Theo knows what’s possible…
Because he’s learned the hard way what’s not. The internationally successful supermodel known as Angel stole his heart forever when she was just Lyssa Monroe. There’s never been another woman who could compete—he even loved Lyssa enough to let her walk away when she said it was over. When they meet again, he’s determined to make one glimpse of her sustain him for another decade. When Lyssa offers him one night together, Theo can’t say no—even though he knows a taste will only tempt him to hope for more all over again.
Lyssa has tasted forbidden fruit…
And she can’t forget it, no matter how hard she tries. Theo’s love is a touchstone for all that is pure and good in the chaos her life has become. When she sees him again, everything is simple for once and only one choice is possible. The secret she keeps from Theo could destroy any chance of a future together, but surely she can keep it hidden for just one more night. Or maybe two. How much will she sacrifice to defend her son—and how far will Theo go to convince her give them a second chance?
“So good. I always enjoy returning to Flatiron Five and Theo is the last partner not attached to someone and we find out why in this installment. He is already in love with a woman and has been for the past 11 years. The rest I will leave up to you to find out. Their story was great, shocking, and beautiful. Deborah Cooke handled their second chance romance beautifully. Lyssa has kept quite a few secrets during the past decade since she saw Theo last and she also has some deep scars that Theo doesn’t know about. When they reconnect near New Years, she sets out to right some wrongs and hopefully rekindle a friendship, if nothing else, though she does hope for more. Start to finish the story was enjoyable and engrossing. Passionate and beautiful. Overall, a great read. This series just gets better and better.”Rendezvous with a Romance
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An earlier version of Theo and Lyssa’s story was published under the title Bad Case of Loving You. This version includes changes made for consistency with the new series starter, Just One Fake Date. If you bought Bad Case of Loving You in ebook, you should be able to download Just One Second Chance as an update from the portal where you made your purchase. The update will replace the old book on your reading device.
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An excerpt from Just One Second Chance:
After all the planning, the pop-up was over so fast.
And it had gone amazingly well. Theo was so relieved. The team clapped each other on the back, their excitement the perfect echo of his own. Someone brought him his coat and he tugged it on, then dug into the box of T-shirts to hand them out.
It was great to see the expressions of the people who had witnessed the pop-up—they were smiling and taking pictures. He saw a lot of Sonia’s coupons in hands and also people scanning the QR code that she’d had blown up to poster-size for a discounted membership. Cassie was avidly going through something on her phone, probably checking the early results. She was smiling, so that had to be a good sign. The T-shirts went like lightning, more than one person wanting a picture with him.
That was kind of strange, but to Theo’s relief, by the time his heart had returned to its usual pace, the crowd had dispersed. The pop-up was over and it was another beautiful winter day at Wollman Rink.
They just had to do it eleven more times.
He bent down to pick up the empty carton and a woman cleared her throat behind him. “I’m sorry. The T-shirts are all gone,” he said, casting a quick smile over his shoulder. Then he froze.
“I wasn’t looking for a T-shirt, Theo,” Lyssa Monroe said softly as the bottom fell out of Theo’s world. She smiled, clearly seeing his shock, and waved her fingertips at him. “Hi. You’re a tough guy to find.”
It was Lyssa but not Lyssa. She seemed more petite than he recalled, although she’d always been shorter than him. Of course, the skates gave him extra height. Her complexion was more pale and she was thinner, plus the strands of hair escaping her hat were more platinum than her hair had been before. The trapper hat was totally the Lyssa he remembered, a huge fur thing that almost obscured her face, but made her look impossibly cute. He could see the freckles on her nose and guessed that she wasn’t wearing any make-up.
There was a new wariness in her gaze, though.
And rightly so, to Theo’s thinking.
“You could have just called,” he said, knowing he sounded hostile.
“You have an unlisted number.”
He looked at her, surprised she’d checked. “You could have called the club.”
She shrugged, her gaze steady. “I wasn’t sure you were a partner. Not until I saw the video today.”
That couldn’t be true. He’d called her four times since September. If she was going to lie to him, then there was nothing to talk about.
She’d never been a liar—or at least not a good one—so her decision to lie now really angered Theo. “I see. I trust you’ve been well,” he said, not trusting himself to say her name. “It looks like all your dreams have come true.”
She shook her head. “Don’t be silly, Theo. You of all people should know that fame was never my dream.”
“Then why become a supermodel?” He flung out a hand, that old argument heating his words all over again. “Wasn’t fame and fortune the whole point?”
“Everything just fell into place, like it was meant to be.”
“After you disappeared.” He couldn’t keep himself from adding that. It still burned.
“And there was the money.”
“Oh yes, I remember your concern with money. Money was the only thing that mattered. Not relationships, not love, not even your art.”
Her eyes flashed. “You don’t know what it’s like. People without money often feel its absence enough to want to change things.”
“This isn’t about growing up with money or not. You said a lot of things that day. You didn’t just close the door between us—you locked it. So, I don’t understand why you’re back or what you want, but you really can’t blame me for not giving a shit.” It felt good to say what he really thought. He’d been more circumspect that last time, and it had bothered him ever since. He bent and picked up the box. “Take care, Lyssa. Have a great life.” His tone was dismissive, but Theo didn’t care. The last thing he needed this week was Lyssa complicating his life all over again.
She must want something from him.
“No second chances?” she asked, confirming his suspicions. She would have walked away otherwise. This wasn’t about saying hello. “That’s harder than I expected you to be, Theo.”
“Really?” He faced her again, knowing his irritation showed. “Then maybe you should tell me the truth instead of a bunch of lies.”
“I’m not lying to you.”
“I’m hard to find?” he echoed, his voice rising. “What a lot of crap. Maybe you should have just taken my call instead of letting your publicist blow me off. Or returned one of my calls. It’s not that complicated, Lyssa.”
She blinked. “You called me?”
Her surprise seemed genuine and that set Theo back. He might be an idiot, but he would give her a chance to explain.
He didn’t have to make it easy, though.
Theo put down the box and folded his arms across his chest. “I’ve phoned and emailed your publicist repeatedly since September, to invite you to make an appearance at F5F on New Year’s Eve as our special guest.”
“You mean Mercedes?”
“I mean Mercedes. First she ducked me, then she finally said that you weren’t interested in making any appearances over the holidays. It wasn’t really great that she only managed to give me a final reply at the beginning of December to completely screw up our holiday promotion plans.”
Lyssa shook her head, and she looked confused. Adorably so. Theo told himself not to soften. “But she never told me. I would have come, Theo. I would have done that.”
He wished he hadn’t been inclined to believe her. That just proved he hadn’t learned a thing. “Well, what might have happened is immaterial at this point. We’ve made other plans, as you can see.” He picked up the box again. “Maybe we’ll see each other in another decade.”
But Lyssa grabbed his sleeve. “But I’ll make this right. I promise.” She smiled and Theo felt his resolve weakening. She’d always had the power to charm him into agreeing with her and he didn’t have to like that she still had her touch.
“Mercedes declined.” He knew his tone was hard, but he really didn’t have time to be jerked around by Lyssa. “She’s your official publicist so I took her at her word. We made other plans.”
“But more is more when it comes to media attention. I know that. And I’ll do that. I’ll make you a deal.”
Theo shook his head. “Does everything have to be a negotiation?”
She ignored that question. “I’ll come to F5F on New Year’s Eve in exchange for your undivided attention. One hour for one hour.”
That was unexpected. “What do you really want, Lyssa?”
“I want to talk to you.” Lyssa swallowed and looked uncertain. Theo felt that old wave of protectiveness sweep through him again. There had been a time when he would have fought dragons to make her smile. “I need to talk to you.”
She smiled but there was hesitation in her smile, too. He didn’t like the sight of that change. He ran a hand over his head, knowing she was playing him like a cheap guitar.
“Let’s just say I want your advice,” she said.
“After all this time?”
“Yes. This discussion is long overdue.” Lyssa looked up at him, her expression so hopeful that Theo felt his heart squeeze tightly. “Deal?”
What could she want his advice about? Theo studied her, more tempted than he knew he should be—because he was tempted just to hear Lyssa out, not for the sake of F5F’s publicity. Was she sincere?
Once she’d been the most honest and forthright person he’d ever known. It had been at the end that she’d been evasive. Theo’s gut told him that she was telling him the truth.
Which meant he couldn’t turn her down.
“Deal,” he said against his better judgment. He offered his hand, but Lyssa, being Lyssa, surprised him one more time.
“Thank you, Theo! I’ll make sure you don’t regret it!” She flung her arms around his neck, colliding with his chest like a small hurricane, then pulled his head down and kissed him on the mouth.
For a split second, Theo thought of breaking the kiss, of stepping away and letting her go. Then she made that little flick with her tongue against his bottom lip, the one that had always driven him insane, and he smelled the warm scent of her skin, and he couldn’t have stopped kissing her to save his life.
Why did this woman have to be the one who tasted and felt so very, very good? Theo didn’t know, but when she kissed him like this, he couldn’t argue the details. His arms locked around her waist apparently with a will of their own. He tugged Lyssa to her toes, slanted his mouth over hers and deepened his kiss.
If she wanted to seal their deal with a kiss, he’d make it one to remember.
An excerpt from Just One Second Chance
Copyright ©2019, 2020 Deborah A. Cooke
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