Search This Blog

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

BOOK BLITZ & #GIVEAWAY - The Second Chance by Aubrey Parker

Book & Author Details:

The Second Chance by Aubrey Parker
(Inferno Falls, #3)
Publication date: November 24th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance


He left her alone. Now he’s back … but too much has changed.

Maya grew up with a big heart and even bigger dreams. She never thought she’d end up a single mother spending her whole life where she grew up—the small town of Inferno Falls. But things didn’t work out the way she thought. Grady, her high school love, moved away and left her alone to raise her daughter before the ink dried on their diplomas. Eight years later, Maya’s struggling to make ends meet. And when life gets too tough, she heals the void inside in the only way she knows … whether it’s right or wrong.

But then Grady returns. He’s finally grown homesick after nearly a decade of wandering America, seeing sights and having adventures like Maya always dreamed of—but could never reach for. And Maya holds out hope—more than hope, a need—that Grady is coming home for her, too. It could be just like old times, if she can keep a grip on her bad habits for long enough. Maybe she can finally have the man she’s always wanted, and Kylie can have the father she’s always needed.

Many of us get second chances, but never more than three strikes.

Maya makes the dangerous mistake of assuming everything is just the way it was before, despite the years that have passed. When Grady only wants to make sure they’re not moving too quickly, Maya sees rejection and disaster looms. Rather than preserving a perfect memory, it seems the years have changed them both too much, perhaps, to heal the past. But to earn the love and happiness she’s hunted for so long, Maya won’t merely need to learn to accept Grady … and will have to learn to accept herself, first.

Amazon UK  |  Amazon US  |  B&N  |  Kobo  |  iTunes

It’s dark when I leave work. The Nosh Pit closes early-ish on Mondays, which are slow from beginning to end. But tonight — what with Tommy’s threats, and my line-walking fight with Roxanne — I hung back. When I walk toward my car, the parking lot lights are my only friends.
Old Town Inferno Falls is a safe place, but I still have my keys sticking through my knuckles like claws just in case. I’m riled up, angry, terrified, every nerve on high alert. I feel dizzy — actually dizzy. And when I hear a voice in the gloom, I almost strike out, happy to be holding keys instead of pepper spray, because there’s no question I would have shot first and asked questions later.
“Evening,” says the voice.
I spin, my heart thrumming against my ribcage like a cartoon in love. But it’s only Grady, sitting in his truck bed, seemingly waiting for me. To take me home like a gentleman, maybe. To make sure I’m safe, or kiss me in the dark, and take away all my pain.
But instead of coming forward or rising to greet me, he continues to sit. His posture is sloppy. His voice is rough, not friendly. I can barely see his face. I step forward. When I do, I can smell the beer, and see the cans he’s consumed while waiting.
“Guess what?” he says.
“I got a buyer for my uncle’s house.”
“Well … that’s great!”
“I turned it down.”
“It … why?”
“I didn’t like the person who wanted to buy it.”
“Who wanted to buy it?”
I pause. Too long, as if the name startles me.
I think Grady nods. I think he’s staring at me like an enemy, but I don’t know why.
“I don’t like Tommy, Maya.”
“I … I don’t either, Grady.”
“Except for when you did, of course.”
“Grady … ” I’m not sure where that sentence is going. Maybe a simple statement: Grady, you’re drunk. But he cuts me off.
“I talked Brandon into buying it.”
I’m still standing in the middle of the parking lot’s lighted circle while I talk to Grady in the shadows. I’m in my uniform, smelling like diner food, my purse over one shoulder. Everything about this is strange. I want it to be over, and for whatever’s wrong here to be put right.
“Oh. That’s nice.”
“I had to beg. He fronted the money himself, not even through his company. I told him I’d pay him back.”
“Why didn’t you just keep it?”
“I don’t have enough to pay Ernie’s debts.” A beer comes up. He takes a swig. “And I don’t want to be tied down. I don’t need something keeping me here, in case I want to leave.”
“What are you — ?”
“Do you want to know the worst part? I don’t even know why I did it. I think Brandon’s sister, Bridget, knows a reason Tommy shouldn’t have that property, but I couldn’t reach her. I’m mostly following my gut. I guess I’ll find out what’s going on when Bridget gets back to me.”
“You … you committed to buy a house you already owned on a hunch? Why didn’t you at least wait to — ?”
He cuts me off again. “And Tommy was no help at all.”
“You talked to Tommy?” My stomach sinks. I told Tommy no. Never. Fuck off. Go away. Jump off a cliff and die in a fire. I left no question. My and Mackenzie’s future will never be with Tommy, no matter what. My future is with Grady, for better or for worse.
“I talked to Tommy.”
“And what did he say? About the — ?”
“He said that you fucked some guy in the diner bathroom the day I came to town.”
His words hit me like punch in the chest. I can barely stand.
“Is it true, Maya? Just tell me. Whatever you say, I’ll believe you.”
I manage to take a step closer. From here, I can see Grady’s eyes. I was wrong about them. There’s anger there, yes. But mostly I see the same pain I’ve seen so many times before.
“Grady, there are things about me that I’m not — ”
“Is it true?” he almost shouts. 
I can’t lie. Not now. I’m already so ashamed of my past that I’d cut it off like a gangrenous limb. I keep telling myself I’m a different person today than I used to be, and that new girl has integrity. She won’t live her life as a lie. And besides, I still have a bomb to diffuse. Whatever Tommy didn’t tell Grady, he still might. I have to pop the bubble. The only way to get out of blackmail is by coming clean before someone else can come clean for you.
“Yes. But Grady — ”
“Jesus. I was sure he was lying to get under my skin. Or I guess I hoped that, even though I knew deep down it was true. Because that’s how it always was with you, wasn’t it?”
“That’s not fair.”
“I guess it’s not. I guess that when the cat’s away, the mouse will play. I just had no idea, based on some other stuff Tommy said that sounded too far-fetched, that you’d ‘played’ so hard.”
My patience breaks. So does my heart. I can’t take any more pressure, from any end. I feel trapped. Trapped by Tommy, trapped by Grady, trapped all my damned life by my well-meaning but overbearing parents. Trapped by my daughter, even as much as I love her. Trapped by judgments of who I am and who I can’t help being. Trapped by lost affection and vanished hopes. And most of all, trapped by myself — the one who condemned me most of all.
“You left me! You left me all alone!”
“Did you go back to Tommy? Get seconds and thirds?”
“No! And it’s none of your fucking business what I did, Grady! You didn’t stick around! You forfeited any right you might have had to judge me when you ran away like a coward!”
He’s stirring in the truck bed, shifting, his body language half-crushed, half-righteous. I’m all anger, though I feel tears on my cheeks. How dare he. How dare he judge me.
“That justifies it, doesn’t it? You broke us up. You slept with Tommy. You got knocked up, and when you came to me, I was just supposed to take it all in stride. ‘Sure, Maya, I’ll raise some asshole’s kid; no problem at all! Hell, I’ll do it just to keep you from the inevitable next step of sucking every fucking cock in town!’”
“Fuck you!” There’s a beer can within reach now, and I wing it hard at him. The thing is empty and aluminum, so it does nothing, glancing off Grady’s arm and flying to the blacktop beyond. “Fuck you if you think you deserve an opinion! Do you know how hard it was for me? Were you inside my head? Do you even think I enjoyed it?”
“Getting fucked? You enjoyed it plenty, if I remember right.”
This time, I reach for a round can, not crushed. It’s full, as I’d hoped. And when I throw this one, Grady barely gets out of the way. It strikes the rear window of his truck, making a huge spiderweb on the glass. The can pops at the seams and hisses like a snake.
“You left me! For ten goddamned years, you left me alone! It was how I dealt! I’m not proud of it! If I could take it all back, I would! But fuck you, Grady, if you want to polish your halo and act like a saint. Whether it was your kid or not, you told me you’d be there forever! Then you left when I needed you most!”
Grady hops out of the truck bed and fumbles with his door. He’s far too drunk to drive, but it looks like he’s planning to anyway.
“Don’t you run away from me again!”
He turns to me. Slightly quieter, he says, “You’re right. I ran away. But what you did next was your choice.”
I’m still furious, but now I can barely see through the tears. I can feel them dripping off my cheeks, pattering my arms as I rage. I approach Grady, grab him by the shoulders, and push him back against the truck. With nothing left to lose, I tell him everything, leaving nothing out. Years of dirt. My guilt, my compulsion, my willingness to always do it again if I could, for a moment, forget life and feel craved for a change. I tell him about Chadd, about the way he harassed me, about Tommy, about his offer and his threat.
I didn’t have a choice, and fuck Grady if he thinks I did. Maybe I had problems early on. But I’m trying to change, and since he’s been back I feel my old self on the surface. Right now, what hurts most is that I can feel that new, better girl sliding back down the slippery slope. If he leaves me now, I’ll never get her back. That girl deserves a shot. She deserves the chance at love she missed out on before because regrets shouldn’t be forever, on either side.
I finish, sobbing. I’m gripping his shirt, dragged down with ten tons of sadness. I wish I could erase the past as much as he wished last night to erase his. But the difference between us is telling: I forgave Grady. And watching his face now, I don’t know that he’ll ever forgive me.
“There was no way out, Grady!” I say, hearing the plea in my voice. “But in the end, I knew I’d rather tell you everything than do any of what he wanted and be away from you. In the end, I made the right choice!”
He watches me for several long seconds.
Then he gets into the truck, starts the engine, and pulls away.

I can only collapse into the cone of light, yelling after the departing truck, saying his name and sobbing that I love him.

Blitz-wide giveaway

$100 Amazon Gift Card (INTL)

3x Autographed Paperback of The Second Chance by Aubrey Parker (US only)

2x Kindle Fire (US only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(this giveaway is set and managed by author, not Xpresso Book Tours)

Tour Organised By: 

Xpresso Book Tours

No comments:

Post a Comment