The Do-Over

By: Julie A. Richman

A Second Chance Romance Novel

For Jean and all the warriors who have fallen… and their families

And for those who are still fighting… and their families

“You never know when you’re making a memory, they will wish that they were here together again…someday.”

~ Rickie Lee Jones

Young Blood


Chapter 1

To say I needed to get away would be a freaking understatement. It had been twelve months since my last vacation, and the friend I had traveled with on that trip had been so depressed about her break-up with her loser ‘I don’t wanna work, why don’t you work, babe’ ex-boyfriend, that she refused to leave our hotel room. For seven days, she read the same copy of People Magazine, over and over. My vacation definitely did not end up being a holiday. So, I really was in need of this one.

As I leaned my back against the ship’s railing, enjoying people watching and scouting for eligible, unattached men, my attention was drawn to him. I might have been a little more than slightly drunk, but I was mesmerized watching him and couldn’t pull my eyes away.

With every step, the drink spilled all over his bare feet, soaking the frayed hem of his worn jeans. Step. Splash. Step. Splash. Step. Splash.

Coursing through my bloodstream, a third rum and something was making me feel a bit bolder than usual as I laughed at him and his inability to keep the alcohol in the plastic cup while he attempted to make his way across the windjammer’s polished teak deck.

Hearing my laugh, he turned to me, and the look on his face was great, like he was trying hard to give me an angry, dirty look, but didn’t quite pull it off, because he was immediately disarmed by my amused smile and slightly drunk giggle.

Instead, he ended up smiling back at me. And oh my God, it was a stop me dead in my tracks smile. And what was even more surprising, was my reaction to it. To him. I could feel the blood rush in my veins and my sharp intake of air created a small gasp. And that was a rare occurrence. That never happened to me.

“I’m guessing waiter is probably not in your future,” I quipped.

Laughing, “You’re probably right.” His voice was deep and melodious and my first thought was, Damn, I’d love to have phone sex with him, followed by, three drinks and some sea air and look at you, you’ve turned into a perv, Tara!

His icy drink splashed all over my feet, and I could see the laughter in his eyes, saying, “Serves you right. Pun intended.”

He was sexy in a non-traditional way. Not your classic good looking guy, but he had charisma, the ‘It’ factor. He didn’t have to try hard to be cool. He was cool. The man was a chick magnet, of that, I was sure. There was something very rock ‘n roll about him. A mane of wild dark curls framed his long thin face, and although he was attractive now in his 20’s, this was a guy who was going to grow into his rough-hewn looks, and be his hottest in his thirties, forties, and maybe even fifties, especially if he kept his hair. Momentarily, I felt sorry for the woman in his life, who undoubtedly had to deal with her man constantly being hit on by other women.

Finding an open chaise lounge by the pool, I set my rum and whatever down on a little metal table and took a load off as I eased onto the thick blue pad. Looking up at the pitch-black sky, the taut white sails were hypnotizing, their clean lines forming perfect arcs, feeding on Pac-Man-like chunks of the night. Inhaling a deep breath of the damp sea air, I let the oxygen relax me, as my eyes acclimated to the constellations that were happily making themselves known.

Mr. Wet Feet was across the pool handing a drink to a dark-haired girl stretched out on a chaise. His girlfriend, I assumed. He didn’t sit down and her body language was screaming her displeasure with him. Viewing this made me so happy that I was traveling alone. There was only one person I had to worry about – me.

And now, after three flights, a delay and nearly twenty-three hours of travel, I was finally on vacation. Sailing on an amazing 148-passenger vessel that was a hybrid between a beautifully appointed cruise ship and a grand, old tall ship. And right now, we were cutting our way through the late-night waters aided by the power of billowing sails on this windy night.

The destination, in this case, was what made the journey. Obscure little islands that the large cruise ships couldn’t get to were our ports of call, and the only thing to worry about for the next week was how far my chaise lounge was from the nearest bar. Sighing, I closed my eyes as I approached that state of exhaustion where my body was screaming, let me sleep, you evil wench, but my mind was barreling out of control, ready for the adventure to begin.

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