Excerpt: Begin Again - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Probst comes a new story in her Stay series.

Chloe Lake is finally living her dream. As the daughter of the Governor, she’s consistently in the spotlight, and after being dubbed the Most Eligible Bachelorette of NYC, both her career and personal life has exploded. Fortunately, her work as an advocate for animal welfare requires constant publicity and funding, so she embraces her role and plays for the camera—anything for the sake of her beloved rescues.

But when a big case is on the line, she’s faced with the one obstacle she never counted on: the boy who broke her heart is back, and in order to gain justice, they need to work together.

Chloe swears she can handle it until old feelings resurface, and she’s faced with a heartbreaking choice.

Will this time end differently—or are they destined to be only each other’s first love—instead of forever?

Owen Salt fell hard for Chloe when he was a screwed-up kid in college, and spent the next years changing himself into the man his grandfather believed he was capable of. But when his career led him across the country, he knew he needed to leave the woman he loved behind. He’s never forgotten her, but as the new darling of the press, now, she’s way out of his league. When work brings him back to fight for justice by her side, he swears he can handle it.

But he’s never really gotten over his first love—and he wants one more opportunity to prove he’s a man who’s worthy.

Can Owen convince the woman who holds his heart to take a second chance on forever—or is it too late for them both?

Book Type:

Contemporary Romance

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Excerpt: Begin Again
By Jennifer Probst

Excerpt: Begin Again

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Probst comes a new story in her Stay series. BEGIN AGAIN is out tomorrow, but you can read a sneak peek today, below!

The door clicked.

Chloe stopped typing and tangled her shaking fingers together.

Oh, God, he was back.

Not only in New York. Here. In her second home, the place she poured her heart and soul into. He’d be working in her space, physically close. Late nights. Sharing take-out. Trapped. It was like a nightmare unveiling in gruesome slow motion, and no way to wake up.

What was she going to do?

Jumping to her feet, she grabbed her hot pink stress ball from her desk, squeezing madly as she paced. Her mother had once told her there was no such thing as coincidence, and everything happened in the universe to lead people to their destiny. She’d always loved the theory, holding it close to her heart when things seemed hopeless.

Now? She wanted to scream for her mother to explain what the hell this could possibly mean. Had she done something wrong to deserve punishment? Was this payback for a deeper crime in her past? Or was the universe just a big jokester, like the Greek gods of mythology moving humans around for their humorous entertainment?

Chloe groaned and squeezed harder. The mushy texture had just enough give to satisfy her. Out of all the cases, in all the world, why did he have to push into hers? She briefly considered telling Vivian she wanted out, but the idea of quitting and allowing him to win pissed her off. After all, he’d left her. He’d been the one who calmly told her they shouldn’t be friends and the break should be complete. He was the one who decided to show up in her office, talking about beloved memories, like everything was fine and they could easily become beer buddies.

Jerk. She fumed and paced, trying to follow the wild threads of her emotions. Had she been cool and calm enough? Had he glimpsed she’d wanted to fall to her knees in agony when she’d looked up to see him standing in front of her, broad shoulders framing the doorway, his thick, curly hair now tamed neatly back, dressed in a proper suit like a grown-up instead of a rebellious young guy who wanted to laugh, have fun, and tackle life as it came rather than make plans?

God, he’d changed. He seemed taller, more fit. Calm, as if he’d found his center and confidence over the years. He’d grown a goatee, the sexy scruff hugging his lush lips and framing his jaw. But it was his eyes that did her in. The palest summer sky blue. Always filled with laughter, a bit of mischief, and a naked admiration that made her feel like the most beautiful woman on the planet. She’d found his crush sweet at first. He was two years younger, a freshman in college, and she’d never imagined seeing him as more than a friend or little brother type. Until that fateful dance at a wedding that changed everything.

Chloe pushed the memory out of her head. He had no right to march in here with those baby blues and throw her world into chaos. His gaze practically drilled into her, probing, searching for the girl she used to be with him. Chloe refused to give him even a hint of that girl ever again. He wasn’t allowed to demand anything from their past—he’d made his choice when she begged him, pride splintered helplessly around her, to stay. The scene still made her squirm with humiliation. Begging him to stay. Begging him to love her.

Hearing him say no. The resolute look on his face when he uttered the word, splintering her heart like a bullet. The way he’d never reached out, not even a drunken, lonely text to say he missed her and maybe he made a mistake. How many nights had she cried herself to sleep, cradling her aching chest to stop the pain?

Too many.

Slowly, she calmed. Chloe couldn’t allow him to step back into her life and throw it into ruins. She had everything she’d worked for: a great job with meaning, emotional stability, a close relationship with her father, friends, and the possibility of love one day. Owen’s presence hurt, but maybe it’d been the shock of seeing him when she wasn’t prepared. Now her defenses would be up and instilled. She’d keep her focus on the case. Her life didn’t have to change at all—this was just a small bump in the road. If she channeled her mother’s beliefs, maybe he’d been sent to finally lock the door of her heart and allow her freedom.

Maybe it was time to truly put her first love behind her. For good.

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