Authors: Alana Hart,Alana Claire
A Second Chances Romance
Alana Hart & Alana Claire
Copyright © 2015 Alana Hart & Alana Claire
All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the author.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locals or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. Please note that this work is intended only for adults over the age of 18 and all characters represented as 18 or over.
Published by Hartfelt Books
Cover Design by Alana Claire
Image by DepositPhotos.com
Editing by Ann Brian
Jenna's eyes snapped up from her intense work and she smiled upon seeing Darnell. "What are you doing dear?" Darnell asked as he stepped into the room.
"Oh, I'm sorting these papers. They need filed in different folders. Many are past documents, but it's always best to keep impeccable records. So that's all I'm doing," Jenna said and proceeded to explain what each pile represented.
So the two sat in the floor and reminisced about old times, laughing and chatting on and on. At one point Jenna paused and looked at Darnell. "About the other night..."
Darnell shook his head. "No need Jen. You had wine, it was a moment," Darnell tried to say.
"No, it was inappropriate. I guess I had a lot on my mind that day. Wine and fatigue don't mix. Plus running into you, well it sort of threw me for a loop," Jenna said keeping her eyes on the papers.
"Hey, stop." Darnell put his hand on Jenna's causing her to momentarily cease the paperwork. "It's okay. I suppose it needed to be said. And it's good we can talk about this out in the open."
Jenna smiled and withdrew her hand. "Okay. I won't beat myself up for asking it."
"Truth is, I've asked myself that same question. The answer is I honestly don't know."
"How could we know without turning back the clock? You moved off, I stayed here. Life went on. It just well, we never had closure," Jenna said as she shuffled through another pile of papers. It felt good to talk to Darnell about it even though it felt a little taboo at the same time. She could never bring this up with Will.
After that it didn't take much to keep encountering little moments, the almost moments, the pauses and deep looks into one another's eyes. The gentle brushes of their hands when working side-by-side kept the feelings electric between them.
Darnell couldn't help it. When Jenna walked up the hall he'd lean over to watch like he did so many years ago. She had a nice budding ass then and now she's like fine silver. He couldn't take his eyes off her even for a second. She turned out to be everything he ever thought possible and more.
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Table of Contents
Jenna Stuart turned the corner at Paper Works Inc. not knowing who owned the company. All she knew a billionaire couple came in who bought the company and brought it back from the brink of bankruptcy and brought many jobs to Timberville. For northern Alabama the company saved the area bringing prosperity. Jenna and Will moved in from Mobile after Will secured a job as the head loan officer for the Alabama Bank and Trust Timberville Office.
"Podunk town," Jenna muttered as she clicked along the long halls of the Paper Works. She searched for the main reception office, which didn't seem to exist. The employment agency sent her over for a job interview and her education and skills as a business manager landed her an interview to be the president's assistant. She had hopes for being vice president of the company, but since she didn't know the owners or the atmosphere she couldn't be sure.
A nice looking black man came around the corner, wearing a suit complete with a vest and tie. The man's wonderful scent hit Jenna's nose, she recognized it as one of the fragrances bought at the expensive fragrance counters at the upscale department stores at the mall in the larger city. "May I help you?" he asked, his striking blue eyes penetrating to her.
Jenna stopped. "Yes, I'm here for a job interview and trying to find the reception office." She stared at the man, he looked so very familiar.
The man smiled. "I am the one you need. Right this way," he said and pivoted on his heels to the right to a door that lead to his office. He turned around, so familiar to Jenna. She squinted trying to place him.
"Darnell Pickens, owner of Paper Works, Inc.," Darnell said as he held out his hand to shake.
Jenna's mouth flew open in shock as her heart did flip-flops within her chest. "Darnell Pickens? From Mobile? Oh wow, Darnell it's me, Jenna Ably. Jenna Stuart now," Jenna said, her eyes lighting up at discovering her old boyfriend from high school. She shook his hand as his face went into the biggest smile at realizing she was
Jenna from high school.
"Oh my goodness, Jenna! It's been forever. How have you been over the past years?" Darnell asked and motioned for her to have a seat in front of his desk. His shock not as evident as Jenna's.
"Well, what can I say? I went to U of A at Birmingham. I met and married a man from there, Will Stuart. Look at you! Tell me about you," Jenna said as a blush rode across her face. She felt she had been given a great gift, one she dreamt about for years.
"Well, after I graduated from Tuscaloosa with my MBA I married Macy. We bought Paper Works, Inc. two years ago and I've been working with a team of attorneys and accountants to save it. After a well-needed upgrade, we opened the doors a year ago and revived the economy here in Timberville. Macy works with certain charitable organizations in the community," Darnell said, his eyes sparkling.
"That's wonderful Darnell. Any children?"
"No, not yet. You?" he asked.
"Oh no. We're hoping to be better established first," Jenna said. It was a half lie. Will had wanted to start a family since they first graduated college five years ago but she wasn't ready.
"Well, damn. It's so good to see you again Jenna. You're looking good. Even more beautiful than high school," Darnell said. He always gave great compliments.
"I hated how we lost touch when you left," Jenna said remembering how sad it had made her.
"I know, I hated it too. You remember how much of a hard ass my parents were though," Darnell said with a chuckle.
"I sure remember the first day I met you in seventh grade. You came in as a new student and Ms. Burns had you sit in the desk in front of mine. Then I was told to show you around," Jenna said as she remembered the day with a dreamy stare.
"Yeah, I remember that day well. I felt intimidated by being in the presence of such a pretty girl," Darnell said remembering too the feeling of first meeting Jenna back then.
"Honestly, Darnell, you were such a charmer. High school was a blur though. I did miss you terribly after you left. I thought of you often through the years wondering how you fared when your family moved off. I was so pissed you didn't leave a forwarding address or phone number."
"Yeah, that was my parents doing. They wanted to make sure they severed the tie we had," Darnell said with a frown.
"I've missed you!" Jenna said and reached across the desk to grasp his hand. Darnell felt a flutter like he did those many years ago when Jenna planted her green eyes on him.
"Okay, so now that we've established who we really are, are you here applying for the position as my assistant?" Darnell asked, his eyebrow cocked up endearingly. He wanted to change the subject. He needed to change the subject. Running into his old girlfriend totally caught him off-guard.
"Well yes. My husband landed a position as the senior loan officer at Alabama Bank and Trust so I'm looking to fill a position that matches my education," Jenna said.
"Oh, I must have met your husband the other day when we secured an account there. How interesting," Darnell said a big smile staying on his face.
"How small the world is," Jenna said.
Darnell nodded in agreement and wanted to say more but didn't. He flipped through Jenna's resume and work experience. The two discussed her college, her internships, and her previous experience as the manager of a small textile company in Mobile.
"I'm impressed Jenna. It would be nice to have an assistant I know and one who will offer a good rapport. I'll discuss your resume with the board and be in touch in the next couple of days. We have four others applying. You understand, we have to be fair. But as far as I'm concerned..." Darnell smiled at her giving her hope.
Jenna rose up from her chair and shook his hand again.
"It's so nice seeing you again Darnell," Jenna said beaming her best smile. She lunged forward to hug her old friend. It felt good to have his arms about her again even if only for a brief moment.
"Oh, likewise dear. I'll be in touch either way," Darnell said and walked her back to the parking lot.
Sunlight beamed down so Jenna fished in her handbag for her sunglasses to shield her eyes. They paused at her vehicle, Darnell looked deeply in her eyes. She drew in a deep breath, suddenly feeling dizzy in his presence. “Thank you. See you later,” Jenna said as she broke the uncomfortable moment. She felt she needed to reach over and kiss the man, the urge scared her. Little did she know he felt the same urge.
Jenna hopped in her Toyota and headed home, excited about the job prospect and amazed over the luck that her potential boss used to be her high school boyfriend. Though years ago, she always thought of Darnell as the one that got away. Back then people gave them trouble because he came from African American heritage and she Caucasian. They didn't let that stop them back then, but ultimately, summer vacation and Darnell's family moving off tore the couple apart.
"Will! You won't believe this. My potential boss is an ex-boyfriend from early high school," Jenna said as she bounced into the room with a big smile across her pretty face.
Will looked up from the meat he prepared for supper and frowned. "Am I supposed to be happy you’re excited about working for an ex-boyfriend?" Will said taking Jenna by surprise. She laid her handbag down and came around the bar.
"Well, it was years ago. Like tenth grade. Oh, are you jealous?" Jenna asked grinning.
"Should I be? I don't like the thought of other men ogling you," Will said as he peppered the steak.
"He's not ogling me. That was so long ago. He was a sweet boy, probably not even the same person now. My goodness, he's more like a good friend. But it's a good thing because I may land a great position with the company he now owns," Jenna said as she washed her hands so she could help prepare the salad.
"I don't know," Will said as he shook his head.
"Well, he'll call with the official offer in a couple of days. You'll change your mind when you hear the salary and benefits offer," Jenna said and went into detail about that. Inside she felt like a giddy schoolgirl who finally received attention from her major crush. She wanted to squeal but thought better than to do that in front of her husband.
"You're right, it does sound like a good position. I just don't like you working for some ex-boyfriend," Will said as they sat down to eat supper.
Jenna didn't realize just how jealous her husband could be until now. She tried to come up with reasons why he should be jealous and she knew in her heart of hearts, he had every right to be. However, when she explained all the details that came with the job he seemed to be a little more accepting when he heard about the salary and benefits. After all, he’s a banker and the thought of adding such income to their finances helped to ease that jealous a smidgen.
That night Jenna thought about Darnell and all the times they enjoyed together in high school. Darnell had a crush on Jenna since junior high. He always tried to sit by her in class. She remembered him grabbing her hand in the eighth grade and telling her how someday he was going to marry her.
Back then Jenna's parents weren't too accepting of her having a "black" boyfriend. Her mother told her it would be easier on her if she'd just stick to her
. Jenna stay irritated about that even though she and Darnell still dated until he moved. Nothing big ever happened. They took bus trips sneaking off on the weekends with both sets of parents thinking they were with other friends. They went to Gulf Shores to the beach and watched movies.
"Did you sleep with him?" Will asked as he crawled in bed.
"With who?" Jenna asked knowing full well who Will meant but chose to act as if she didn’t have a thought in the world about running into her ex-boyfriend.
"With Darnell Pickens." Will situated himself on his side, his arm propped under him and laid his head in his hand.
"Of course not. We parted company before I turned sixteen. Will, stop it," Jenna said as she squirmed as Will began tickling her in the ribs.
Before they knew it each threw off their clothing and Will made love to his wife. Jenna however couldn't get her mind off of Darnell's handsome face. For the first time in their marriage she shut her eyes and pretended Will was someone else during their lovemaking. At first she fought it trying to push Darnell out of her head. But as Will licked up and down her slit she imagined what it would be like to have Darnell there. When she reached down and felt Will's silky straight hair and not Darnell's kinky curls she came two from her daydream fast. It took her a while to finally come after that.
Jenna closed her eyes again while Will made love to her imagining what it would be like to be with Darnell. She kept her hands on his back and not in his very white boy hair. The thoughts scared her. She hadn't seen Darnell in years and hadn't really thought about him since high school. But now he's back in her life and it completely threw her imagination for a loop.
That night Jenna dreamt of Darnell. It consumed all of her thoughts to the point she thought about nothing else. In a way she hoped she wouldn't get the job because it scared her that much. What if she acted on these resurfaced feelings?
Two days later as Jenna looked over her next prospects. She had procrastinated about pursuing a job elsewhere because she hoped against hope she would be hired by Darnell. The phone call finally came through before she had to take action elsewhere. She jumped up and down when she saw
Paper Works Inc.
on her cell phone.
"Are you ready to come to work for me?" Darnell asked, his voice deep and rich.
"Oh my! Yes! So I'm hired?" Gooseflesh flashed down her neck with the excitement of hearing the offer.
"Yes ma'am, you are. You are the most qualified applicant. Besides I happen to have a great in with the boss and he really likes you," Darnell said and chuckled with his deep voice. She loved hearing it.
"I'm so happy! Darnell, thank you. You've made my day," Jenna said as she paced the floor, her heart beating fast in anticipation.
"See you Monday. Casual business dress. Hour long lunches. I'm flexible on the times. I look forward to working with you, Jenna."
"Me too," Jenna said feeling the blush ride across her face as she set the phone down. She had to calm down, but it felt as if she’d taken a feel good drug and the feeling just wouldn’t leave her.
Later that evening Will thought she seemed a little too excited about the job but he tried to be happy for her.