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Authors: Julie Blair

Never Too Late

BOOK: Never Too Late
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Table of Contents

What happens when a single night of unexpected passion with a stranger leaves you wanting more?

Twenty years later, Dr. Jamie Hammond thinks she’s put that night far behind her. She’s a successful chiropractor and is about to celebrate a ten-year anniversary with her partner. But instead of reaping the benefits of responsibility and hard work, she finds herself fighting to save her business and relationship as doubt, betrayal, and disappointment tear at the fabric of her life.

Carla Grant is looking for a new challenge after settling her daughter at college. She never imagines that applying for an office manager position will change her life.

As Jamie and Carla work to save Jamie’s business, they will have to examine everything they thought they knew about love, responsibility, and family. Can two women dare to believe that it’s never too late for happily ever after?

Never Too Late

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Never Too Late

© 2014 By Julie Blair. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN 13: 978-1-62639-270-0

This Electronic Book is published by

Bold Strokes Books, Inc.

P.O. Box 249

Valley Falls, New York 12185

First Edition: November 2014

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.


Editor: Shelley Thrasher

Production Design: Susan Ramundo

Cover Design By Gabrielle Pendergrast


I can’t describe the feeling when Radclyffe offered me the chance to become part of her extraordinary publishing company, Bold Strokes Books. My deepest gratitude to her for this chance of a lifetime.

My pursuit of making every sentence, chapter, and story better has been gracefully and expertly guided by my writing coach, Deb Norton. Thanks for her unwavering belief that writing matters and that I can do it. Her story wisdom shows in every part of this book.

I was terrified of my first editing experience, and Dr. Shelley Thrasher made it the perfect combination of teaching and encouragement. Thank you for showing me how to sort, lighten, and tighten my story.

Thank you to Sandy Lowe for her ultra professionalism and infinite patience.

Thanks to Cindy, Toni, Gabrielle, and the rest of the talented and dedicated staff at BSB who helped my story become a polished, published book with a beautiful cover. Thanks to my fellow BSB authors who have been so welcoming.

For me, writing is a roller coaster of ecstasy and agony, confidence and doubt, taking risks and battling fear. I’m grateful for friends and family who provide support, encouragement, and common sense when I need it. Dena and Susan, Ginny, Patricia, Cliona, Devon, Val, my aunt Lila, and my niece Summer—thanks for believing in me.

I’ve loved Melissa Etheridge’s music since hearing her thirty years ago under a starry sky at the West Coast Women’s Music Festival. Her song “The Wanting of You” was the inspiration for this book.

Thanks to all the readers of lesbian fiction. I’ve been a huge fan of the genre since discovering it in the late seventies and I’m honored by this chance to make a contribution to our growing body of work. I hope you like it.


To Dena Mason—from softball diamonds to fly-fishing streams, thanks for a lifetime of friendship.


September 1991

Jamie scooted her duffel with her foot and hiked her backpack up on her shoulder as she took a step closer to the Delta Airlines counter. It was Labor Day, and Atlanta’s International Airport was a madhouse as people hurried for flights. The nearer she got to the counter, the more the anxiety that had left her alone over the weekend returned. The four days at the Southern Women’s Music and Comedy Festival was worth the argument with her father about being away from the practice. She’d never forget all those tents spread out among the pine trees, the lake and tennis court she’d made good use of, the covered pavilion for the nightly concerts and dances. Or the women who’d redefined her idea of hospitality. Boarding that plane meant saying good-bye to her last hurrah of fun and freedom before settling down to a responsibility she wasn’t sure she wanted.

A rowdy group of teenaged girls walked to a nearby gate with bat bags over their shoulders, led by a woman about her age with
written across her cap. That might have been her life, but it was too late now.

Tomorrow morning she’d walk back into Hammond Chiropractic Clinic, not as a child visiting her father, not as a part-time receptionist during summer vacations, but as the newly licensed chiropractor in her father’s highly successful practice. He made being a doctor look easy. She tightened her grip on the strap of her backpack. It wasn’t. By the end of the day she was so exhausted she barely managed to microwave a bag of popcorn before collapsing on the couch to watch mindless adventure movies. She’d tried to talk to him, but he’d brushed her off, saying, “Just focus on the patient and everything will be fine.” Had he ever been afraid?

Jamie studied the woman in front of her. About her age, she wore navy slacks and a scoop-neck white T-shirt, a white sweater draped over her arm. What was she going home to? Or maybe she was flying to San Francisco for vacation. As the woman moved up to the counter Jamie stepped into a whiff of perfume, richly sweet, almost tropical. It seemed at odds with her stiff posture, conservative dress, and tight ponytail.

“The flight’s been cancelled,” the attendant told the woman. “We can get you on a flight tomorrow afternoon, and you’ll get a voucher for the Best Western across the street.”

Cancelled? Had she heard right?

“Please, I really need to get home today.” The woman’s voice was soft and most definitely Southern. “Isn’t there any other flight?”

Jamie’s shoulders relaxed. Yes. A reprieve.

“That’s the best we can do.”

The woman took the ticket and picked up a suitcase, looked around as if confused, and then slumped onto one of the gray metal seats in the boarding area. She dropped her head into her hands.

Jamie smiled at the attendant—Marge, according to her nametag—who asked for her ticket. “I’m not in a hurry.”

“I appreciate that, Dr. Hammond.”

BOOK: Never Too Late
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