I've been waiting all year for this -- Last Chance Beach Romance for 2021!
Last year, we did a multi-author box set that was a wonderful experience. This year, and for the next two at least, we'll be going back to the beach with a planned twenty (20) full-length, contemporary romance novels. Sub-genres will include later-in-life stories, romantic suspense, reunion romances, and heat ranges will be sweet to steamy. Something for every reader.
The first book in the series, Deceptively Yours, by NYT & USA Today bestselling author Joan Reeves was released on May 23rd and was a great start to the new series of books.
My book, Return of the Runaway Bride, is the second book in the series, and I'm so happy to share it with you today.
About the Book
An Exclusive Excerpt
At six-thirty that evening, Emily stopped her car along the side of the road, the bridge to Last Chance Beach within sight. Perhaps she should have called, warned her parents she was on the way.
Nerves took a grip on her stomach; her pulse raced.
What if her parents weren’t home? After all, it was summer break. Maybe they were traveling. Emily shook her head. It wasn’t possible. With Gram’s birthday on the third, and her mother’s position on the Cliff House holiday planning committee, there would be no chance they’d be anywhere but home for the July 4th holiday week and weekend.
In her mind’s eye, Emily could picture the annual fireworks extravaganza put on by Cliff House, the event drawing spectators from far and wide, not just island residents and tourists.
It had been beneath a burst of bright pyrotechnics where Chase had proposed six years ago. The year before that, they’d watched the fireworks from the privacy of Digger’s Cove and made love for the first time.
She turned right off the bridge and took the long way around the island, passing a string of artisan shops that weren’t there when she’d left. She passed Playing Hooky Café, the marina, The Sands Resort, and the turnoff for Secret Cove.
Her parents’ waterfront home beckoned, the gravel driveway crunching beneath her tires as she closed in on her destination. Her mother’s Volvo was in the carport, a new pickup sat off to the side. Nothing much had changed, other than a fresh coat of paint on her parents’ century-old farmhouse and new roof shingles.
Her grandmother’s small cottage was situated to the left of the main house, the lights from the kitchen casting a shadow on the pathway that ran between the two.
Emily pulled her Beemer into the garage, killed the engine, and opened the car door. Drawing a breath, she slid from behind the wheel, grabbed her tote bag, and walked to the back door.
From the mudroom, she could see her mother standing at the sink, her attention on an array of fresh herbs, their clay pots lining the window sill. The moment Emily opened the inside door, her mother’s movements stilled. She hadn’t turned around, yet Emily had no doubt her mother realized who was there. The woman had a sixth sense, especially when it came to those she loved.
“It’s about time,” Colleen Bennett said softly.
Colleen turned slowly and met Emily’s gaze head-on. Her light gray eyes filled quickly with tears. “We’ve missed you.”
Emily rushed forward, pulling her mother into a tight embrace. “Not nearly as much as I’ve missed all of you.”
“Your father’s over at Gram’s fixing a leaky pipe. He shouldn’t be too much longer.”
Emily’s lower lip quivered. “I’m sorry, mom. Really sorry. For everything.”
“You have nothing to be sorry for, Emily. You followed your dreams. There’s no need to apologize for that.” Her mother drew Emily to her side and pressed a kiss to the top of her head. “There’s only one person who deserves an apology, when you’re ready. I know I’ve never said it before, but I was actually glad you had second thoughts. You were both too young to get married. While we would have never tried to stop the two of you, a bit more life experience never hurt anyone.”
“I need to apologize to Mrs. Michaels as—”
The gentle shake of her mother’s head stopped Emily mid-sentence.
“Myrna’s cancer came back last year. She passed away in April.”
The tears that had only threatened before rolled unheeded down Emily’s cheeks. “I didn’t know,” she said, her voice catching. “Why didn’t you say something?”
“When we hadn’t received a call from you in a while, we figured you were out of the country on an assignment. It wasn’t something I wanted to put in an email or text.”
“What about—?” Emily’s words stalled on the emotion clogging her throat, her thoughts. “Chase must have been devastated. It was just the two of them for so long.”
“Of course, he was. He was able to spend the last two months with her and I think that brought them both some peace.”
“The Coast Guard gave him a compassionate leave?”
Whatever her mother was about to say halted when the outside door opened. Her father’s booming voice could be heard all the way from the mud room. “I got the worst of it repaired, for the time being. I’d appreciate it if you could give me a hand with the heavier work.”
“Sure thing, Bill. I’ve got a morning dive class, but—” Chase’s words stopped the moment the two men stepped into the kitchen.
Emily lifted her head, her gaze meshing with the last person she’d expected to see. Ever again. “Chase...I...”
“Em,” he said, his hazel eyes widening, his deep voice wrapping around the nickname he’d given years earlier. “I didn’t realize you were coming home.”
Her father snorted a laugh. “Hell, son, neither did we.”
Chase made a military-precision about face and reached for the doorknob. “Bill, I’ll meet you at Miss Winnie’s cottage at two, if that works for you.”
“Sounds great, Chase. I’ll be there.”
The moment the door closed behind his hasty retreat Emily released a long breath that ended in another round of tears. “I need to... uh... get my suitcase.”
Her father closed the short distance between them and pulled her into his arms. “You and your mom go take a seat in the living room. I’ll put water on for tea and then bring in your luggage.”
Don’t forget to try your hand at the Jigsaw Puzzle of the cover!
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Thank you so much for sharing my Book Birthday with me! Hopefully, I’ll see you again when Author Clair Brett stops by for a visit with her latest release!