The third book in my Sometimes in
Love series, ONCE
UPON A BAD BOY, is a second chance romance. Bo and Sadie, the hero
and heroine, are childhood sweethearts who break apart as teens, but fate brings them
together again eleven years later. I dedicated this story to my husband. Itâ€™s an appropriate
choice, since our marriage is the result of a second chance romance. Well, since we broke up
twice, itâ€™s technically a third chance romance. But whatâ€™s that saying about the third time
being the charm?
When I met my husband when we were teenagers, like Bo, he was kind of a bad boy himself. A
bit of a rebel who had long hair down to his waist and drove a brazen bright yellow car that he
would park at wild angles in the back of the mall where we both worked. That lot was always
almost empty, he wasnâ€™t a jerk, he just liked to push the envelope on the rules, see what he
could get away with. A trait (thank you, karma) our youngest daughter has inherited.
Our oldest daughter is sixteen, the same age I was when I began dating my husband. I admit,
the thought she could meet the man she might one day marry this summer freaks me out. But
it also makes me remember how my story started, and all the plot twists and turns that
happened on the way to my HEA. After all, you canâ€™t have a second chance romance without
something going wrong the first time.
As I mentioned, this was a third chance romance, so things went wrong more than once. The
first time was during the winter holidays the first year we were dating. I had gotten close to a
fellow cast member while performing in a play (the love interest of my character, of course).
Our friendship continued after the show ended, and I began to have feelings for him.
Obviously, this did not go over well with the guy I was dating. I can still remember Christmas
Eve, when they both showed up at the store where I was working. My boyfriend was furious
and demanded that I choose. This, in turn, made me furious. I didnâ€™t want to be forced into
making a decision, so I broke up with him. Right then and there. Yes, it was as full of teenage
angst and drama and as uncomfortable as it sounds.
But over the next few days, while I spent time with the â€śother guyâ€ť I realized he wasnâ€™t the one
I wanted to be with. As Cinderella (the rock band, not the princess) says, you donâ€™t know what
youâ€™ve got until itâ€™s gone. About a week or so after Christmas, I drove to my boyfriendâ€™s (ex-
boyfriendâ€™s) house and told him how I felt. He could have refused to see me, but he didnâ€™t. He
had, however, burned every photo he owned of meâ€¦ouch. After a long talk, we decided to give
it a second chance.
Things rolled along pretty smoothly for the next few years until the summer I was nineteen,
and about to make the switch from our local community college to a university in the city. I had
been working hard the last few years and was ready to take the next step. I had a plan and
knew what I wanted out of life. Meanwhile, my boyfriend was stuck in neutral. He went to
college but spent most of his time in the campus arcade room. He had a job as a manager at a
video game store too, but it wasnâ€™t a career with much of a future. I knew he had more
potential and was frustrated by his lack of motivation. We were at a crossroadsâ€”and it felt like
we were heading in different directions. I decided the best thing for me to do was to start this
next chapter of my life on my own. If youâ€™ve been keeping track, yes, I broke up with him
That second break-up might have been the end. But a few months later, out of the blue, I
received a letter from him. An actual handwritten letter. In it, he described how the end of our
relationship had been a wake-up call for him. He decided he didnâ€™t like the way his life was
headed and knew he had to make some changes. At the time of the letter, he had already
enrolled in a university and was majoring in computer science. He said he hoped I was doing
well (this was the mid-90s, before you could check in on your ex via social media) and asked if
I was willing, heâ€™d like to meet up sometime, just to talk.
I agreed, and while we talked, feelings stirred, one thing led to another andâ€”not to give you
TMIâ€”before you knew it, we were doing more than talking. Similarly, in ONCE UPON A BAD
BOY, the physical connection between Bo and Sadie rekindles first.
Sometimes our bodies figure things out before our brains do, and it takes a little time for the
mind to catch up with the heart. But catch up it does, and though we took things slowly at
first, agreeing to be â€śjust friendsâ€ť (cough, with benefits), it wasnâ€™t long until we were officially
dating again. And weâ€™ve been together ever since.
I donâ€™t regret the twists our story took. I wouldnâ€™t say Iâ€™m happy about the break-ups, but Iâ€™m
thankful they happened. The time we spent apart helped us both grow. When we came back
together, we were stronger as individuals, which made us stronger as a couple. The same is
very true for Bo and Sadieâ€™s story. While apart, they both find their own path, discovering who
they are and what they want out of life in ways that never could have happened if theyâ€™d
always stayed together. At the time, neither could see it, but the steps they take away from
each other lay the groundwork for the road that brings them back together. And when their
paths cross again, the people theyâ€™d become are right for each other in ways they hadnâ€™t been
The topic of fate comes up often in this story, and the characters debate the idea that the
universe has a plan, grapple with the possibility that things happen because they were meant
to be. Personally, I think of fate as a puzzle, the pieces scattered across our lives so that we
canâ€™t see the picture until eventually, enough pieces connect for it to become clear. From
where I am now, I can see how the various moments of my life fit togetherâ€¦but at the time, it
definitely wasnâ€™t clear. Looking back, if someone had told me one day, that long-haired guy
from the mall would be my husband and the father of my children, Iâ€™m not sure I would have
believed them. But, as Sadie, the heroine in ONCE UPON A BAD BOY learns, when it comes
to loveâ€”never say never.
Sometimes in Love #3
A couple rekindles their romance and gets a second chance at love after their differences tore
them apart as teenagers.
NEVER SAY NEVER
Sadie Gold is ready to take her career to the next level with the role of a lifetime. Finally, she
can shake her reputation as a pretty face with more wealth and connections than talent. But
Sadie is not prepared for the wild turn her own life is about to take. The man in charge of
training Sadie for her most demanding role yet is none other than her first real boyfriendâ€”the
one who took her heart and ran away.
WHEN IT COMES TO LOVE
Bo Ibarra is as good-looking and irresistible as ever. Maybe even more so, now that everything
once worked against themâ€”Sadie's pampered and privileged upbringing and Bo's childhood in
a family struggling to make ends meetâ€”is in the past. But the future is still unwrittenâ€¦and
getting there, together, means coming clean about painful secrets and slashing through nasty
tabloid rumors while trying to control the attraction that crackles between them. Maybe it's
finally time for them to walk off into the sunset and into a true and lasting love?
Romance Contemporary [St. Martin's
Paperbacks, On Sale: June 25, 2019, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781250193070
/ eISBN: 9781250193087]
Award-winning author Melonie Johnsonâ€”aka #thewritinglushâ€”is a two-time RWA Golden
HeartÂ® finalist who loves dark coffee, cheap wine, and expensive beer. And margaritas. And
mimosas. And mules. Basically any cocktail that starts with the letter m.
A Star Wars junkie and Shakespeare groupie who quotes both Yoda and the Bard with equal
aplomb, she met her future husband in that most romantic of placesâ€”the mallâ€”when they
were teenagers working in stores across the hall from each other. Today, they live happily ever
after in the magical land midway between Chicago and Milwaukee with their two redhead
daughters, a dog thatâ€™s more like a small horse, and a trio of hermit crabs. After earning her
Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude from Loyola University Chicago, Melonie taught high school
English and Theatre in the northern Chicago suburbs for several years. Now she writes smart
and funny contemporary romance and moonlights as an audiobook narrator under the
pseudonym, Evelyn Eibhlin.
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