Camille’s Second Chance by Alyssa Bailey

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Sample Chapter

“We’re going to the ranch. This Daddy is taking care of all his little ones.”

Before she was twenty-one, Camille Hendrix had been lied to, cheated on, assaulted twice, forced into a loveless marriage, divorced, and left to fend for herself with one baby and another on the way. She had also been loved by a man she left without a word of explanation and missed every day of her life. Now, with a nursing degree and two preschoolers, she was determined to return to her hometown and make a life, if possible, with the only man she ever loved. But was it too much to ask? Someone in town thought so.

Sawyer Knight was the most sought-after playboy in three counties and probably more. Everyone knew the woman he loved had suddenly left town without a word. Since then, Sawyer could be seen most weekends at the Whet Whistle, kicking up dust, getting toasted, and going home with a different woman. No woman was permanent in his life and Sawyer made that known loud and clear, until Cami came back to town. She was divorced, a mother, and life weary but when he laid eyes on her at his brother’s house, she was still the most beautiful, feisty woman he’d ever seen. Maybe more than ever because her strength of character shone through the battle scars, and his heart immediately yearned for her. If he claimed her this time, he wouldn’t let her go without a fight. It seemed the first opponent had already entered the ring.

This is book two in the Clearwater Ranch series but can be enjoyed as a standalone.

Publisher’s Note: This contemporary Western romance contains elements of mystery, suspense, sensual scenes and power exchange.

Sample Chapter

Chapter One

 

Camille audibly sighed as she pulled into her childhood home. She was glad to have arrived, but apprehensive about her choice of destinations. Cami focused her weary eyes at the home she grew up in. The half-light gave it a sinister shadow she was positive she imagined. When did it take on the look of sadness? For the thousandth time since they drove onto the Alaska Marine Highway’s MV Tongass Rain, she wondered if she had made the right decision. Afterall, she had secrets, sorrow and two children she adored returning to a community that had a long memory and a short attention span.

The last six years hadn’t been easy, but she had survived, thrived even, much to the incredulity of her parents. After ending a horrible but blessedly short marriage forced on her by her parents, Camille was lost. She’d hated herself and her parents for much longer than the ten months she was married. But that was all water under the bridge.

The house and yard looked exactly the same as it did when she left almost six years ago. Lilies and a variety of color-coordinated flowerbeds were displaying the same reds, blues, oranges and yellows they always had. Camille saw herself as clearly today as that fateful day her world came crumbling down around her.

She stood crying, begging her parents Ronnie and Carla Hendrix, on that very doorstep in front of her now. She pleaded with them to reconsider, let her stay, and figure something out, but it hadn’t happened that way. Camille told her mother the man they wanted her to marry forced her, but it made no difference. Carla Hendrix never actually said she didn’t believe her, but she left her distraught daughter with no misunderstanding about the expectations.

Her counselor later told her they had, by their actions, raped her again. Camille thought that was a harsher verdict than she could subscribe to because she played a part in the whole fiasco. She’d been too weak to stand up against them. She spent years believing they were to blame for her loss of the only man she’d ever loved. Later, she’d had to admit she’d left him too easily, thinking he wouldn’t want her. She had called Sawyer that fateful morning, but he was working on the ranch and he didn’t pick up.

Her sole message, “I love you, Sawyer. I don’t know if I can ever survive without you. There isn’t anything I can do to stop what is happening. I’m sorry for everything.” She didn’t know if he’d called her back. Her parents had kept her phone. She never had another until the day Aiden had left her for another woman. On that day, she took back control of her life. She called a domestic assault line and was offered and later taken into protective housing, given legal advice, offered a pro bono attorney and finally got an emergency phone line. She had a phone but no access to long distance. It was too late to mend fences by the time she did. She had no choice but to look forward.

She’d regretted too many things in her life. This was a new beginning. No more regrets.

Aiden Blevins wanted the girl he thought was related to the big-time criminal lawyer and if she was pregnant, it was an inconvenience but not the end of the world. When he found out she not only wasn’t carrying his child but also was not related to the attorney who had her last name, he wanted out and fast. She was a tutor to the man’s child not his relative regardless of the same odd last name.

Aiden took a job in Alaska, dragging her along with him, even though she had begged to stay nearer to home. Later she found out it was because of how easy he could get divorced. It was probably the fastest divorce known to modern man and then he sent her packing. As an attorney it had been child’s play for him. Cami had learned she had no one to rely on but herself. One of her greatest regrets was she’d never contacted Sawyer. She’d hurt him too badly to expect any kind of help from him. She didn’t deserve it, anyway.

Cami found a knowledgeable social worker who helped her qualify for a grant to get her certified nurse’s assistant license before Eli was born, helped her with housing after the divorce, and taught her general living on her own. She helped her change her name to Hendrix Knight. Not a hyphen but two separate names. See, Cami had one dream she refused to give up on even though it was out of reach.

Her parents didn’t know about the degree, the circumstances of her second child, Piccadilly, or anything else. They had only learned of her divorce when she called last month. Camille had no intention of sharing much of her personal history since they’d forced her out. She was still bitter in some ways, and there was no reason to make her parents’ life any easier. She had a lead on several rentals owned by Piper Gentry that she could afford. Piper said at least one of them would be perfect. She’d hold them for her until she arrived. Piper confided that she was now a Knight and they had just announced they were pregnant. Piper’s family owned the Gentry place next to Clear Knight Ranch, Sawyer’s family’s place. She was happy for Piper, but it put a spotlight on the fact that Cami had allowed others to force her to walk away from that for herself.

She shook her head and looked back at the loves of her life. Eli, named after his father, lay on the back seat, his hand curled in sleep around his sister, Lily. Her chest tightened at the rush of love she felt looking at her children. She’d do anything for them, starting with introducing them to their grandparents and Eli to his father.

Well, no reason to delay the inevitable any longer. Her parents were standing at the door of the house now, presumably waiting to meet their grandchildren. They’d been stunned to hear from her a month ago. Her mother cried. It cracked a small bit of Cami’s hardened heart. Only a little. Forgiveness was a long way off. The interior light came on and a rush of humid heat overwhelmed her for a moment. Eli, so much like his father, pulled his sister in close and tried to open his intelligent light blue eyes. They often sparkled like his father’s did once upon a time. She moved the wild honey blond curl from his face just as she had done with Sawyer so many times before.

“Sorry, little man, but we are at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Do you want to meet them? I’ll take care of Miss Lily.”

“Okay, Mama. Is my daddy here?”

“No, love. We’ll see him soon. I promise.” If he will see you after I tell him I have kept you from him for five years, that is. But something deep inside told her Sawyer Knight would accept his son, but not likely her or his sister. One thing at a time, girl.

Scooping her daughter up from the back seat after Eli had scrambled out, Cami gazed down at her. Lily looked like her mother, sharing her brown eyes but Lily’s hair was a dark blonde, a combination of Cami’s darker brown and Aiden’s light blond.

Time to enter the lions’ den. Hope they’ve had dinner.

When had her four-year-old gotten so heavy Cami wondered as she followed Elijah while carrying his still groggy sister to meet Ronnie and Carla Hendrix, their grandparents.

“Hi Mom, Dad. We made it,” said Camille with as much false cheerfulness as she could muster.

Her mother looked sad for a moment and even glanced at the car, looking for Aiden, Cami imagined. “Mom, we’re divorced.” She almost added for five years but decided she’d not make things worse than they were. “But I did bring your grandchildren to meet you.”

“Grandchildren?” she asked as though she had forgotten about Lily. “Oh, yes, and we have been waiting a long time to meet them.”

The reproach was loud and clear to which, mentally, Cami replied, “We didn’t live in another country. You could have visited anytime you’d cared to come.” Verbally, she said, “They’ve been curious as well.”

Camille knew her children were tired and needed a bed. They were what was important. If Piper Gentry could get one of the apartments ready quickly, she’d definitely move into one of them. It was never going to be a good relationship with her parents. Too much of life had passed.

“We’re tired and hot, Mom, do you think we could come in?”

Stunned for a moment as though she had forgotten they were on the front porch in the twilight of the evening, Carla didn’t move. Ronnie pushed his wife out of the way to allow their visitors inside. Lily had gone back to sleep, and her father put his hands out to take her. Cami hesitated but relinquished her daughter.

“I believe your mother has the children in your old room. You can have the bedroom next door.

“Dad, we’ll sleep together so whichever room has the bigger bed would be more comfortable for us. I don’t want the children waking in a strange place without me close at hand.”

Ronnie looked at Carla as though asking if they could change her plan. Nothing had changed in the pecking order around here, then. “Well, if that’s going to upset you, I can easily go to a hotel however, since we plan to stay only a night or two, I thought you would like to get to know them.”

“Ronnie, put her in the room with Camille.” He left to do his wife’s bidding.

“Lily. Her name is Lily or Piccadilly if you like.”

Carla opened her mouth and Cami waited for her mother to say something and then, miracle of all miracles, she didn’t. Instead she looked down into the serious face observing her intently.

“And you, my boy, must be Aiden.”

“Eli,” said both mother and son in unison.

Cami grabbed Eli’s hand and walked him to the living room where she put on the light and sat down, pulling him to sit next to her. She knew it was as much for her own nerves as any awkwardness or worry her son might have. He loved to laugh but if it was important, he was all business. She could see Sawyer in the way he placed his hand, not in hers but over the top, in a move of protection. She turned hers over to clasp his in a show of support and comfort.

“Eli? You said he was named after his father.”

“He was.”

“Yes, my first name is my daddy’s middle name.”

“Ah.” Carla nodded as though that answered her query, but it didn’t, not really. Cami was not enlightening her.

Time to take control of the conversation so her mother didn’t think she’d kowtow to her as she had in the years of her childhood. “Mom, I have appointments tomorrow morning and the children should get some sleep before we head out. I anticipate staying a couple of days if that won’t put you out.”

“I planned on you staying here for a while. I mean, you have no husband to help you.”

“Thank you but no. I assure you I have done quite well without the man you forced… without Aiden.”

Eli looked at his mother and asked quietly, “Mama, are we going to see my daddy soon?”

“Yes, sweetheart, tomorrow or the next day, I imagine. I’ll call him tomorrow.”

Eli tried to suppress a yawn while he nodded in understanding.

“Oh, so Aiden is coming. Well, that’s a relief. Raising children away from their father isn’t a good idea.”

“Okay, we are off to bed. Say good night to your grandmother, Eli.”

“Good night, grandmother.”

As they passed Ronnie on their way up to the bedroom, Eli reached out his hand to shake the older gentleman’s. A wide grin spread across Ronnie’s face then he solemnly shook his grandson’s hand.

“Good night, Dad,” said Camille.

“Night you two. See you in the morning.”

Sleep was elusive for Cami but thankfully not for her children. As she lay, trying not to toss and turn, she thought of the things she needed to get done before the school year started. Her job began the day before the pupils so she could get the nurse’s station set up, but there was final hire paperwork she needed to complete. She had hoped that she could ask her mother to watch the children while she finished the setting up of their new life, but she couldn’t risk it at this stage. Not until she had spoken to Sawyer.

Sawyer. How was she going to tell him? She knew she had to but no matter how many times she had the whole scenario set up in her head, it never sounded good enough. It wasn’t as though she was looking for a romantic relationship with him. Cami shook her head mentally at herself. No more lies, not to herself or to Sawyer. She still dreamed of the relationship she had with him before she’d left. She was under no illusions that that wouldn’t be possible now, but she did want him to love his son. Eventually, she fell into an exhausted sleep, in bed with two little blond headed heaters.

The quiet chatter woke Camille up with a start. Disoriented, she called out to the children.

“Mama, Mama, we are in someone’s bedroom,” declared Lily in worried hushed tones as though they had made some grave error.

“It’s okay Lily Bug, we are in Mama’s kid home, remember?” said Eli in typical big brother fashion.

“Childhood home, dear.” Camille didn’t dare crack a smile for Eli wouldn’t have appreciated that. She needed a shower and coffee. “I bet you are ready for your breakfast.”

“Does your child home have cereal?”

“I imagine we can find some. Let’s go see what there is to eat, shall we?”

Both children leapt from the bed, jumping up and down but not opening the door. The motels they had stayed at on the way to Texas weren’t the best, but Camille couldn’t imagine paying much for a night of sleep. For protection, she had drilled into the children they were never to open a door in a place they didn’t know. The lesson had taken well, and she was proud of them.

“Thank you for waiting until I opened the door. Now let’s go find breakfast.”

As they walked down the stairs, everything looked different in the daylight and yet, all was familiar. She walked into the kitchen and settled the children at the table before reaching to open the cupboard that historically had held cereal. Bran flakes. No children lived in the house now and the cereal selection announced that fact.

“No cereal. Let’s see what else they have, shall we?” Doing a bit more rummaging, she found toaster waffles, microwave sausage and orange juice. It would have to do.

Just as she was finishing things up, her mother appeared. “Oh, you aren’t giving them that for breakfast, are you? Your father buys that when he wants something fast. It’s not a proper breakfast.”

“They would have done fine with cereal, but bran flakes aren’t their favorite. I’ll grab a box when we do errands.”

“You can’t be serious.”

“Mom, you fed us cereal all the time as kids.” To which Carla said nothing. “I’m grabbing a cup of coffee and going to take a quick shower. The kids will be fine. Send them up when they are done so they can dress. I’m on a schedule today.”

“Of course, but what about Aiden?”

Camille pointedly glanced at her children before walking to the far end of the kitchen. Her mother followed. Camille spoke in a low voice.

“What about him?”

“I thought he was coming.”

“Really? Why would you think that? We aren’t married. And for your information, we haven’t been for five years. We technically lived together for ten months. We were divorced by one year. I didn’t initiate it, Aiden did, but I was relieved. It probably saved my life. He had a new lady friend before the papers were filed. They have been married for three years, I think. They have heard of him but except for Eli as a newborn, the children have never seen him.”

“But Eli said he was going to see his father.”

“He is.” Camille turned away, leaving her mother and her coffee in the kitchen. Damn, she needed that coffee.

***

Shower done, children dressed, she left to complete her employment paperwork. She just needed a photo ID, to sign a few things, and get a tour of the school. Her medical pre-screenings were all done at the hospital before she left. All the schools were on the same campus but in separate buildings. Her office was centrally located between the elementary and junior high schools where she imagined she’d be most needed. During the tour, he pointed out the kindergarten and preschool rooms for Lily and Elijah.

The attentive young man, Karl, who showed her the school, offered his assistance at any time. He was attractive enough, but she had never had eyes for anyone but Sawyer. Then the children came, and they’d been her only focus. He appeared to be a little older than she and was full of helpful information. She’d make sure to take him up on his offer if needed. He gave her the keys to her office and finished the tour by showing her a few more essential places like the teachers’ lounge and the supply closet. They were done by noon.

Cami needed to feed the children before they looked at the duplex. They’d done well for their ages, but she needed space for them to run and food to keep them happy this afternoon. She walked over to the café next to Gentry World Investments, GWI on the logo.

This used to be a favorite hangout as a teen, and she liked that it was still open. Settling the children in the booth with a big window to the street, Cami was helping the children decide just how hungry they were when she saw Piper step out of the passenger side of a pickup with the help of the man she had hoped not to run into until she had decided how to speak to him.

She watched in horror as Sawyer handed Piper out of the truck, said a few words, laid his hand on her almost flat tummy, and dropped a kiss on her cheek before climbing back into the driver’s seat, pulling away from the curb. Cami’s worst nightmare had come to roost. Sawyer was married and evidently, to Piper Gentry. Piper had said she was a Knight now, and that they had just announced their first child was on the way. The way Sawyer was so sweet to her, he must be the Knight brother Piper had married. Not Jackson as she had first thought. Now what should she do?

The children had a wonderful time at lunch while their mama was on the verge of tears the whole meal. The lovely man, Karl, stepped in to grab a lunch he obviously had pre-ordered and she smiled at him. He grinned back and tipped his cowboy hat in greeting. Cami thought he’d come over to the table but seemed to change his mind. It felt good for someone to offer her a genuine smile, instead of the curious pasted-on ones she had encountered most of the day.

Cami settled on grilled cheese for the kids and the waitress brought their annual Rodeo coloring contest pages and crayons for the kids to create their masterpieces. Lily, a free spirit, was wildly creative in her color choices. While Eli laughed with Lily’s adventuresome kaleidoscope, he carefully colored in the lines. Entries submitted with the waitress, lunches eaten, and bathroom break complete, Cami led the much calmer children next door.

A young lady looked up as the little group entered GWI and greeted them with an attempt at a smile. “Good afternoon. Can I help you?”

The cool air was welcomed after even the few moments spent in the sweltering hot air. The children didn’t seem to notice the heat as much as she did. Nearly six years in Alaska put her at a disadvantage in the August heat of Texas. She needed to carry more water in the car and get the kids hats, lotion and sunshades. They’d like that.

“Yes, I’m here to see Piper. I’m Camille—”

“Hendrix, yes, I have you right here.” Glad that Piper had supplied the name she remembered Cami with, she didn’t have to disclose her full name publicly. Not yet, anyway.

“Camille, how are you!” Piper came out and hugged Cami like they were long-lost friends. Piper had been three grades ahead of her in Sawyer’s class, so it surprised her the executive remembered her at all. Stepping back, Piper looked at the two children standing close to their mama. “Oh, they are beautiful.”

“I think so.” Camille smiled in the cheerful woman’s company. How could she resist? Especially, when Piper was saying sweet things about her children?

“What are your names?”

Lily hid behind Cami’s leg, but Eli spoke up. “That’s Lily. She’s four and kinda shy. I’m Elijah and I’m five. I have my daddy’s name.”

“Oh, well they are both lovely names.” Piper looked at Lily and then back to Cami. “She looks so much like you. And Elijah must look like his daddy.”

“Yes, I do. I have my daddy’s looks and his name. Except my first name is his second name, so we don’t get confused.”

“Okay, Eli, that’s enough. Poor Mrs. Knight has work to do.” Cami looked over at Piper with as bland a look as she could create. She hoped it worked.

“Knight? That’s our name. Well, Hendrix Knight but—”

“Eli,” said Cami firmly. “We are bothering Miss Piper. Don’t you want to get the keys and look at our new place?”

Piper nodded. “Right. Linda, take the children into the conference room and get them going on some entertainment or turn on the cable. Cami and I have some catching up to do.”

Camille almost bolted but she’d have to deal with Sawyer’s wife at some point. Since she wanted to rent from her, it might as well be now. Goodbye rental. Hello classifieds. Piper led Cami into the office and closed the door.

“Have a seat.” Piper stared at the forms on her desk for a moment before looking into Camille’s eyes. “I’m not one to beat around the bush.”

“I figured.” Cami sighed. “What do you want to know?”

“Um, everything? But let’s start with the disclosure. Who is Eli’s father?”

Camille considered for a brief second to lie but the look on Piper’s face told her it wouldn’t work for long, if at all. “Sawyer.”

“I take it he doesn’t know.”

Not the reaction she expected. “Of course not. I didn’t know until I was half way through my pregnancy. I was too far along for him to be Aiden’s baby.”

“Aiden. I assume that is your husband?”

“Ex.”

“Okay, but why not his?”

Cami didn’t know how much to tell and decided it would get easier with the first telling, so she let all the information tumble out. The part about Aiden thinking she was related to the important attorney with the same name. Forcing himself on her to convince her parents they needed to marry. Her frightening discovery several weeks later, and how she was too naïve to realize she could have already been pregnant since she and Sawyer had made love recently.

Cami explained her parents forcing her out or to marry Aiden and since she didn’t want to tell Sawyer she was pregnant with another man’s child, she left with him. Trouble was, on the wedding night in Vegas, when he found out she wasn’t related to the attorney, only his son’s tutor, Aiden had gone ballistic.

“He hit me once that night but never again. He was too smart for that. He had forced himself on me previously.” Cami took a deep breath and let it out before shaking her head. “No, he raped me. But now that he knew I was pregnant, he didn’t want me to press criminal charges. He knew better than I did what I could have done to his career, his future freedom, and more. Needless to say, our marriage was over that night. If it ever had a chance that is.”

“Oh, Cami, why didn’t you come home? Jackson says Sawyer got lost after you left. He figures Sawyer never quite recovered.”

“Me either. I missed him so much.” Piper pushed the tissue box in her direction. “We both still thought Eli was Aiden’s at that point. By the time I figured it out, Aiden had another girlfriend and rarely came home for long, thankfully. Anyway, when Eli was born, I already knew he was Sawyer’s. Two months early. Anyway, without my permission or knowledge, he had a DNA test done and verified Eli wasn’t his.”

“Oh, honey, I’m so sorry. What happened next?” Piper gave her a bottle of water.

“As you can imagine, it was the out he was looking for. He came home drunk the night he got the results back.” Cami took a drink of the water, working hard to control the tremor in her voice. “Eli was about three months and he forced himself on me. He was rough, out of control, and I screamed.” Cami shrugged. “We lived in a little detached house so no one could hear me.”

She drew her legs up in the wide chair, planting her feet on the seat and her arms around her knees. “Anyway, as my luck would have it, he raped me again that night. The only two times we had sex and they were rapes. He was so much stronger than I was. By then I had an emergency phone. I turned it on record when he came toward me. He stumbled and I hit the record app fast. I said all the right things to make it stick. See I had learned from my attorney husband and my counseling that it was important to have a plan.”

Cami shrugged and wiped the tears from her cheek. “He was accommodating in his drunken state, to admit to raping me the first time and then went on to do it again.”

“I’m so sorry. I guess that is where Lily came from?”

“You guessed right. I never had sex with him again. Twice. That was it. The first time ruined my life, the second time gave me it back. He doesn’t even know she exists.”

“Did your parents not come to your aid?”

“I never told them.”

“Oh, but…” she stopped when she saw Cami shake her head. Piper continued softly. “And Sawyer?”

“I don’t know. I didn’t think he’d believe me on Eli. And Lily? Who would want another man’s child?”

“Sawyer would. Besides, he will guess about Eli the first time he sees him. That boy looks just like him when he was a kid.”

Cami straightened up in her seat again, sniffing back the last of her tears. “Not after I left without speaking to him directly. I didn’t have a phone afterward. Then I had so much I was worried about. I got a divorce with sole custody and relinquished rights based on DNA, and spousal support for my promise not to release the recording. He’d have lost his job and likely gone to jail. Probably been disbarred. With lots of help, I had Lily, earned a degree and came back here.”

“You have to tell him.”

“I will. Eli should know his dad. I had no idea how much trouble it would cause with me coming back. I’m sorry, Piper. Really, I don’t want to cause a strain on your marriage.”

“My marriage?” She shook her head. “Other than my husband wanting to draw and quarter your ex, it won’t bother my marriage.”

“But it could put a strain on it and with you having a little one on the way. I just don’t want Elijah hurt.”

Piper considered Cami for a moment and then scrunched up her face before speaking again. “I’m missing something here.”

“The kids and I had lunch at the café today. We saw you in the window.”

Piper’s face cleared and she grinned. Actually grinned. “You saw me get out of Sawyer’s truck.”

Camille nodded. “He really loves you.” Her voice held pain and envy.

“Well I hope so, since I’m carrying around his first niece or nephew.”

Now it was Cami’s turn to scrunch her face. “Not his child?”

Piper laughed. “The brothers are close, I grant you that, but I don’t think Jackson would want to share his wife and I damn sure don’t want his brothers.”

Cami didn’t even know how tense she was until she heard Piper laugh. He wasn’t married to Piper. What a relief!

“And before you ask, he hasn’t had a steady girlfriend since you left, I’m told. No wife, no ex, no fiancée, nothing. I don’t know how he was with you in your relationship, but that man is likely to spank you raw when he finds out you could have come to him all those years ago. That he could have been there for his son’s babyhood and been a father to Lily.”

“Is it too late? Am I too late?”

Piper sobered. “Honestly, I don’t know. But you have to tell him so he can be there for Eli. You don’t have a choice.”

“That’s why I came back.”

“And to see if Sawyer would give you another chance?”

“Yes.”

Linda knocked on the door and called in with a rather desperate voice. “The natives are getting restless out here.”

“Coming right out!”

“Okay, you get the keys from Linda and pick your duplex. I’ll get a contract together. You gave Eli the last name of Knight.”

“Well, I changed our names back to my maiden name in the divorce and then added Knight so we would have the same last name, but he’d have his father’s name. When Lily was born, I gave her my name, Hendrix Knight. I figured, if Sawyer was upset about it, Lily and I can use my maiden name in daily usage.”

“Okay, go pick out your duplex.”

It had been a long day and Cami was beat, but she’d gotten so much done, she was proud of herself. After deciding on which home would work best for them, she took the kids to an open field and let them run around burning off energy. Even though she had allowed them to race through the duplex, they needed more. It wasn’t until they were tired and ready to go home, did she think about snakes and the like. She hadn’t worried about reptiles in Alaska, but they were in Texas now.

At the table that evening, Carla Hendrix had been subdued and Ronnie had tried to keep up a conversation with the children, but it seemed as though they were all too preoccupied or tired, to do more than eat.

“Thank you for dinner. I’ll put the kids to bed and then come out to clean up.”

“I can handle that. You take care of the children.”

“I can do it when I’m finished.”

The mulish expression her mother often wore when she faced any opposition appeared, effectively ending the conversation. “Thanks, Mom. Then if you two don’t mind, I’m bushed. I think we might move into the duplex tomorrow. I’ll let you know.”

Carla’s only reply was a nod.

The children were overtired and fussy. It had been a long month and the last two weeks had been brutal for all of them. She needed to get them back into their own place. Tomorrow, things would begin to look up. And today had yielded some good results, including finding out no woman could claim Sawyer Knight.

 

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13 reviews for Camille’s Second Chance by Alyssa Bailey

  1. Lori

    I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.  Camille is back in town and this time she has children with her. Through no fault of her own, her first chance with Sawyer was ripped out of her hands.  now she’s back to right the wrong that was done to she and Sawyer.  Will the town accept her back, can she make things good with Sawyer? This is a good read and I really enjoyed it. It’s the second book in the series and I’ve enjoyed both so far. Spanking romance with mystery and danger.

  2. Ajjmb

    I love reading books by Alyssa Bailey because her books are so wonderful. This newest book is no different. Camille has gone through so much and to come home to so much judgement has to be hard. I love how Sawyer is ready and willing to take Camille back into his life a lover as he always has. I love it even more that he makes such a wonderful father to not just his own son but to Lily as well even though she isn’t his biological daughter. He is so protective and nurturing to Camille and is just what she needs in a strong dominant man. I love how the author always has a suspenseful type mystery in each of her books as well. This was a great new book. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book.

  3. Marybeth

    I loved this second book in the Clearwater ranch series. You don’t need to have read book one to enjoy this book. Sawyer is in love with Camille. Unfortunately, circumstances worked against them and they were separated from each other. Camille comes back home with her children and they get back together. This is the epitome of an Alyssa Bailey book. There is a strong male character and there is an old fashioned feel to their relationship. I loved this story and I can’t wait for the next book. I give this an enthusiastic 5*.

  4. Rjr

    I was delighted to see Book Two in the Clearwater Ranch series was out. Book One – Piper’s Plan, was was of my favorite books ever. And I’m happy to say that Camille’s Second Chance is just as terrific! This time it’s Sawyer’s story. His longtime girlfriend up and disappeared five years ago and left him broken. They had planned a future together and he can’t seem to move forward in his personal life without her. Just as suddenly as Camille left, she returns and she is not alone. When Sawyer meets her children he is filled with questions. One thing that hasn’t changed is the deep and abiding love they feel for each other. Sawyer wants to take over, claim them as his family, and begin their new lives. But there are many secrets to tell and Sawyer and Camille have each grown in five years. Camille, in particular, is used to doing things on her own and grapples with the demands and rules of the dominant rancher she loves. Can she learn to submit again? When danger begins to affect their lives, Sawyer and his brothers circle the family and vow to protect it with everything they have. We get to catch up with Jackson and Piper, who is as irrepressible as always! And also with Walker and Josie, to a lesser degree. The love story is heart wrenching and the mystery is haunting. The desire to make up for lost time is felt everywhere, and the children are a delight. This big, loving, messy family is just as fun the second time and I can’t wait for Walker’s story so I can spend more time with the Knight brothers!

  5. Kiki

    This is the continuation of the Clearwater Ranch series. I didn’t read the first one, but this can be a stand alone. They refer to the events from the first book frequently, but not clearly enough that it’s easily understood. That being said, not understanding exactly what happened in the first book isn’t necessary to understand this book. The characters were interesting and developed. Cami is back in town and has two children with her. Sawyer was very quick to forgive and accept Cami back into his life. They continue on and have a HEA, although there is some mystery and intrigue to keep the reader interested.

    I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  6. Stats23

    This book, the second in the Clearwater Ranch series, is a sure-fire winner. A continuation of the lives and loves of the Knight brothers, this saga focuses on Sawyer Knight and the woman he thought he had lost forever. Camille had thought she was destined to spend the rest of her life with the one and only love of her life, Sawyer, when a brutal rape and lack of support from her parents forced her to make a decision she immediately and interminably regretted. She left home and Sawyer, to marry her rapist! When her marriage disintegrated and her opportunity arrived, she returned to her home town to face up to her parents and Sawyer in the hopes of building a better life for herself and her children. How Sawyer, and the townsfolks, would react was as different as (K)night and day, and the basis for a robust plot and a deliciously delightful spanking romance. A great read with great characters and great relationships. I can’t wait for the next in the series, likely featuring Walker and Josie. 5 Stars
    I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

  7. Donna

    Donna L
    4.0 out of 5 starsSexy and Sweet
    June 3, 2019
    Format: Kindle Edition
    Camille Hendrix had been victimized in the worst possible way leading her to
    leave her home town and the love of her life.Returning home after five long
    miserable years with two small children in tow,Cami is ready to start living
    again.How would Sawyer Knight react and will he have a place in Cami’s life
    once again.Sawyer takes one look at Cami and the children and opens his
    home and heart but needs answers to his questions.He is a dominant man
    and does not hesitate to stake his claim.Cami is finding it difficult to hand
    over control but her body loved the sex after a punishment.Her body throbbed
    with primal need.Danger is lurking from an unknown stalker and strange
    events keep occurring to Cami.

    I loved how protective Sawyer was but Cami did not always appreciate his ways
    of calming her down.Her daddy would take control and care for all his little ones.
    I enjoyed this sweet story with its emotional plot.It was easy to read with likable
    characters.

  8. Hope W

    Wow, another hit for Alyssa Bailey! I loved this story about love and forgiveness, that is combined with mystery and crime. The author has woven a story that pulls the reader in as we watch Sawyer and Cami rediscover their earlier love. The children add depth to the family and had me smiling with their interaction with Sawyer. But that is not all, the mystery will take twists and turns to keep you guessing, the protective men will have you wishing you were in their arms, and there is plenty of erotic sex and spankings that makes you want to jump into the pages and become a part of this great group of characters. Who is the stalker? You will have to read and find out. I highly recommend this book for a great 5 star read! I voluntarily received an arc copy of this book.

    I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  9. Redrabbitt

    The story is a great addition to the series with plenty of mystery, suspense, danger, action, adventure, angst, and throw in a healthy dose of romance. Once again, Ms. Alyssa Bailey has taken her readers on an exciting, nerve-wracking, intense roller-coaster ride of mystery, suspense, and adventure. I love second chances romances, and the interaction between Sawyer Knight and Camille Hendrix sure has its ups and downs, but one that comes with two little surprises. The story has several spankings, all well-deserved, and hot sex scenes and great chemistry between this couple—along with a few fireworks.

    The story is full of the past, and the present colliding as Camille returns to Texas with her two young children, Eli and Lily. It is facing her parents, the ones who turned their backs on her and destroyed her relationship with Sawyer. It’s facing Sawyer and having to relieve the ugliness of the past and face his disappointments. It is a mother who must do what is best for her and her children, but one that includes a man who refuses to back down from his obligations and desires.

    “They are my responsibility, not yours.” –Camille

    “And that’s where you’re wrong. The moment they called me daddy, these little screamers became my primary responsibility. Don’t shut me out because then I’ll have to break down the door. Don’t make me have to remind you my preferred method of getting through to you.” –Sawyer

    Two people who have cared for each other since they were just children hadn’t changed, even with the years apart. Learning the truth will leave a bit of bitterness but for Sawyer to have Camille back in his life is what he has been missing all these years—adding two children is just a bonus he is happy to accept. Getting her to acquiesce to his demands isn’t as easy, but he has a way of persuading her, and if he has to play dirty, he will. Now that she is back, he isn’t letting her go.

    “Sweetheart, you are way past having earned it, but more than that, you are too tightly strung and likely need it. You’d agree if you allowed yourself to open up a little. We’ll work on that a little later on tonight.”

    “Camille, I have loved you forever, and I will love you ‘til the end of time. Please give me a chance to prove to you I can be the man you need, the one you want. The one you won’t ever leave.”

    The story includes people from the first book, Piper’s Plan, but could read well as a stand-alone. It is full of mystery and suspense, along with elements of fear and danger. Who is targeting Sawyer and Camille, leaving messages stating M-I-N-E? On top of Camille returning to Texas, she is the subject of vicious gossip that is completely unfounded. Has some woman who was hoping to snag Sawyer causing all these problems?

  10. Lalaland

    I really enjoyed this second story in the Clearwater Ranch Series. Camille left home 5 years before having been forced by her domineering mother to marry Aiden a man who had raped her, because he made her pregnant, or so she believed at the time, all he had done was offer her a lift home, but Camille’s unsympathetic mother intimated that Camille was asking for it. Being very young and non confrontational, Camille allowed herself to be railroaded into a loveless marriage with this despicable man. Aiden, in fact, only wanted her because he believed she was related to an influential family of lawyers in the State who would boost his career, this was his mistake and the same surname was a coincidence. Before Camille’s husband and rapist married her, she had been in a steady and loving relationship with Sawyer Stone of the Clearwater Ranch, they had been together since she was 12 years old and she loved him completely and thought he would not believe or accept that she had been forced by her husband. She also believed that her child was Aiden’s when, in fact, he was Sawyers. Aiden took Camille far away from Texas to Alaska but when the baby Is born much earlier than expected has a DNA test performed which proves that Eli is in fact not his child. This night having not touched Camille since the night of the rape, he once more forces her and the result of this is Lily. Now 5 years later and far stronger, divorced, a qualified registered nurse and an independent mother of 2 small children under 6 Camille is returning home to introduce her son to his father Sawyer and face her demons. What will she face there? I really enjoyed this heartwarming read, it was a love story in every sense although not sentimental or sloppy. This is the second in a series but can be read as a stand-alone although it is helpful to know the back stories of the other principal characters. The hot scenes were tasteful and not terribly graphic and the spanking was not excessive but in places appropriate. Sawyer and his brothers are dominant but loving and dependable, real men, the children are cute but not syrupy, altogether an entertaining read. I look forward to the next in the series.

    I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.P

  11. Michele

    Camille has been in love with Sawyer since she was a child and he’s loved her since he first laid eyes on her. At age 18 they were finally ready to make things permanent. When her family interferes and she abruptly leaves town, Sawyer is devastated. Camille returns to her hometown, a single mom with two kids and not much else. The town gossips are not hospitable, and it’s a rough return for Camille. To her surprise, it’s Sawyer to the rescue and one look at her eldest son and he knows its time to take her back in hand and be a leader for Camille and her kids to find happiness. Great stoyy with heart and a special Daddy who makes Camille and her children feel safe and loved. Even when some suspicious activity threatens their newfound happiness. Highly recommend.

  12. Michele

    Camille has been in love with Sawyer since she was a child and he’s loved her since he first laid eyes on her. At age 18 they were finally ready to make things permanent. When her family interferes and she abruptly leaves town, Sawyer is devastated. Camille returns to her hometown, a single mom with two kids and not much else. The town gossips are not hospitable, and it’s a rough return for Camille. To her surprise, it’s Sawyer to the rescue and one look at her eldest son and he knows its time to take her back in hand and be a leader for Camille and her kids to find happiness. Great story with heart and a special Daddy who makes Camille and her children feel safe and loved. Even when some suspicious activity threatens their newfound happiness. Highly recommend.

  13. susan

    Great read that I hope everyone will get and enjoy. This story has mature adults with real problems, kids and pasts that they overcome and finally get together after lots of obstacles. The characters are well written and there is a hint of mystery, danger, angst of a past and of course an enduring 2nd chance at love with some OTK thrown in for fun and an old fashioned man is man and woman is woman vibe. Please read as you will not be disappointed.

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