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Almost Home: A Small Town Age Gap Romance with a Mountain Man (Love Stories From a Small Town)

Almost Home: A Small Town Age Gap Romance with a Mountain Man (Love Stories From a Small Town)

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Main Tropes

  • Age Gap
  • Small Town
  • Second Chance


When Raena Loomis returns to her hometown in the mountains to rescue her family’s failing business, she faces the ghosts of her past and a heart-wrenching decision.

She’s a city-dwelling entrepreneur now who’s left her rural roots behind her. But when she runs into the game warden on a snowy mountain road, she decides life in that town might not be so awful after all.

If it helps her get back at the brother and father she hates so much, well, that’s just a bonus!

Intro into Chapter One

I haven’t been late a day in my life, and I hoped to slide into work without anyone noticing.

But when the elevator doors opened, he had the hip of his charcoal trousers dug into the doorway as he checked his Rolex and cleared his throat.

One hand clung to the coffee cup at his lips as Simon arched his dark eyebrow at me.

The man who taught me everything about being a ruthless shark in business opened his mouth, and I put up my hand as I rushed past him. “I’m sorry I’m so late. I had a personal call I had to deal with.”

A step or two behind me until he veered right for his desk, he flopped into his leather chair. “This sort of thing wouldn’t happen if you’d stayed the night like I asked you to.”

I dropped my keys into the designer purse he bought me for Christmas and pushed it to the edge of my desk. “It’s too early to start arguing about this again.”

Chirps squeaked out from the bottom of his chair as he rocked with his toe and motioned to the cup of coffee waiting for me. “So, tell me about this call instead.”

He smoothed his dark curls back under his palm as his forehead wrinkled for my answer. “It was,” — I flipped the lid off with my thumb and sighed — “my father.”

Groaning air through the back of his mouth, he leaned over his desk and shook his head. “You surely must be joking?”

A tiny cloud of steam separated us when I laughed the heat away from my drink. “I wish to hell I was.”

He rested his cheek in his hand, but that finger was already tapping against his ear, waiting for me to break like I always do. “Is he dying or something?”

My fingers fanned away from the cup. “I wish.”

For almost twenty years, I’ve been praying for this one dream of mine to come true.

Every second I made him wait made my smile a little harder to contain. “The scuttle-butt is that my super awesome, smart, handsome,” — I shook my head as my eyes grew wider — “can-do-no-wrong, wonder boy of a brother ran the family business into the ground.”

The edges of his eyes crinkled on the other side of his fist as he chuckled into it. Flipping up both my hands to the sky, I stomped on the floor. “Thank you, sweet Jesus, for showing the world what an utter douchebag Tony is at last.”

His eyes doubled at me as he poked the air with his pen. “What does any of that have to do with you, though?”

“Well,” — the back of my hand pushed the cup away, and I clasped my fingers together — “Mister Anthony Loomis Senior would like the daughter he thought couldn’t run his redneck sawmill dynasty to come bail their asses out. How’s that for karma?”

From how he closed his eyes and dug into his forehead with his fingertips, I sensed how annoyed he was at me already for even entertaining the thought. “And I suppose you said yes, didn’t you?”

The last of the season’s tourists had abandoned the beaches, and I took my eyes to the pristine sand right below our wall of windows to escape the disappointment on his face. “I told him I’d think about it.”

Like a paper airplane, his favorite gold pen sailed through the air at me. “You don’t owe that son of a bitch a damn thing, Rae.”

Tapping my finger into the desk, I leaned over and whisper-shouted so the nosey-ass secretary outside didn’t eavesdrop. “I understand that, but it happens to be the biggest employer in the county.”

He rolled his eyes away from me, and I tilted my head to follow him. “A lot of people who are already barely getting by will be completely fucked if it folds.”

Most days, I didn’t give that old life a second thought, but I shrugged at the one face in my memory I never would get over. “I don’t think I can live with so many people losing everything they have.”

Between the two of us, we’d single-handedly closed down at least a dozen businesses in this city with our schemes. That cool British accent of his seemed even colder as he reminded me of it. “It’s never bothered you before.”

It didn’t matter how much money we lined our pockets with, the little girl in me was still dying for her father’s approval. “I don’t give a damn about any of those people we rolled over.”

My thumb curled back at me. “I grew up with the folks who work for my family, though. Went to school with them.”

Instinctively cringing at the thought of going home again already, I shrugged back at him. “I have to at least put in my two cents. Don’t I?”

I flipped my hand over and relaxed into my chair. “What they do with the information is on them.”

That rock-hard jaw of his slid sideways as he stared out over the ocean and sighed at the plan coming together in his head. “Do you have plans later?”

Every once in a while, I got the hankering to fix things with my father, and I always ended up brokenhearted.

Over the past ten years, Simon had nursed me back every single time, and the toll it took on him was apparent from how he stretched out his neck.

Simon’s opinion was the only one I cared about. So, at times like now, I basically did whatever he wanted to smooth things over again. “Not a thing. You have something in mind?”

When they returned to me, something flickered in his eyes, sending a warning through my palms that made them drenched instantly. “Yes, I do.”

In one swipe of his hand, he took his phone and keys from his desk and pushed his chair away. “And if you don’t stay with me tonight, you’re fired.”

Smiling as he strolled into the lobby, he disappeared from the window as I watched his reflection. In my mind, though, I was seventeen again, kissing the best-looking man on the planet and hoping to God he never moved away from the little town of Oakridge.

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