Home > Second Chance with the Billionaire

Second Chance with the Billionaire
Author: Ava Storm

1

 

 

Cassie

 

 

It was a particularly beautiful morning as I rode the horse trail that flowed through the woods behind Blakes Corner. It was a simple pleasure I liked to indulge in.

I was out exercising Reggie, a gorgeous chestnut gelding. We were walking at a gentle pace, and I was just taking in the beauty of a forest I had seen so many times over my life, and yet never failed to appreciate.

There was a certain beauty about Blakes Corner, the town where I was born and raised and, post-college and veterinary school, I eventually came back to. Blakes Corner I could not imagine living anywhere else.

Our farmer’s markets were legendary, and in certain months I didn’t have to go to a grocery store for my produce at all. But ultimately, Blakes Corner was known for its horse farms. We loved breeding them, riding them, competing with them. I had grown up loving horses, so that morning seemed like any other morning. Me. Reggie. The beautiful woods that I knew like that back of my hand.

In Blakes Corner, autumn came early but lingered a while before giving way to the harsh Northeastern winter. It was the middle of September, and yet the leaves had begun to change from their summer green into a rainbow of colors, with a few oranges and yellows already making an appearance. Reggie made a sighing noise under me as we peacefully walked down the trail. I could tell the sweet boy wanted to make a run for it. Reggie loved to run, but I didn’t want to tax him by adding to the weight on his back while he did it. He was an older horse, still strong, but I simply did not want to risk it.

“Wait until we get back, big guy,” I whispered to him. “Then you can do all the running in the field that you want, okay?”

Reggie made a snorting noise in reply that I took to mean that he understood. I rubbed his neck and smiled.

Growing up, I knew that I was going to do something with horses, even if I didn’t exactly come from a family that could own them. My father was a trainer, though, and he would bring me to the stables, and I would watch the majestic creatures as they worked. When I was eight years old however, he left.

I continued my love for animals, especially horses, long after my father left. I went to veterinary school and came home to Blakes Corner to open a practice with a fried from school. I had harbored the illusion that I would walk right back into town and my practice would be wildly successful.

But as much as Blakes Corner stayed the same, it also changed in ways I couldn’t have predicted. Blakes Corner

While I had gone to college and then veterinary school, the demographics of the town changed. The wealthy learned about this gem of a town, and those passionate about horses decided to set up an outpost there. Soon Blakes Corner was ringed by wealthy mansions with sprawling, manicured lawns. Freshly painted fences cut these lawns into perfect squares for each horse to run. When I set up my practice at the Blakes Corner Veterinary Center, I learned that I may have to cater to those people sometime soon. In fact, I looked forward to that boost in income, given the fact that since they were taking up most of the land, they could at least spend their obscene amounts of money on my talents. What I didn’t realize is that they usually came with their own vets.

Reggie neighed, knocking me out of my musings and pulling me into the moment. I needed to enjoy the time I had with him, so I closed my eyes and savored the wind as it rippled through my hair. I smiled. I was twenty-eight. I had my dream job…

I was single.

This opened my eyes again, focusing on the path in front of me. Okay, so I was single. Veterinary school was not exactly the best time to date, and none of the entanglements in college had really shaken out to anything lasting. A part of me wished I could be as fun and carefree as my best friend and co-worker Stella Jane. She could find a new guy every week, love them as fiercely as if they were meant to be together forever, and then forget them by Monday morning.

I was just not like that, unfortunately. Taking stock of my love life, I’d always just wanted to find something to last, something special. Of course, every time I thought about that someone special, my mind tripped back to one person, that one moment in time, and I felt lost all over again. That familiar tang of old humiliation at the mercy of the town’s rumor mill started to rise up in me again.

Sam.

My former best friend. I had not seen him since that night in high school, when I thought...well, it wasn’t important now, was it? We grew up together, me a tomboy with reddish hair and freckles, him a quiet, pale boy with dark hair and eyes like a storm cloud. He had been a different sort of kid to live in Blakes Corner. He was quiet and nerdy, more interested in his computer than he was in horses, although he always managed to make time for whatever outdoor nonsense I wanted to do with him that day. I had always thought it made a sort of sense for him to leave Blakes Corner one day.

It just hadn’t made any sense for him to leave me.

I leaned over in the saddle and pressed my lips against Reggie’s mane, feeling the coarseness of his hair, listening to his breathing and the comforting sound of his hooves hitting the ground as he walked. The weather had a nice bite to it, almost cold, but not quite. I hugged the horse until I could stop thinking about stupid things that happened ten years ago. Living in the past was half the reason I was single now. I was stuck in the past over a boy who was now a ghost. I had to move on.

“Let’s go, Reggie!” I let him pick up the pace a little bit. It was time for him to get back home, time for me to start work. It could not spend all day dreaming in the woods as much as I wanted to.

 

 

Reggie’s stable was a short walk from where we had stopped. He was not one of the pampered horses of the wealthy, but instead was a meticulously cared for show horse loved by a family in town and being spoiled rotten in his retirement. Mrs. Richards, or “Call-Me-Allison-Please”, as Stella Jane and I liked to call her, stood waiting with a to-go cup of coffee in her hand as Reggie and I returned.

“Thank you so much, Dr. Mayhew,” the matronly woman said as she watched me dismount.

“Call me Cassie, please,” I said, suppressing a smile. Allison took Reggie’s reins and began to lead him into the stable.

“Of course, and you can call me Allison, please,” she replied, not for the first time and probably not for the last. “Once this hip heals, Reggie, we’ll be right out again for our walks, sweetie, don’t you worry.”

Blakes Corner

“Well, in the meantime, he is a dream to ride,” I said, taking a sip of coffee. She had brewed it with cinnamon and nutmeg. It tasted like fall. “See you tomorrow?”

Allison nodded enthusiastically. “Such a love of horses, Doctor, it is a shame you do not have one yourself.”

Try paying for one with six figures in student loans to take care of first, I thought, taking a sip of coffee to keep myself from responding.

“One day,” I replied.

One day.

 

 

Blakes Corner Veterinary Center was a small operation, but a very well renowned one. Our little operation occupied a place built to look like a log cabin, which was a touch I thought was charming, but Stella Jane hated. We were two of a handful of vets that flitted in and out of the space. Stella Jane’s focus was less on the larger animals and more on household pets, so she was more often found in the main building, while I made house calls for the large animals and then occasionally lent a hand in-office when needed.

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