A Fresh Restart
by Chelsea Falin
Genre: Contemporary Romance
A sweet contemporary friends-to-lovers romance novella with a strong dose of second chance at love and a sweet HEA. No cliffhangers. (Heat Level: 2 flames.)
Josette Miller and Walker Anderson grew up together in small-town, Dade City, Florida. Inseparable during their youth, Josette dreamed of growing up and moving away. When she left ten years ago, Josette didn’t know how Walker really felt about her.
But Dade City just wasn’t the same with Josette, and Walker left shortly after, regretting he’d never told Josette how he felt. In a twist of fate, Josette and Walker find themselves moving home within months of each other. They aren’t kids, anymore, and the attraction this time around is mutual. Maybe a “Fresh Restart” is just what they needed to get their happily ever after.
Today, Walker had begun tearing down the home. He’d decided to go at it a bit at a time, instead of hiring a demolishing company. After all the construction work he’d done, he knew a small home like this posed minimal danger if he knocked it out and removed it himself.
He’d just finished taking a sledgehammer to one corner of the house, stepping back as the structure creaked and pieces of old rotten wood tumbled, leaving a gapping hole to the inside. “You being destructive or productive, Walker?” The feminine voice reached his ears as it had been doing all night… much to his horror this morning.
Walker turned and smiled at Josette, who carried a small picnic basket on one arm. Her long hair was pulled back as usual, and she wore a pair of denim cutoff shorts that reached halfway down her thighs below a plain black sleeveless tank. “Can’t it be both?”
Josette shook her head and laughed softly. “You’ve gotten a lot done, Wild Man. When I came into town, I didn’t recognize the place at all.” She paused. “But why not hiring someone to demolish it for you? That could be dangerous, you know.”
“Oh, I’ve done plenty of small-scale demolitions. Not worried about it. Plus, this’ll save me money and keep me busy, so it’s a winning solution.” Walker directed a grin her way and she rolled her eyes but smiled.
“Well, I just wanted to stop by and see how it was coming… oh, and I brought you a few things. It’s hot today, so I thought you might want something.”
“Isn’t it hot here everyday?” Walker pulled out a rag from his back pocket and wiped a fresh line of glistening sweat from his brow. Josette nodded and continued to stand in the same spot, looking awkward. Why was that? Walker couldn’t remember the girl he’d grown up with ever looking awkward. “What’d you bring me, girl?”
Josette shook her head. She’d been lost in thought. “Oh, it’s not much. We cut up a watermelon yesterday, so I brought you some of that. There’s also two water bottles and some sweet tea, plus some biscuits if you get hungry later.”
Walker strode over to her in long, slightly bowlegged strides. Her bright green eyes looked into his blue ones as he took the basket from her. Josette seemed out of it, and… could she be awkward because, after all these years, she’d finally decided she liked him? Maybe it was the muscles. He’d had more than one woman tell him his muscles were attractive.
Instead of making a joke, which was tempting, he asked “You alright Josie Posey? You seem upset.”
Josette nodded. “Yes, I’m fine.”
Josette looked around at the property with a little too much interest, and Walker walked his picnic basket to his truck where it would stay out of the sun a few more moments while he finished the side of the house he was working on bringing down. When he turned back around, Josette stood with her arms crossed on her chest. Uh oh, he thought. She only did that when she was really upset. Stubborn woman that she was, she’d have to have the reason dragged out of her.
Walker walked back over to Josette and, standing close, he bent his head down a bit so he could look her in the eyes with one eyebrow arched high. “You gonna tell me what’s wrong? Or do you want me to whoop it out of you like old times?”
Josette’s eyes grew wide. “You wouldn’t dare.” Her voice held a threat over the disbelief, and he knew if he tried to throw her over his shoulder like he used to, she’d come close to killing him.
Walker shrugged and sat down directly on the sandy dirt where a thick carpet of grass had once grown. He bent one knee up and crossed the other in front of him. Josette didn’t need an invitation before sitting on the dirt in front of him. She pulled her knees up to her chest, and looked at the ground between them instead of directly at him.
“Well?” Walker kept his voice low and looked at her.
Chelsea Falin is the 25 year old independent author of well over ten titles. She began writing with intents to publish in 2006, at age 16, and finally published in 2009, at age 19. Chelsea writes in a variety of genres, including but not limited to: romance, young adult, comedy, cooking, poetry, and dramatic fiction. Professionally, Chelsea is also a freelance blog/article writer, web designer, and book blogger.
In her personal life, Chelsea is the mother of a six year old daughter. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, fishing, hiking, biking, traveling, and spending time with her friends or family.
What inspired you to write this book?
Well, I recently become obsessed with romance novels. I’d written one prior to A Fresh Restart, back in 2013 or 2014 I think, called I Found My Heart in West Virginia. But I mean, I really got on a romance kick and felt inspired to write another one (and I know I can’t stop). I was also feeling homesick at the time, so the story naturally took place in my hometown. Dade City, Florida is a very real place in Pasco County, Florida – about an hour’s drive from Tampa. My next two romance books (one is being edited and one is being written) also take place there.
What can we expect from you in the future?
A lot more books in the next year or two. After an extended stint of writer’s block that I filled with writing nonfiction books (like my Think You Know Your States? Series) the stories started flowing again. I work best when I have multiple projects going (which might seem redundant). I have a steamy romance (versus this one, which is more sweet) that is in editing, and I’m writing another romance now that falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. I also have a science-fiction thriller sitting on a back burner, and the fourth volume of The Growing Roots Series (my most popular YA series) is in editing, too.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters inA Fresh Restart?
Well, Josette is a fiery little thing with a heart of gold who has suffered a lot of heartache – that honestly could have been avoided if she hadn’t of friend-zones Walker when they were kids. She’s struggling to remain self-sufficient and catches a few lucky breaks that definitely help her out. She also has her family to lean on – mostly, her brother, Gunner, who she is really close to.
Walker is your typical small-town man. He can fix everything, he’s always moving, and he’s been pining for the same woman his whole life. Of course, he never says anything about his real feelings, so it’s kind of his own fault – and he’s honest enough with himself to admit it. He also has a heart of gold, and a wonderful family. He’s especially close to his mother and his younger brother, Dusty.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
Well, honestly, I did a Google search to start with. I had a thousand names running through my head. I knew I wanted a “southern” or “country” name, since that would be true to the story. I also knew I wanted the female character to have a feminine name that had a hint of masculinity to it. I contemplated Josephine (a favorite name of mine since I read Little Women as a child) but decided on Josette instead. I just love the names Walker, Gunner, Dusty – they sound like modern day cowboys. Haha.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Honestly, I loved the trip down memory lane. The house that Josette inherits is based on my Mamaw’s house, and the town described in the book is where I was born/raised during early childhood. I’ve been gone from home for about a decade now and get quite
Who designed your book covers?
I actually design all my own book covers. I do some graphic design with my content marketing, as a way to offer clients additional services, and so I started creating my own covers at the start of my journey. They’ve gotten much better overtime!
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