What if one night changed your life forever?
Maisie Scott lost not only her husband and unborn child in a tornado two years ago she lost her will to live. Keeping busy is the only way she can get by. This small town waitress won’t let herself get attached to anyone…until Ryan, the new veterinarian for exotic animals, starts making regular trips to her diner. As hard as she tries not to feel anything, Ryan ignites a spark in her broken heart.
Ryan Tucker craves a happy family of his own more than his momma’s apple pie. Getting over his fiancée leaving him six months ago, he moves to Pleasant Valley for a fresh start. When he meets Maisie and notices the sadness in her eyes he is determined to put a smile on her pretty face.
When another dangerous storm hits, Ryan stays by Maisie’s side. She fills the missing piece in his heart, but will Ryan share his secret? Can Maisie move on from the past and learn to begin again?
After a lemon shake-up and full circle around the carnival, Ryan still hadn’t spotted Maisie in the crowd. He hoped she didn’t have a change of heart about meeting him. He saw Alice and waved to her and her husband. They had just come off the Ferris wheel and were laughing. He got an ache in his chest. He wanted someone to laugh with. Well not just someone—a redhead named Maisie.
The carnival was alive with music and lights. The smell of all the tasty treats on a stick made him feel as if he were ten again wanting a taste of everything. He continued to walk around hoping she would show. Just as he was about to give up, he spied a short ponytail of bright red on a bench near the colorful tilt-a-whirl. As he walked towards her, he smiled and his heart sped up. She’d come. Until that moment he wasn’t sure she would.
“Excuse me, is this seat taken?” He didn’t wait for a response as he sat down next to her.
She cast her jade eyes up to him. “Hello.”
“Hi. You look pretty.”
Her face turned almost the shade of her hair. “Thanks.”
He glanced at the ride in front of them. “Do you want to ride?”
Maisie shook her head. “No. I’m more of a Ferris wheel girl.”
Ryan stood up and held out his hand. “Then let’s go get some cotton candy and ride the Ferris wheel.”
She looked at his hand. His beautiful manicured, yet masculine hand. Rubbing her lips together, unsure of what to do, she put her hand in his. They walked over to the cotton candy booth holding hands. Maisie felt that feeling of an out of body experience again like she was living someone else’s life. Ryan ordered them a huge stick of yellow and green cotton candy.
She took a bite of the sugary air. “I haven’t had this since I was a kid.”
Ryan nodded and turned the cone of fluff in his hand. “There’s something magical about cotton candy, don’t you think? One bite and it can take you back to your childhood like a time machine.”
Maisie took another mouthful that melted as soon as it touched her tongue.
“I guess so.” Ryan was like an overgrown kid. The night should be fun if she didn’t think too much.
They got in line for the ride that seemed short compared to the others. A lot of teenagers giggled and pushed each other behind them. Within minutes they were already strapped in the metal bucket seat waiting to go up. A piece of green candy stuck to Ryan’s lip. Without thinking she reached over and wiped it off.
“You had a bit of candy.” She blushed and looked away. As they ascended to the top, the people and other rides got smaller. They were at the tip-top when the ride stopped to let more people on.
The bucket suddenly felt too small. His leg was against hers. “You can see the diner from here.” Maisie pointed to the east.
“And my clinic.” He nodded over to a small building around the corner from the diner.
Maisie remembered Boots. “Oh, I wanted to ask you something about my pet hamster.”
Ryan smiled. “You have a hamster?”
Maisie nodded. “My sister got him for me recently. Tonight when I was feeding him, I noticed a small bald spot on his lower back.”
His look became more serious. “Hmm, could be a few things, why don’t you bring him in tomorrow and I’ll have a look.”
Maisie moved a stray hair out of her eyes. “You’re open on Sundays?”
“No, but for you, I’ll make an exception.” The piece of hair fell again and Ryan moved it over. The feel of his fingers on her forehead made her breathless.
They started descending again. “Are you sure, I can wait ’til Monday.”
Ryan shrugged. “Not a big deal. I need to check on a sick lizard anyway.”
Maisie nodded. “Okay, I’ll bring him by.”
When the ride came to a stop, Ryan helped her out of the seat. He was a true gentleman. They heard a band playing a slow song and he walked her over to a bare area under some trees.
“Would you like to dance?”
She hesitated. This gorgeous man was standing in front of her asking her to dance. Should she? If she did, it was likely to lead to one or both of them with a broken heart.
Another couple not far from them started to sway to the soft music. “I’m not much of a dancer,” she lied.
Ryan took her in his arms. “I’ll lead.” One of his hands rested on her waist while the other held her now sweaty hand.
Being this close to him gave her tingles down her spine. She could feel the muscles move through his shirt. It was too intimate for her comfort so as soon as the song stopped she pulled away.
“You’re a great dancer,” he told her.
Maisie was about to disagree when there was a loud burst of colorful lights in the night sky. They stood together and watched the fireworks as they boomed and shook the ground beneath them.
Ryan looked over at her. “So I don’t know much about you.”
Maisie watched as the bright colors faded to smoke. “I’m a waitress. I live with my sister.”
Ryan nodded. “That’s a start. But I already know you’re a waitress.” He grinned. “Are you single?”
Maisie felt her face heat up all the way to her ears. “Yes, but not available.”
Ryan folded his arms across his chest. “Hmm, can I ask why?”
She bit her lip. “No.”
Ryan laughed. “Would you like a lemon shake-up?”
Ready to get back over to the crowd she nodded. “Sure.”
Maisie followed Ryan through the maze of people to the shake-up stand. A couple stood in front of them with a little girl in between them holding their hands. The sight of the family made her feel ill. The little girl with curly pigtails looked to be around two. Ryan handed Maisie her cold, sour drink, and she tore her eyes away from the happy family.
“Thanks.” She took a sip, but unable to hold back her tears, she handed the cup back to him. “I’m sorry, I have to go.” Hurting, she ran to her car without looking back.
A goodreads review:
Jun 29, 13
5 of 5 stars
“I just finished reading Christy Newton’s second book, Begin Again, and this new author did not disappoint. If you like sweet romantic I got all choked up, an emotional response that I did not not anticipate when I started reading. Well done, Ms. Newton”