What happens when your first love returns for a second chance?
Ava Pennebaker has left her awkward, lonely high school memories behind, except for the one night she shared with Derek Bartlett, the high school "It" boy from her senior year. When they meet again at their ten-year high school reunion, sparks fly. Ava realizes that her feelings for Derek had never left her after all. Will Derek and Ava be able to rekindle the romance of their youth? Or will real life, along with Derek's disapproving family, stand in their way?
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September 22, 2011
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Excerpt from High School Reunion by Claire Matthews
"So, what have you been up to the last decade or so?"
She giggled. "Umm, let's see...I went to college, got a job in the corporate world that I hated, drudged through that for way too long, then started my own graphic design firm a few years back. That's about it. My adult life in ten seconds or less. What about you?"
"Wait, wait, not so fast. What about the rest of it?"
"What 'rest of it'?"
"No marriage, no kids? No serious relationship?" Damn his cracking voice to hell.
"Marriage no, kids no, serious relationship yes. After college. With my boss." She grimaced. "Ended badly. But it was one of the reasons I quit and started my business, so it wasn't all bad. And you?" She squeezed his hand lightly.
"Okay...college, law school, ridiculous job at high-powered law firm, inevitable burnout, second career in environmental law. Makes me feel like a do-gooder. I mean, as much as any lawyer can."
"What about your 'rest of it'?"
"Oh, I would need many more seconds for that." He scratched the back of his neck.
"Go ahead, I'll stop the clock." She grinned.
"Well, marriage yes, kids no. Divorce, yes. Crippling depression, sort of. Then rebound sex and a passionate affair with my flat-screen TV."
"I'm sorry. I mean, about your divorce."
He lifted his eyes from his lap, and looked at her seriously. "I am too, usually. But tonight, not so much."
Ava took a stuttering breath and stood. "I really need to be getting back...Stacy's waiting..."
"Yeah, sure...c'mon." He rose from the bench, and she moved opposite him. He felt the light mist of the fountain against his hands as he put his arms around her. She moved her hand up the hard planes of his arms, and he tried to capture every detail--her floral scent, the warmth of her body, the low rhythm of her breathing. He held her tightly, stroked her hair, kissed it gently.
"Go out with me, Ava." She rested her palm on his chest. He felt his heart slamming beneath her touch.
"Yes. Okay. Yes."