TITLE: Lucky One
AUTHOR: Christie Mack
Logan Westervelt wore his heart on his sleeve until the day his wife and love of his life ran away in search of chasing her dreams in Hollywood, leaving him to care for and raise their two-year-old daughter Cassidy alone.
Now it’s two years later and the once-happily-married man is a single father who shies away from romance at the risk of his heart breaking all over again. To concerned family, he insists he's fine playing daddy without the fun of dating. Besides, he's been a little preoccupied with his daughter, who hasn't said a word since her mother left.
That is until aspiring country singer Ivy Jade Mackay arrives in town after her car breaks down, leaving her stranded and unable to continue on her journey to Nashville until the problem is fixed.
Ivy Jade has big plans for her future, and sticking around in Forest Grove, Alabama, isn’t one of them. But with little money to her name, she resorts to getting a job in town until she can afford to get back on the road with a reliable car.
Outside forces push them together with an undeniable attraction which neither Logan nor Ivy care to admit to. But when past lovers and career aspirations become a thing of the present, will the spark between them be enough to give Logan and his young daughter a second chance at love and Ivy a reason to stay? Will they be the lucky one for each other?
“Are you sure you’ve got everything?” Grandma asked Ivy for what felt like the fiftieth time before she hit the road to Nashville, Tennessee in search of stardom as a country singer.
Ivy knew her grandmother meant no harm with her repetitive words. She was simply worried about her only grandchild venturing out into the big, wide world on her own.
But at twenty-five years of age and having saved up enough cash to make it to Nashville, she was more than ready to say goodbye to this one-horse town, otherwise known as Pine Hill, Georgia. Even if it meant leaving the only family she had left behind while she went off in search of a life of her own.
Ivy placed the last of her threadbare suitcases into the trunk of the old sky-blue Volkswagen Beetle she had been given as a sixteenth-birthday present by her grandparents. Pushing her aviator sunspecs on top of her head, she used them as a headband to hold back her long, jet-black hair away from her face.
“Yes, Grandma. I’ve got everything. You don’t need to worry about me so much. I’m a big girl; I can look after myself,” Ivy assured her, though she wasn’t sure how much comfort her grandmother would take in hearing those words. She guessed she would always worry about her granddaughter, and a small part of Ivy cherished the thought that at least two people worried about her, despite her attempt to be big and brave in the great unknown.
Her grandmother placed her hands on either side of Ivy’s shoulders.
“Oh, sweetheart, your pop and I will always worry about you. That won’t ever change.” Ivy could see her fighting hard to hold back the tears Ivy hadn’t wanted to see but knew to expect. And now she also felt like shedding a tear or two alongside her grandmother. The woman had been like a mother to her after losing both her parents in a tragic automobile accident when Ivy was just fourteen years of age.
At the time, Ivy didn’t think she would ever get over the premature passing of her parents, but when she was taken in and nurtured by her grandparents despite their ailing health and age, she knew she had to keep on living for the sake of her future. Her parents wouldn’t have wanted to see her depressed; they would want to see her make a life for herself. And a life as a country music star was what Ivy was going to strive for, what she’d been dreaming of for so long. “Okay, love. Don’t get into a blubbering mess over our only granddaughter, or you know she’ll start crying, too,” Ivy’s grandfather bellowed, walking down the footpath toward where Ivy and her grandmother were standing.
He came to stand next to his wife on the curb of the street, his arm around her while he embraced his granddaughter in a slow-moving, goodbye hug.
Ivy then took a step backward, leaning against her car and placing one hand on her hip in a pose. She took in her surroundings like she was taking a mental picture in her head, remembering everything familiar and what she was used to up until this point.
She couldn't forget the old Victorian-style house she had come to call her home when she was just fourteen years old or the old Oak trees which stood outside her bedroom window.
All the memories she had while living in Pine Hill—good and bad—were so very precious to Ivy right now. She would never forget the special moments she had with her grandparents. Like the time her grandfather accompanied her to the father/daughter dance when she was in high school because he knew how much it meant to her. She knew she still had that father-figure role present in her life, even when her father wasn't physically there with her anymore.
Or the times when she had to work nights at the diner and her car decided it wasn't going to work and get her home. Her grandfather would come and pick her up despite the diner being a mere ten-minute walk from home. These were the kind of moments she would never, ever forget--not that she wanted to, even if she tried.
But she knew that as much as she wanted to, Ivy couldn't stand here forever and reminisce about the good times. She had to look forward to the future and what it would bring her.
Ivy tucked her hands into the front pockets of her black, skinny-leg jeans. She couldn't avoid the inescapable forever.
“I guess I better hit the road then,” she said.
“Yes, you better. You're burning daylight,” her grandfather replied.
Ivy chuckled. Trust her grandfather to want her to get going before she lost daylight. He hated her driving late at night, like she could only see properly in the daytime.
“Do you want me gone that much, Pop?” Ivy joked with a sparkle forming in her dark green eyes. For his seventy-three years, her grandfather rarely showed his age in character or appearances.
“Oh, hush.” Grandma silenced her husband, patting him on his shoulder and flattening down her salt and pepper, bob-style haircut with her hands. “Leave the girl alone. She's fine.” Grandma turned to Ivy.
“Are you okay? Do you have enough cash?” Her voice was almost a whisper. She tucked a strand of Ivy's hair--identical to her mother’s--behind her ear and brushed her cheek gently.
“Yes,” she said, her words coming out in a whisper. “I'm fine.”
And she was—sort of. She had enough money to use on gas to get her to Nashville. She figured once she got there, there was the risk that she could probably sleep in her car to save some money and she could look for some kind of job to make a little extra cash to pay for studio time so she could make a demo for record labels. Where she stayed when she got there wasn't nearly as important as the reason why she was going to Nashville in the first place. She wanted to make sure she set out to do what she was going there to do, showing everyone in Pine Hill who didn't believe she could make it that she was serious about her career aspirations of becoming a country singer.
Ivy's grandparents had already given her enough in life to know she could achieve anything she wanted and more. Part of their golden years had already passed them by because they were busy raising their granddaughter. Ivy didn't need to be given or taking anything else.
The rest was simply up to her.
Her grandmother knew something was wrong.
She tilted Ivy's chin so she was looking into her eyes. “What's the matter, honey bunch?”
Ivy inhaled forcefully then breathed out quickly like she couldn't hold in any more breaths. “Am I doing the right thing in leaving here? Do you really think I can make it as a singer, or are my dreams set too high?”
“Listen to me, honey. I know a lot of people have said you're never going to make it as a singer, that you have set your career ambitions too high to accomplish. I wouldn't be honest if I said it's going to be easy to succeed, but you don't know if you don't at least try. You have to work hard to get everything you want. I believe you can do anything you set your mind to, but you have to believe in yourself.”
Ivy was always doubting her ability to sing, like maybe she wasn't that good of a singer even though she had been told many times just how good she really was. She had sung at many open-mic and karaoke nights in town before. Apparently, she had the voice, but could she make it in the music industry as a country singer? Nashville was a hard place to crack into, but her grandmother was right. She had to at least give it a go.
Once Ivy got done saying her goodbyes to those who had given their all to raise her as best as they could as elder guardians, Ivy knew she had to make tracks or her Pop would be right in saying she was losing daylight. If she wanted to make it to Nashville, she had to make a getaway now before she lost her nerve and gave up on her dreams altogether.
She opened the car door and climbed in, turning the key in the ignition and starting the car. She looked back at her family with a smile in their direction. It meant a lot to know they had confidence in her because she wasn't sure she had much in herself right now. As she shifted into gear and left the driveway, she drove a few blocks down the road, past the neighboring houses, before glancing in her rear view mirror. She looked back at her grandparents, waving at her as she drove away from them and everything she knew and loved about Pine Hill.
It was too late to say she had changed her mind about Nashville and singing. If she turned around now, she would never live it down. People would know she was wrong in stating her desires to be a singer. She couldn't go back—not now. And besides her family, she had nothing left in Pine Hill. Even her (former) best friend had made it clear the other day she wanted nothing to do with her after her ass of a boyfriend had come onto Ivy. And if that wasn’t enough, he had the nerve to tell her best friend that Ivy had been the one to make a move on him!
Ivy just hoped she was making the right decision.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I'm a 27 year old Australian girl who loves nothing more than finding a really good romance book you can't put down until the characters get the happily ever after that they deserve. It was through reading that I decided to put pen to paper, or in this case, fingertip to computer key, and jot down the stories my brain comes up with. When I'm not reading the endless supply of books added daily to my iPad, I can be found tucked away with my laptop in front of me as I write about the many characters beg-ging me to tell their story, one book boyfriend at a time. You can drop me a line at any of the social networking sites listed below.
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