Dare to Dream (Carolina Beach #1)

By: C.A. Harms

Prologue


When a girl is young, she dreams of being grown up. She imagines what her life will be like, and in those visions, it all seems so perfect. So magical. No heartache, no sadness. The perfect husband, the perfect children, surrounded by nothing but laughter and smiles.

At least I know I dreamed of those things.

I dreamed often of living in a big house with a fancy wraparound porch. I would sit there each evening with a tall glass of the sweetest tea and sway on the swing my husband would hang just for me. My children’s happy chatter would filter through the open window behind me, reminding me of the beauty my husband and I created together.

But all those dreams were now lost somewhere in the back of my mind. They were only fantasies I knew I would never obtain. Not when I continued to settle for chasing after a guy who was nothing but heartbreak wrapped in a handsome package.

Tucker Billings. His name alone made my heart race. Maybe it was boredom, or lack of choices, but when I was younger and dreamed of my future, I believed Tucker would share those dreams with me. But I never really took the time to look at who he truly was, instead of who I wanted him to be.

Tucker was a lifelong bachelor who thrived on the attention of any woman willing to offer it. And I was dumb enough to be one of them. I’d known him my entire life because my mother and father were his godparents. Our families were always together, so he was always there, even when I didn’t want him to be. When I tried to walk away from him, he would do or say something that made me come running back to his side. He had sweet, boyish charm and pretty-boy good looks, blue eyes, and blond, shaggy hair. He was almost the surfer-boy type. Most girls would dream of hair like his, perfectly flawless. He was tall and had a deep, raspy voice that was the perfect combination of a good, sweet boy with touch of bad boy too. But his smile was what got me every single time. It could melt the hearts of all women and apparently their panties too.

Well, all panties but mine. Tucker and I had never been together like that.

Passionate, deep love wasn’t what kept me near him, but a loyalty to our friendship. Some girls have a friend they run to whenever they needed to vent or cry, and Tucker was that person for me. He had been for as long as I could remember. And those feeling eventually turned to more, for me anyway.

But then one day out of the blue, he showed up at my house and said all the right things, and somehow I fell for them hook, line, and sinker. He convinced me that he was done sleeping around and was ready to grow up and settle down with me.

And I believed him. Because I wanted to have that happily ever after I dreamed of as a little girl.

I was a fool.





Chapter 1


In one moment everything can change. Your life can crumble while you’re powerless to stop it, and all you can do is hope that somehow in the end your heart will survive the devastation.



Greer



Whenever I felt overwhelmed, I would simply close my eyes and just breathe for a moment; take the time I needed to relax and do my best to calm my mind and work through my feelings.

Deep breath in, count to five, and slowly release.

Repeat.

On most occasions it worked, but this was one of those times when no amount of focus or breathing would take away the ache inside me. No amount of pleading could fix what had happened

In one phone call, my whole world had come crashing to a stop, and I was powerless to do anything about it.

“I need you, Greer. It’s your father.” Those words rang through my head over and over as I ran from my apartment and toward my car, feeling as if I were drowning.

“Please,” my mother pleaded as I sped toward the hospital, mindlessly taking each turn. She sobbed and wailed as if her life had come to an abrupt end, and in a way it had.

“He’s gone, Greer,” she cried through my Bluetooth. “Oh my God, he’s gone.” The pain of those words echoing from the speakers in my car resembled what I imagined being stabbed in the heart would feel like. Pain seared through me as I drove toward the hospital. Though her words continued to ring in my mind, the reality of them had yet to sink in.

I parked in the nearest available space and rushed from my car toward the hospital entrance, leaving behind my phone and my keys. I didn’t even take the time to end the call first.

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