** This eBook was redited for Red Rose Publishing. It was previously published under the title Better Late Than Never **
Chantel Hennings loves to work with children and her life-long dream of opening her own childcare center has finally come true. At first she was a little hesitant to move back to the small town she grew up in with her sisters, because even though she has finally achieved her lifelong dream she also has a past—and his name is Garrett Brody.
Garrett Brody is floored the instant he walks through the front doors of his high school sweetheart day care center. Chantel Hennings was the one who got away—the one woman that he’d never gotten over. He isn’t surprised when Chantel doesn’t want to have anything to do with him. The way he’d end their relationship was sort of harsh.
One thing was for certain, now that Chantel was back within arm’s reach, he was more than willing to take the ultimate gamble to keep her there.
Shocked, Chantel stared at the man in front of her. She fought the instant reaction of wanting to rub her eyes to make sure they weren’t deceiving her. It had been six years since she’d last seen him. Six years that she tried to forget him, and now, she realized it had all been in vain. She was more in love with him now than she had been when she was a teenager. He seemed to have become more handsome than she recalled. His brown eyes still held the mystery they used to, and his light blond hair was cut short, yet still long enough to show his hand had been raked through it several times despite the early hour. He looked taller. His shoulders were broader, and he it looked as though he exercised to stay in shape judging by the way his uniform fit.
Chantel gave herself a mental shake. What was she doing? Drooling over a man whom she shouldn’t be. Looking down at the paperwork in her hands, she used the distraction to collect her thoughts and herself. If she had read it before entering the room, she wouldn’t have been unprepared. It was too late to think about that now. She stepped farther into the room and closed the door behind her. Walking over to Garrett, she held her hand out to him and hoped he would shake it.
“It is a pleasure to see you again, Mr. Brody.”
Before he could react to her formal attitude, Chantel continued. “Tristan is more than welcome to enroll at the day care center. I would like to explain some things to you about the operations of my center, and then you make your final decision.”
Her gaze drifted over to Tristan, and another pang traveled through her chest. He was a carbon copy of Garrett, and he should be their son but wasn’t. What made it even worse was that there was no reason why he wasn’t.
Garrett had walked away from her with no explanation at all. After walking over to the little boy, she knelt beside him.
“Hi, Tristan. My name is Ms. Hennings.”
He gave her a brief look then looked to his father for approval. When Garrett gave it, Tristan grinned broadly before speaking. “Hi, Ms. Hennings.”
“How old are you, Tristan?”
Chantel smiled. He was such a sweetheart. “Do you see the box over there?”
He nodded eagerly, and she chuckled. She explained to him that it was full of toys he could play with while she talked to his dad. “It’s full of toys that you are more than welcome to play with while I speak with your dad, but you must put the toys up when you are finished playing with them.”
He agreed to the bargain, and she stood. Once she was out of his way, he headed to the toy box. She walked over to where Garrett was sitting and took the empty chair next to him.
“You are good with kids.”
“Thank you. Now to discuss the business of . . .” Her voice trailed off when Garrett’s hand touched hers.
“How have you been?”
“Fine, now if we could get—”
“Talk to me, Chantel.”
She shook her head and tried to pull her hand back, but he wouldn’t let her. “There is nothing to talk about, Mr. Brody.”
He refused to let her distract him with her formality. Instead, he leaned forward. “Yes, there is.”
“What? What could we possibly have to talk about?”
“You can tell me how you have been.”
“I already have.”
“Chantel, I know we didn’t end on a good note, but the past is the past.”
Her eyebrows rose in disbelief. “It may be easy for you to forget, but it isn’t easy for me. You know me well enough to know that I don’t make the same mistake twice.”
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