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Perfect Song

Mason Creek #2

Lauren Runow

Copyright © 2021 by Lauren Runow

All rights reserved.

Visit my website at

Photo by NDAB Creativity

Cover Designer: Opium House

Editor: Jovana Shirley, Unforeseen Editing,

Beta read by Indie Solutions,

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

No copyright infringement intended. No claims have been made over songs and/or lyrics written. All credit goes to original owners.

Created with Vellum


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32




About the Author

Chapter One


I can’t believe I’m back here, in my hometown, and walking into a bar.

Not that I’m sad about it. In a weird way, I’m kind of relieved. But it’s still surreal.

Three weeks ago, if you’d said this was where I’d be right now, I would have laughed at you.

Living in New York was a dream. I had a job I never thought even possible for a girl from Mason Creek, Montana. I met the most amazing people in a city that offered me everything I’d ever wanted and more. The divine food, awesome clubs, stores with the top fashions … and the men who could cast darkness on every bright light the city had to offer.

The dream turned into a nightmare, all because of someone I trusted. It’s amazing how one simple decision made with excitement can change a life forever in the most negative way.

So, now, I’ve returned to the small town I grew up in. Getting to see my old friends is the only plus side to this entire situation.

I’ve kept in touch with Laken, my best friend from high school, and her sister, Lenora, over the years, thanks to Facebook and Instagram, but this is the first time I’ve been back. While my New York life as a staff writer for Living Now Magazine—a publication I explain as being in direct competition with Cosmopolitan —showed the glamorous side of city living, I’m still surprised just how bad living there got. Hell, I was living it, and it still slipped by me.

No one knows the real reason why I’m back home, and I hope no one finds out.

They think I’m here for an extended visit just to hang out with my parents. For now, that excuse is vague enough to work because I don’t know if or when I’ll ever go back.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the glitz, the glamour, and the excitement of Manhattan. I love being able to walk all over the city without running into a nosy neighbor or town gossip. I love being able to get any kind of food I want at four in the morning and finding a bar ready to welcome me with open arms anytime of the day.

It’s a different life for sure here in Mason Creek, where there’s only one grocery store, one gas station, and yes, only one bar. There’s no separate nightlife for the after-work cocktails, over-forty crowd, or the barely twenty-one-year-olds. Nope. All legal ages and all walks of life come to this bar. Well, I guess all walks of life is stretching it a bit. Everyone here either works at the ranch or helps run a small business that every single person patronizes.

Nerves run through me as I open the door to a place I used to wish I were old enough to hang out at—Pony Up. I’ve been home for a few days now, and as I walk in, I know my mom was right. It’s time to try to put the past behind me and visit with my friends. I figure it’s a good night to try since it’s Thursday, and hopefully, the place won’t be too crowded since everyone has to work tomorrow.

As I take the place in, I’m instantly brought back to my high school days. It hasn’t changed a bit with the actual bar as the center focal point and seemingly the same stools still lining it. I wonder if Doug, the owner, will remember me for how many times he had to throw me out for not being old enough to be in here.

I enter and hear a girl yell, “Batten down the hatches, everyone. Someone disguised as my best friend just walked through that door.”

I laugh out loud, hearing Laken copying our favorite movie, Sweet Home Alabama, from years ago. I slowly turn on my heels in the direction of the noise with my hands held up at my sides. When our eyes meet, some of the heartache of what brought me back here melts away just a tiny bit.

She hasn’t changed at all since I saw her last. Her hazel eyes and long red hair are the perfect complement to her runner’s body, which many girls would die for but never put in the effort like she does with her long runs. Though she’s never left Mason Creek, I’m happy she followed her dreams and owns a bookstore in town that she was able to open after getting a small inheritance from her grandmother.

I raise my eyebrows. “Please don’t tell me you have a baby … in a bar?” I say, referring to another line from the movie.

“No, but we’ve both got one at home,” our other friend, Anna—who I didn’t know would be here—shouts out, completing the movie lines. She points to herself and the third person, Lenora—who everyone calls Leni—sitting

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