Authors: Julie Pollitt
Tags: #free ebook, #love story, #contemporary romance love, #second chance boyfriend, #clean short story, #colorado mountain, #friendship on fire, #relationships that work, #second chance friends, #second chance girlfriend
For information contact:
Follow Julie on Twitter:
Check out Julie’s website:
Follow Julie on Facebook:
Copyright ©Julie Pollitt 2015
All rights reserved. No part of this
publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or
transmitted in any form or by any means, with the exception of
brief quotations in printed reviews.
This book is a work of fiction. The
characters in this story are the products of the author’s
imagination and are completely fictitious.
Cover design by Julie Pollitt
Winter Portrait of Happy Couple by
Breckenridge Road by Welcomia
Grant Williams cleared his throat and
watched Jennifer Tilman walk across the room. In life, she filled
every bit of her role as a movie star, even when not on the set.
She was as stylish as she was beautiful. Her long brown hair draped
across her shoulders.
“I’m leaving, Grant,” Jennifer said, as she
continued walking to the other side of the room.
“When do you return?” Grant slid his hands
into his jean pockets and leaned against his kitchen counter.
Jennifer stopped and faced the window, with
her back to him. The California desert sun was on its way down,
casting an orange, dusty glow into the room. “In a few months.
Grant knew what she wanted to say. However,
he insisted on hearing it from her. “But what?”
“The tabloids are right this time. I am in
love with someone else. I’m so sorry. I didn’t know how to tell you
before the pictures showed up on all the covers.” Jennifer turned
and faced him. Her face looked somber, but he wondered how sorry
she really felt. She had been withdrawn for sometime.
Grant nodded. He wanted the relationship to
work, even though he knew it would never last with Jennifer. After
all, she was a movie star. For a while he thought they loved each
other, but he was apparently just a passing phase for her. His
heart sank, knowing he would never see her again. “When do you
“I’m leaving this evening. The movie starts
filming in a couple days and they want me on the set as soon as
possible.” Jennifer walked back over to Grant. She stared at him
for a moment, lifted her hand, and ran her fingers through his
amber brown hair.
He drew in a breath and exhaled. Grant threw
his arms around her, holding her once more. Jennifer wrapped her
arms around his neck, holding on tight.
“I have to go,” she said. She released her
arms and stepped back.
Grant nodded. He walked behind her and
opened the front door to let her out. He watched her leave. As soon
as she was out of sight, he pressed the door shut. He leaned his
head against the door and felt the pain in his heart. How could he
lose her? How could he go on?
Grant’s phone vibrated in his pocket. He
lifted it out, knowing it would be a text from his mother.
Sure enough. He laughed. It was sure relief
that he needed right now. His mother always had impeccable
Grant read the text on his
Saw the tabloids. Is Jennifer with
another man? Are you heartbroken? What can I do?
Grant debated putting the phone down and
ignoring her text. But he knew better. She’d hound him until he
answered. His mother was like that.
He tapped his fingers
against the face of his phone.
true. She’s gone.
His mother replied
Why don’t you come home for a
vacation? Gary could use the help at the hardware store.
Grant stared at her text. For once, it made
sense. It wasn’t crazy nonsense like her usual texts.
Another one of her texts popped up on the screen. Grant’s
mother wasn’t known for her patience.
He stared at the phone again. Maybe she was
right. A trip home couldn’t hurt. Maybe it would help to put things
in perspective. Besides he hadn’t been home since his father’s
Okay Mom. I’ll text with
the details of my arrival.
even had time to put his phone down on the counter before another
text came through.
Seriously?! I’M SO HAPPY, SON! I’ll find you
a girl back home.
He laughed again. Grant knew her matchmaking
skills were going to be in full swing. He ignored the last comment
and set the phone down on his kitchen counter. He walked to the
window and looked out at the city. Los Angeles was a sprawling
metropolis, far too fast for his blood.
“Mom, you need to quit reading the tabloids.
They are usually wrong, but in this case they got it right,” Grant
Williams said. He smiled as he stood in the doorway of his mother’s
Snowy Creek, Colorado house. He set his suitcase down in the foyer
before hugging her. Although he was a stout, solid six-feet tall,
his mother only came up to his chest.
“Why would you say that to your mother?” She
said, squeezing him hard around the waist.
“Because you keep tweeting that I dumped
Jennifer,” Grant unhooked her death grip of a hug and took a step
back. He raised his eyebrows and stared at her for a second.
“The tabloids are how I find out all my
information. Besides, no woman would dump my son. Not my movie star
son,” Maryann Williams said as she shook her head. She lifted her
hand to touch his cheek.
Grant put his hand on top of hers and said,
“I hate to break it to you, Mom, but I’m not a movie star. And the
tabloids are rarely on target.”
“But, you were on television every day. How
can you not be a star?”
“I had a show remodeling houses. I think I’m
a far cry from Hollywood,” Grant said.
“But you’re more handsome than that Brad
“Pitt,” Grant corrected.
“Putt, Pitt, whatever. You had one of the
most beautiful women in Hollywood. You are a movie star,” Maryann
“I’m flattered you think so, but having a
show on a remodeling channel does not create movie star status. And
as for Jennifer, that was sheer luck. She is beautiful, and she is
a movie star. But she’s really not the kind of girl a man settles
As much as Grant missed Jennifer, he was
tired of the high-maintenance that came along with her. They could
never just run out to grab a bite to eat, or head to the beach for
a relaxing afternoon without photographers following their every
move. It wore on him.
“Well, I need some grandkids. And soon,”
“I need a wife first,” Grant said, laughing
again. “And believe me, I’m not in any hurry to get one.” He’d
hadn’t sworn off dating, but Grant planned on taking a break for a
while. Finding a wife was certainly not high on his priority
“Famous last words.” Before walking toward
the kitchen, Maryann said, “Leave your bags there, I’ll take them
upstairs for you in a bit. Your room is ready for you. I’m glad
you’re home for a while.”
“Thanks Mom. I need to get something out of
my suitcase, so I’ll take them up in a few minutes.” Grant felt his
phone vibrate in his pocket. He pulled it out to look at it.
Grant stared at the Tweet. “Mom, I’m right
here. You don’t have to Tweet something if I’m standing right
here,” he shouted into the other room. He looked down at the
message scrolled across his screen.
Son home. Not a movie star anymore. How will
he ever get a wife?
He shook his head and laughed as he read the
next message that popped up.
Better yet, how will I ever get
Grant walked into the kitchen and sat down
at the table. It was an unspoken tradition to eat the minute
someone walked into Maryann Williams’ home. She’d been known to
make the mailman come in and eat a time or two. Even though Grant
wasn’t a guest, eating was still first on the agenda.
Maryann sliced a piece of chocolate pie and
set it on a small plate. She put a fork on the plate and slid it in
front of him. Grant dug in, took a bite, and felt the comfort of
home wash over him. He loved her pie.
“You know,” Maryann started, “Mrs. Ridgeway
has a daughter that’s in real estate. Pretty girl.” She sat down at
the table across from Grant.
“I think you might’ve set a record, Mom.”
Grant took another bite of pie. “I’ve been in the house less than
two minutes and you’re already trying to fix me up.”
I don’t want you to have a
broken heart for too long. Miss Tilman is a beautiful movie star,
but we need to get down to this marrying business.”
Grant took another bite of pie and ignored
his mother’s comment. “Do you think Gary’s going to have a problem
with me helping out in the hardware store while I’m home?”
“Ever since your father died, Gary’s been a
bit overwhelmed with the store,” Maryann said. “He’ll be glad to
see you and get the extra help. To tell you the truth, I think he’d
like to retire soon.”
“Glad I can help. I just hope I won’t be in
the way while I’m home,” Grant said.
“You are never in the way, son,” Maryanne
said. “This is home. This is where your heart should be.”
Grant turned the corner near Williams’
hardware store and took in the view. He breathed in the crisp, cool
air. Main Street led straight up to the base of the ski slopes on
the mountain in the distance. Although fall was in full swing, and
the snow had yet to start falling, the ski runs were distinct.
Grant loved the cool weather. Every year, growing up in Snowy
Creek, he couldn’t wait until the temperatures dropped, the snow
fell, and the slopes opened. As a teen, Grant refused to go home
and finish his homework until he’d gotten in at least a few runs
The sign on Williams’ Hardware Store dangled
in the distance. The rickety old sign had become a landmark in its
own right, after all the years hanging in the same place. Grant
neared the store and pushed on the front door. The bell at the top
jangled. The store wasn’t set to open for another thirty minutes,
but it had been several years since he’d helped out in the store
and he wanted to familiarize himself with where everything was now
As he stepped inside, memories came rushing
in. Grant had spent so much time playing in the store as a child
and working as a teen and young adult for his father. Grant ached
to see his father standing behind the counter. He missed him so
much. It had been a few years since his father passed away and
Grant felt guilty he hadn’t taken over the store. He knew his
father was proud of Grant’s new career, but he knew there was a
part of his dad that had wanted him to take over the family
Grant had planned as a young man to take
over one day, get married, and settle down. But one trip to
Hollywood and a lucky break kept him there. He would do it all over
again, but each time he came home, Grant realized just how much he
missed his family and the small town of Snowy Creek.
“Gary?” Grant yelled across the aisles.
“He’s back here,” a female voice
Grant followed the voice to the back of the
store. He stopped and stared at a tall, slender woman dressed in
carpenter pants and a gray t-shirt. For a moment, she stole his
breath. “Gary, either there’s something about you that’s changed,
or we’ve replaced you with a woman.”
“I guess you’re looking for Gary,” she said
laughing, standing near the back door of the store.
Grant stared at her for a moment and then
laughed out loud along with her. She was covered with splotches of
white paint. But underneath all the white was a tangled mess. A
mismatched, dirt-covered, beautiful mess. He couldn’t look away.
And there was something familiar about her.
“Do you speak?” She asked.
“I do.” Grant said. “Did you go swimming in
a pool of white paint? I can’t even figure out what color your hair
“I had a run-in with a paint bucket this
morning. I guess you can see who won.” She crinkled her nose when
she laughed, which to Grant made her all the more endearing.
“I haven’t even finished my cup of coffee
and you’ve had a day,” Grant said, holding up his metal Starbucks