Read Online Books/Novels:
Tumble (Dogwood Lane #1)
Author/Writer of Book/Novel:
From USA Today bestselling author Adriana Locke comes a witty romance about first love and second chances.
After being burned by her dream job in New York City, sports journalist Neely Kimber suddenly finds herself jobless and paying a long-overdue visit to her hometown in Tennessee. Her plan? Relax, reset, and head back up the corporate ladder. There’s just one unexpected step. Neely’s back in Dogwood Lane for barely a day when she sees the man she ran from nine years ago: the bad boy next door who was her first kiss, her first love, and her first heartbreak.
Devoted single dad Dane Madden knows he hurt Neely in the worst way. He’s got a lot to make up for. And as passionate as their reconnection is, it’s a lot to hope for. Having her back in his arms feels so right. But falling in love all over again with a woman who wants to live a world away is bound to go so wrong.
What’s it going to take for Neely to give him—and Dogwood Lane—just one more chance?
|Books in Series:|
|Books by Author:|
You’ve got to be kidding me.”
I hit the brakes, and my little rental car, not much bigger than a cracker box, rolls to a complete stop. The hound dog lying in the middle of the road, right where the yellow stripes would be if this were a town with more than a thousand people, lifts his head. I tap the horn. He lays his head back down and yawns.
“Hang on, Grace.” I sigh, pulling the phone away from my ear. Wincing as the window slides down and the sun washes across my face, I wonder vaguely when I last saw a morning this bright. The sun doesn’t do this in New York City.
My head pokes out the window. “Come on, Blue. Move it!”
He doesn’t. He doesn’t even bother to blink.
“Who’s Blue?” Grace asks. “Like the color blue?”
“He’s a dog.”
“I thought you were in the car?”
“I am,” I grumble. “Blue, come on, boy. Get out of the way. Please?”
“Why are you negotiating with a dog?”
Ignoring her, I watch Blue lazily yawn again and then close his eyes without a second thought to my request. His fur is sprinkled with gray, his eyes droopier than when we used to load him up in the back of a pickup truck and cruise town with him all weekend. It’s kind of sad.
“Fine,” I tell him, frowning. “Have it your way.”
Piloting the car in a wide berth around his body, I forge ahead.
“I can’t believe you just had a conversation with a dog,” Grace says. “You’ve been in Tennessee for, what, twelve hours, and you’re already losing your mind.”
“How sweet of you to insinuate I still have a mind.”
A long pause stretches between us as I heed a stop sign.
When Grace dropped me off at the airport last night to catch the red-eye back to Tennessee, I stained her new cream blazer with my mascara-laced tears. It was the first time she’d seen me cry in the handful of years we’ve been friends. Crying is not something I do well. Years of gymnastics competitions broke me of shedding tears easily.
“I know you still have a mind,” Grace scoffs. “And I know you’re okay, even if you don’t, because you’re one of the strongest women I know. But I will admit, your tears last night kind of screwed me up.”
“Oh, sure. Make this totally about you.” I shake my head, wishing we were having this discussion over coffee instead.
“I didn’t mean it like that.”
“Don’t worry about it. It was more of an angry cry than anything.” Flipping the visor down with a little more force than necessary, I accelerate through the intersection. “The tears are over.”
“They don’t have to be over, and you’re allowed to be pissed. Just promise me you’re okay.”
I consider this. It would be so easy to not be okay right now. I’m unemployed. My New York City rent is awful, and I quit my job without thinking it through and don’t even have a backup plan.
And I’m here. The one place I’ve avoided in every single way since the day I left.
As the pine trees roll by, there’s no sourness in my stomach at being back in Dogwood Lane. There’s no regret at buying the plane ticket last night and jumping on a plane to come home without telling my mother until I landed. I expected at least a little of each. It’s confusing.
“I’m not okay by any means, but I’m better this morning.” I shrug, trying to find a way to rationalize it. “You know what they say—sunshine brings opportunities.”
“Um, no one says that.”
“If the southern sunshine cures problems that fast, I’m on my way.”
I slow to make a turn. “My problems aren’t cured, but there is something about the air down here. It just purifies the soul or something.”
She laughs. “I’ll take credit for your purification since you going home was my idea. That’s me—the one with good ideas.”
“Hardly. The last advice I took from you got me a warning from security at a very expensive hotel downtown.”
“You should listen to me more. I guarantee you’d have more smiles, sunshine, and, quite possibly, a lot more sex. Great sex.”
“God knows I need more of all three of those. But I didn’t have time for that stuff before I decided to storm into my boss’s office and quit like some silver-spoon princess who doesn’t need money. I definitely don’t have time for it now.”
“You have time for what you make time for. We have to remember there are twenty-four hours in a day, and if we’re going to be boss women in New York, we have to use all twenty-four.”
Just hearing that feels like a weight squats on my shoulders. “I know. You’re right. I should give up the four hours of sleep I get at night and get a social calendar instead.” I fake cry at the idea. “I see now why some women are gold diggers. If I would’ve dated the stockbroker from the deli, I wouldn’t have this worry.”