Second Chances

       Wendy Thomas / Romance & Love
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Second Chances

Second Chances
By Wendy Thomas

Copyright 2014 Wendy Thomas

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Cover by Madelene Martin
Edited by Amanda L. Pederick

This e-book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author's imagination and not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locations is coincidental.

My deepest thanks to my mom, for always encouraging me. No matter how crazy I get. To my life long friends Tracy, Donna and Jodi for reading everything I have ever wrote and loving me enough to give me the push I needed. To Chris, for inspiring me. Mostly I would like to thank my wonderful husband, Randy, for all the love and support a girl could ever ask for. I love you.

Shasta McCray was taking a moment to relax, when the phone on her desk rang. The screen showed it was her best friend, Amy Chance, calling so she relaxed. At least it wasn't another job coming in, she'd only just finished the report on her latest case. As she reached over the cluttered array of test results she had been poring over, she concluded that her job as a Chicago criminologist was anything but restful. Her tired voice lifted as she answered the phone.
“Amy, hi.”
“Shasta, you have to come home, now!”
Amy’s voice was full of urgency and fear. Shasta instincts prickled, her friend was a doctor and not prone to false alarms or over exaggerations.
“What’s wrong Amy? Is it Mom?”
“Your mom is fine. It’s Adrian. He’s in a coma and it doesn’t look good..”
Adrian. It was a name that haunted her every moment. Amy’s brother was the last person to want her at a time like this.
“I don’t think so Amy. It’s not a good idea.”
“Shasta, you have to.” Amy’s voice took on a desperate note. “Please, you’re the only one who can reach him. Don’t let pride stop you from helping him.”
Shasta froze inside. The low jab about her pride stung with it’s accuracy.
“Amy, I can’t.”
“You did it before. When no one else could get through to him, you did. You changed his life. Now I need you to save it.”
“I’ve already hurt him too much.”
“Please, Shasta. Try.” The raw pain in her voice killed any remaining objections. Realizing what she had to do, she reluctantly agreed. She heard herself saying.
“Ok. I’ll be there as soon as possible.”
“Call me when you get your arrival time. I’ll meet your plane.”
“Fine. Later.”
All the reasons she shouldn’t go raced through her mind as she arranged for an emergency leave of absence. The years of pain and longing stretched out in front of her like an uncrossable desert. She fought to keep her emotions under control as she prepared to travel. Within two hours she was on a plane headed for Des Moines, Iowa.
Shasta’s fiery curls were as disorganized and unruly as ever by the time she boarded the plane. She finally allowed herself to think about Adrian. Images of him filled her mind and tore at her soul. Adrian Chance was the one she’d not been smart enough to keep.
Adrian had been serving time for grand theft auto when she met his family. At 16, Amy had quickly become the sister she’d never had. Their parents became additions to her own family. Adrian was angry and rebellious. His family’s pain over him drove her to take action.
She had written Adrian letter after letter while he was in prison. At first the letters were scathing; she told him every painful detail his family was going through because of him. Somehow that turned to friendly and by the end of the year there was real affection. Even love.
Another, memory followed on the heels of the first. This one blended her own memories with Adrian’s accounts.
It was early June. The summer before her senior year. Amy was staying with her while her parents went to Adrian’s parole hearing. It was the first case on the docket that day. It was early when they got word that he was coming home. They would arrive around five that afternoon.
That gave them about eight hours to make their plan work. Amy got out her mom’s address book and called every member of the family she could. Shasta got busy making a list of everything they would need. Her mom had offered to make the banner on their computer.
All day they decorated and worked to make the party perfect. Family members arrived and parked several blocks away to hide their presence. From the outside, there was no sign of life. Amy asked her mom to call when they got close to home so she could be there to greet them.
When they arrived, the living room was dark. The only light was from the kitchen where Shasta had been busy. She posted herself in the doorway between the rooms to be out of the way. She wanted the family to greet him first. When he opened the door, the light from outside shone around him like a holy aura. She thought he was the most handsome man she had ever seen.

Sound erupted around them; everyone cheering his arrival and clamoring to welcome him home.
Adrian searched the sea of faces until he saw her in the back of the room. Her hair looked like fire around her, glowing in the light from the room beyond. Her eyes glowing as they locked onto his. It felt like she had been stabbed when someone stepped between them and broke their connection. Adrian’s soul called to hers so strongly in that look that when the connection was lost she nearly fell. She was shaky and needed a distraction so she went into the kitchen and began putting ice in cups. The noise was loud enough to cover the sound of his approach behind her.
“Are you an angel or are you real?” Adrian asked her. She did not know how to respond as he held out a hand to her. She could have walked away in that moment, but she was already too much in love with him. She took his hand and got lost in his eyes till his mom came in and asked him to come talk to someone.
It was his first night home. The party was breaking up and she had only had one very brief moment with him all night. Shasta was starting to clean up when Amy chased her outside to get some air. She was facing the back yard when she heard the door open behind her.
“Hello, Angel.” She turned at the sound of his rough voice and saw him reaching for her again. She was helpless to resist going to him.
“I can’t believe I am finally here. I’ve dreamt of touching you for so long. I don’t think I really believed you were real until tonight.” He looked at her in awe. One hand was holding hers and the other was hovering close to her cheek like he was afraid to touch her. He was trembling.
“I’m real. You may want to rethink getting close though.”
“Why? Do you belong to someone else?”
“No. Guys are too scared to get close to me. I’m a bomb waiting to go off.”
“That’s one of the things I love about you though.” He laughed. “Your temper saved me. I don’t think I’m able to stay away.” He touched her cheek softly, reverently. “The only thing that scares me is how much I feel for you.”
He slowly dipped his head to hers. She reached for him moments before his mouth found hers. His lips were soft and patient for the moment it took her to demand more. She clung to him, giving him her heart completely in that kiss. The heat seared her. Changing her forever.
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