My Twist of Fortune
by Piper Rayne
Book 0.5 in The Green Family Series
Two aching hearts. A meddling small town. A second chance.
It's not a new story. Wife finds out husband's been cheating on her and she packs up her four kids and heads back to her hometown, Sunrise Bay, Alaska.
Yeah, not a fresh start, but thousands of miles away from my ex will do just fine.
I'm prepared for the cold weather, the early snowfalls, and dark days and nights. What I'm not prepared for is coming face to face with my ex's cousin and for the same feelings from twenty years ago to ignite like the flame never went out.
It doesn't take long before people are whispering about the widowed Hank Greene and me. But we both have children to think of this time around. Then again, Hank knows what it's like to be a single parent and sometimes those damn dimples of his make it hard to remember why we can't be together.
Aftermath of infidelity, and losing a spouse to tragedy.
Ohhhhhh, I loved this.
My Twist of Fortune is a prequel to Piper Rayne's The Greene's series. You don't have to start the series with it. You could read The Greene's main books and novellas first, if you wanted, but I think you will be missing out. This novella, while short, packs a powerful punch.
Makes you a little love drunk.
For a couple of reasons.
I have a fondness for second chance romances. Especially those that the first time around, never came of anything because things were in the way. I especially love romances with older characters, because I think sometimes romance writers forget that people can find love at any age.
Another reason is that both characters have their own reasons why getting into a relationship would be difficult, and do it anyway. There is something powerful about two people both making the decision to open themselves up to potential pain again, for the chance of something great.
And it is great.
It's a short, sweet, and hot romance. Proving that characters in their forties can still be sexy to write about.
Finally, they both have children - ranging from seniors in high school to elementary school. I've read many romances where one of the characters has a child, and the other character steps up and becomes the child's new dad or mom. Instant family. Everyone is happy. This is the first time I've read a romance that is two people creating a blended family, and doesn't make it easy. Considering there are many blended families out there, it's nice to see some representation of that.
While My Twist of Fortune isn't necessary to enjoy The Greene series (each book features one of the Greene "children" finding love), I think you would be missing out if you skipped it. Considering Hank and Marla's circumstances to finding one another again are referenced several times in the series, I think it's worth the read. Plus it's so good! I promise!
Ethyl: “Have fun at the McAlisters’,”
Mom says, her and Dori walking down the street.
Hank: “It’s not fun putting in a water heater.”
Dori: “It is if you get all wet doing it,”
Dori yells back. Adam: “So I heard Xavier talking to Clara and I guess her mom said they can’t have any more sleepovers,”
I peek through the windows and don’t see anyone headed toward the door. I knock again.
Adam: “You know, because they’re teenagers now. He’s a boy and she’s a girl, even if they are just friends. I think Clara’s mom is worried about… you know.”
Hank: “Do you know?”
I look down at him with wide eyes. One super thin silver lining that came from Laurie’s death is that I know my kids way better than I ever did before.
Adam: “We had the talk last year, Dad.”
Now, I can be out of it sometimes, but I know for sure I never had the talk with Adam. And if his brothers beat me to it… Lord help him.
Hank: “No, we didn’t.”
Adam: “Not you and me.”
He signals with his finger between us.
Adam: “Me and the school. You know, where they split up the boys and the girls and talk about the girl stuff and the boners.” Hank: “I think all seventeen-year-old boys should be cocky right before the real world drags them down a level or two.”
Another chuckle leaks out of him. I sigh in relief.
Marla: “True. Although I’m not sure Jeff ever got dragged down.”
He stops working and looks over.
Hank: “He lost you, right?”
Something flutters in my stomach.
Marla: “Technically he gave me up.”
Hank: “One day he’ll realize how stupid he was.”
Marla: “You’re still as sweet as ever.”
Hank: “And you’re still easy to be sweet to.” Hank: “Everyone has regrets, but the great thing about life is that it’s never too late to change what you don’t like. You can pivot and go down a different path.”
I glance at him.
Marla: “There’s this pesky thing called qualifications that you need to get a job.”
Hank: “I’m looking for an assistant. Want to apply?”
Marla: “So I can lose a finger or two? No thanks.”
Hank: “Hey now, there you go underestimating yourself. It’d probably be the whole hand.” Hank: “There are lots of options. Think about something you really love to do. And if all else fails, I’ll hire you. But I will warn you, there’s a required uniform that involves short skirts and heels.” Hank: “Will you go on a date with me?”
he asks before I get out the words that we’re looking for trouble. His hand moves up and cradles my cheek. I lean into his touch.
Hank: “I know what you’re afraid of. The same thing you were in high school—that this town will cast you as the bad guy. The woman who went from cousin to cousin. But I don’t care. I let this opportunity slip away from me once and I won’t do it again. To hell with this town and their gossip and judgments.” Hank: “I have some stipulations about the date.”
Marla: “You do, do you,”
I say with a smile.
Hank: “No talking about spouses. This is just for us to get reacquainted with one another.”
A night where the name Jeff doesn’t leave my lips.
Marla: “Sounds good to me. What else?”
Hank: “No sleeping together. I’m not easy and don’t want you to get the wrong idea.”
I laugh and lean into him.
Marla: “Well, jeez, I was planning to drop under the table and give you a blow job. I guess that’s not happening now.”
He holds up his hands.
Hank: “I strike my last comment from the record. Maybe we can negotiate different terms.”
Marla: “No way, you already laid down the law, Hank Greene. I wouldn’t want to compromise your morals.” Posey: “You like my mommy?”
She turns to me and crosses her arms.
Hank: “I do.”
She nods as if that pleases her.
Posey: “She smiles a lot around you.”
Hank: “I’m glad. I smile a lot around her too.”
She narrows her eyes ever so slightly.
Posey: “I think she likes you.”
Hank: “Even better.”
She stands and steps up one stair so she’s eye level with me. Her long red hair is half pulled back with a few pieces escaping. Her finger juts out as she points at me.
Posey: “You better not hurt her.”
I hold up my hands.
Hank: “I promise.”
Posey: “My daddy hurt her.”
Hank: “I know.”
She rushes up the steps and opens up the door.
Posey: “Now you ring the doorbell so we can answer, and you can wait for her to make her entrance.”
Before she has a chance to shut the door, I put up my finger.
Hank: “How old are you again?”
Posey: “Age is just a number,”
she says, points at the doorbell, and closes the door quietly. Marla: “You think just because you got me behind a shed I’m going to make out with you?”
I feign indignation. He moves in front of me and backs me up until my back hits the woodshed, his fingers weaving through my hair.
Hank: “I’m resorting to horny seventeen-year-old tactics because there is no way I was going to go that entire game without kissing you.”
Marla: “I don’t remember being asked.”
His lips stop right before touching mine.
Hank: “Make my year and allow me to kiss you, Marla?” Hank: “I like what you said. About being friends and trusting one another. Having a true partner. That’s a relationship I’d like to be in.” Jed sits there, and we all look at him. He sighs.
Jed: “They’re going to bust my balls about this at school even more now that you’re official. Cade hates me. And…”
He releases a deep breath.
Jed: “Fine. Date your cousin.”
Girls: “He’s not her cousin!”
all four of us girls scream, and we laugh together. Marla: “You choose who you are. You are the only one who can control you. You want to be a better person? You can. You want to be a better quarterback? You can. You want to be a better son?”
He sighs, and I laugh.
Marla: “You can.” Jed: “Hey, Mom.”
Jed leans forward to kiss Marla on the cheek.
Jed: “Whoa. Fuck.”
Marla slaps his arm for swearing. Jed shuts his eyes and turns away.
Jed: “You’re lucky I’m not blind now.”
Dad stirs awake and blinks.
Marla: “I did it for you too. Hank is taking the real brunt of me breastfeeding. A new man has taken over his duties.”
My head falls back and Jed looks as if he might lose it.
Jed: “Seriously, keep that to yourself!”
Marla laughs, and Dad rises from the couch to hug us.
Hank: “Boys, you’re old enough to understand I had to go cold turkey. It could be over a year.”
Cade: “What’s a little breastmilk,”
I say, and Jed picks up a stuffed bear and throws it at me.