The Second Chance (Inferno Falls #3) by Aubrey Parker
Age Group: New Adult
Release Date: November 24, 2015
Amazon ♥ B & N
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.
I told myself to stay cool the entire walk over here.
I told myself that whatever history I once had with Grady, it’s meaningless today. The people we were back then, they might as well have been strangers. I used to be carefree around him, and today I barely know the word.
I work all the time, and when I don’t, I’m on duty with Mackenzie. I only have time to myself when she’s asleep and I’m awake, or when she’s with my folks. Those times aren’t just rare; they’re downright strange. I never feel carefree enough to even appreciate the silence, and apparently I’m afraid enough of being alone that I leave the house most of those times to seek the company I always regret.
I can’t remember the girl I used to be. I don’t remember what it was like before I had a kid, before I was a mom, before I had to sweat every inch of someone else’s life and be sure that I was usually doing it wrong.
I don’t know about Grady, but on the walk over I decided he must have changed, too. I know he’s spent the intervening years traveling like he always wanted (like we always wanted), but the same time passed for him as for me. Surely, he’s different. Surely, he has as much trouble remembering the Grady who used to let a quiet little redhead hang on his arm at the movies. Surely, that kid is as strange to Grady as the old Maya is to me.
There’s no need to be emotional — and that covers any emotion that cares to arise.
I could be angry. I am angry and remember anger most strongly, so it’s an easy choice. But what will making a scene do for me? Maybe it’s better to be the bigger person.
I could be sad. Because whatever was once between us, it’s gone now. I could be sad in the way I’m sad about the childhood toys I once adored but have since lost track of. Those old memories weren’t discarded; they’re just gone, as if they didn’t matter. It’s like that with the way Grady and I used to be.