The Good Luck Charm

The Good Luck Charm

Helena Hunting

To my very own good luck charms,

Hubs and Kidlet


Endless love for my husband and my daughter, who give me the time, love, and support to pursue this incredible dream and live it with me; and for my parents and sister, who are the most amazing cheerleaders in the world.

Pepper, one day we’ll write books side by side in Florida. Until then, FaceTime lunches will have to do.

I have an entire village of people who help me take a story from a kernel of an idea into the book you’re holding in your hands. Kimberly, you are such a joy to work with and so much more than an agent. Thank you for being awesome times a million.

Sarah, you’re truly one of a kind; I’m so fortunate to have you running my team. Hustlers, thank you for being my safety net.

Huge love to Leah and my team at Forever for making this project so incredibly rewarding.

Nina, I’m so glad we get to keep doing this together, one book at a time. Jenn, you’re a special brand of wonder woman, and there aren’t enough tacos in the world to express my love for you.

Beavers, you are amazing and I love you to bits. Thank you for always sharing the excitement with me and for taking chances on new worlds.

I have so much love for the incredible women in this community who are my friends, colleagues, teachers, and cheerleaders: my Backdoor Babes, Tara, Meghan, Deb, and Katherine; Tijan, Marty, Teeny, Susi, Erika, Shalu, Kellie, Ruth, Kelly, Melanie, Leigh, Karen, Marnie, Julie, Laurie, Kathrine, Angela, Kristy, my Pams, Filets, Nap girls, Holiday’s. Thank you for being you and dealing with my crazy.

Thank you, readers and bloggers, for all your support and for believing in happily ever afters.

chapter one



The curdled cream in my coffee should’ve been the tip-off that today was going to be craptastic.

Because I couldn’t start the day without a caffeine kick, I stopped at a lovely little café on my way to work—only to get to the counter and realize my wallet wasn’t in my purse and I had no way to pay for the overpriced latte I felt compelled to order.

So I ran back out to the parking lot and managed to scrounge up enough spare change to pay. Of course, by the time I went back to claim my drink, my latte had been scooped up by someone else and I had to wait an extra ten minutes because seven more people were now ahead of me in line.

Fortunately, work wasn’t far and even with the delay, I would still be early. I’d hoped to have half an hour before my shift to do some reading in preparation for my upcoming statistics class. But no problem. I could fit that in during lunch instead of being social.

Just one more course after this and I’d have all the admission requirements for the master’s of nursing program at the University of Minnesota, where I’d applied for next fall. I’d been working as a nurse full-time for four years, and now, at twenty-six, I was ready to go back to school and further my education.

Latte in hand, I stepped outside into the drizzle that had begun during my wait. Ominous dark clouds loomed low as I rushed to my car. Setting my coffee on the roof, I rooted around in my purse for my keys. The light rain quickly became a downpour, soaking my hair and plastering my scrubs to my skin, and still, I couldn’t find my damn keys.

Which was when I lost my grip on my purse. The contents scattered over the parking lot, and my keys rolled under my Corolla. I had to get on my hands and knees to retrieve them, mashing my chest against the ground right into a puddle of dirty rain water.

By the time I finally managed to get all my things together—apart from my lipstick and a compact that had rolled into a sewage grate—I was approaching officially late status. And I had a staff meeting at nine thirty. In my frazzled state, I forgot about the coffee on my roof, which miraculously stayed in place—until I hit the first stoplight, where the coffee promptly dumped all over my windshield.

I made it to work with little time to spare, looking like a drowned rat and completely uncaffeinated. Thankfully, I had an extra set of scrubs in my locker for just such mishaps.

Discombobulated but determined to keep it together, I managed to semidry my hair with the hand dryer in the women’s bathroom, although the time I’d spent with the flat iron this morning was completely wasted.

I was on my way into the conference room for the morning staff meeting when an attractive man in a suit, wearing glasses—I’d always had a bit of a weakness for men with glasses—called my name.

Turned out he was from my husband’s lawyer, sent to deliver the final divorce papers. After nearly six years of marriage, the asshole didn’t even have the common courtesy to bring them to me himself, or schedule a time for us to meet and sign them. I hadn’t realized we’d reached this kind of communicationless impasse.

I spent the entire meeting trying to hold back tears—of embarrassment, of anger, of frustration.

A pervasive feeling of emptiness clung to me like climbing vines, making the day drag. But I didn’t want to go home, aware my only company would be my dog, Merk, and as much as he was a good listener, I needed more than that right now.

I didn’t think my day could possibly get any worse.

I was horribly wrong.

At the end of my shift, I make my customary final stop at the nurses’ station to review end-of-day paperwork. Ashley, who works the reception desk, is staring up at an MRI brain scan, her hands on her hips.

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