Six hours later, Cecily was walking through baggage claim, ready to head outside to hail a cab to make her way to Brooklyn. She couldn’t help but be smug at all the poor suckers waiting by the carousels while she sailed through with her carry-on. Her phone was blowing up with missed calls from her mother. She rolled her eyes and was digging it out of her purse to call her mother back, when she rammed into a solid wall of muscle. A pair of arms reached out to steady her. Already mumbling an apology, she didn’t notice that the wall of muscle had gone still.
“Cecily?” The voice was deep, incredulous, and all too familiar.
No, it couldn’t be. Cecily stifled a curse as her fingers dug into her palms. She looked up and sure enough it was him.. Damn it all to hell.
All that praying had been in vain after all because there he was. Jeffrey Lee, in the flesh, plain as day. Crap.
Resolution 1—broken. She hadn’t gone looking for drama, but drama sure as hell had found her.
Jeffrey couldn’t stop the goofy grin from spreading across his face. It was as if fate had handed him a second chance and dropped it right into his lap. He couldn’t have written a better meet-cute if he’d tried. “Of all the gin joints, in all the towns,” he murmured.
The deep brown eyes that he hadn’t been able to forget for ten years glared at him. Truth be told, Cecily had been glaring at him like that since they were both in diapers, and the familiarity of it all was a soothing balm. He’d always believed the opposite of love wasn’t hate, but indifference. If the glare was anything to go by, she wasn’t indifferent. It wasn’t ideal but he’d take it.
She looked like a little elf bundled in her puffy winter jacket and red pom-pom hat. A scowling elf radiating hostility and aggravation. Definitely not the image one wants of Santa’s little helper.
“What are you doing here?” she blurted.
He raised a brow. “I imagine the same thing you are.” At her blank expression, he elaborated. “Home for the New Year? Command performance? To play the dutiful son, the epitome of filial piety?”
“I don’t remember you being here last year.” She’d noticed his absence. He was going to take that as a good sign.
“There were…extenuating circumstances.”
“Must have been, for Pam ayi to let you off the hook.” She raised a brow. Technically there was no blood relationship between their families, but Cecily still called his mother “auntie.”
He coughed awkwardly. “Yeah, well.” Hoping to avoid that minefield, he quickly changed the topic. “We should head out. My Uber is going to be here in a few minutes.”
The same blank expression.
“Jet lag hitting you hard, is it?” he teased.
She frowned. “I never said I was going to share a car with you. I can get my own cab. Or take the subway.”
“You’re going to take the subway? All the way to Brooklyn? I don’t think so.”
Cecily bristled. “I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself. I’ve been doing it for a while now.” The unspoken “You of all people should know, you big jackass” hung in the air between them. She turned to leave, and he shot out an arm to stop her.
“Well, consider getting a free Uber ride as me paying my penance.”
She cocked her head, and gave him the side-eye. “One Uber ride and the slate is wiped clean? Really?”
“A guy’s gotta start somewhere. The road to forgiveness can be long—might as well try to navigate it quicker with an Uber ride.”
Jeffrey saw her fight a grin and knew he’d won when she let out an exasperated huff of breath. He gave himself a moment to savor the hard-won victory. It was rare for anyone to win against Cecily Chang. He’d consider that as rare as a yeti sighting.
“I want it on the record that I am only accepting your offer under great duress. And because I am too tired and jet-lagged to fight with you about this.”
“Always the attorney.”
"You bet your ass."
I love a second-chance romance. Even better, if it's an enemies-to-lovers, second chance. What's your favorite romance trope?
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