Gold medalist, Peter Stanmore has returned home a broken man and intends to put the past behind him. But love isn't so easily repressed, and second chances are rare.
Jill Davenport has given up any hope of marriage and a life of her own, after all, years ago, she lost the only man she ever loved. But the truth is impossible to hide.
When secrets are revealed, decisions must be made in spite of the consequences. Can what was once lost be found, or is love destined to remain forever lost?
Here's a little excerpt:
“Jill? Jill Davenport, as I live and breathe, is that you?”
She jerked her hand back from the bread and looked into eyes that dragged her in and swallowed her whole. “Yeah…” Her voice died in her throat and she had to cough to make it work. “Yeah, yeah, it’s me. Hello, Peter.”
Peter Stanmore looked as gorgeous as he always had, as he leaned on a cane next to her. His ankle was in one of those Velcro support boots, surprising her as she’d expected a cast. His dark hair, longer than she remembered stuck up untidily as well as brushing against his collar. His green eyes still as piercing as they were all those years ago, although now their brightness was dimmed with grief.
The rest of him however, was just as striking as when she last saw him. And judging by the way her heart pounded, her stomach flipped and lack of air currently in her lungs, he still had the same effect on her. She struggled to breathe, light headed through lack of oxygen. Simply being this close to him was intoxicating, mind numbing and overwhelming.
“Of all the places to bump into you, I didn’t think it would be here.” His voice concentrated her mind; which could only be a good thing. “What are you doing?”
“Shopping,” she said, stating the obvious as she seemed incapable of doing anything else right now. “The thing same as you are doing. The same thing most people do in a grocery shop. Unless you’re Mrs. Jones, in which case you’re here to gossip.”
“I guess some people never change, but you sure have.” Amusement tinged his voice as his gaze swept up and down her figure, before lingering on her head and face. “What’s with the hair?”
Jill ran her hand over the top of her head. Had she left the comb in her hair? Left a single plait in or splashed bleach in it and now had a white streak in her dark locks? “I d-don’t…” she stuttered.
“It’s long,” he said. “I’ve never seen you with long hair before.”
“Oh. I stopped cutting it years ago. I usually tie it back, but haven’t gotten that far this morning.” She pulled a band from her jacket pocket and tied her hair back into a high ponytail. “There.”
Then, out of a desperate need to get back onto solid ground, she held the loaf of whole meal bread out to him. “Here.”
Peter shook his head. “You have it. You got to it first.”
“It’s fine,” she insisted. The solid ground, she so desperately needed, could only be found by ending this conversation and sudden encounter right now.
“I can eat white bread just as easily.”
Jill rolled her eyes. “And I can make my own.”
“Really?” Surprise filled his face. “That’s a talent I don’t possess. Most things I can cook, but my bread always turns out doughy and inedible. Mum always says…said I’m the reason shop bought bread was invented.”
Jill put the bread into his basket. “Then you should definitely take this one. I must get on. Have fun shopping.”
She headed into the next aisle and leaned against the freezer of vegetables, rubbing the back of her neck. She hadn’t expected the reaction to seeing him again that now flooded her. Every nerve ending sang and her pulse raced, conflicting with the pitting in her stomach and the way the scars around her broken heart ached. They were old friends from school, who became skating partners, who then dated off the ice. They’d been teased by their competitors for their chasteness and she’d hoped and prayed that his kisses would one day lead to more and her happy ever after would mean marriage and life with Peter.
But it hadn’t happened. He’d dropped her like hot cakes to pursue a solo career. The last thing she needed was someone like Peter back in her life. No, not someone like him, rather him personified. The last thing she needed was him back in her life, breaking her heart all over again. They were so over.
She shook herself and opened the freezer to pull out a packet of frozen peas. A hand reached down and grabbed the same packet.
Jill sighed. Not again.
“This is getting to be a habit.” Peter pulled back. “You can have this one.”
“Thanks.” Jill picked up the peas.
Bumping into Peter was a habit she wanted to avoid. Moreover it was a habit she needed to avoid if she were to have any hope of getting home before her nerves shattered into a million tiny pieces and went spinning off into the heavens. She moved away and continued to shop.
Only to find she reached the checkout at the same point he did. Somehow Jill managed to resist raising her eyes heavenward as she all but begged God to stop them meeting like this. It wouldn’t do either of them any good in the long run. There was too much water under the broken bridge between them to ever hope it would be mended or gulfed.
Peter held out a hand. “Ladies first. We seem destined to meet today.”
“That we do.” She began unloading her basket onto the conveyor belt. She could feel his gaze almost burning through her jacket and glanced back.
“It seems a shame to waste the opportunity destiny has presented us with. Can I buy you coffee? We could catch up.”
About the author:
Clare is a British author. She lives in a small town just outside Reading, England with her husband, whom she married in 1992, their three children, and unfriendly mini-panther, aka Tilly the black cat. Clare is half English and half Welsh, which makes watching rugby interesting at times as it doesn’t matter who wins.
Writing from an early childhood and encouraged by her teachers, she graduated from rewriting fairy stories through fan fiction to using her own original characters and enjoys writing an eclectic mix of romance, crime fiction and children's stories. When she's not writing, she can be found reading, crocheting or doing the many piles of laundry the occupants of her house manage to make.
Her books are based in the UK, with a couple of exceptions, thus, although the spelling may be American in some of them, the books contain British language and terminology and the more recent ones are written in UK English.
The first draft of every novel is hand written.
She has been a Christian for more than half her life. She goes to Carey Baptist where she is one of four registrars. You can sign up for her quarterly newsletter here -
She can be found at: