The First Move

By: Jennifer Lohmann

An unlikely encounter...but he’ll take it!

It seems like fate…or something! When Miles Brislenn spies the girl he had a crush on in high school—at his ex-wife’s wedding, no less—he can’t let the opportunity pass. He might not have had the courage to talk to Renia Milek back then, but he definitely does now. And that’s not the only thing that’s changed. Gone is the rebel Renia used to be. In her place is a beautiful woman who’s reserved, cautious…and holding on to secrets.

For Miles, this second chance with Renia is too important to let her past stand in their way. He’ll do whatever is necessary to help her accept her choices and move on—even if that means a salsa lesson or two! Because now that he’s made the first move, he wants the second to be hers.

“Let’s dance.”

Miles slid out of the booth and came around the table to stand before Renia, holding out his hand for her to take.

Tonight, she would be Cinderella. She’d put on the pretty dress and let a handsome man look at her with heat in his eyes. She’d not close herself off, or try to hide from him. She would simply dance.

Renia put her hand in his. “There’s just one problem.”

“What?” He gave a tug, pulling her out of her seat and flat against him.

Tonight was her fairy tale, where people didn’t leave, where words like relinquish didn’t exist. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the feel of his chest against hers. Desire consumed her. This night could only last until he dropped her off at her apartment. It could go no further.

When she opened her eyes, he was looking down at her, amused.

“I don’t know how to dance,” she confessed.

Dear Reader,

While writing Reservations for Two (February 2013, Harlequin Superromance), I knew the sister, Renia Milek, had a secret from high school and that her secret was big enough to have bound up her emotions since then. It was only a matter of time before the daughter Renia gave up for adoption called her on the phone and the secret was revealed.

While society’s stigma has faded some, relinquishing a child is still not an easy choice. The book Birthmothers: Women Who Have Relinquished Babies for Adoption Tell Their Stories by Mary Jones was a heartbreaking read. The mothers’ feelings about their choices vary greatly, but none of them were able to forget about their relinquished child. Renia would have had more options—open adoption wasn’t possible for many of the women in the Jones book—but the emotions carry over.

The experience of reunion     for the women in the Jones book also varied. Some women embraced a child they immediately recognized as theirs, while other reunion    s ended in tragedy and despair. The First Move is a romance novel, so I’ve given Renia and her daughter a happy ending, while keeping the strangeness of meeting the child you carried for nine months for the first time as an adult.


Jennifer Lohmann


REY NEEDED TO sit down.

No one else knew it, but Miles could tell.

He’d been watching Rey—Renia—since before the ceremony. Cathy, already in her gown with makeup and hair done, had dragged him over to get their photo taken. He’d protested the entire walk down the church hallway, feeling more like Cathy’s recalcitrant child than her ex-husband, as she pulled him along by his arm. His smug feeling at having convinced Cathy she couldn’t go into the sanctuary to get the photographer vanished the instant Rey turned around and he looked into those large brown eyes.

He’d dreamed about those haunting, sad eyes all through high school.

Vows said and bubbles blown, Rey was still smiling at every wedding guest who came up to her and asked for a photo, putting her hand on their backs and nodding. She would guide them to the beautiful stained glass window or the dark wood of the pews, patiently pose them and snap the photo. By the time the camera clicked on one posed group, another set of wedding guests would be waiting to have their picture taken, then another.

The ceremony was over and guests had an hour to kill until the reception officially started. People were starting to get twitchy, so Cathy had taken it upon herself to offer up Rey’s talent to them and Rey, with a cool smile that didn’t quite make it to her eyes, was playing along.

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