The Second Chance Café

Growing up, Kaylie Flynn was shuffled from foster home to foster home before being welcomed into Winton and May Wise’s family. It was May who taught Kaylie the comfort of home, and the healing power of baking the perfect brownie. Years later, May leaves Kaylie the money she needs to open her own café in the charming Victorian house they once shared. Now back in Hope Springs, Kaylie’s determined to finally make all her dreams a reality—and unearth answers to lingering questions about her past.

Soon, however, Kaylie’s carefully laid plans take an unexpected turn. The house needs far more work than she realized, and Tennessee Keller, the carpenter Kaylie hires, is proving to be a very handsome and very unneeded distraction from her quest to uncover the truth about her parents. When a crisis threatens to destroy everything she’s worked so hard to build, Kaylie must decide where her heart lies: with the ghosts of her past or the love and promise of her future.

2014 Romance Writers of America RITA finalist for Best Contemporary Romance

“Girl talk, brownie recipes, and a goofy dog named Magoo complete this pleasant confection with the right balance of hope and memory, tears, and sizzle.” — Publishers Weekly

“Kent is a favorite for steamy erotica, but she also writes beautiful contemporaries, and in Second Chance Café, her voice is reminiscent of an early Nora Roberts.” — RT Book Reviews, 4 stars

“I have an abiding affection for second-chance stories, and so I found the title of Alison Kent’s inaugural book for her Hope Springs series irresistible. What I found within the book’s pages was more than even my second-chance-loving heart anticipated.” — Janga, Heroes and Heartbreakers

Recognizing Dolly Breeze’s quilts folded on frames beneath the Hope Springs Crafts Club tent, Luna headed that way. Working with a sixteen-inch hoop, Dolly sat in a rocking chair, the fabric of a crib-sized quilt like a waterfall over her lap. She gave Luna a quick wink, then returned her attention to the two seamstresses who sat with her. Both had their own small projects—one a needlepoint Christmas stocking, the other what looked like a crocheted place mat—well under way.

Luna listened to their chatter about old bundles of lace found in sewing baskets, and guild members who couldn’t whip a stitch to save a life, and pattern thieves who deserved to have their thumbs cut off, all the while admiring the craftsmanship of the items on display. The cards of old buttons amused her, as did those of antique braid trim.

“Oh, I meant to tell you,” Dolly said, speaking to the woman working on the place mat as Luna picked up a vintage roll of glass head straight pins. “One of the foster children who used to live with May and Winton Wise? She bought that old Victorian of theirs from the Colemans.”

“You’re kidding.”

“And, this is the best part. She’s going to open a café. Jessa called me yesterday and told me to go by and talk to her because she’s looking for a cook.”

“Which girl is it?”

“She’s Kaylie Flynn now, Jessa says, but she used to be Kaylie Bridges.”

Luna’s head came up, her nape tingling, her stomach tumbling to her feet. She squeezed the paper roll, the pin heads gouging her palm, the cardboard buckling from the same pressure crushing the air from her chest.

“Kaylie Bridges. The one who used to bake all those brownies?”

Dolly nodded, leaned closer, but still spoke loudly enough to be heard outside the booth. “And whose mother went to prison for child endangerment and distribution of illegal narcotics.”

Luna knew the story better than most, knew details these women as outsiders couldn’t. She’d been told them all in confidence, told them by a family friend. Told them by a man who’d come home from his Gulf War deployment to tales of violence and drug abuse and a child at risk.

A man who’d been looking for his daughter ever since.