Steadfast (True North #2) by Sarina Bowen
She’s the only one who ever loved him—and the only one he can never have.
Jude lost everything one spring day when he crashed his car into an apple tree on the side of the road. A man is dead, and there’s no way he can ever right that wrong. He’d steer clear of Colebury, Vermont forever if he could. But an ex-con in recovery for his drug addiction can’t find a job just anywhere.
Sophie Haines is stunned by his reappearance. After a three year absence, the man who killed her brother and broke her heart is suddenly everywhere she turns. It’s hard not to stare at how much he’s changed. The bad boy who used to love her didn’t have big biceps and sun-kissed hair. And he’d never volunteer in the church kitchen.
No one wants to see Sophie and Jude back together, least of all Sophie’s police chief father. But it’s a small town. And forbidden love is a law unto itself.
Excerpt Steadfast (True North #2) by Sarina Bowen
NOVEMBER, COLEBURY VT
The last time I drove through Colebury, Vermont, I sat behind the wheel of a 1972 Porsche 911 restored to mint condition, with a sweet new paint job in Aubergine.
Compare and contrast: three years later, I rattled down Main Street in a tattered 1996 Dodge Avenger I’d just bought for nine hundred bucks. The front fender was held together with duct tape.
None of that would have bothered me if the Avenger and I didn’t have so fucking much in common. We’d both ended up in the gutter, broken in body and spirit. The car’s muffler was shot. Exposed wires hanging out from under the dashboard were a perfect proxy for my jangled nerves. I was five months out of rehab and I still couldn’t sleep more than three hours in a row.
My arrogant teenage self would never have driven this heap, but that punk’s opinion didn’t matter anymore. I hated that guy. And while we’re marking all the contradictions, I should also add that the last time I drove through Colebury, Vermont, I was high as a kite on opiates.
Today I was stone cold sober. So at least I had that going for me.
In the minus column, I was now a convicted felon. I served thirty-six months for possession and vehicular manslaughter. I had very little money, and even fewer friends. The one lucky thing in my life — a live-saving job at an orchard in the next county — had just ended. It was November, and there were no more apples to pick or sell. So heading home was my only option.
There was, as usual, no traffic in Colebury. The little town where I grew up didn’t have a rush hour. It was more like a rush minute, and that hadn’t started yet…