Perfect Risk (Mason Creek #1) - C.A. Harms

Chapter One


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With each mile that passed, I felt the tension in me ease. For weeks, months even, I’d thought of returning to my roots. Day after day I’d go to a job which drained me mentally, and night after sleepless night I’d find the desire to pack up like a thief in the night and run.

Every single call I shared with my parents I would put on a brave face and pretend everything was amazing in the big city that I’ve grown to hate. Okay, it wasn’t the city I hated, it was the feeling of a small town girl like me finding it to be difficult to fit in no matter how hard I tried.

My stubborn side refused to let my parents or my best friend Anna know just how homesick I was. That was until I’d recently hit my breaking point.

It all started with me finding my pathetic excuse for a boyfriend in bed with his ex. The thing was, I felt relief instead of anger. He was just one thing that had been dragging me down and I was finally freed from. Then when my boss gave a position I’d been working my ass off for to his pothead nephew who barely showed up for work, I was done. LA was a dead end road, and I refused to get lost in the shuffle and disappear.

Resigning and packing my tiny apartment into my rented trailer was a no brainer. It was time to go home to the one place I knew even though I’d been gone for years, they’d welcome me with open arms.

I felt nostalgic as I turned onto Old Bridge Road and saw the covered bridge up ahead. The same bridge I, along with many others, would jump off of and plummet to Mason Creek Lake that ran below. It set the tone for our town, that rustic, welcoming tone which said so much about the town and everyone who lived there.

I was immediately overwhelmed with a warm feeling; the town was a safe harbor I’d missed so much being lost in a big city for far too long. Everyone was always rushing around, bumping into one another, so preoccupied with the newest gossip or styles they missed what was taking place right in front of them. But those things didn’t happen here, not in Mason Creek. Everyone knew everything about everybody and at times, that could be a bad thing, but not always. When you were in need, you were never alone, the complete opposite of what I’d been experiencing in LA.

I left seeking something bigger and better, but reality hit me quick and hard. Truth was, there wasn’t anything better than my hometown. The people, those I’d known my entire life weren’t just strangers you’d passed on the street, they were the ones who were there to pick you up when you’d fall.

I was young and blinded by the idea of something more. So, I ran the first chance I got, but once I crossed over the bridge and saw the town square up ahead, I realized more than ever Mason Creek was exactly where I belonged.

I was finally home again.

I immediately felt settled, and the stress and worry of so many months faded. A comfort washed over me from head to toe. A genuine smile crept over my lips as I looked around. I loved this time of year, when all the leaves were starting to change. As expected, I scanned over the businesses that lined the streets and found them decorated to the hills. Cornstalks, pumpkins, scarecrows, even bales of hay, all displayed at each storefront in their own unique way.

As I drove passed my mother’s shop, Blossom’s Florist, my mind was flooded with so many memories. As a young girl I looked forward to going into the shop with my mother after school and on weekends. The smell of fresh flowers, the beautiful arrangements, both big and small, displayed in the windows and throughout the store were gorgeous. As I grew older, I found I would go in less and less, going through the infamous teenage phase where it was no longer cool to hang out with your mom. The thing was, looking back now I can honestly say that was probably the coolest thing in my adolescent life, I was such a nerd.

With my foot barely on the gas, I crept along, taking in all the same shops that had lined the streets since before I can remember.