Widowed father Parker Townsend is stuck in a rut. After his two little hellions place a “Mom Wanted” ad in the local paper, he’s roped into a blind date. If that’s not bad enough, why did it have to be on Valentine’s Day—the most commercialized holiday of the year?
Claire Lauer answers the want ad to appease her daughter, not to connect with a handsome man drowning in emotional baggage. Hadn’t she learned anything from her ex-husband? But then an animal rights protest takes a turn, and she lands in her date’s bed.
With the past closing in, how will Parker and Claire seize their second chance at forever?
He joined her at the bar, his coffee mug in hand. Sunlight shone through the large windows in the adjoined dining room, so he scooted to the right to avoid the glare. “Let’s go out for breakfast. It’s only eight o’clock, so we have time before Niles shows up with the kids. You should meet them today.”
“I’d love to meet your kids and brother, but I’m not dressed for it.” She glanced down at her formfitting dress and patted her hair. A little frown pinched her eyebrows together. Parker ducked his head to meet her gaze, but she turned away. “I should tell you why I answered the ‘Mom Wanted’ ad. It’s embarrassing, but—”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“It does to me.” Claire braced her hands flat on the bar and took a deep breath as though to gather her courage. “I thought taking care of Kaylie and rallying with likeminded people would be enough, but I still felt empty. After the divorce, I put my love life on the backburner and fell into a rut. You might as well slap a big loser sign on my forehead. That’s how I felt when I called the number in the ad. It’s pretty humiliating to have your daughter hook you up on a date.”
Heat burned his cheeks. “I know a little something about that.”
“I suppose you do.” A hint of a smile teased her lips. Claire reached across the bar and entwined her fingers with his. “My mom and some of my friends have set me up on dates, but I always scared the men away. I didn’t scare you off, though, and I’m not sure why.”
“Because we’re the same.” He missed Cynthia and would always love her, but he knew better than to cast aside a woman he saw a potential future with. “We expected our lives to go down a certain path, but we lost the ones we loved and the opportunities we hoped for. It’s not right or fair, but we share that broken foundation to rebuild on. I believe in second chances, and even though I fought it for so long, I know it’s time to move on.”
“I agree, but I’m not the easiest person to get along with. You’re laidback and understanding. I’m opinionated, high strung, and a little bossy.”
“I think you’re perfect, Claire.”
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