A to Z Challenge Y: You Can’t Go Home Again

Second to last entry! As someone who has difficulty with follow through on projects due to my rampant anxiety I am very proud of myself for making it to the (almost) end of the month.

Today’s book is another one by yours truly, You Can’t Go Home Again, which a second chance romance based on a short erotica story I wrote last year. It spun off kind of on it’s own in my head and before I knew it I had a whole book unfolding around these two characters and the rest of the cast from the short story.

When your friends hook you up with a blind date on board game night and it turns out to be more than you’d hoped for in a long time…what’s a girl to do but follow through and see what happens?

The short story is available ^^ on Amazon. Or HERE for readers outside the US.

The beginning of You Can’t Go Home Again is available for FREE on Wattpad, and I promise to continue uploading it soon! It will eventually be up on Amazon, and there will be a loud announcement post don’t worry.

Since I’m terrible at these myself I’m gonna cap this off with an excerpt from the book for your reading enjoyment.

A year ago Michelle Reilly went on one phenomenal date with Alex Foster, introduced to her during a regular board game night with her best friends Sam Rice and Eliza Whittle. Soon after Michelle got head hunted to another company and couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a higher paying position in a bigger city. One year of loneliness and one awful seven month relationship later and she’s come back home, excited to return to her old life and old friends. Surprisingly Alex is still single and in a burst of extreme good luck they cross paths during her first week back. Sparks fly and they quickly rekindle the relationship they could’ve had. But Michelle is about to learn that it’s not that easy to go home again, her friends lives have changed. People have moved on, her bestie Sam is married now and got promoted at their old office, right into the job that Michelle hoped would be hers one day. Hopefully she’ll be able to navigate this new reality and deal with the secret that Alex is keeping from her even as they fall head over heels for each other.

I stepped into the cafe and looked around for my companion, I spotted her seated—unsurprisingly— in the booth furthest from the door.

“Hey, Liz!” I shouted, waving my arm like a spaz, “Liza!”

Eliza glanced up from her phone— iced coffee in hand— and raised her arm, waving me over. “‘Shell! Omigod!”

She leapt out of her seat and flung her arms around me as I reached her table, I hadn’t even gotten a drink yet.

I returned her enthusiastic hug just the same. “Liza, I’m so fucking happy to see you girl,” I squealed in her ear.

“You know you are!” She yelled. I recoiled slightly, attempting to protect my eardrums.

“Can I get a coffee first?” I asked.

“Yeah, yeah, go caffeinate,” she said, gesturing towards the counter. I stepped out of her embrace and dropped my bag in the booth, taking a second to pull out my wallet. I made my way to the counter and gave the barista my order, stepping to the side to wait for my frappe.

I collected my sugar filled indulgence a few minutes later and headed back to where Eliza waited impatiently. I couldn’t blame her though, a whole year apart and we were both desperate to reconnect.

 “It’s so good to see you,” I reiterated, I couldn’t have expressed enough how good it was to be back in my hometown. Moving away for work had only resulted in a year of loneliness and one crappy seven month relationship.

Eliza, Sam, (Samantha, but she hates that name) and I had been besties since high school. Before moving Sam and I worked at the same marketing firm, I had my fingers crossed that they would deign to take me back after quitting. They could hardly blame me though, the corporate world is cutthroat and cities are expensive to live in. Was I supposed to turn down an amazing raise and a promotion?

Turns out that I needed my friends in my life more than financial stability especially since I apparently made terrible dating choices when they weren’t around. Moving back home was like breathing fresh air for the first time in a year. It was a hassle of course— I had to get a new apartment, pack all my shit again, all that stuff. But sinking into the seat at our favourite coffee place, my best friend across the table, it was all worth it.

“So are you all settled in?” Eliza asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Of course not!” I said with a laugh. “I’m going to leave everything haphazardly around the new place until Sam comes over and she won’t be able to help herself, it’ll be clean in no time.”

Eliza laughed out loud in response, “You’re terrible.”

“As if you wouldn’t totally do the same thing,” I shot back.

“No you’re totally right,” she conceded. “Have you seen Sam yet?”

“Not yet, Justine had a gallery opening this weekend so they were busy with all the celebratory partying,” I replied.

“Oh yeah, I was gonna go to that,” she said, “I’ll have to go next weekend, how long does it run for?”

“Six weeks I think?” My eyes drifted to the window and I did a double take at the man walking by.

“Hey! Isn’t that Alex?” Eliza asked, her loud voice ringing against the glass.

“Shhh, ohmigod Liza,” I frantically waved my hands at her to keep her voice down. “It is him though right?”

“It totally is! You should say hi!” Liza’s voice was reaching ear damaging decibel levels as she bounced in her seat with excitement.

“That’s not weird?” I asked, the man in question passed the large window and joined the end of the line in the cafe, miraculously he hadn’t noticed us yet.

Just before I was headhunted to another city and foolishly left my whole life behind in the pursuit of capitalism, I had gone on one amazing date with Alex. After Eliza set us up by inviting him to join our board game night. We’d hit it off so well that first day, and spent a mind blowing night together afterwards. But then I got the job offer and I couldn’t justify staying for a guy I had been on one date with. Was it a coincidence that he was here, in my favourite coffee bar only days after my return? I didn’t usually put much stock in things like fate and destiny, but Sam never mentioned seeing him here before, and she practically lived here.

“It’s totally not weird! You’ve boned the man, you can go say hi. Maybe he’s still single!” Eliza gasped, ramping up her excitement even further, there is no one more invested in making sure a girl has a good sex life than her best friends.

“Okay, okay, maybe I could just go say hi. If you promise to stop vibrating.” I said, glaring daggers at her across the table.

“I can do that.” She nodded and immediately adopted an overly somber expression that dissolved us both into giggles at the absurdity.

I gasped for air, trying to recover my composure and thought about what I wanted to say when I heard a quiet, “Hi Michelle.” Shit. I glanced up and Alex was standing beside the table, to go coffee cup in hand, “In town for a visit?” he asked.

“Alex, hi, no I’m not visiting, I mean I moved back. Just now, I mean, recently. Last weekend.” I stammered through an attempt at sounding like a coherent person.

“Really?” he asked, his face lighting up. Thats a good sign.

“Yeah, the new job didn’t work out. I missed my people too much so I came back.” I replied, smiling brightly up at him. I tried to ignore Eliza’s persistent nudging against my calf under the table.

“That’s great!” he said, “I mean, not that you were lonely or anything. Or that your new job wasn’t great. What I’m trying to say and failing miserably is that I’m glad you’re back.” he finished with a sigh, just as embarrassed as I had been a moment ago. At least I’m not the only one. “Would you like to catch up sometime? I’d love to hear about your time away.” Oh he’s still talking. I was busy being distracted by the adorable shade of red his cheeks had turned.

“Yes!” Eliza shouted, apparently unable to contain herself. “She says yes.”

“Liza, ohmigod.” Now it was my turn to blush. “Sure, I would love to catch up actually,” I said to Alex, who was trying valiantly to contain his grin at Eliza’s outburst. He was not succeeding.

“Is your number still the same?” He asked, reaching into his pocket for his cellphone.

“Yeah, it is. I never got around to changing it.” I replied.

“Great,” he said. “I’ve gotta go, but I’ll text you ok? Dinner?”

“Sounds good!” I nodded enthusiastically and he stepped away from the table, sliding easily through the thin crowd of the cafe. I turned to my meddling friend across the table, “I cannot believe you did that!” I kicked her leg under the table. “I’m so embarrassed.”

“What?” Eliza had the nerve to look incredulous. “You should be thanking me girl, did you see how excited he was? That man wants you bad. I was helping.”

“I was gonna say yes by myself!” I insisted.

“Well I didn’t know that, I had to act in your best interests.”

“Pfft, mhmm. You’re just desperate for us to get together so you can claim retroactive responsibility cause you introduced us.”

“Not true! I also want you to get a decent lay in your life before you spontaneously combust from sexual tension. Just cause you moved away doesn’t mean I can’t read between the lines of your text messages, I know it’s been a while.”

“Ok fine, it has been a while. But I’m not going to dinner to sleep with him! He was really great to talk to too.”

“Sure, sure. Whatever helps you sleep at night.” She lifted her phone to check the time, “shit I better get back to work. You’re coming to board games this weekend right?” She gathered her bag and stood from the booth.

“Yeah yeah of course, I wouldn’t miss it!” I replied, surprised she even had to ask.

“You should invite Alex,” she added with a grin.

“I’ll think about it,” I said, scooping up my own bag. We headed for the door together and stepped out into the early afternoon sun.

“You better,” Eliza said, wrapping her arms around me to hug goodbye. “I’m so glad you’re back! My life just got so much more interesting.”

“Happy to provide you with entertainment,” I replied, rolling my eyes. “Bye.” She headed off in the direction of her office and I stood on the sidewalk momentarily at a loss for what to do next. I guess I could go unpack or something. A familiar pang of loneliness surprised me, I was home, what did I have to feel lonely about? 

Continue reading HERE! Just one more post left in this challenge guys! Come back tomorrow for the final book, the letter Z. See you soon!