. She passed away this morning.”
Pete’s heart thudded in his chest. “How?” was the only word he could find.
“It was just her time. She seemed fine when I saw her yesterday. But she was ninety-two. It seems she just went to sleep last night and didn’t wake up this morning.”
Pete sighed and leaned back in his chair. “I’m sorry, Mom.”
“I’m sorry too.” Pete could hear his mom’s voice quiver.
“I’ll leave first thing in the morning,” Pete said.
“Alright, we’ll see you then. We’re still making plans, so we’ll talk more later.”
He remembered his grandmother as a firm woman, but she had a sweet spot for her grandchildren. Pete had always been the one to get caught doing something he wasn’t supposed to - picking apples out of the tree before they were ready to be picked, or sneaking into his grandfather’s pickup truck to play. And his grandmother would be dragging him into the kitchen by his ear. But five minutes later Pete would have her laughing and convince her to bake a chocolate pie.
Now in the car, Pete smiled thinking about the life lessons she had taught him. His guilt grew as he remembered how little he had seen her in the last few years. Every Christmas he offered to fly the entire family to New York. His grandmother had only come once, she said she liked being home for the holidays. Pete sighed. How would the family get along without his grandmother? And how would the town? His grandparents had both been pillars in the community. Pete wiped his forehead, remembering that was one of the reasons he had always wanted to get out. He loved his family, but he didn’t want to live in the shadow of Ginny and Peter Collins, his namesake.
That wasn’t the only reason he hadn’t come back.
A face drifted to his mind, and he shook his head to try to get rid of it. But she wasn’t easy to forget, especially with the red curls that framed her face. He shook his head again. He wouldn’t think about that now. He could only hope by some miracle that he wouldn’t run into her while he was in town. He had enough on his mind with his grandmother’s funeral, and his business, without thinking about the girl he left behind.