Never Say Goodbye - Signed Paperback
Never Say Goodbye - Signed Paperback
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Dakota and Lindsey have a past as long as their memories, but their future is tied up in old wounds. Can they overcome the past and have the future they always wanted?
Unfailing Love Series Book 2.
- Second Chance Romance
- Small-Town Romance
- Return to Hometown
Lindsey Payne left her small, Southern hometown six years ago for the bright lights of New York City with big dreams of becoming an actress. Now, she’s returning to Georgia with regrets and hoping to steer clear of those she’s wronged.
Dakota Calhoun fills his days with work to keep his mind busy. The last thing he wants is time to dwell on the past or the mistakes he made. When a ghost from his past comes barreling back into his life, everything gets harder...and more dangerous. Now, Dakota is struggling to stay on the straight and narrow.
Dakota and Lindsey have a past as long as their memories, but their future is tied up in old wounds. They’ll have to decide if they can forgive each other and themselves. Can they overcome the past and have the future they always wanted?
A sweet Christian romance about forgiveness and grace. Never Say Goodbyeis the second book in the Unfailing Love series, but the books can be listened to in any order.
Read Chapter One
Read Chapter One
Lindsey didn’t want to be here. Carson, Georgia was the last place she wanted to be, yet here she was driving into town like it was no big deal.
It was definitely a big deal, if only to her.
Her sweaty hands slipped on the steering wheel of her trusty old Maxima. She stopped at the only traffic light in town and shook her hands before drying them on her faded blue jeans. Her sweaty hands were gross, but she was having trouble keeping herself together. She did not want to be here.
Actually, she shouldn’t be here, and that was the reason her gut was telling her to turn around. She had caused enough pain in this quiet town, and she didn’t want to face it. Not now, and not ever. She wanted to pretend it hadn’t happened. Staying away, saving the people she’d hurt from what she could still do to them, was a gift.
Lindsey drove slowly through town as she hit all of the stop signs. The town was just as cute and quaint as she remembered. She hadn’t been here in years, and this place felt frozen in time. The shops and restaurants along the streets hadn’t changed their signs or logos. Even the flowers along the sidewalk looked the same.
How had she left this place? Her heart went out to the small town, and the nostalgia almost allowed her to forget that she didn’t belong here. Everything about this town was the same. She was the one who had changed.
She remembered that her best friend, Sissy, had asked—no, begged her to come. She loved Sissy with all of her heart and then some, but she hadn’t been strong enough to come back here until now.
Sissy was having a baby and had asked Lindsey to be here for the birth. In another life, that was fair and understandable. She would never even think of missing the birth of her friend’s daughter. Somehow, life had become so mixed up and cruel along the way, and she had debated telling her friend she couldn’t come.
How had she ever considered ditching her friend? She loved Sissy, and the woman would do anything for her. Lindsey owed this to Sissy in a multitude of ways. She hated herself for being selfish enough to even think twice before rushing to her pregnant friend’s side. She still couldn’t believe Sissy spoke to her after what she’d done. Her friend had every right to turn her back on her. Instead, they’d never mentioned it, and Lindsey was eternally grateful.
She had only seen Sissy a handful of times in the last six years, but they talked almost every day. Sissy had visited Lindsey in the various apartments and lofts she’d lived in over the years, claiming she was in need of an adventure outside of town. She knew why Sissy never asked her to visit Carson. Her friend had known she would say no.
Lindsey thanked the stars often that Sissy and her husband, Tyler, had eloped and she hadn’t been invited to a hometown wedding. Just thinking of the ulcers that would have induced made her blood pressure rise.
Now, as she sucked in deep breaths to avoid a panic attack, she wondered again how badly this would turn out. What were the chances she wouldn’t see him or any of his friends and she could slink out of here without making waves?
She wished again, for the millionth time, that things had turned out differently all those years ago. They had a chance, and she blew it. She hadn’t made the right decisions, hadn’t followed the right dream, hadn’t fought for the right passion. Hindsight was 20/20, and she saw things all too clearly now.
Lindsey had been wrong. She knew that now, but there was no way she could go back. She couldn’t right the wrongs, and now she just had to maintain until she could get away from here again.
Things couldn’t get any worse, right?
Her phone rang in the console beside her and she answered it while navigating a four-way stop.
“Hey, Mom. Sorry I forgot to call, but I made it into town.”
“Good, sweetie. How are you managing?” Her mom, Kathy, was sympathetic of her apprehensions for this place to an extent.
“I’m… making it. Just ready to see my friend and her sweet baby so I can get this behind me.” Lindsey stopped in front of a diner that she had always loved and remembered when they’d eaten there every Saturday morning.
Stop. She’d promised herself she wouldn’t think about him or the things they used to do together while she was in town. Releasing a shaky breath, she accelerated through the intersection and away from the memory.
“Please try to enjoy it while you’re there. You have a week off from work. You shouldn’t be stressing. Leave that tension at work.”
Her mother certainly tried to say all the right things, but her mom would never understand that Lindsey loved her job. It wasn’t stressful. It was relaxing to be able to do something she was good at all day and get paid for it. She was slowly working her way out of debt, so she felt like things were on the mend. Doing something with her life that was constant and productive felt better than the uncertainty of the entertainment industry she left behind.
Her mom also couldn’t understand what it meant to work for a living. Her mom had lived and thrived under her dad’s wing until they divorced a few years ago. Lindsey’s parents had married young, and she didn’t think her mother had ever been employed.
They hadn’t been wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, but her dad had supported them almost too well. His career was his life, and it had driven a wedge between her parents for as long as she could remember. Once Lindsey was out on her own, her parents had amicably gone their separate ways.
Doubt bubbled up as she struggled to remember where the hotel she intended to stay at was located, and she was beginning to second-guess herself. Bernard’s Hotel might not even be in business anymore. Maybe she should’ve studied up on the directions before the drive.
As she turned onto another unfamiliar street, she looked around and realized she was too distracted by the phone call with her mother to be driving.
She craned her neck to check the road name as she passed it. “Thanks, Mom. I’ll call you when I—”
Lindsey turned back to face the road ahead of her and saw a broad-shouldered man standing only feet in front of her car. Her foot pummeled the brake pedal in an effort to stop before she hit him, and she dropped the phone. She now noticed that her vehicle was surrounded by traffic cones and shiny, orange construction barrels. When she took a second to breathe, the man slammed his palms onto the hood of her car, commanding her attention.
“What are you doing?” he shouted. “You almost hit me. I’m pretty hard to miss.” He threw his arms out at his sides to emphasize the fact that he was large and hard to miss, just as he claimed. Not to even mention the safety vest he wore. She really hadn’t been paying attention, and her face grew hot.
But now she was stunned. Speechless. Because she saw his face and prayed her eyes were deceiving her.
No, no, no. This was worse than she could have imagined. It couldn’t be him. Surely, life wasn’t that cruel.
“What are you staring at?” he yelled at her, and his voice still held the sting of his anger.
She heard a small squeak from the phone that had landed in the passenger seat and jumped for it.
“Mom, I’m so sorry. I’ll call you later. Love you.” She spat the words quickly and hung up the phone. Could it be possible that he didn’t recognize her? Maybe there was still time to make an escape.
She remembered that she did look very different now than she had six years ago when she last saw him. She decided to use this to her advantage and pray that he forgot all about the crazy lady who almost ran him over with her car.
She pressed the button to open her window barely an inch and tilted her head to speak out the gap. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t paying attention. I’ll just get out of your way.” Her voice was shaky, but she hoped he would just let it go since she had expressed her apologies.
She saw the change in his face as soon as she finished speaking. It was a look of recognition, and his brows pulled together as he squinted to see through her windshield. “Hold up…”
He stalked toward her driver’s side window, and she panicked. She threw the car into reverse and backed out of the street to the intersection. She was thankful there were no other cars around because she was being completely reckless, again. She decided any street was better than this one as she sped away from Dakota Calhoun, the man who held her heart and haunted her dreams.