A Covington Falls Chronicles Romance
by: Kristin Wallace
Addison Covington is the reigning Ice Queen of television. Until her producer husband falls in love with her on-screen daughter and a well-placed punch on national television casts her as the wicked ex-wife. Fired and disgraced, she escapes to Covington Falls, the idyllic Southern town where she found comfort in a time of turmoil as a teenager.
Life is constantly on the brink of chaos for widower Ethan Thomas. Being a single father is one challenge. As a high school principle he also has to deal with hundreds of students and their interfering parents. Now, he’s short one drama teacher and if he doesn’t find a replacement to direct the spring musical he’s going to have a riot on his hands. His childhood neighbor, Addison Covington, could be an answer to prayer. Or one more complication he can’t afford.
Before Addison can say “Casting Call” she’s drafted to direct the high school musical. Soon she’d dealing with some off-key caterwauling, a bitter stepson showing up on her doorstep, and the boy-next-door turned sexiest high school principal she’s ever met. One thing Addison and Ethan agree on is that there’s no room in their lives for romance. He’s got too much at stake, and she needs to reclaim her former glory in Hollywood. In the end, these two lost souls will choreograph a happy ending with the help of Grace, Love and a Curtain Call.
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Ethan is searching for his sons and finds them with Addison. This is the first time they’ve spoken to each other.
Ethan tromped through the grass toward Ruth Carlson’s back yard. He’d had yet another confrontation with Mrs. Turney today. Except it was no longer only Mrs. Turney. Now there was a Greek chorus in his face, demanding he solve the problem of the spring musical. Unfortunately, he was no closer to securing a replacement director. If he knew one thing about singing or acting, he would have taken over directing himself, just to get Mrs. Turney and her posse off his back.
The added stress meant his temper was already on a hair trigger, and arriving at his mother’s house to find the boys nowhere in sight did nothing to help. The boys knew they were supposed to stay within eyesight of his mother.
“Boys, didn’t I tell you about sneaking over here with Mrs. Carlson gone—” He came to a halt as he spotted the blond woman sitting in the grass next to his sons. His pulse kicked into high gear.
The boys jumped up and ran to him before he could shout a warning. “Daddy, there’s a lady stayin’ here. She’s on Gamma’s TV show.”
He turned to look at her more closely, and the breath left his body, like a defensive end had hit him.
It was her. The woman from the gas station. The woman who had, in one blinding instant, made him glad he hadn’t followed his impulse to drive off the road. Made him happy he was still alive. He’d tried hard not think about her since the strange encounter across the service island, but a man didn’t forget having his engines revved for the first time in years so easily.
In one graceful movement, she stood and ambled toward him. Unlike the other day when she’d been in jeans and a T-shirt, this time she wore some kind of white filmy dress, which seemed to dance around her calves. Her hair was loose, flowing around her shoulders to frame blue eyes.
It was as if the Aphrodite on the clamshell from that painting had suddenly come to life. She was beautiful… stunning… entrancing and any other word one could imagine to describe an attractive woman. He blinked, wondering if stress and nearly two years’ worth of sleepless nights had driven him over the edge. How else to explain a living goddess showing up in this back yard? Her face was almost too beautiful to be real.
She stopped in front of him, and Ethan stopped breathing. Thinking.
“House of Fashion,” she said. “I’m the mean lady.”
The what? He shook his head in confusion.
“I’m Addison Covington.”
“Addison…” What was a TV star doing here?
Her smile grew, a teasing grin threatening to short-circuit Ethan’s brain again. “I’m Ruth’s niece.”
Ethan shook his head as a picture flashed through his head. A memory of a gangly, brown-haired mouse of a girl. His jaw dropped open. “Good grief. Alice?”
“It’s Addison now,” she said, her patrician nose wrinkling.
“Right,” he said, still trying to match the shy girl he remembered with the woman facing him now.
“I’m surprised you didn’t know I was in town,” she said. “Even the old geezer at the gas station knew about my homecoming.”
“I knew you were coming back, but I didn’t know you were who you were,” Ethan said, unable to hide a wince at his own inanity.
Addison laughed. “I guess I look a little different than I did when I lived here.”
“No kidding.” Ethan couldn’t help letting his eyes travel from her tousled blond hair to her feet. Her bare feet with toenails painted fire-engine red. The engine revving kicked up again, this time shifting into turbo drive. He swallowed and turned to his sons. “Go grab your stuff from Grandma’s. We need to get home.”
The twins opened their mouths to protest, but one stern look from him and they thought better of it.
“Bye, TV lady,” Jason called, as they took off.
“We’ll be back tomorrow!” Carson said.
Addison watched the boys until they’d disappeared around the corner. The brief respite gave him a chance to get his head together.
“How do you tell them apart?” she said, finally shifting her gaze back to him.
“It’s not hard once you get to know them.”
Silence reigned while he and Addison both seemed to be searching for something to say. He didn’t have a clue how to start a conversation with a famous actress.
“Ethan Thomas, right?” she said finally.
His eyes widened in surprise.
“You left an impression on a teenage girl,” Addison said with a smile. “The football star thing. The dimples.”
Yes, he remembered Alice had spied on him and his brothers constantly, usually from her bedroom window. He wondered what might have happened if he’d paid more attention to her obvious crush.
“You okay, Ethan?”
“You must think I’m a complete idiot,” he said, laughing in obvious embarrassment. “I can’t believe I’m standing here with you. Except you’re different. I keep trying to picture the little girl who lived here, but you don’t look—”
“Anything like the frumpy mouse I used to be?”
Ethan swiped a hand over his face. He obviously had no idea how to talk to females over the voting age anymore. “There I go being an idiot again.”
It was her turn to laugh. “No, the truth is I have a hard time believing how my life turned out.”
“Don’t we all?”
Growing up Kristin devoured books like bags of Dove Dark Chocolate. Everything from Nancy Drew & Encyclopedia Brown to C.S. Lewis and the Sweet Valley High series. Later she discovered romance novels. It’s no surprise then that Kristin would one day try her hand at writing them. She writes inspirational romance and women’s fiction filled with love, laughter and a leap of faith. In May 2013, Kristin sold her first novel, MARRY ME, to Astraea Press. Publication date to come!
When she’s not writing her next novel, Kristin works as an advertising copywriter. She also enjoys singing in her church choir and playing flute in a community orchestra.
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