For the first time in print, New York Times and USA Today bestseller Samantha Chase's debut novel is a heartwarming story of second chances
WILL ONE SUMMER TOGETHER
All Jordan Manning wants is a quiet summer on the Virginia coast with her sons to recover from a near-fatal accident and an abusive relationship. Her plans to find a new direction for her future are turned upside down when she runs into the first man who ever broke her heart...and he's determined to win it back.
BE ENOUGH TO HEAL OLD WOUNDS?
Rob Tyler thought he'd moved on, but when fate drops a second chance with his first love right in his path, his feelings rush back stronger than ever. Rob is determined to give Jordan the future they should have had years ago, but making up for past mistakes isn't easy...
Praise for Made for Us:
"Delightful with a touch of sadness...heartfelt, classic romance." -RT Book Reviews, 4 ½ stars, Top Pick
"Chase grabs readers by the heartstrings and reels them right in." -Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW
|Product dimensions:||4.10(w) x 6.80(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today Bestseller/contemporary romance writer Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan's Return, in November 2011. Although she waited until she was in her 40's to publish for the first time, writing has been a lifelong passion. Her motivation to take that step was her students: teaching creative writing to elementary age students all the way up through high school and encouraging those students to follow their writing dreams gave Samantha the confidence to take that step as well.
When she's not working on a new story, she spends her time reading contemporary romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.
Read an Excerpt
By Samantha Chase
Sourcebooks, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Samantha Chase
All rights reserved.
Open road. There was something very peaceful about driving down a deserted highway, particularly when the passengers in the backseat stopped arguing. She glanced at them through the rearview mirror and smiled. They were finally asleep and there was silence in the car. Ever since they were babies, the car had been the magic sleeping place, and when all else had failed to lull them, a ride in the car would bring peace and tranquility. It was funny how twelve years later, it still had that effect.
Chancing any repercussions, Jordan Manning slipped a CD in the player and let her head relax back on the headrest. Yes, this was exactly what she needed to be doing: taking a long trip with her boys to recuperate and get focused on the future. Her sons had been less than thrilled at the prospect of spending a month away from their friends. They had been downright surly when they found out it was a month on the beach at the end of the season.
Jordan couldn't help the timing. The off-season was the least expensive time to travel. Raising and homeschooling two boys alone didn't allow for many luxuries. They may not view this trip as a luxury, but Jordan sure did. At thirty-two, her life was very different than she had imagined. But looking in the rearview mirror again at her sons, Joseph and Jacob, Jordan knew she wouldn't change a thing.
Checking the GPS one last time for her own reassurance, she knew she was heading in the right direction and relaxed even more, enjoying the scenery and listening to Matchbox Twenty on the stereo. While singing softly, she let her mind wander to the things she hoped to accomplish over this break.
Besides letting her body heal from the injuries she'd sustained in the near-fatal car accident at the hands of her psychotic ex-husband, she hoped to bond with the boys. Without conscious thought, she lowered her hand from the steering wheel and rubbed it along her ribs on the right side of her body, stretching a little to keep from stiffening up.
A frown creased her brow at the memory of waking up in the hospital three days after the accident with fractured ribs, a broken leg and arm, as well as internal injuries. Her recovery had been long, its progress slowed by her anger at the fact that Eric had walked away with very superficial injuries. Apparently, the man was unbreakable. He had come to visit her once and had laughed at her appearance. Mentally, she had conceded defeat, unable to battle with him any longer. But the sight of her children had jolted her out of her pity party and forced her to recover.
Life had been chaotic for all of them lately, and she knew if she didn't do something about it now, the results could be irreversible.
Joseph was twelve and already starting to rebel against everything. Jake, however, at only eight, was her "fixer." He wanted nothing more than to keep the peace and make everyone happy. Neither of them seemed very happy lately, however. Jordan frowned. It was hard to understand what it took to make little boys happy, having had only sisters growing up, and now she had no help from her ex-husband to give her boys a father, a role model, and the male perspective on things.
Smiling weakly, she thought how particularly relentless her own mother had been lately, saying the boys needed a positive role model in their lives. A positive male role model. Well, it wasn't so easy to find one, and if it were, Jordan wouldn't have minded having one in her life either. She had been alone for a long time and missed having a man around. Single moms weren't high on the dating food chain, and she hadn't wanted to get into all that in front of her children. Plus, being an invalid for the last six months hadn't put her out on the singles scene much either.
No, her children had to be her top priority right now, and if that meant being alone and desperately miserable, then so be it. Well, maybe desperately miserable was a bit of an overstatement. Desperate for affection, maybe? Yes, Jordan definitely missed that. Eric had left their life together without so much as a backward glance. He'd had a new life waiting for him, which he had been orchestrating while he and Jordan still looked happily married.
What a fool she'd been! Looking back, she saw all the signs, but during it all, she had been ignorant. Well, not anymore! She was here to get her head together and a month on the Virginia coast was exactly what the doctor ordered.
One hour later, Jordan pulled her silver Explorer to a stop in front of an adorable bungalow a mere two blocks from the beach. It was a cheery yellow, with a white picket fence around it and a wide front porch with wicker furniture and flower boxes filled with red and purple pansies. Her real estate agent had told her the place was furnished but she would need to bring a lot of her own necessities such as bed linens and towels. It had made packing a bit more complicated, but the results would be well worth it.
She woke the boys, popped open the tailgate, and began the process of unloading the vehicle. They were still sleepy from the drive and showed no excitement whatsoever about having reached their destination. Jordan unlocked the bungalow's front door and stepped inside. It was perfect. Bright white walls were covered in framed pastel prints, and natural wicker furniture adorned the front living area while more solid, sturdy furnishings filled the den near the back of the house.
The house was small with one large area for the living room, kitchen, and den, and a short, wide hallway that led to the two bedrooms in the back.
The boys had begged Jordan to find a house that would allow them to have their own rooms, the way they did at home, but she had to stay within a budget and that meant they had to share a room for the month. It added to their already disheartened view of this vacation.
Neither boy spoke while they unloaded the vehicle, and it wasn't until everything was in the house that anyone uttered a word.
"Well?" Jordan smiled at them expectantly, arms spread wide to indicate their surroundings.
Joseph spoke first. "This stinks. I knew I should have packed my Xbox!" He skulked over to the sofa and crashed down on it, pouting.
"You have your Nintendo DS with you," Jake offered, ready to right all the wrongs of the world.
"C'mon, boys," Jordan said cheerily. "Let's get your room set up and then we'll see what we can do about some dinner." Slowly, she lifted the box marked "linens" and headed down the hall. Moments later, she heard footsteps behind her.
They worked together and had the room looking as if they'd always lived there in a matter of minutes. "We make a good team," she commented as she looked around the room with satisfaction. The boys were starting to relax, and Jordan held on to the hope that they were off to a good start. The boys went on to help her get her own bedroom set up and unpacked. It was near seven in the evening when they all collapsed on her bed complaining of hunger.
"Okay, let's tackle the kitchen!" she cheered in hopes of motivating them.
"Aw, Mom!" both boys cried out.
"Can't we go get some burgers or something?" Joseph asked wearily.
Much as Jordan hated to admit it, the idea sounded wonderful. The thought of cooking after a long day of driving, with so much still to be done around the house, was really unappealing. Besides, her body was protesting all the activity — not that she had let on.
She stood still in a dramatic thinking pose, pretending to contemplate the possibilities.
"Please, Mom!" they pleaded with the biggest, saddest eyes they could muster. She caved in.
Before she knew it, they were back in the car and on their way into town. She had been sure to make a mental note of all the fast food places to eat as she drove past them on the way to the house. They drove through the first place they came upon and then headed back to the house with a bag of burgers and a mountain of fries.
Jordan stood and watched as Jake went about setting the table. His mop of dark brown hair looked as if it had yet to meet a brush and could definitely use a cut. A pair of crystal-blue eyes peered out from beneath the bangs.
"Almost ready." He smiled.
Joseph set the food out. Where Jake looked scruffy and mussed, Joseph was neat as a pin, his own dark hair short and trim. He had inherited Jordan's dark brown eyes, but his seemed full of sadness. His expression was serious as he went about his task and Jordan couldn't suppress a sigh. They were as opposite as night and day and they were all hers. They made a good team, the three of them, and it filled Jordan with pride.
Since the accident, the boys had matured a lot, going out of their way to help her. It wasn't always with the most cheerful demeanors, but they did what they could.
Jordan had her family to thank for that. Her mother had spent three weeks with them while Jordan was in the hospital, and then her sisters had alternated staying with her once she had come home. It had taken almost three months before Jordan had felt confident being home alone with her sons, and she'd still had a physical therapist or a nurse's aide there to help her.
The thought of her sisters made Jordan smile. They had been like a lovable military while they lived with her during her recovery. Being mothers themselves, they knew how to keep both boys in line and help them learn what they would need to do to help their mother if she needed them. The fact that her children had been forced to deal with such a big responsibility added fuel to her anger toward Eric.
Everyone was silent as they ate dinner. It wasn't so much that the food was good as that they were all starving. Jordan couldn't help but smile as she watched the boys inhale their food. As soon as the meal was done, both stood and cleared the table and took out the trash. Damn, they're good, she thought to herself.
"Okay, guys," she said as she stood. "Showers, pj's, and bed. Jake, you go first." Her younger son nodded, running off to do as he was told after stopping to plant a loud, smacking kiss on her cheek.
Jordan looked around to assess what needed to be unpacked next. As if reading her mind, as he was prone to do, Joseph grabbed the box marked "kitchen" and carried it over to her.
"We'll probably need this stuff in the morning," he stated as he opened the box and started putting its contents away with her approval.
"We'll go shopping in the morning to stock up," she told him with a smile. "Why don't you think about some of the things you want me to get, and then we'll make a list, okay?" The boy nodded and went back to his work.
"I think there's still some stuff in the cooler we can have for breakfast," she said, and in the blink of an eye, Joseph unloaded the cooler without being asked.
Again Jordan couldn't help but sit back and observe her son. He seemed so different from the boy he had been six months ago. Much as she wanted to attribute it to the fact that he was almost a teenager, the sad truth was he had taken on the role of man of the house. Judging by the look on his face, he took the job seriously.
Therein lay the problem: he was way too serious for such a young boy. She hated that all this responsibility had been thrust upon him. Joseph certainly did his share of complaining, and he was entitled to it, but it still made her heart ache for him. Her sons deserved better than this, and she was going to do something, anything, to make their lives better.
Jordan heard the bathroom door open and knew Jake had finished in there. Joseph finished his work in the kitchen and then walked down to his room to get ready for bed. When she at last heard the door to the bathroom close and the water for the shower turn on, she walked down to the boys' room and checked on Jake. He was lying in bed, reading a book.
"Hey, bud," Jordan said as she sat down next to him on the bed. His dark, wavy hair was still wet and he hadn't bothered, yet again, to brush it. She combed her fingers through it, hoping to tame it a little. "This will be a wild mess come morning." He looked up at her with his big blue eyes and smiled his most cherubic smile.
"It's always a mess in the morning, Mommy." He laughed, wrinkling his nose when she bent down and kissed him. "Will you read this to me?" he asked sweetly, barely stifling a yawn.
Taking the book from his hands, Jordan sat and read with him until Joseph came in. She smiled at Joseph as he climbed into his own bed wearing a pair of crisp cotton pajamas. They both smelled so clean and wonderful that she wanted to hold them close to her.
"Why don't you join us over here, Joe?" she asked as she held out her arm to him. "We're halfway through with the book."
Joseph let out a loud sigh, climbed back out of his bed, and walked over to her. He rolled his eyes as he came to sit down. "This one again?" he whined.
"Oh, hush," Jordan playfully scolded. "This was one of your favorites too when you were Jake's age."
Joseph sat there silently while Jordan finished the story.
"The end!" Jake said as Jordan placed it on his nightstand. She grabbed Joseph in a bear hug before he scampered back to his own bed on the opposite side of the room.
"You know," she began, "this room isn't so bad." It was actually quite nice — pale blue walls, crisp white trim, and natural hardwood floors. The tailored midnight-blue curtains matched the small throw rug in the center of the room; combined with all the blue bedding the boys had brought from home, it was most definitely male territory in here.
Jordan smiled down at them both as she came to stand in the middle of the room, observing the complete picture they made.
"We're going to have a great time this month, I promise," she said lovingly. "We'll finish unpacking in the morning and stock up the kitchen, and maybe even do some exploring around town when we're done." The boys looked up at her, lacking the enthusiasm that she felt. She leaned down at their bedsides and kissed them both.
"Really, it's going to be fine, you'll see." She wished them a final good night as she shut off the lights and closed their door. "It's going to be fine," she whispered reassuringly to herself.
* * *
The morning came way too soon. The boys were bouncing around her bed, and Jordan was sure it couldn't possibly be the sun she saw peeking from behind the window shades. It seemed she had just fallen asleep, and now here they were.
"C'mon! We're hungry!" Jake said as he bounced on the king-size mattress. "Can we make pancakes?"
Jordan shook her head to get her bearings and looked at the clock. "Six forty-five!" she scolded them. "Do you wake me up this early at home?"
The boys seemed not to hear her.
"Can we, Mom?" Jake asked again with boundless energy.
"Can we what, baby?" she asked with confusion, pushing her chestnut hair away from her face.
"Pancakes," Joseph answered. "He wants pancakes. I told him no but he didn't believe me." He stuck his tongue out at his little brother, who in turn mimicked the action.
"Sorry. No pancakes today, guys," she said around a yawn. "We only have what was in the cooler. We'll go shopping after breakfast, okay?" That seemed to satisfy them and they left the room. Jordan thought about possibly going back to sleep, but after hearing the beginning of yet another argument, she knew she'd never have the opportunity.
Reluctantly, she kicked the blankets off her bare legs and rose from the bed. The wood floor felt cold against her feet as she walked toward the lone bathroom to take a shower and prepare for her day. By the time she emerged from the steamy room, the boys were quietly watching television, happily eating some of the fruit, bagels, and juice she'd packed in the cooler the previous morning. Without letting her presence be known, she smiled to herself and went back to her bedroom to get dressed.
Leaning against the door, Jordan took a moment to look at her own environment. In all the commotion yesterday, she hadn't had the time to appreciate her personal surroundings. The room was very feminine, quite the opposite of the boys' room. Her walls were painted a cheery sunflower yellow, and the window treatments were done in a sheer, gossamer fabric that pooled on the hardwood floor. There was a large burgundy chaise lounge in the corner of the room with a dressing screen behind it for effect. Small pieces of bleached oak furniture finished off the room, and there was an enormous walk-in closet with mirrored doors Jordan adored.
Excerpted from Jordan's Return by Samantha Chase. Copyright © 2011 Samantha Chase. Excerpted by permission of Sourcebooks, Inc..
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