1 - Fresh Start
Important things to note:
This is not a standalone book. Please read the first three books before this - His Nightingale, His Dreamer and His Daredevil - because you need to know important information as you progress through each book.
- Some characters, especially the female main character, are from the United Kingdom. As such they will use British English rather than American English.
- This book is set 1 year and 4/5 months ahead of His Daredevil.
Charlotte Davidson’s P.O.V.
I jump out of my skin before quickly shoving the picture back into my bag. Turning to the sound of footsteps I smile at my grandmother when she enters my room. Her bright blue eyes stray to my bag and she gives me a knowing look. I sag in defeat as she sits beside me and squeezes my shoulder.
“You still think about them after what they did to you?” She huffs and shakes her head.
“Only sometimes.” I smile weakly before standing.
It all started seven years ago when I had just turned eighteen. I had met a guy, Liam Wright, when I used to live in London, UK. He was sweet, caring and so charming in the start but things quickly changed after I moved in with him.
He became violent and controlling, even more so when alcohol was involved. It became so toxic and I had made up my mind to leave him. Then I became pregnant. He didn’t want the commitment and we broke up. I didn’t hear from him after he packed up his things and left.
My relationship with my family was already strained due to them not liking Liam. I had continued to date him regardless and moved in with him. When I broke the news that I was pregnant I was immediately disowned. I never asked them for anything. I just wanted to tell them that I was going to have a baby but I guess that was their breaking point.
I was hurting and so scared. I struggled to complete college and had a difficult pregnancy. My best friends, Jessica, Poppy and Jacob, were incredibly supportive of me but it still hurt that my whole family had cut contact with me. I didn’t think life could get any better for me until I gave birth to Aria.
My whole world changed when I looked into my daughter’s stormy grey eyes. She looked exactly like Liam except for her eyes which she inherited from me. I became more determined to give her a better life. I worked odd jobs here and there to provide for her.
But a month ago, while I was in London, my grandmother finally convinced me to make the move to Texas. I had never wanted to leave where I grew up but when she told me about a job as a lecturer in one of the universities there I applied immediately. After an online interview I landed myself the position.
I used to mostly work as a waitress in a café so the prospect of creating a better life for Aria was all I needed to uproot our lives in the UK and move. And just a week ago we arrived in Dallas, Texas – our new home.
“You don’t have anything to worry about here. It’s a nice neighborhood with an even nicer community. Aria and you are safe.” My grandmother, Melinda or Mel for short, smiles reassuringly.
My grandmother is from my Dad’s side and has been my rock throughout it all. She hates dad for disowning me and not supporting me during my pregnancy, especially when she found out about Liam’s behavior and how he left me because of it. Dad never gave her details of my whereabouts so she didn’t find out what had happened until after I had given birth.
Sadly, my grandfather passed away two years ago so she’s been living here on her own since. But she loves the community and seems happy which is all that matters. She has bright blue eyes with white hair that she keeps in a low bun most of the time. Her skin is tan but wrinkled with age yet she still looks gorgeous in my opinion.
“Thank you grandma. For always being there for me.” I grin and peck her cheek.
“Of course! Now go get that little she-devil and come have dinner.” She winks before leaving for the kitchen.
I chuckle at her words before making my way to the back garden. We’ve moved into a two-bedroom house near my grandmother since she didn’t have much space to accommodate us. Which is fine because I don’t want to trouble her either with a growing daughter and our busy lives.
I spot my daughter sitting in the plant beds she’s ruined with her hands covered with dirt. With a heavy sigh I shake my head as I walk up to her. Aria is six years old with long hair that reaches her waist in brown wavy strands. But there’s also a natural blonde coming through that makes it seem like she has highlights. She has a cute button nose and the lightest of freckles across her cheeks, nose, and arms.
She’s certainly an energetic child and always keeps me on my toes. She loves running around and wreaking havoc. I’ve lost count of how many times she’s hurt herself while playing outside or ran back into the house with dirt covering her from head to toe. She’s wild, reckless, and fearless. Yet those are all the things I love about my little munchkin.
“Aria! You’ve ruined the plants! Come here!” I scold as I help her up.
“I saw a big spider mum!” She exclaims excitedly as she points to the ground. “But I can’t find it anymore.”
“It’s probably hiding somewhere sweetheart.” I brush the dirt off her face, hands, and clothes. “Let’s go, I need to give you a bath before dinner.”
“Will grandma be mad?” She whispers with wide eyes knowing how our grandmother spent so much of her time gardening for us.
“God I hope so! That woman spoils you way too much.” I mutter to myself as I watch her skip ahead of me.
I hear our grandmother make a noise of surprise when Aria steps up on the mat and knocks on the glass door. She only gets a brief scolding though before grandma smothers her with affection once Aria apologizes and promises to help fix the plant beds. I chuckle with a shake of my head as I pick Aria up and walk to the bathroom upstairs.
Giving her a bath takes almost an hour because she loves to play with the bubbles and her toys. Today the duck has been captured by pirates and so she uses her little toy boat to rescue it while I wash her hair and body.
“Yay! We did it!” She all but screams the house down and splashes her hands which makes my clothes wet.
“Ari!” I laugh as I pick her up out of the water and set her down to dry her body off.
She dances and wiggles like usual as I towel dry her hair before changing her into her pajamas. Then she runs off downstairs to grandma while I clean the mess of water before changing into a t-shirt and sweatpants. I make my way to the kitchen and we have dinner together before watching a movie about some princess.
While grandma and Aria are engrossed in that I go over my schedule for tomorrow. It’s going to be my first day as an art lecturer and I’m quite nervous. I’ve always been passionate about art so to have a career in it is amazing. Thankfully, we arrived just in time for Aria to be accepted into the local school so she will be starting tomorrow also. It makes me even more nervous thinking about if she’ll be okay, if she’ll need me or what if someone hurts her?
I shake my head to rid myself of my anxiety. I know my daughter and she’ll be just fine. She’s never been shy around other people and has always been friendly so I don’t think I should be worried. More importantly she knows how to behave appropriately. It’s just when she’s playing she tends to get a bit adventurous which one hundred percent of the time lands her into trouble.
I look over to see grandma nodding off to sleep which makes me snicker. Shaking her gently I turn off the television before asking her if she’ll be staying. She shakes her head and tells me that she’ll be leaving so we walk her to the door and bid goodbye. I turn to tidy the house up before going upstairs where Aria has run off to. I find her in her bedroom and lean against the door frame.
“Ready to go for tomorrow baby?” I smile as I watch Aria zip up her red backpack.
“Yes!” She grins adorably before running over to her bed. “Will you read me a story about the fairies mum?”
“Of course.” I grab her favorite book off the shelf and sit down beside her.
Aria cuddles up to me immediately and I sigh contently as her sweet scent envelopes me. I press a kiss to the top of her head before pulling her blanket over her. She closes her eyes as I start to read and I grin when I see her lips move as she mouths some parts with me. She’s heard this story so many times now that I’m not surprised she knows it by heart.
Eventually her breathing evens and she finally falls asleep ten minutes later. I close the book before gently positioning her so she doesn’t roll off the bed. Pecking her cheek, I turn off the light and leave the door open a little bit before walking into my bedroom across the hall.
Changing into my pajamas I get into bed with a big yawn and settle down underneath the covers. I put an alarm on for tomorrow morning before closing my eyes and drifting off to sleep with the hope that everything goes well tomorrow.