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Reunited – A Novella
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0990746186 (ISBN13: 9780990746188)
True love comes once in a lifetime. Will she grab her second chance?When Kathryn Abbott moves back to her hometown following her divorce, she doesn’t expect to run into Brett Falcone, the Italian Stallion. If possible, he’s even more appealing than he was twenty years ago when she, the nerd queen, tutored the popular baseball star.Brett would like to begin the relationship they couldn’t have then, but first Kathryn must face her past decisions…and risk losing the love of her life all over again
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My flesh tingled, my tummy tightened, and my heart made a mad dash to leap from my chest. My fingers, seemingly of their own accord, pushed the button to replay the message I’d just heard.
“I’m calling for Mr. or Mrs. Abbott. My name is Brett Falcone, and it looks like Maya’s going to be on my soccer team. Practice will start next Monday at six o’clock…”
I let the words fade.
His voice had deepened just a little, but it was him—the man from my past I thought I’d never see again. Yet that glimmer of hope, that flicker of desire, had always burned within my heart.
I hadn’t known he was still in town. Of course I’d only been back a few months. After my divorce from Danny, I’d moved back to my hometown of Columbus, Ohio. Danny still lived in Cleveland, close enough that Maya could see him on the weekends.
Twenty years ago, I’d left Columbus and vowed never to return. I met Danny in California ten years later. Five years after that, when he received a job offer in Cleveland, I’d agreed to return to Ohio. Cleveland was far enough away from Columbus that I didn’t have to think about my former life of heartbreak and humiliation.
When my marriage had crumbled, though, Columbus had seemed like the place to pick up the pieces. Sometimes, I’d said to myself, you just want to go home.
Amazing how, even after twenty years of telling myself I’d never set foot in Columbus again, it still felt like home. The townhome I’d rented had grown on me, and I enjoyed my pediatric practice at a local clinic. I’d even made a few friends, though I hadn’t contacted anyone from my high school days. I couldn’t.
For twenty years I’d tried to erase him from my memory.
For twenty years I’d been unsuccessful.
What could I do? Call the county sports association and ask that Maya be put on a different team? Maybe. I couldn’t withdraw Maya from soccer. She was only four, and she was excited about her first chance to play a team sport. I couldn’t take that away from my daughter.
I checked my watch quickly. Four thirty. My mother was picking Maya up at the sitter’s and taking her for the night. Danny would pick her up tomorrow morning and take her for the rest of the weekend. I had nowhere to go. Though it was Friday, someone would likely still be at the sports registration office until five. I shuffled the papers on my desk until I found the copy of Maya’s registration and keyed in the number.
“Yes, hello. This is Kathryn Abbott. My daughter is registered for Pee Wee soccer, and I was wondering if there was any chance we could change her to a different team.”
“I’m sorry, ma’am. All the teams are full. We didn’t have as many volunteers for coaching, so there aren’t any open slots. Unless you’d like to coach a team?”
I arched my brows. Avoiding Brett Falcone might be worth learning soccer. Unfortunately, I had no athletic talent whatsoever. The sheer unfairness of all this! Brett Falcone would be a great coach. He was a natural athlete, great at soccer and football. But his first love had been baseball.
I jolted back to reality. “I’m sorry. No, I can’t coach, though I wish I could. I know nothing about soccer, about any sports. I really want my daughter to learn. To do what I never had the talent to do.”
God, I was babbling. The teenybopper on the other end of the line didn’t care about my lack of sports experience.
“Then I’m afraid I can’t help you.”
“I understand. Thank you for your time.”
I set the phone back on the cradle.
The Italian Stallion.
How he’d lived up to that name.
I poured myself a glass of iced tea and sat down in my recliner. I took a long sip of the crisp beverage, letting it float over my tongue and coat my throat. Then another. I needed to cool off. Just the name Brett Falcone had made my entire body blaze like an inferno.
I set the tea down on an end table, leaned back, and closed my eyes.
Twenty freaking years. Well, in three days, I’d see him again.
What would happen?
I had no idea.
Twenty years earlier
“You wanted to see me, Mr. Phillips?”
“Yes, Kathryn.” The guidance counselor motioned for me to enter his office. “Close the door and have a seat.”
I complied. I’d never been in a counselor’s office. I was a straight A student, editor of the school newspaper, member of the orchestra, president of National Honor Society. I’d received early admission to Stanford, my dream school. Spring was here, the school year was nearly over, and graduation was just around the corner. Why was the senior guidance counselor summoning me? What had I done wrong?