Second Time’s a Charm

The sky was clouding up and a balmy breeze blew over her as she drove back to the restaurant in the Cabrio, mulling it all over. She checked her watch. Tyson would be there first and she could talk to him before anyone else came in. He would be so happy, hearing her news. She had never had a chance like this before. Her life was finally becoming what she’d dreamed about.

As she pulled into the parking lot, she saw Tyson’s truck in its usual spot. A red BMW was parked two spaces down and she recognized it as Kate’s car. Friday was pay-day and she was probably stopping by to pick up her last check as the others would be soon. She zipped into her regular parking space and trotted up the steps, swinging her yellow purse over her shoulder, hearing reggae music playing from the kitchen. Tyson must be in a good mood after a little surfing this afternoon at the pier.

The music was turned up loud, like he liked it when nobody was around to complain. She went into the office to drop her bag and see whether he was in there. And he was there, standing against the wall….Kate was pressed up against him.

“Forgiveness is easy. Trust is harder.”

Stacie Edmonds, fiercely independent and too much fun for her own good, is about to turn forty, although she looks twenty-five. The Sound Side, her marina-turned restaurant, a diamond in the rough on the backside of the island known as Kill Devil Hills, has been her place for three years. Ever since Rick, Stacie’s ex-husband, had driven them apart by his errant lifestyle, culminating in an affair, Stacie has been making it the kind of place where everyone wants to be in the summer on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. While Stacie has been focusing on running her restaurant, Tyson Garrett, her chef and ten years her junior, has been focusing on her, biding his time until the right moment to make his move. One problem looms large: Tyson wants a family and Stacie is unsure whether she can bear the child they both want. Is it fair to him to let him love her? Can she trust again? Second Time’s a Charm is a story of rediscovering love and trust, of mastering destiny, of taking second chances, of forgiveness and redemption. Stacie and Tyson’s story is hardly a new twist on an old problem, but readers may sympathize with them as they encounter the realistic struggles of dealing with disillusionment, waning hope, and floundering in the doldrums of life without purpose or joy. The special brand of humor and spunk Stacie uses to direct her life are both inspiring and comforting .While a stand-alone novel, Second Time’s a Charm also reintroduces Kyle, Stacie’s nephew, and his girlfriend Chelsea and other familiar characters from Mary Flinn’s previous novel The One. Readers of The One will be thrilled to learn more about Stacie and Tyson, while new readers will discover new friends in these pages.

Second Time’s a Charm is best read in the shade on a warm beach with a chilled beverage at hand if one is so lucky, but if necessary, a couch indoors on a rainy day will certainly suffice!

“Mary Flinn is the female equivalent of author Nicholas Sparks. Her characters are as real as sunburn after a long day at the beach. Hot days and hotter nights make Second Time’s a Charm an excellent sultry romance that will stay with readers long after the sun goes down. The second book in a trilogy, this story is a movie waiting to happen.” ~ Laura S. Wharton, author of The Pirate’s Bastard and Leaving Lukens

Second Time’s a Charm is a charm to read. Mary Flinn knows how to make the everyday world real as her words cast a spell over the reader, a spell that only ends all too soon…. I almost felt ready to go out and buy a wedding present and try to decide what to wear to the ceremony because after all, the characters of Tyson and Stacie had become my good friends and I expected to dance at their wedding.” ~ Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D. and author of the award-winning Narrow Lives

“Set on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Second Time’s a Charm is a grown-up story of forgiveness and redemption, as forty-year old Stacie Edmonds and thirty-year old Tyson Garrett take the plunge into the uncharted waters of taking a second chance on love. A steamy departure from Mary Flinn’s previous young adult romance, The One, this story and these characters, both new and familiar, are sure to seduce the reader. The only disappointment is that it has to end!” ~ Patrick Snow, International Best-Selling Author of Creating Your Own Destiny and The Affluent Entrepreneur

“What a GREAT read by Mary Flinn! I so enjoyed The One, her first novel, and I think Second Time’s a Charm is fantastic! As a restaurant owner and a resident of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the story captured me and drew me close—right to the very end. Mary Flinn nailed it! I look forward to her next book.” ~ Carole Sykes, owner of Sam and Omie’s Restaurant, Nags Head, NC


“Second Time’s a Charm”
Mature Romance Novel is “the One” for Me

Although not a regular reader of romance novels, now and then one strikes my fancy. I found Mary Flinn’s first novel “The One” very enjoyable as I watched young love blossom between teenagers Kyle Davis and Chelsea Davenport. Their story brought me back to my high school days as I remembered all the drama and confusion that resulted as people first embark upon meaningful relationships, so when Mary Flinn wrote a second novel about older adult characters named “Second Time’s a Charm,”—a title appropriate not only to her characters but to the fact that this is her second novel—I was delighted.

“Second Time’s a Charm” is the love story of Stacie Edmonds and Tyson Garrett. Stacie turns forty early in the novel while Tyson celebrates his thirty-first birthday. As someone who will turn forty this year, I found the love story between these characters more relevant to me than one about teenage romance. In addition, I had already met these characters briefly in “The One”—Stacie is Kyle Davis’ aunt—and while they had only appeared for a few pages, their presence in that novel was significant and memorable, precisely because of their age differences and that they were older than your ordinary romantic leads.

Stacie is the owner of The Sound Side, a successful restaurant in a coastal resort town in North Carolina, but despite Stacie’s success, she still has some issues to work out with her past, primarily her divorce from her ex-husband, Rick, who just happens to own a restaurant in the same town and who appears just enough to irritate her as well as give her an opportunity to heal her past. Tyson has his own issues to work through, but he is committed to their relationship—perhaps more so than Stacie, who is a bit nervous about taking a second chance on love.

For the most part, these characters are self-assured and confident. They know who they are and they know their weaknesses—they are not teenagers trying to find themselves but adults who have made difficult decisions and are still hopeful about their futures. Besides love, Stacie needs to make a decision whether she will attempt to have a child after suffering from some health problems that could put her and a baby at risk. The way the two main characters support one another and their passion for each other makes them extremely sexy, something that becomes obvious with the novel’s first chapter. Apparently, life can begin at forty.

Mary Flinn also brings back several characters from “The One,” including Kyle and Chelsea and Kyle’s mother Shelly. Both the familiar and the new characters make a great cast in this novel. The reader is bound to feel like he or she is there, working at The Sound Side, enjoying a lazy hour on the beach, and just hanging out with family and friends at the parties Flinn does such a great job of bringing to life. I felt like I knew these characters—they are ordinary, hardworking people with the same goals and hopes and dreams we all have, and I grew to like them and hoped they would not get hurt.

It isn’t giving things away to say that everything works out in the end for Stacie and Tyson. The magic is not so much in the plot but in the way Flinn breathes such life into this fictional world with its references to real restaurants and places in North Carolina. The book may be somewhat predictable, but it still makes you keep turning the page to see the details of how everything will turn out. I almost felt ready to go out and buy a wedding present and try to decide what to wear to the ceremony because after all, Tyson and Stacie had become my good friends and I expected to dance at their wedding.

In short, “Second Time’s a Charm” is a charm to read. Mary Flinn knows how to make the everyday world real as her words cast a spell over the reader, a spell that only ends all too soon. But don’t be too disappointed—her third book “Three Gifts” is coming soon and will bring the reader back to these lovable characters all over again—these three novels are “Three Gifts” indeed.

For more information about “Second Time’s a Charm” and Mary Flinn’s other novels, visit

~ Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D. and author of the award-winning Narrow Lives


I like books which come with instructions on how to use them… This one stated on the cover, “’Second Time’s a Charm’ is best read in the shade on a warm beach with a chilled beverage at hand if one is so lucky, but if necessary, a couch indoors on a rainy day will certainly suffice!” As this reader will gladly attest, a comfy reading chair on a rarely chilly spring afternoon with a cup of coffee nearby worked quite adequately as well, since nothing much mattered as soon as I started reading Mary Flinn’s charming tale of a feisty restaurant owner and her entourage.

Stacie Edmonds is about to turn forty, but her life is not getting any less complicated. Divorced, and still somewhat bitter about her ex-husband’s betrayal, she is running a successful restaurant which she has started together with him during their rocky marriage. She’s romantically involved with her chef, Tyson, a man ten years her junior who would love to marry her, yet she’s is still afraid to commit completely. Yes, he is gorgeous and a great partner in business, he treats her really well, everybody thinks they are made for each other and he is probably the best thing that has ever
happened to her, but can she TRUST him? Tyson also wants a family, but Stacie has had trouble bearing a child to term before, so she is far from certain that she could give him one. Should she risk losing him – or losing herself? Could they truly have a future together?

I absolutely loved the story, and found it truly engrossing. The characters were believable and highly likeable, the dialogue flowed effortlessly and the issues were something most people could easily relate to and the writing style thoroughly engaging. My only comment regarding style is that I would have enjoyed the story just as much, if not more, without having to learn about every person’s hair color and style, as well as about most of their eye colors and manner of dress. While some description of physical attributes is necessary and welcome, particularly when concerning the major characters, the hair color of the guy who delivers fish simply feels superfluous to me.

“Second Time’s a Charm” turned out to be a charm indeed, an entertaining, warm, witty and intelligent contemporary romance, which will enchant readers who like books about real and believable issues. While waiting on a sequel – and hoping there will be one, I shall entertain myself by trying to figure out a possible cast for a “Second Time’s a Charm” movie. It would definitely make a terrific one.

~ Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views