Title: Forever Love
Series: Forever Series #1
Author: J. Lum
Genre: Contemporary/Second Chance Romance
Release Date: August 2, 2018
To appreciate the sun, you have to withstand the storm.
Free-spirited, poetic Casey Loughlin has had her fair share of rain, and she always manages to see the silver lining. During her teenage years, when she met Toby Cardona, she learned everything she ever needed to learn about love and lossâall in one year.
When Toby lost Casey, everything changed for him. The once caring and endearing boy, with dreams and hopes of his own, became the cold, broken, money-hungry man he swore he'd never be. Now, with Casey back in his life, it's up to her to show Toby that the second time around, love can still hurt, but it's worth every painful prick. Will Toby weather the storm, and embrace a second chance, with the woman heâs always loved?
âHave you thought about what we talked about? Yer beach house wonât be open forever.â
âGran I ... Itâs not my home anymoreââ
âCasey Jo Loughlin, yer momma did not raise a fool, and right now, youâre beinâ one!â she shouts into the phone, like sheâs at the Kentucky Derby. I knew anything but a yes would get her upset. My last visit, sheâd been pretty insistent that I take her up on her offer. Everyone has been handling my parentsâ death with kid gloves on. Eventually theyâd stop; I just didnât think theyâd wait so long. So here we were.
âJesus, Gran. Just calm down, pleaseââ
âNow, donât you take that tone with me, girl. I would give you a good lickinâ if I were there, so you wonât be disrespectinâ me by taking the Lordâs name in vain, you âear?â
âYes, maâam. Iâm sorry, Gran. I just â¦ Itâs just too hard,â I spit out.
âLifeâs hard, Babygirl, but you got to be brave. Take life by the balls, because I wonât lie, you got some big ones swinginâ right in front of you. I donât want you goinâ through the rest of yer life regrettinâ you didnât grab âem. We all know, Danny and I know, youâve been dodginâ âem.â She goes quiet for a moment, giving me a nice reprieve because all I can see are big hairy balls flying in front of my face, now that sheâs brought them up.
âBalls are nice, grab âem, Babygirl. Not for me or yer parents, God bless âem, but for yerself. I want you back, and enough is enough,â she says resolutely.
âCan we stop talking about balls, please, I justââ
âWhat?â she says innocently. âBabygirl, I ainât gettinâ younger. If youâre afraid of balls, maybe â¦â
âNope, stop. Please, just stop.â Big hairy balls are now flashing through my mind, and I wince as I hear my gran whispering something about big balls being nice. Leaning back, I take a few breaths as I stare at the ceiling. I make a mental note that I need find a way to wipe the corners of the dust bunnies collecting.âBabygirl, you there?â
âYes Gran, Iâm still here.â
âI mean it, you canât keep doing this to yourself. They wouldnât want that.â
âWilliam was a wonderful father, and I know what yer gonna say, but I will tell you, he wouldnât want this from you.â She pauses, taking several breaths, as if she were running a marathon. I shouldnât be arguing with her. âBabygirl, he wanted the best for you, but most of all, he wanted you to be happy. Yer father was strict, and I hate talkinâ about people who donât really know, but he didnât know better. He loved yer momma and you. Sometimes it came off like he was restrained but, by golly, Babygirl, he wouldnât want you to hold onto some illusion of perfection. Holdinâ on to the very worst memories you have of âem.â
Dropping the phone in my lap, I furiously try to wipe away the tears that seem to be falling freely down my face. I can hear my granâs voice through the phone. Sheâs going to be upset at herself that she brought up stuff that I donât want to talk about. Sheâs my anchor. They all were. I grab the phone, taking a few deep breaths to compose myself. âGran â¦â
âAre you okay?â she asks worriedly.
âIâm sorry, I justââ
âI know, Babygirl. I know.â She sighs. We donât have to say much; she knows me well enough to understand how this all works.
âJust go to the house. I rented it for you, I talked to Avey, and she agrees this is the best time to go. She said something about students gonna want a place to study soon.â
âI rented the house for you, everything has been taken care of. And if anything, this will be a little vacation, plus maybe some closure you need. You were never at fault, sweetie. You owe it to yerself to take a break. Iâm so proud of you. I wish I couldâve been there for the openinâ,â she says quietly.
A FREE Forever Series Novella
J. Lum resides in the Northern Virginia area. While she calls Virginia home, she is constantly on the go. Sheâs got a constant case of #Wanderlust; most of the time, you can find her traveling around the world to see her book besties, or checking off her bucket list places. Her second home away from home is Hawaii, where her family is from. The love for the ocean runs through her veins. She also has a love of pugs, unicorns, and anything chocolate. She and coffee have been having a love affair for many years. And, if you donât find her wandering around the world, sheâs more than likely hanging with her pug, Lani.
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