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The Millionaire's Redemption

Written by Barbara Wallace

The one that got away?

If asked a week earlier, tycoon Jack Strauss would have said he'd made his peace with the past. But one glimpse of his first love, Angela Mancuso, and he knows he's been lying to himself. He needs to make amends, but will Angela even want to see him again?

Angela has never forgotten her brief romance with Jack—or the dark days that followed its ending. Now he's back, she must decide whether to let him back into her life…especially when she realizes he still has a hold on her heart!

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Chapter One

He was not jealous. Jack Strauss repeated the words in his head even as the knot twisted tighter in his gut. On the other end of the line, Ian Black went on about reuniting with his son after twenty years.

"Life's given me a second chance," Ian was saying. "I've got my son back, a woman I love. And, here I thought my best days were behind me."

Yes, everything had definitely fallen in place for the tycoon, thought Jack.

But he wasn't jealous.

Nor did Ian's newfound happiness have anything to do with his standing at a Rhode Island intersection playing stalker to a bakery on a warm summer evening. From the outside it looked like any other business on Thames Street. Newport Bread and Breakfast, read the sign over the awning. Cute, catchy. Patrons filled the window tables. Looked like business was good.

When the raven-haired woman appeared in the window, Jack's breath caught. Didn't matter that he'd been looking for her. With her hair pulled in a ponytail, she looked exactly the way she looked the first time he saw her eighteen years ago. His breath caught then, too.

On the other end of the line, he heard Ian thanking him. "You know none of this would have happened without your help," he was saying.

"I didn't do anything another sobriety sponsor wouldn't do," Jack replied.

"Don't sell yourself short. You told me making amends was as much about forgiving myself as asking others for forgiveness. You're a wise man."

No, he was a fraud. A wise man would have taken his own advice.

A month ago, Jack would have said he'd made peace with his past. Helping Ian travel the twelve steps the past months, however, made him realize how much he'd shortchanged his own journey. He might have stayed sober, but he hadn't truly made amends. At least not with the person who counted.

Oh, he pretended. Lied to himself about having let go, but in reality, her grip on his soul was as strong as ever. Her face dominated his dreams. Her name sat perpetually on the tip of his tongue waiting for him to say it aloud.

Finally like Ian, life offered him with a second chance. An arbitration hearing in Newport, Rhode Island, the place where his problems all began. It was only a matter of time before his feet found their way to this corner.

To her.

What would she do when she saw him? Would she smile or send him away like she did before. Did she still hate him? The final question left his palms damp with nerves. Ironic for a man who spent days dealing with corporate officers.

Nerves or not, the time had come for him to face his mistakes. He had a feeling his future sobriety depended on it, if not his future altogether.

Saying goodbye to Ian, Jack slipped his phone in his pocket and stepped off the curb.

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About the author

My love affair with writing can be marked by two milestones. The first...

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Barbara Wallace

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