The City of Second Chances by Jane Lacey-Crane
About the author
Born in London, Jane's writing career began in cable TV, writing true crime documentaries.
More recently, Jane has contributed to an anthology of short stories and written two weekly
crime serials. When she's not writing, Jane loves to read good books, binge watch TV boxsets
and drink tea. And wine.
Twitter handle: @JaneLaceyCrane
About the book
She's already met The One, it was just that Mr Right came along at the wrong time....
Evie Grant is forty-five years old, a widow, and single mum of two children about to leave
the nest. Suddenly alone in the family home, Evie realizes she hates her job, hardly goes out
and hasn’t had a date since who knows when…
So it feels like fate when the opportunity arises for a girls trip to New York City. Staying
with her sister on the Upper East Side, Evie is enchanted by a snow-covered city consumed
by preparing for Christmas. Bobble hat firmly on, Evie is walking through the city one day
when she bumps into Daniel Roberts, Hollywood heartthrob and one-time boyfriend of hers.
It’s now or never for Evie – but she open her heart to the possibility of a new beginnings and
true happiness once again….?
Funny, real and wonderfully romantic, this is the perfect feel-good read to keep you warm
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2A1KBr0
‘Hey, I’m Rachel. This is Evie. Everything okay?’ Rachel went barrelling over to her, curly perm bouncing and arms waving. ‘You looked a bit lost, so we thought we’d come over and say hi.’
The girl didn’t answer, she just blinked a couple of times and then gave Rachel a shy smile. As she did, I noticed the scar that ran down the left side of her face; it made her grin slightly lopsided.
‘It’s all a bit much to take in, isn’t it?’ I said, gently. ‘We were just talking about the reading lists for our courses. We’ve got tons to do.’
‘Yes, it is a lot. I’m… I’m… doing History and English Literature too, so…’
‘We’re both doing English Lit as well!’ exclaimed Rachel. ‘That’s amazing, we can all sit together. Is that where we should be going next?’ Rachel peered over at the timetable the girl was clutching; she still hadn’t told us her name.
‘Er… yes, I think it is,’ she said.
‘We’d better get going, then,’ I said, stepping between the two of them and linking my arms through theirs. ‘I hear Mr McDermott can be a bit of a fascist about timekeeping, even on the first day.’ We headed down the hallway to the English department, arm in arm.
‘I’m Olivia, by the way, but you can call me Liv if you like,’ our new friend finally announced.
‘It’s nice to meet you, Liv,’ I said.
‘You too,’ she replied, giving us both an enthusiastic smile. And that was it; from that moment on we were best friends, inseparable. We told each other everything, shared our deepest fears and our greatest joys, and Olivia told us about the car accident that left her face scarred and killed her family.
‘I don’t remember many details about what happened. I know it was raining and Dad was driving. We were on our way home from a party, some drinks thing for Mum’s work.’ The three of us were sitting in the canteen, sharing a plate of chips; Olivia kept her eyes on the table the whole time she was talking. As she started to talk I noticed the tears dropping onto her lap and I took her hand.
‘You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to.’
She shook her head, wiping away tears with the back of her hand. ‘No, it’s fine. It’s been almost two years now. I can talk about it. The police said it was a lorry that jumped the lights at a crossroads. He didn’t see us in the rain, thought he could make it across. He ploughed straight into the side of us. I was lucky, they said. Mum and James, my little brother, died instantly but Dad hung on. He was in a coma for a few weeks but never recovered. I don’t know how I managed to survive it.’
‘Well, we’re glad you did,’ said Rachel, pulling her in for one of her all-enveloping hugs. They truly did have a magical way of making you feel better.
We stayed close all through college and beyond, despite the fact that life took us all in different directions. We tried to get together at least once a month, sometimes twice if one of us was having an emotional crisis or had good news to share. But then Olivia met Lewis, and everything changed. She stopped seeing us as often. She’d cancel one invitation after another, not turn up for coffee, or if she ever did join us for drinks or dinner, she would always have to leave early for some random reason or another. On more than one occasion, Lewis turned up unannounced at the bar or restaurant we were in, claiming that he’d ‘just been passing’. He’d sit there glowering moodily at Olivia until she would eventually announce she had a headache, or she needed to be up early in the morning, and then they would leave. Rachel and I had spent many a long hour discussing our doubts and fears about Lewis. Rachel had never liked him – right from the very first moment that Olivia had introduced us – but I’d always tried to give him the benefit of the doubt.