Title: Second Chance Summer
Author: Sascha Illyvich
Genre: Second Chance, Age Gap
Release Date: July 20, 2023

Sandy knew the aches in her body wouldn’t disappear if she didn’t change her life. At fifty-four, she’d made a successful career for herself, but it came at a mental and physical cost that left her deciding to burn her world down. She’d sell off everything, including her successful advertising business, and drive across the country. Little did she know, Seaside, Oregon, with its peaceful beaches, beautiful ocean view, and small-town feel would reopen a wound she thought had closed thirteen years earlier.

Craig thought his life was awesome. Great job, always busy, plenty of money, and an understanding with whomever he spent time with. Until he looked at his existence and found it to be not just boring, but empty. His remedy? Cut communication from his old life, throw his bag in his car, and drive north from Oakland, CA. Stopping at Seaside seemed to bring him respite until he saw the one woman who shattered his heart thirteen years ago.

When he seduces Sandy and confesses his feelings for her, it quickly goes south, leaving him with only one option. Return to his previous life.

Except Sandy’s realization of how deeply they loved one another forces her to find him, and hope to salvage things until she accidentally smashes her SUV into his Porsche.

Can our lovers overcome their past and give romance a second chance, or will they end up brokenhearted and alone?

Craig raced up the 101 as fast as his Porsche could take him, hoping the fucking California Highway Patrol were taking doughnut breaks because he didn’t have time to be stopped. Stopping meant Carly could get a hold of him and yet again, make her case for date night.

They weren’t a couple. 

They were fuck buddies, two consenting adults passing the time between sleep and work. He’d adhered to the rules. She’d done so until recently, when she’d gone out on a girls’ night out with her friends.

Damn dames. Someone must have put a bug in her ear about date night because he sure as hell hadn’t.

He never stayed the night.

Stopping meant his clients would want to talk to him about their projects—all of which were on hold because none of them could come up with immediate funding after Craig repeatedly warned them that this would happen. SPACS had gone the way of the NFT Bored Ape Yacht Club. 

It meant he’d have no excuse to dodge his insane hippie parents yet again, because they needed money for yet one more wasteful project that added up to them needing to be dropped off a cliff into an ocean full of sharks. 

Or at the nearest rehab center because they were either insane or fucking high.

Who built a funhouse in the backyard for their elderly friends, anyway?

In short, stopping meant he couldn’t have his time back.

Craig had packed as fast as he could, throwing what little he had in the way of clothing into a suitcase, tossed his shit in the trunk of his Porsche. He debated chucking his cell, but his parents barely remembered his current number, one he’d had for twenty years.  

He didn’t know where he’d planned on ending up, but north seemed to make the most sense. No one would think to look for him that way; not with all the shit he’d talked about moving further up the west coast.

Well, moving was a stretch, anyway. Craig didn’t plan to move, not yet. But he needed space and time to breathe. Getting away from the constant noise around him had been the one thing he’d avoided until he’d reached a breaking point and started murdering someone.


It didn’t matter.

Carly’s incessant pestering about a date had his teeth on edge.

She was a nice girl, but they had an agreement. When he tried to back out, she’d used her wiles on him to get one more fuck out of him before he cut.

Selfish bastard that he was. Or at least that’s what she’d said when he reminded her of their arrangement. He’d stormed out of her apartment, jammed the keys into the ignition and spun his car out of her parking lot as fast as possible, despite seeing her in the rearview mirror.

At least he thought he saw her chasing after him.

His phone’s ringing confirmed it when he heard Return of the Mack, her default ringtone on repeat.

Now, he imagined how he was the liar. Driving down the 101 with nary a car in sight gave him time to think, to pause. He’d once thought he’d loved her, never said it, though. Because they had an understanding, not an illusion. 

She’d said it a plethora of times.

Too many times.

The one time he’d wanted to say the three simple words, the woman broke his heart before he had the chance to speak.

“It’s over, Craig. I’m… I need to focus on my life.”

Not like he didn’t get it, what with the eighteen-year age difference and all, but—but nothing. Cue the memory back into the grave, where it belonged.

Craig pushed the gas and brought the Porsche to a cool hundred and ten while speeding up the 101 and letting the wind blow his blond hair back. He’d forget about all noise, find some peace, then strategize the next move because he couldn’t run forever. He knew that.

Life taught him hard lessons over the last thirteen years. From failed attempts at school, to boring IT jobs, and failed relationships, he’d learned life could punch hard.

Craig learned to punch back with sheer force, determination, and will. Landing the jobs had provided him with start-up capital. Firing the eighty percent of clients that wasted his time made him ruthless and impressive in the eyes of his peers.

Craig didn’t branch out, though. To the dismay of his peers, he remained with the company that nurtured him, even as his workload piled higher. 

“You do this, that’s it.”

“Fine. Fuck it, Chuck. I simply can’t, right now.”

Another client yelling?

No thanks.

Enter bug out bag and flight out of Oakland.

Craig spotted a sign for Seaside, Oregon, and wondered how much time had passed and how long he’d been white knuckling the steering wheel. 

He slowed the vehicle to a more reasonable speed and the wind no longer whipped his blond strands about his face.

He hadn’t eaten since leaving. The rumbling of his stomach assured him it was time. And he needed to find a spot to crash for the next night or six while he figured something out. 

Cruising down the 101 at a slower pace, Craig observed the greenery while slowing the car even more. Glancing around revealed the small-town feel surrounding him and gave him the impression that he might, perhaps, take a deep breath that didn’t belong to someone fucking else.

Why the hell did a woman have Craig’s mind in a twist, anyway? He’d dealt with ever-increasing stress at work with ease.

Until he didn’t, anyway.

Nothing else mattered but the job.

Again, he shrugged off the thought while he drank in the sights and sounds of Seaside, Oregon. Small-town feel.

He could appreciate that.

Being near the beach would calm his mind. He could find lodging, set about and refresh himself, then go stroll along the beach while the waves silenced the noise in his head and gave him room to breathe.

Fuck thinking.

Craig spotted a Victorian style bed-and-breakfast—the Sandy Inn. From a distance, it looked like the rest of the town; quaint. But the closer he drove, the more he felt drawn into the parking lot, right to the point of parking beside someone’s overly large white SUV.

Before he knew it, Craig had gotten out of the car, thrown his bag over one shoulder and made his way into the foyer of the bed-and-breakfast.

Looking around at the rather eclectic décor made him smirk. 

Once he’d known wonderment.

The corporate world sucked that out in favor of practicality.

Incense, a smell he wouldn’t normally notice, hit him, but only faint. Craig looked up at the older woman behind the counter and met her gaze. 

When she smiled, he tried to return the expression, but found his facial muscles unable to move.

“Can I help you?”

Craig walked closer, taking in all of the woman behind the desk. Suddenly, the very pragmatic task master had nothing to say. “Um, hi.”

“Hi yourself. What brings you here?” The woman’s smart black pantsuit stressed curves but said hands off. Definitely. She leaned forward, moved just enough to get into his space without invading it.

How did she do that?

“I’m looking for a place for the weekend. Wondering if you had a vacancy?”

The older blonde straightened and gave him the once over before looking at a book, then at a computer screen, before returning her focus to Craig. “Yeah. We have space and I’m sure the room is perfect for you. How long were you thinking?”

Craig shrugged, adjusted the weight of his bag on his shoulders. “I don’t know, honestly. Few days at least?”

“Good to know. We get busy around the time of the Seaside Festival.”

“Oh?” He hadn’t been to any festivals in whom knew how long.

She nodded. “I’m Lorelei, the owner.”

“Craig.” He extended his hand. “Craig Hawthorne. Pleasure to meet you.”

She took his hand and gave him a firm shake before looking at the paperwork. “Here, fill these forms out, and we’ll settle up when you’re out of here.”

He nodded, took the clipboard, and began filling out the forms. After he’d finished, he handed the clipboard back to Lorelei. She gave him the rundown of the place, then handed him the key to his room. “Nothing calmer than the room I’ve set you up in. You may find it…different. Keep an open mind.”

Craig quirked a brow but took the key, anyway. If the room was anything like the décor, or the rather hippie-inspired, witchy themed dressed owner, Craig wouldn’t be surprised.

Of course, seeing the Goddess Room when he made his way to the second floor made him shake his head and think twice about his accommodations.

He sighed, slid the key in the lock, and turned the handle. What would it hurt him to stay somewhere with more…questionable qualities?

Once he stepped foot inside, Craig swore he’d lost his mind. The room felt gypsy themed, what with the large four-poster bed in the center, colorful sheets, bedspread and wallpaper. 

He took two steps inside, letting the old-world creak of wood bring his mind to a simpler time.

Craig shut the door behind him, set his bag down on the wrought-iron chair beside the wall, and moved to the window. Above, the spacious high ceilings would let a breeze through the room if he opened the windows.

Which he did.

Cool night air came into the room, stirring up papers on the hand carved dresser opposite the bed. Fresh ocean spice, hints of brine carried on the breeze, and Craig’s mind stopped whirring instantly.

He loved the oceans when he was younger.

Even he’d picked up some of his parents’ bullshit about nature.

Right now, Craig sat on the bed, ran his hand over an exquisite purple comforter that felt light, yet welcoming.

He’d need to eat. Maybe find a drink or get a bottle and a glass, sit on the beach. Lorelei mentioned it was only a few steps off the property. If a festival was indeed coming, as she’d said, he’d want to get his recuperation in before it came, then figure out his next move.

Craig allowed himself to relax for a few moments more before deciding he’d need to answer the call of his stomach. A quick trip in the bathroom let him run cool water over his face, brush his hair out so he didn’t look like a slob, and wake him up enough to make his way downstairs. Maybe ask Lorelei for a food recommendation.

After adjusting his shirt, Craig headed down the hall, feeling better already about this weekend. With no simple plan in pace, he would count on making no plans until his mind had detoxed from years of stress he’d taken on to prove himself.

He’d just hit the lobby when his nerves went all affray. Coming down a staircase…no.

It couldn’t be.

Sandy looked up, and they made eye contact at the same time before Craig mouthed three words. 

“You’re a ghost.”

This is the first time I have read this author and they did not disappoint. This whole series so far is really good and just down to earth. Sandy needed a break and knew she needed to get on with her life before she withers away. When she ends up in a small town she knows that she can rest if not for a little while. What she didn't expect was to see the one man that she never really got over. Craig needed a break himself and when he finds himself at a small seaside bed and breakfast his past is about to hit him in full force. These two have some unresolved issues that they need to work through. The problem they aren't so sure that anything can be fixed. Find out what broke them apart and if they can mend the bond? 

Welcome to Summers in Seaside, a small town located along the Oregon Coast and home of the Seaside Festival. This series returns in July of 2023, with brand new stories filled with sun, sand and summer adventures that will tug at your heart strings.



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