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
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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