Author: Jessica Lemmon
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 27, 2015
Creativity is his drug, painting is his escape, but she’ll be the addiction that brings him to his knees.
Evan Downey buried a part of his soul when put the love of his life in the ground. He knows he needs to get his shit together for the sake of their son, but escaping into his art is the only way he can begin to cope with Rae’s death. When the chance to move back to Evergreen Cove, one of the few places that has ever felt right to him, he knows it’s a chance he has to take. For his sake, and his sons.
Charlotte Harris would give anything to have her best friend back. But if she can’t have Rae, then she vows she’ll at least be there to support the family Rae left behind. So when she learns that Evan is looking to move home, she does everything she can to help him and Lyon re-build their lives at the Cove. But when sparks start to fly between Charlotte and Evan it’s the first glimpse of something bright and beautiful either of them has seen in far too long. And they start to wonder if fate has offered them a second chance at happiness– if only their brave enough to take the risk and let love back into their lives.
“Know why I moved here?” he asked, keeping his voice low.
She wrenched her eyes from his and focused on a spot over his shoulder.
“Because you didn’t want to live in Columbus anymore.” That’s what he’d told her. That he wanted a change. That he and Lyon had outgrown the house. And, she imagined it’d be hard to live in the house where Rae had passed.
“But why here?”
His fingers grazed her jaw and turned her head, his palm moving to her neck where he cupped her nape and forced her eyes to his.
Reluctantly, she met them.
“Rae’s more alive when you’re around, Ace.”
Her heart, oh her heart. Kicking against her chest in a confusing, hectic rhythm.
“You bring her to life for Lyon—more than anyone else. I need him to remember her because he can’t remember her alive.” His hold stayed, his palm warming her neck, his gaze unwavering.
She tried to separate the two feelings she was having—one that she was now talking about Rae with Evan and two, that he was touching her while talking about Rae.
Before she could, his lips closed over hers.
Her thoughts short-circuited.
This wasn’t anything like a soft peck hello. This was his lips moving over hers, slanting over hers, warm and firm and then his mouth opened and—
Oh my gosh!
His wet, warm tongue slid along the seam of her lips and she stopped being passive and started kissing him back. When she would have touched her tongue to his, he relocated it, running along her bottom lip instead and tugging with his teeth.
If she’d been standing, her knees would have given out and dropped her right on her butt.
And then there was the palm on her neck, now spearing up through her hair and clutching onto a handful of it. He held her captive, his hand fisting her hair as he angled his mouth again. In response to the soft whimper escaping her throat, he swept his tongue into her mouth. He tangled his tongue with hers once, twice, and released her.
When he pulled his mouth away, a long, satisfied sigh escaped her lips. Because that was a kiss. A kiss to rival all other kisses.
She opened her eyes to realize A) she’d closed her eyes and B) she’d at some point wrapped both hands around his forearms where she was holding tight and C) Evan looked as please as she felt.
“God damn, Ace. Your mouth.” His eyes flicked to her lips. Lips still tingling from the rough scrape from the stubble surrounding his.
She concurred with that sentiment. Not that she said anything. She’d gone dumb; completely mute.
He backed away, but held onto her chin and tweaked it lightly with the rough pad of one thumb. “That’s the way this is gonna go from now on.”
Her breathing went shallow, her thoughts went muzzy and her head blurred as her heart palpated to the point of panic attack.
She didn’t mean to say it, and it had only been a whisper, but by the look twisting Evan’s face—the angry look twisting his face—he’d heard. And he hadn’t liked what he’d heard.
“Sorry,” she said to him this time. “I should go.”
Unbelievably, he leaned closer. She pulled her chin back until she realized she likely had a double chin, then settled her head on her neck in a more reasonable position.
Gosh. He was making her crazy.
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This book first hit me with that bad boy on the cover, and then with the second chance at love theme that seems to be my fascination in romance lately. I’m beginning to think I like a challenge when it comes to these books, and what better challenge than a man and a woman who loved and lost a common person? For Evan, it was his wife, the mother of his son, and for Charlie, it was her best friend, her sister from another mister, so to speak.
Since I somehow like the angst these kind of stories bring into my life, I liked the beginning of this book, with our introduction to Charlie and Evan, and their memories involving Rae, Evan’s late wife. It was particularly Charlie to helped bring the emotion through those flashbacks, and in those scenes I was affected. I liked-and you can believe I use that term loosely here- that Rae was a common loss between Evan and Charlie, and that they both missed her and connected over her memory. It must be very difficult experiencing that kind of pain and I felt it.
By the time we meet with Evan and Charlie, it’s already been years since Rae is gone, so we know it only makes sense for two people who’ve known each other for so long, and who’ve enjoyed each other’s company, to get together. The two of them had a somewhat of a friendship going on for the years after their loss, Evan even had an endearing nickname for Charlie, but I felt like I personally could’ve used more time to delve into their years long friendship and camaraderie. Perhaps a few more flashbacks to those times after Evan’s wife’s death, more moments shared by the two of them to bond them the way they seemed to be by the time we meet with them. And after things started to heat up, they were hot, they made me go a little crazy and start considering stalking tattoo parlors, but there was a back and forth thing going on especially on Charlie’s side that crippled the story just a tad for me. I imagine her situation to be a tough one to be in, falling in love with your best friend’s widow, and I was okay with her inner dilemma over her guilt for that very situation and her own undeniable feelings for the man she was slowly coming to love, but I could do well without her self doubt for as long as I did. She had a strength in her that not only had her move on from a bad relationship, but also from the loss of her friend, and support Evan and his as well. I thought that strength seemed to falter a bit with these parts where she doubted so much, over and over.
I know I talked more Charlie than Evan, but that’s because I felt like she was the one who made the biggest progress, rather than Evan who seemed to properly mourn his wife and move on together with his son. He was more open and ready for the relationship than Charlie was from the beginning. He was what you could expect from the story, a sexy artistic man who had a teasing and caring side that came from being a family man. Well, maybe not your one hundred percent regular family man, but his own tweaked version of it. And he was creative too, what this bad boy could do with his paint. Yep, you’re going to have to read it to know what I’m talking about.
I gotta say, I was very intrigued by the side characters, and possibly future couples, too. I see more challenges awaiting in the upcoming books which I’m looking forward to. Give me couples who have to fight to get what they want, and let me watch them struggle. Evil reader here, I know, but hey, I made my peace with that.
A nice start to a new series, where bad boys get their good girls, and good girls get their happy endings.
I’m adding three spoonfuls of this sweet story of second chances into my hodgepodge. Though I’ve always found tattoos sexy in men, I’ve never considered getting one myself, but now I wonder if I should leave my hodgepodge’s side for a while to have one done on me too?
Jessica Lemmon has always been a dreamer. At some point, she decided head-in-the-clouds thinking was childish, went out, and got herself a job . . . and then she got another one because that one was lousy. And when that one stopped being fulfilling, she went out and got another . . . and another. Soon it became apparent she’d only be truly happy doing what she loved. And since “eating potato chips” isn’t a viable career, she opted to become a writer. With fire in her heart, she dusted off a book she’d started years prior, finished it, and submitted it. It may have been the worst book ever, but it didn’t stop her from writing another one. Now she has several books finished, several more started, and even more marinating in her brain (which currently resides in the clouds, thankyouverymuch), and she couldn’t be happier. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want. (While eating potato chips.)
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