One More Time (Ruby Falls #2) - Aurora Rose Reynolds

Chapter 1


I SIGN MY name for what feels like the millionth time, and then look up from the paperwork under my palm when my realtor Sara claps and shouts, “Congratulations!”

I smile, because her excitement is contagious. Still, I know the only reason she’s excited is because her commission is close to fifty thousand dollars. Hell, I’d be excited too if I made that kind of dough after showing someone one single house.

“Thanks,” I mumble, glancing at her briefly before pushing the stack of papers in front of me across the desk. The lawyer accepts them with a smile, setting them aside before rolling her chair back and opening a drawer. When I see the set of keys she pulls out, my stomach fills with anticipation.

“Congratulations, Aria.” She grins.

I hold out my hand then wrap it around the cold metal, feeling a bite from the sharp edges of the keys as they dig into my palm and fingers. It’s happening. I’m moving on with my life, and now I have a place to call my own. A place that, for once, belongs to no one else but me. I want to cry. I want to dance around the office. But I don’t do either of those things. Instead, I murmur a quiet “Thank you.”

“Do you still want me to connect you with the construction company I told you about during our walk-through?” Sara asks, and I turn my attention to her.

The twenty-five hundred square foot house I just purchased is beautiful. It’s on the side of a mountain, set back from the road and surrounded by six acres of woods. The first time I saw it, I knew it was the one. Then I saw the inside and had second thoughts. The previous owners finished most of the kitchen and the entire master bedroom and bath before their divorce, but they left the rest of the house incomplete. It looks like something from a ’70s sitcom. Including lots of crazy wallpaper and even more shag carpet and linoleum. It’s going to take time and a whole lot of money to get things just how I want them.

The good thing is I have an abundance of time. Money is a different story. My job as an author has allowed me to feel comfortable in my finances. Or at least I was comfortable until I divorced my husband. Since he worked for me and I took care of him during our marriage, I have to pay him alimony, which means I not only have to take care of myself, but I have to take care of a man I wasted years of my life on. A man who I never should have dated, let alone married.

Why the hell does hindsight always have to be twenty-twenty?

“I’ll get the number from you, but it might be awhile before I get started on construction,” I tell Sara.

The smile on her face never falters as she reaches out to squeeze my arm. “I’m sure they will make room for you in their schedule whenever you decide to get started.”

I want to roll my eyes. Since she found out I’m an author and my pen name, Spencer Heart, she’s convinced herself that I’m someone famous. I’m not famous, not by a long shot. Yes, I’ve hit the New York Times bestsellers list a few times and had articles written about my books, but if you were to show a random person on the street my photo, they would have no clue who I am. Hell, they would probably not even know of me if you gave them the titles of my books, unless they happened to be a reader.

Now, if you asked people in this town who Aria Heart is, they will tell you she’s the rich girl who grew up here with a silver spoon in her mouth, the one who moved away because she thought she was too good for this place. No one knows that silver spoon I was fed with growing up was bitter as hell as it was shoved down my throat, and the beautiful house with the pretty white picket fence I once lived behind was just an illusion.

My parents were and still are dysfunctional- my mother, a habitual cheater, and my father, a functioning alcoholic. Now, I’m a twenty-six-year-old divorcée who’s moved back to the place I grew up, because as sad as it might be, this is the only place I’ve ever considered home.

Even with the strained relationship I have with