Resolutions Embraced (Ardor Creek #4)
Resolutions Embraced (Ardor Creek #4)
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- Enemies to Lovers
- Curvy Heroine
- Second Chance
- Steamy Small Town Romance
USA Today bestselling author Rebecca Hefner writing as Ayla Asher
She came back to win...and to rewrite a narrative created so long ago...
Chad Hanson has one true love: being mayor of Ardor Creek. With his charming personality, kind nature, and adoration of the small town, it's as if he were born for the role. Although he dates constantly and loves playing the field, he's never come close to falling for someone the way he loves his job.
Abby Miller left Ardor Creek after high school, determined to become something other than a pariah. Chad Hanson had accidentally bequeathed her the name "Flabby Abby," which destroyed any chance of making friends or having a normal high school existence.
Two decades later, Abby returns, fierce and confident after her tenure as a senior advisor for a prominent Washington D.C. senator. Armed with her skills and experience, she begins an invigorating campaign to become the first female mayor of Ardor Creek...and to exact a smidge of payback against Chad.
Chad is blown away by his opponent. Drawn to her, he slowly realizes she might actually win...not only the election, but Abby Miller might be the first woman to capture his heart.
Intro Into Chapter 1
Intro Into Chapter 1
Once the fresh beer was in front of him, Chad took a sip, wondering if he looked pathetic sitting alone at the bar on a Sunday afternoon. Glancing around, he noticed the woman sitting a few seats away. She was watching football on the screen above the bar, face rapt with attention. There was something familiar about her button-nose and apple-ripe cheeks, causing him to wonder if he’d met her before. Long, black eyelashes extended from her eyes, and blue strands of hair intermingled with the brown locks that ran down her back. Feeling his eyes narrow, he realized he was interested.
She wore a green sweatshirt and dark jeans which encircled her ass and thighs like a glove. Her body was curvy in all the right places, and he suddenly wondered what it would feel like to squeeze the flesh under those tight jeans. Clearing his throat, he took another sip, trying to ease his suddenly parched mouth.
“You a Jets fan?” he asked before he even realized the words left his mouth.
She slowly turned her head and brown, almond-shaped eyes assessed him.
“Jets?” he asked, pointing. “You’re wearing a green sweatshirt and they’re playing on the TV you’re watching.”
She scowled. “I’m not sure you can call what they’re doing playing. They suck.”
Chuckling, he nodded. “Yep. I’m an Eagles fan. They’re not the greatest but everyone is better than the Jets.”
“I know. My college roommate in D.C. was a Jets fan so I jumped on board. Should’ve gone with the Ravens. Now, they’ve got me in their clutches and I’m loyal. The second I shun them, they’ll win the damn Superbowl.”
“So true. I admire your loyalty.”
Reaching into her purse, she pulled out some cash and set the bills on the bar before standing.
“Thanks, Terry,” she said, placing the purse strap on her shoulder. “Big day tomorrow. I’m heading out. Keep the change.”
“You got it, sweetie. So good to see you.”
She started to walk past him and Chad had the insane urge to grab her arm. Instead, he said, “Hey, I didn’t get your name. I’m Chad.”
She halted and stared at him like he had four heads.
“Um, yeah, I know. See ya.”
Resuming her brisk pace, she exited the pub as a waft of cold air rushed behind her.
“Well, that was rude,” he muttered to himself. “She could’ve at least told me her name.”
Terry sauntered over, holding a wet cloth in her hand.
“You know her name, Chad,” she said as if he were an idiot.
“I do? She seemed familiar but I couldn’t place her. Who is it? Someone from Ardor Creek High?”
“Chad,” she said, resting her palms on the bar and leaning forward. “I can’t believe you didn’t recognize her. That was Abby Miller.”
His eyes grew wide as he studied his friend.
“No,” he whispered.
“Yes, sir. That was the woman you decimated all those years ago in high school. I’m surprised she didn’t throw her drink in your face.”
“Holy shit.” Running his hands over his face, he shook his head. “She looks…different.”
“Seems like she’s lost a fair bit of weight but she still looks the same to me. She always did have a pretty face.”
“She did,” he murmured as remorse began to simmer in his bones. Why? Well, that thing he really regretted in high school? It revolved around one person. One super-nice, super-sweet person who hadn’t deserved what he’d done to her.
“She’s been back in town for a while from what I hear but I haven’t seen her at the pub until today.”
“I feel terrible I didn’t recognize her.”
“Well, she might not care since she’s probably not your biggest fan. She may be the only person in Ardor Creek who doesn’t like Chad Hanson.”
“I don’t blame her,” he said, running his fingers through his hair. “Should I go after her and…apologize?”
“Uh, you’re about twenty years too late, I think. And besides, how do you atone for giving someone a nickname that basically ruined their senior year? Not even sure where you’d start.”
“I have no idea. Do you think people will still remember after all this time?”
“That you called her Flabby Abby in front of the entire school and cemented her status as an outcast? Um, yeah, I think people will remember. It’s Ardor Creek, Chad. There are no secrets here.”
“Fuck,” he whispered, shaking his head. “That was the worst day of my damn life. I felt so awful afterward. People called her that until she moved away the week after we graduated. I destroyed her. Man, I’m going to burn in hell.”
“You were intent on winning student body president at all costs. Seemed it cost you a lot.”
“Too much. I learned a huge lesson that day. The victory was hollow and I promised myself I’d never hurt someone like that again.”
“Well, you’ve done a lot of great things as mayor. The community center has a ton of activities for seniors and kids, you’ve rebuilt every park in town, and you run the holiday festivals like a champ. Hopefully, you’ve built back up some good karma.”
“I have to apologize to her,” he said, standing and grabbing his coat. Pulling some cash from his wallet, he threw it on the bar and gave her a salute. “See you later, Terry.”
“I’m not sure you’ll catch her,” she called after him, “but good luck!”
Waving, he stalked out the door and searched the street for Abigail Miller—the person he’d hurt more than any other in his entire life.