Title: Second Chances
Author: P.J. Fiala
Release: March 24, 2014
After a nearly 30 year marriage to a man suffering from depression, Samantha Powell has decided a nice quiet, drama-free life is for her. She has demons to combat and self-esteem issues to overcome. She has decided to sell her house and find a nice little condo that places virtually no maintenance demands on her and allows her to work on herself for a while.
Grayson Kinkaide has waited his whole life, all 55 years of it, looking for his soul mate, the other half of himself. He suffered through an awful marriage with a manipulative, selfish woman who almost brought him to his knees. The only things that kept him strong were his children and his growing business.
When Gray meets Sam both of their lives are changed drastically. Sam’s dream of a drama-free life is jerked from her grasp as Gray’s exes do everything in their power to tear them apart. Gray finds himself having to fight, hard, to convince Sam they are meant to be together.
I was born in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri named Bridgeton. During my time in Missouri, I explored the Ozarks, swam in the Mississippi River, played kickball and endless games of hide and seek with the neighborhood kids. Spending summers in Kentucky with my Grandmother, Ruth, are the fondest childhood memories for me.
At the age of thirteen, my family moved to Wisconsin to learn to farm. Yes, learn to farm! That was interesting. Taking city kids and throwing them on a farm with twenty-eight cows purchased from the Humane Society because they had been abused, was interesting. I learned to milk cows, the ins and outs of a breeding schedule, feeding schedule and the never ending haying in the summer and trying to stay warm in the winter. Our first winter in Wisconsin, we had thirty-six inches of snow in one storm and were snowed in our house for three days! Needless to say, I wasn’t loving Wisconsin.
I am now married with four children and two grandchildren and a new one on the way this summer. I have learned to love Wisconsin, though I still hate snow. Wisconsin and the United States are beautiful and my husband and I travel around by motorcycle seeing new sites and meeting new people. It never ceases to amaze me how many people are interested in where we are going and what we have seen along the way. At every gas station, restaurant and hotel, we have people come up to us and ask us about what we are doing and offering advice on which roads in the area are better than others and great rides others have been on if we are interested.
I come from a family of veterans. My grandfather, father, brother and two of my sons and one daughter-in-law are all veterans. Needless to say, I am proud. Proud to be an American and proud of the service my amazing family has given.
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…Just then, Mrs. Koepple said, “Mr. Kinkaide, she really is a wonderful person. Don’t let this chance pass you by.”
She said it with a wink at him and he smiled a little bigger.
Sam couldn’t imagine any woman could resist that smile. Grayson told Mrs. Koepple, “I promise you I will make every effort to not let the opportunity pass me by.” Sam’s eyes were huge as she gaped at the three of them, mouth ajar. Jessie giggled and Sam looked at her with that same look on her face.
Jessie’s smile was huge. She winked at Sam and said, “That Mrs. Koepple sure knows how to make an exit.”
As Grayson turned to walk back into the room, Bill Chase walked into the room from behind Sam. He saw Grayson helping Mrs. Koepple and Alfred out the door and smiled.
“I see you met Mrs. Koepple and Alfred. They’re a cute couple, aren’t they?”
Grayson smiled again. Oh my God, that smile! He nodded at Bill, then looked at Sam. His eyes were so beautiful—dark like black coffee with thick lashes surrounding them. A sigh escaped Sam and Bill gave her a sideways glance. She blushed again and said a mental Crap.
Bill walked forward and shook hands with Grayson and Jackson. Sam was rooted to the spot just watching them, him.
Bill said, “Gray, it’s about time I got you to come to me for legal assistance. I was beginning to wonder if I could ever talk you into it.”
Grayson smiled and looked at Jackson, who was smiling as well.
Jackson finally spoke up and said, “Well, Grandpa was really insistent that we use his attorney over the years, but now that he’s retiring, we felt we could make the move.”
Grayson and Bill talked like they were friends. Finally, Bill turned and started leading the way to the conference room, which was a cue to stop gaping and go back to work. Sam looked over at Jessie, who had a huge grin on her face.
Sam shook her head and started to turn and walk back to her office when Grayson said, “Sam, may I have a word with you?”
Sam froze in her tracks, took a deep breath, and slowly turned back around to face him. Bill looked first at Grayson and at Sam with a furrow in his brow.
“Is there anything wrong, Gray?”
Jackson put his hand on Bill’s shoulder and chuckled as he said, “I’ll fill you in on our interesting morning.”
Bill and Jackson continued walking to the conference room.
Sam was a bit at a loss as to what to say or do when Grayson spoke and said, “Is there somewhere we can speak in private?”
Sam opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out.
After clearing her throat, she tried again, putting a smile on her face. “Sure, we can go into the small conference room.”
Sam walked the few steps to the small conference room, turned the light on, and walked in. Grayson, behind her, walked through the door and closed it. Sam heard the latch click and turned around to face him. With the door closed, she could smell him. Oh, he smelled so good. Wasn’t there anything wrong with this man?
He smiled and stood staring at her for a little while.
Sam was getting nervous at the silence and blurted out, “I’m sorry about Mrs. Koepple, I hope she didn’t embarrass you or make you feel obligated to…”
Gray cut Sam off, a smile on his face, and said, “I think you were the one that was embarrassed, and if you don’t mind me pointing out, I thought you were adorable.”
Sam’s eyes flashed up to Gray and she looked at him with brows furrowed and said, “Adorable?”
He chuckled and began, “The reason I wanted to speak with you privately is that I noticed how embarrassed you were and didn’t want to continue to put you on the spot. But, I would like to invite you to dinner. Would you have dinner with me this evening?”
Sam was stunned, but didn’t want him to think he had to ask her out.
“Please don’t feel obligated to ask me out because of Mrs. Koepple. It really isn’t necessary.”
Gray smiled and said, “I don’t feel obligated at all. I would love to have dinner with you. We both have to eat, and it would be nice to get to know you a little better. What do you say?”
Speechless…that was the only word to use. She was being asked out on a date by this gorgeous man. What would they talk about? What would they say? How could she eat in front of him and not make a fool out of herself? Sam didn’t feel like a very interesting person. She just lived a quiet life and didn’t do much else. She used to live a different life, but once Tim got sick, she had holed up in her house and did little else except motorcycling. That was the one thing Tim continued to do, even when he was feeling his worst.
Gray’s smiled widened and he cocked his head to the side a little, at the same time raising an eyebrow, waiting for Sam to respond.
Taking a shaky breath, she said, “I would like that very much.”
God, he had a beautiful smile.
He smiled again and added, “Excellent.” He pulled his phone out of his pocket and asked Sam for her phone number so he could enter it into his phone. Sam’s phone was sitting on her desk.
Gray handed her his business card. “Put my number into your phone as soon as you get back to your desk.”
Gray smiled again and said, “I’ll pick you up at seven tonight. Once you have my phone number in your phone, please text me your address.”
Sam’s mind was reeling. A date! She hadn’t been on a date in forever. She was shaking and her mind seemed to be working very slowly as it was trying to process this new information. Oh my God, a date!...