First Love, Second Chance

First Love, Second Chance

Status: Finished

Genre: Romance

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Romance

Summary

"an incredibly well-written erotic story." "beautiful story!" would you be tempted by the offer of a one-night stand with your first crush? daniel lawson, the upcoming star of british showjumping has returned to the uk after sixteen years abroad. moving back to the area he grew up, daniel becomes reacquainted with his childhood friends. determined, uber-sexy but extremely complex, daniel is single minded in his goal; to be selected to represent great britain in the world equestrian games. reserved, competent and hard-working, emma martin, has held a secret flame for daniel since they were kids. throughout the years, no man could ever measure up to her adolescent fantasies of him. over a drunken game of 'truth or dare' at a friend’s birthday party, emma is forced to admit that she has never climaxed with a man. daniel decides to issue a dare; allow him to try where others have failed. little does emma know, daniel has a ruthlessly competitive streak and will employ every dirty, underhand tactic to ensure his success. soon afterwards, daniel is involved in a serious accident, forcing him to rely heavily on his friends. emma temporarily joins daniel’s team to help look after his horses and, being in such close daily proximity to daniel, decides to do the sensible thing and protect her fragile heart. but will daniel allow the relationship he has with emma to be platonic, or does he have other ideas? this book is the first in the 'daniel lawson' series. the follow on is 'perfect stranger, strangely perfect'. the latest news from fenella ashworth can be found at www.fenellaashworth.com.

Summary

"an incredibly well-written erotic story."
"beautiful story!"

would you be tempted by the offer of a one-night stand with your first crush?

daniel lawson, the upcoming star of british showjumping has returned to the uk after sixteen years abroad. moving back to the area he grew up, daniel becomes reacquainted with his childhood friends. determined, uber-sexy but extremely complex, daniel is single minded in his goal; to be selected to represent great britain in the world equestrian games.

reserved, competent and hard-working, emma martin, has held a secret flame for daniel since they were kids. throughout the years, no man could ever measure up to her adolescent fantasies of him. over a drunken game of 'truth or dare' at a friend’s birthday party, emma is forced to admit that she has never climaxed with a man. daniel decides to issue a dare; allow him to try where others have failed. little does emma know, daniel has a ruthlessly competitive streak and will employ every dirty, underhand tactic to ensure his success.

soon afterwards, daniel is involved in a serious accident, forcing him to rely heavily on his friends. emma temporarily joins daniel’s team to help look after his horses and, being in such close daily proximity to daniel, decides to do the sensible thing and protect her fragile heart. but will daniel allow the relationship he has with emma to be platonic, or does he have other ideas?

this book is the first in the 'daniel lawson' series. the follow on is 'perfect stranger, strangely perfect'.

the latest news from fenella ashworth can be found at www.fenellaashworth.com.

Chapter1 (v.1) - Chapter 1

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: October 23, 2018

Reads: 507

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: October 23, 2018

A A A

A A A

‘Strip Poker?Twister?Okay, how about spin the bottle?’

‘For goodness sake, Trudy,’ giggled Emma. ‘You'll be thirty years old.You can't play spin the bottle!’Rolling her eyes towards the ceiling, Emma was momentarily distracted by a dusty string of cobwebs, of which she had previously been blissfully ignorant.Scowling, she balanced on the arm of the sofa and attacked them with a cushion.

‘Well, I’ll need something to liven up my birthday party.How about strip musical chairs, then?’

On the surface, Trudy and Emma were unlikely friends although, of course, they do say that opposites attract.Even from those early days in primary school, Trudy had been energetic, vibrant, outspoken and afraid of nothing or nobody.Her fearlessness was greatly helped by Trudy’s older brother, Tom, who had always looked out for his sister’s best interests and protected her, largely from herself.

‘Anyway, do you give up yet?’ asked Trudy mischievously, leaning back into Emma’s squashy sofa and grinning like some obscure version of the Cheshire Cat.

‘I told you.I'm honestly not interested in any of your over-exaggerated, probably apocryphal, gossip!’ replied Emma.Trudy had been dropping hints and teasing her all morning about an apparently tantalising piece of news but had so far failed to spill the beans.Emma knew Trudy’s self-control was drawing to an end; she had never known Trudy to keep hold of a piece of information to herself for so long. It was normally like a reflex reaction; she was pre-programmed to pass gossip on the moment she received it.

‘Ha!You’ll be interested in this!’ laughed Trudy.‘I suppose I ought to put you out of your misery, but make sure you’re sitting down, because you'll need to be when I drop this bombshell.’

‘Don't be ridiculous,’ said Emma.She topped up their glasses of home-made lemonade, giving Trudy a disbelieving look as she put the jug firmly down on the coffee table.

‘Suit yourself,’ smiled Trudy, ‘but I still say you'll want to be sitting down.’She paused dramatically for effect.‘Daniel Lawson's back.’

Emma sat.Or perhaps more accurately, Emma executed a controlled fall and fortunately landed in a sitting position on the sofa.Her wide eyes and open mouth gave Trudy all the encouragement she needed to plough on with her news.

‘Apparently, he and Tom have been in contact all the time Daniel's been abroad.I don't know why he never mentioned it until now,’ mused Trudy thoughtfully.

‘Anyway,’ she continued unperturbed, twisting her fingers through her short, black hair.‘Daniel's moved back to the U.K.Apparently, his aim is to get selected to jump on the British Showjumping Team in the World Equestrian Games this Autumn.Tom's started working at his yard.’

Emma’s brain couldn't thinkanything.Her body couldn't doanything.Her legs felt even more wobbly than that time, last year, when she’d been chased across the field opposite by an angry herd of beef cattle. Shut your mouth, a synapse ordered her brain.That would be a good start.Emma slowly closed her mouth but her eyes remained wide in shock.She could feel her face burning and absentmindedly picked up her drink, to slowly rotate the icy, wet glass against her cheeks.

‘Well?’ prompted Trudy.‘What do you think?’

‘How long's he been back?’ croaked Emma.

‘A few months.Arrived in late February I think.Bought the big estate at Lower Oakley.Got all his horses there, plus some liveries.About twenty-five horses in total, Tom reckons.’

‘He's living in the next village?Why on earth didn't we hear about this before?’

Trudy shrugged.Gossip spread like wildfire around the village although this tended to be thanks to Trudy’s enthusiastic assistance.Perhaps that answered Emma's question.

‘He'll probably have changed beyond all recognition,’ said Emma, tentatively.Seriously, who was she kidding?Emma had seen pictures of himover the past few years; he was a very regular topic in her equestrian magazines and even those photos had made her breath catch.The last time she had set eyes on Daniel was so many years ago, the night before his sixteenth birthday.Sure, the warm climates he’d been living in looked to have tanned his skin and with all those hours in the saddle each day, he'd filled out and muscled up.But hidden within the photographs of that man, she’d easily recognised the features of the boy she'd known.The sparkling blue eyes, jet black hair, strong jaw, killer cheekbones, even white teeth and a smile that, on the precious few occasions it did materialise, was able to light up a room.

‘He probably won't remember us.’

‘Are you kidding?’ countered Trudy.‘Of course he'll remember us.He remembered Tom, didn't he?We followed those two around like limpets during his final summer here.It must have driven them both mad, thinking about it,’ giggled Trudy.‘No chance of them pulling any talent with us two in tow! Maybe that's why Tom's so hopeless with women…maybe it's our fault.’She looked faintly surprised by the idea.

Emma inhaled long and deep.Funny.She'd been holding her breath ever since Trudy had delivered her news without even realising it.Daniel Lawson.Daniel Lawson had returned to the UK.Daniel Lawson, the person who she'd been comparing every other man against throughout her entire adult life, was living less than three miles away.A plague of butterflies seemed to have descended on her stomach.Her lips were unnaturally dry whilst her head felt numb from the blood she could physically feel pumping through her brain.She fervently hoped they didn’t meet any time soon, before she'd got her feelings firmly under control.If Daniel happened to walk into the room right now, there was a chance she would just collapse on the floor in front of him, and how embarrassing would that be? For both of them.And now she was talking to herself, too.Get a grip, would you?There it was again.Talking to herself…bad sign.Thankfully, Trudy interrupted her haphazard thoughts.

‘Anyway, I’d better leave you to it.You wanted to ride out, didn’t you?’

‘Yes,’ replied Emma in an over-bright voice. ‘But not for long.I just need to stretch Hawthorn’s legs before we jump at the Hambledon Spring show tomorrow.’

‘What classes are you doing?’

‘Three foot nine and the Open.’Through the open, leaded glass window of her cottage, Emma stared vacantly at the beautiful sunny day and inhaled a lungful of warm, fresh air.A large bumblebee was wending a laborious route through a bed of lupins whilst House Martins caught insects on the wing to provide for their ravenous chicks. Yes.A hack out through the glorious English countryside was exactly what she needed, in order to process her confused thoughts and tangled emotions.

‘That won’t make you late, will it?You'll still be able to make my party?’ asked a concerned Trudy.Emma turned to her grinning.

‘I wouldn't miss it for the world.It's not every day my best friend turns thirty and becomes nearly as ancient as me, is it?Besides,’ she added mischievously, ‘I'm fascinated to find out how many people you'll be able to coerce into a game of strip musical chairs.’

 

Daniel cantered easily around the small collecting ring.He popped his young, inexperienced grey gelding over a rustic oxer, swung back to the double combination and then returned to a controlled walk.During the past few years, as he'd moved steadily up the world rankings of his chosen sport, Daniel had become a popular household name.This was particularly true with the multitude of teenage girls who always cheered him on from the crowds and hunted him down for the prize of his autograph, usually when he was trying to distance himself before a class.Daniel was certainly aware of receiving a few covert glances today. The spectators probably wondered what he was doing at a regional show but this was how Daniel had always brought on his very young horses.The format worked for him and no level of success would ever change that.He ensured that all his horses were brought on slowly, with great patience and unlimited time, whilst he gradually taught them the ropes, in the hope of turning them into world-class showjumpers.

Daniel accepted that he might also be getting some additional glances today, which were nothing to do with his celebrity. He appreciated that he must look pretty odd, riding around on a beautiful Spring day, with a thick windproof fleecy coat zipped securely over his navy show jacket.All the other riders were dripping in the heat, whilst he felt slightly chilled.When he’d made plans to return, the British climate had been one of the potential sticking points.But he'd forgotten how truly miserable the weather could be, compared to some of the wonderful places he'd lived in the past few years; South America, Australia, the U.S.Hell, even his spell in New Zealand had been warmer than this.He really missed the sun and daren't imagine what the long, cold winter months would be like.

‘Number forty-three?’ called an official-sounding voice.

The ring steward was calling his number.He pulled his horse to a halt and started to shrug off his fleece jacket when a woman caught his eye.Onboard a beautifully turned out bay, she rode with efficiency and graceful, confident ease.She looked familiar.He knew her. It couldn't be?Emma Martin?The last time he'd seen her, she'd been a shy, quiet but pretty teenage girl. Daniel felt a jolt in his stomach. When he’d left all those years ago, Emma had been his only pause for concern.His only doubt.But, at the time, he had needed to escape the country fast.Ultimately, he’d had no choice.It was clear the teenager had grown into a woman; the swell of her breasts, the easy sway of her hips, her full lips quietly praising her horse.

‘Number forty-three!’The voice sounded louder and more aggravated this time.A number of the competitors turned to see the cause of the commotion.Scowling, Daniel whipped his eyes forward before Emma could catch him staring like a schoolboy, dropped his jacket onto the nearby fence and cantered purposefully into the ring.

 

An electric current coursed through Emma's body, causing her horse to shoot forwards dramatically.

‘Easy Boy,’ soothed Emma, as she pulled on the reins and brought Hawthorn back to a walk.That was him.That was definitelyhim.Emma edged towards the show ring to watch Daniel guide an obviously very novice horse around the course with kid gloves.He rode with fluid grace, driving the horse forward with his powerful hips, controlling the pace with light, sensitive hands.Momentarily startled by a screaming child in the crowd, the young horse knocked down the final fence, earning them four faults and effectively knocking Daniel out of the competition.However, Daniel was satisfied with the performance of the youngster and displayed his pleasure by running his hand up and down the horse's neck and scratching behind his long, pointed ears as they left the ring to enthusiastic applause.

Emma was glad she had already jumped clear in the first round.With any luck, by the time the jump off course was ready and she was expected back in the ring to compete in the final, Daniel would be on his way home.Sure enough, a short while later, Emma observed a large royal blue horsebox with 'D.C.L. Showjumping' written down the side in gold lettering, pull slowly away from the showground.She could breathe once more.Now, all she had to do was try and realign her shattered nerves in time for the jump off.

The task would be much easier if only that song would stop playing in her head; the song that had plagued her thoughts for so long and brought with it such raw emotions.The last time she'd seen Daniel had been the night before his sixteenth birthday and Tom had organised a party to celebrate the occasion.The evening had drawn to a close and the final song had been put on to play.The last dance.Goodnight girl.Emma had been standing against the side of the marquee, sipping her orange juice and trying not to look like the ultimate party pooper, laughing at Trudy who was systematically stalking the best-looking boys with limited success.

Out of nowhere, without a single word, Daniel had taken Emma's hand, confidently led her onto the dance floor and pulled her body towards him.As they had begun to sway, her arms had automatically curled around his waist. She'd never forgotten the feel of him; warm, muscles moving in his back, the serpentine meander of his narrow hips, his hot breath, a musky, one hundred percent masculine scent which set her mind reeling.She'd never been that close to a boy before.Never been so close to him.The feeling was more than she'd ever imagined it could be.

At one point, his hand had risen to her face and he had gently played with a strand of her hair.She’d experienced a painful jolt in her stomach and her heart had melted, right there on that dance floor.She had only been fourteen years old, but she'd known; that defining moment would be imprinted on her soul for the rest of her life.

Daniel’s hold had tightened as the song drew to a close. The last dance.Her only ever dance with him.With incredible clarity, Emma remembered how he had lifted her hand and brought it gently to his lips.At the time, she couldn't decide upon the expression in his eyes; was it happiness or regret, or both?He said nothing.Just stood there, holding her hand.Emma remembered how she had just stared at him in wonder, not daring to break the moment either.How often she had replayed that moment in her mind, wondering what might have happened if she’d said or done something differently.Eventually, Daniel had squeezed her hand, released it, turned on his heel and walked out of the marquee.Out of the country.Out of her life.But never out of her memories or her dreams.

 

In the living room of his horsebox, Daniel changed into clothes which, experience predicted, would allow him to blend relatively unnoticed into the crowds; Timberland boots, Levi’s, a thick checked shirt and dark sunglasses always seemed to work.Once he’d overseen the loading of his horses, Daniel watched Tom drive the horsebox steadily away.Unsure exactly why he felt compelled to stay, he knew he wanted to watch Emma in the jump off.Donning a baseball cap and pulling it down to cover his forehead, he followed the aroma of hog roast and locally brewed beer to the edge of the showjumping arena. Unseen, he managed to slip into an empty row of seats at the back of the stands, biding his time until it was Emma’s turn to jump.When Emma flew around the jump-off course, Daniel observed her with great interest and something akin to pride.Later, Emma gratefully accepted the silver cup and red rosette she received for winning the class as she chatted easily with the organisers and thanked them delightedly for the prize money they presented to her.

Following at a distance, Daniel watched Emma dismount, hug her horse and offer him a whole packet of mints as a special treat. Taking off her riding hat, Emma shook out her long blonde locks and returned happily to the horsebox area. Her movements felt somehow so familiar to him and Daniel felt himself stir with a long-forgotten emotion that he couldn't put his finger on.Perhaps it was a need never satisfied.When they were younger, there was no doubt he was attracted to her.But he'd known his plans involved leaving and the desire to escape had been his strongest driver.Even though, at the time, walking away from her had been one of the hardest things he'd ever had to do.But enough reminiscing.He was a different person now.A tougher, stronger person.A man. He was in control.His goal was to be selected to jump for Team GB in the World Equestrian Games in September.And he would be.

 

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The full story is available from Amazon, if you search for Fenella Ashworth.
www.fenellaashworth.com
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© Copyright 2019 Fenella Ashworth. All rights reserved.

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