Reaching For Everything: A Bloo Moose Romance
The story is both heartbreaking and heartwarming with a little heart stopping mixed in.Mason Canyon
Being patient is a vital skill for Rayce LaChance. As a contractor and furniture maker, he knows that rushed decisions never pan out. Especially not in his personal life. When he broke up with Kami, he thought he was freeing her to pursue her career unhindered.
Now, Kami's back in town and proving the Ice Queen reputation she earned on the court carries over into her daily life.
When an obsessed fan becomes threatening, Rayce proves he'll do anything to help. But Kami isn't sure her heart is up to the risk.
They'll both have to take chances if they're going to find out if Love Means Nothing or Everything.
Reaching For Everything is the third book in the Bloo Moose Romance series. Each book can be read as a standalone. The book contains some strong language and sexy times. Enjoy the read!
Release date: July 21, 2020
Publisher: Jemi Fraser @ Just Jemi Books
Print pages: 207
Content advisory: The book contains some strong language and sexy times. Enjoy the read!
* BingeBooks earns revenue from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate as well as from other retail partners.
Reaching For Everything: A Bloo Moose Romance
Kami Rogers pulled her SUV to the side of the Vermont highway and studied the land. Trees and bushes surrounded a field of weeds and grasses. A wide ditch separated her from her dream. One that was going to come true.
It might not look like much now but soon it would be covered in courts and buildings. And kids.
Kids who loved tennis. Kids who were looking for a fun way to spend a few hours. Kids who’d never seen a tennis racquet before but needed an outlet for their energy and emotions.
Kids like her.
It might have been only a decade since she’d been a teen in Bloo Moose but in some ways she felt like an old woman. Worn out. Hollow. Aching in all the ways someone could ache.
Working on this project then eventually training the kids would change that. The last few months had been nothing but pain. Not anymore.
Needing to be closer to her land, Kami reached for her cane, checked the highway and hauled herself to the road and around the front of the SUV.
The huge field in front of her had a few full growth trees she hoped they could keep. Others edged the property and then the forest took over for more than a mile on one side and more than triple that on the other. Lots of room to expand later if she wanted. In back, the hills rose to offer a majestic backdrop. In all her years on the tour, she’d never found a setting as perfect.
For now, she had more than enough room for Phase One of Kami’s Kamp. Eight outdoor courts with storage sheds for all the equipment. A large building would house six indoor courts, locker rooms, administration offices and treatment rooms in the back for physio and massage.
Maybe a pool off the back. Kids at the day camps would love that feature.
Leaning heavily on the cane, Kami edged closer to the ditch. The gravel beneath her feet shifted, nearly sending her flat on her butt so she backed up again barely refraining from growling. So far, she’d defied the doctors’ odds by walking at all but she wanted more. Needed more.
And what did it say about her that she’d decided Bloo Moose was the place where she would try to get that more?
Maybe she had lost her mind. She couldn’t decide whether her mom would approve or shake her head in disappointment.
The two of them had only lived in Bloo Moose for a few years but those years had been pivotal. Kami had picked up her first racquet here and spent hours and hours whacking a ball against the wall of an abandoned building out by the trailer park.
When she’d finally got on a court, she’d found a kind of peace she’d never known existed. While she played, the rest of the world drifted away. No worries about her mom’s health. Or money. Or the creeps from their past. No thinking about the inventive mean girls present at every school she’d attended.
Just Kami, the ball and her opponent. Her first successes had come by pounding the ball as hard as she could but she’d learned finesse, strategy. Guile.
And joy. Pure joy.
She wanted to experience that again and share it with others, help them find their own kinds of joy.
A truck appeared on the highway and Kami limped to the side of the SUV keeping her back to the road and her cane held tightly to her side. She wasn’t ready to see anyone.
Would she ever be?
What if it was Rayce in the truck? Fate couldn’t be that cruel.
She didn’t know if he continued to live in Bloo Moose but she couldn’t imagine him anywhere else. He and the town had belonged to each other even when she’d known him in high school. He’d opened her world up back then, shown her men could be kind. So kind.
She’d have given him anything. Everything. And she’d have done it with a smile and not a single regret.
He hadn’t wanted that. Hadn’t wanted her.
Probably still kept her pulverized heart on his trophy shelf.
The truck zoomed by without slowing down but Kami didn’t relax for several minutes in case it turned around. Finally, she pushed off the SUV’s fender and stepped around to the front. Even the few minutes standing left her weak and shaking.
With an almost physical wrench, she pulled her thoughts out of the self-pity. She was determined to look forward, not back. Rayce LaChance didn’t matter. The kids did. So did giving back.
If one trailer park brat from Nowheresville could make it to the Women’s Tour so could another. Kami might never play again, and, even if she couldn’t find the next star, she’d give the kids something. Confidence. Strength. An outlet.
Tennis had saved her on more than one occasion. She hoped it could so again.
Inside the car, she took a few minutes to force her body to stop shaking then started up the vehicle and headed into the town proper. Coming in from the northeast as she was, the first sign of civilization was the sign to the trailer park.
Few good memories lay in that direction so she kept going past some storage facilities she didn’t remember and a few houses she did. After another couple of corners, the industrial strip of Bloo Moose popped up and her GPS had her slowing to turn into the lot of LaFleur Construction.
The business shared a section of a strip mall with a landscaping business and looked clean and well maintained. As the office was at the end of the mall, the side and rear parking lots were dedicated to all the big boy toys you’d ever need to run a construction business. She doubted she could name more than two.
Smiling, Kami parked out front and got out of the car. She had to stop being embarrassed by the cane but that wasn’t possible yet so she sucked it up and hobbled across the lot.
Inside the building, a secretary took her name and asked her to wait but before she could worry about lowering herself into the chair another door opened. “Kami Rogers.”
Claude LaFleur crossed the room in three strides and scooped her up into a hug. As an athlete, Kami was tall and strong but Claude dwarfed her. He’d been a couple of years ahead of her in school but he’d had a sister in her grade and he’d always been on the lookout for the girls. A giant of a man even then, no one would have dared mess with any of the girls he considered under his protection. While Kami had never been close to any of the girls, Jeanne had always been kind to her despite the fact that Kami came from the trailer park.
“So nice to see you, Claude.”
He gave her another squeeze then released her and stood back to check her over. With a determined effort, Kami didn’t shift her cane behind her. From their emails, she knew Claude knew about her injuries and it wasn’t as if she could hide them anyway.
“It’s great to see you, Kami. How are you doing?”
His eyes told her it wasn’t a superficial question but she answered it that way. She wasn’t opening her personal can of worms for anyone. “I’m fine, Claude. How are you?”
He patted his receding hairline. “Still as sexy as ever. At least according to Lisa.” While she laughed he pulled out his phone and pulled up some photos. “She’s holding little Liam here and that’s Josie standing there with her.”
He spoke about his obviously well-loved family as he ushered her into the office and a chair without making her feel slow or awkward. Once they were seated, he opened a file folder on his desk and grinned at her. “So you ready to sign your life away, connect yourself forever to Bloo Moose?”
Panic stabbed her belly and she had to gasp in a breath. Claude’s eyebrow raised and he leaned back in his chair to study her. She had to be stronger than this. Her mental and emotional barriers had always been so strong but this town, these people, had ways of crumbling them.
Her opponents and the media had always made a fuss about Kami’s ability to keep her emotions hidden, to take defeat and victory with the same face. Now, she knew her fear was not only visible but palpable. Time to pull herself together and channel the Ice Queen.
She’d decided on Bloo Moose because, even with the problems, it was the only place she and her mom had felt anywhere near comfortable. The only place they’d made a semblance of a home. Despite her past with Rayce, she knew she could make a difference here.
Blowing out a deep breath, she pulled the papers toward her and signed the contracts.
“Official.” Claude’s grin was huge. “Can I tell Lisa it’s okay to tell people you’re back in town now? It’s costing her dearly to keep your secret.”
Kami laughed but without a lot of humor. “I was hoping to ease myself back into it. Think she could hold out for a few more days?”
He laughed. “I’ll figure out a way to make it up to her.” His eyes turned serious. “It’s good you’re back, Kami. Carolina would have approved.”
The mention of her mom filled her eyes with tears and she blinked rapidly to force them back. “She would. Kami's Kamp is as much her dream as mine. She even designed the logo way back when I was in high school before any of this happened.” They’d come up with the idea here in this town, another reason she’d made it her base.
“You’ve chosen a great stretch of land. We’ll be getting started tomorrow.”
Tomorrow? Her face must have reflected her surprise because Claude laughed his big booming laugh. “I knew you’d already decided, Kami. I’ve got people and equipment scheduled. Been driving my crew nuts that I won’t give them details about this secret project. They’re chomping at the bit to get going.”
Kami laughed again, something she hadn’t done in months. “You’re amazing, Claude.”
“That’s what I keep telling Lisa and the kids.”
She doubted his wife needed the reminder. The big man exuded life and happiness. Maybe some of it would rub off on Kami.
They shook hands again and Claude walked her out to her SUV, keeping his hand on her elbow in a way that didn’t grate on her nerves. When she beeped open the lock, he opened her door, helped her slide in then shut it for her. “Am I really the only one who knows you’re back?”
Kami was glad she’d put on her sunglasses. He meant Rayce. “You’re the only one, Claude.”
“If you want to spread the news, you’ve only got to drop into Fortini’s or The Lucky.”
That brought another smile. “Mario and Megs still battling it out for the crown of Gossip Guru?”
Claude laughed. “Of course. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d sniffed you out by now. Some things never change, Kami.”
And that was one of the things that terrified her.
Rayce LaChance put the last of his tools into the bed of his truck. He’d needed almost everything he carried with him to make old man Baxter’s cabin livable again. Amazing the tree hadn’t killed him when it crashed through his roof.
“Thanks, Rayce. Sure appreciate your help.”
Rayce shook the offered hand. “No problem, Bax. You should be fixed up tight now but if anything comes up, be sure to send word to me.”
They both turned to look at the repaired roof and wall. “You ought to think about getting a phone line installed up here, Bax. If Big Frank hadn’t been out checking for alien landings, you’d have been sleeping without a wall tonight.” Big Frank might be totally crackerjacks but he checked on the humans on the mountain while on the lookout for his alien buddies.
The old man wheezed out a laugh, shaking his body until Rayce worried he’d fall over. “I’ve slept in worse than that.”
“Might be time to think about moving down into town.”
Another laugh, this one ending in a cough. “Lived my whole life on this here mountain. Ain’t changing that ‘cause of a tree. If it was meant to be my time to go, I’d be gone. When it is, it is.” He slapped Rayce on the shoulder. “But I sure do appreciate you making sure the roof’s not going to come crashing in again. Scared me spitless.”
The men laughed and Rayce slammed the tailgate shut. “You need anything from town next time I’m up?”
Baxter shook his head. “No need to come up checking on me again, boy. I’m fine up here.” Fine, only because the town looked after its own.
Rayce nodded and moved to jump in the driver’s seat. “You take care there, Bax. See you next time.”
Bax nodded, patted the truck. “You drive safe down this mountain, you hear?”
“I hear you but this truck’s been up and down so many times, I’m sure I could take a nap and it would still get me home.” He’d meant it as a joke but he’d forgotten that Baxter’s wife had been killed in a car crash eons ago. He reached out to squeeze the old man’s hand. “I’ll be careful. Always am.”
“See that you are. Now, get going before its dark.” There were still a few hours before that happened but the last thing he wanted was Bax worrying about him so he put the truck in gear, tooted the horn, and headed out.
The drive down the mountain was one of his favorites. No place on earth could be so beautiful. The trees filled his vision and around every turn on the curvy road, he found something new to smile about.
He’d never understood how Jaz, his twin, could have spent those years in New York and jet-setting around the world. Of course, there’d been perks—money and women being right up there—but it wasn’t a life that appealed to Rayce. Nor to Jaz, not anymore.
That life had taken a hell of a toll on his brother. They’d managed to get him home but he wasn’t healed yet and it killed Rayce that he couldn’t figure out how to help him. Their older brother, Gage, kept saying it would take time. To let Jaz heal in his own way and his own time but Rayce wanted to do more.
Maybe they should head out camping for a few days. The snow was almost gone and it wasn’t great weather for it but toughing it out in the wild might be the answer.
Around the next curve, Rayce got glimpses of the lake shining through the trees. Even on a cloudy, grey day like this, the lake somehow managed to attract the eye. Like all the women he’d ever known, it had its moods. Moods to be respected, appreciated. Loved.
Shaking his head at himself, Rayce rounded the next curve and pulled a little to the side as another truck headed up. They both slowed and passed with barely room for a squirrel between them. He waved and smiled at the Graysons. Like Baxter, they’d lived on the mountain for decades and couldn’t imagine any other life.
While Rayce loved the mountains, he needed to live somewhere he could plug in his tools. Creating and crafting a home from scratch and totally by hand would be awesome but with his job, he wouldn’t have it done by the time he reached Bax’s age.
He’d stick with civilization and electricity. He’d been working at his home on the lake over the winter and was now starting on the inside. While he was cheating with the electricity, he was truly doing it on his own. When it was finished, there’d hardly be a nail he hadn’t touched.
Another mile down and his phone buzzed as he reached cell service. He wondered which project needed his eyes now. Or maybe Lil was wanting to be picked up from the train depot in Burlington. The squirt hadn’t been home from college in far too long but it would be like her to pop up for a surprise visit.
Hopefully, it was Claude, giving him some details on this secret project of his. They were scheduled to start any day now and Rayce had yet to see the plans. His friend was bouncing with excitement about the build but refused to share the details until it was time. Whatever that meant.
His phone buzzed again and again.
If he’d been on any other road, he’d have pulled over to check what was going on but the curves and narrowness of the mountain road made that impossible.
Within the next five minutes, his phone had to have buzzed at least a dozen times. Worry started to eat him and he punched up the speed a bit. When the road finally widened, he set his four-ways and pulled off to the side.
Stealing himself for the worst, Rayce pulled out his phone. The first text was from Mario Fortini. Had something happened to his buddy Max? Or Mario’s Antonia? Guess who’s in town? That was it. Weird, even from Mario. Who was he talking about? And why would he think Rayce would care?
The next text was from Max Fortini. Did you hear? She’s here.
From Jaz. I’m assuming you heard. You okay?
He didn’t bother reading the rest. And he didn’t need the name.
Kami Rogers was back in town.
We hope you are enjoying the book so far. To continue reading...