First and Again
Bridget Grant is back in Paradise. Paradise, North Dakota, that is.
She’s swallowed her pride and moved back to her hometown with her daughter after her divorce and the loss of her catering company. Now she’s trying to navigate the strained relationships she’d left behind – including her first love, Jack Davison.
Jack never forgot Bridget, or the day she left town – and him. When Bridget caters a lunch at Jack’s tourist ranch, old flames reignite. They have more in common than ever – Jack’s also a single parent. Though they both try to keep things casual, Bridget, Jack and their girls are starting to look a lot like a family.
But Bridget’s only planning to stay in Paradise until she’s saved enough to relaunch her business. Jack’s invested too much in his ranch to leave. And with their daughters involved both have a lot more at stake than heartbreak. How can they risk falling in love?
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I see a tremendous amount of character growth in this story. Quite a few valuable lessons here. Everyone seems to be convinced one way or another, that they are doing the only absolute best thing possible. Problem is, everyone has tunnel vision. It takes some pretty hard knocks to shake those blinders off and it is heartbreaking to discover, that despite the absolute best of intentions, you may not have done the right thing after all…Sometimes it takes a while for us to grow up.......
It was a pleasure to read this book.
Insightful, poignant, heart-warming and just plain lovely.
Margreet Asselbergs, Ripe for Reader
This is a great story and it pulls you in as if you are in each scene. I hated for it to end.
Cindy Gilleland, Indy Book Fairy
First and Again is an engaging read, filled with rich and interesting characters. They were believable and readable because of their flaws, and the challenges each of them faced. The reader easily becomes absorbed as the characters travel a journey that leads them closer to each other, and I loved the underlying message of family and the importance of relying on others to succeed…Jana Richards weaves a story that is heart-felt and it offers a depth many authors fail to achieve. She also infuses friendship and light-hearted humour, which leaves you with the feeling that you genuinely know and will miss the characters once you put the book down.
Belinda Williams, Belinda Williams Books
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was about coming home and realizing that sometimes home is exactly where you need to be. It's where people want to help you succeed and also where enemies of the past can turn out to be your ally. Going home doesn't always have to be a bad thing. Watching Bridget and Jack take their journey, ride the ups and scatter at the downs was interesting. It was also nice to watch Bridget lose the chip she had on her shoulder about her family. Very easy read.
Agrutle, Chill Reviews
The sound of an approaching vehicle made her cringe. The driver would likely stop and ask what had happened and whether she was all right. The thought of having to explain her actions made her feel slightly queasy. She prayed for the person to keep on going, to ignore the woman in a pink apron walking alone down a gravel road.
No such luck.
She heard the vehicle slow to a crawl as it pulled next to her. Righteous anger bubbled in her chest when she glanced over and saw Jack Davison roll down his window.
“Going for a walk?” he asked.
“Something like that.”
“Need a ride back to the motel?”
“No thanks. I don’t accept rides from people who laugh at me.”
She kept on walking, her head high. To her dismay Jack continued to follow her slowly with his truck.
“When did I laugh at you? I’ve only seen you once since you got here.”
“Once was enough.”
“You mean the night Tina gave you a hard time?”
Bridget didn’t answer. Perhaps it seemed petty to others, but Tina and Celia had humiliated her, and Jack had laughed at her. She wasn’t likely to get over it quickly.
“I wasn’t laughing at you. I enjoyed seeing Tina get taken down a peg. It doesn’t happen often, and frankly, I was impressed.” He paused a moment. “Are you sure you don’t want a ride?”
She glanced toward Jack and he grinned back, all innocence and boyish charm. Despite herself, she returned his smile. He was a hard man to stay angry with, and she really didn’t want to walk back to the motel and risk having other people pass her on the road.
“Fine. I’ll ride with you.”
He stopped the truck and gestured toward the passenger door of his half-ton. “Hop in.”
She climbed into the cab, slammed the door shut, then buckled her seat belt. She smoothed the apron over her lap, suddenly feeling stupid and regretting her decision to accept the ride. Jack probably thought she was crazy, or at best, unbalanced. There was no way she could explain the fear that had controlled her life the last two years.
“I have a punching bag,” he said, his eyes on the road ahead.
“Excuse me?” she said, confused. Had she missed part of this conversation?
“When I can’t get things or people to do what I want them to do, or when I’m just plain pissed off, I go down into my basement and beat the hell out of Bozo the Clown.”
She stared at his profile. “Bozo the Clown?”
“I have an old Bozo punching bag, you know, one of those toys that’s weighted on the bottom so it keeps popping back up. Bozo takes a licking and keeps coming back for more.”
“Oh, I see,” she said cautiously.
He turned and flashed a dazzling smile. “No, I’m not crazy. At least no crazier than you. Everybody needs some way of getting out their frustrations or they’ll eat you alive. Mine happens to be beating the crap out of Bozo, and I suspect that yours is walking briskly down country roads.”
She relaxed against the seat. “Maybe.”
“Next time lose the apron. You can’t pretend you’re a serious jogger if you’re wearing a frilly pink apron.”
“No, I suppose not.” She grinned, the weight of embarrassment lifting from her shoulders. Jack’s quirky sense of humor had always intrigued and delighted her. “Next time I feel the urge to take a hike I’ll throw on some jogging pants and tell everyone I’m training for a marathon. That ought to stop the gossiping.”
“Sorry to disillusion you, but nothing’s likely to do that. Gossip and Paradise go together like peanut butter and jam. Most of the time it’s harmless, but if you’re smart you’ll try not to draw too much attention to yourself.”
“Trust me, that’s the last thing I want to do.” She untied the apron and pulled it over her head. “Doesn’t it ever get to you? The life in the fishbowl? Are you and your wife happy living in Paradise?”
He glanced at her, and she saw a momentary look of surprise in his expression before he turned his attention back to his driving.
“I’m happy enough. The fishbowl thing doesn’t bother me.”
“But if you’re going to live in a small town, you’d better get up to date on your gossip. I’ve been single the last ten years.”
The news took her by surprise. Was he single because of divorce or because his wife had died? “Oh, I’m sorry. Celia didn’t tell me.” She wondered why her sister hadn’t filled her in after all this time.
Jack shrugged. “Don’t worry about it.”
He offered no further information and she decided not to ask any more questions. After all, she barely knew him anymore.