Mary Ann Rivers kicks off a new contemporary romance series—sure to please readers of Ruthie Knox, Kristan Higgins, and Jill Shalvis—where love can be found unexpectedly.
If there’s an upside to unemployment, Destiny Burnside may have found it. Job searching at her local library in Lakefield, Ohio, gives her plenty of time to ogle the hottest man she has ever laid eyes on: the sexy wood-carver who’s restoring the building. But as the rejection letters pile up, Destiny finds an unexpected shoulder to cry on. With his rich Welsh accent, Hefin Thomas stirs Destiny so completely that, even though he’s leaving soon, she lets herself believe the memory of his scorching kisses will be enough.
Hefin can’t help but notice the slender, confident woman with ginger hair who returns each day, so hopeful and determined. So when the tears start to fall, his silence—penance for a failed marriage—finally cracks. Once he’s touched her, what Hefin wants is to take her back to Wales and hold her forever. But Destiny’s roots run too deep. What they both need is each other—to learn how to live and love again.
Des insists that Hefin take her on a date, and he takes her to the local ballpark to hit balls in the cages. After a very intense encounter in Des’s limo, he proposes a game where for every ball he misses (for a Welshman he is very good in the cages) he will tell her something personal about himself. For every ball she hits (she’s not so great) she has to tell him something about her. How will Destiny swing the odds in her favor?
“He looked so hot standing in the box, ready to swing that she didn’t realize the next pitched had whoosed out until she watched him swing and heard the crack of his bat all at the same time. He looked over and winked at her.
She laughed, and she watched him smack one ball after another into the back net, easy and loose. At this rate, he would never tell her anything.
Unless she totally cheated.
She looked around at the other cages through the net, and no one had rented any of the ones around them. She snuck her hands behind her back and unhooked her bra strap from over her t-shirt. As soon as he cracked the next ball, she moved to catch his eye, and he smiled at her—she held his gaze. She waited until that moment right after the clunk of the ball entering the shoot and before he turned back to the pitch.
That was the sweet spot, and she flashed him, the hem of her t-shirt right to her chin, her nipples bunching as soon as they hit the breeze.
Swing and a miss.
It was just as awesome as she imagined it would be.”
Des’s sister Sarah is in the hospital recovering from a complication from a previous injury. Sisters being sisters, they start to laugh an reminisce. First period stories naturally come up, and after Sarah reveals something about herself during her story that Des never knew, Sarah switches to Des’s first time to interject a little humor into the situation.
“Oh my god. You were so weird about it, totally refusing to use a pad and making us talk you through a tampon for your first period. Jesus.”
“I wanted to be like you guys.”
Sarah looked over at her and smiled, and it was the first time in a while that it seemed liked Sarah was really smiling at her, was completely there, in the room with her. It gave her goosebumps and she rubbed her arms.
“It took like an hour. We had to figure out, like, ten thousand different definitions of the word vagina in the hope you’d figure out what part of your body we were talking about. Then you finally, finally got it in and swaggered out of the bathroom all sweaty saying ‘I’m a woman now!’”
Des laughed. “I remember. I felt like a woman. You totally made me feel like a woman!”
And then Des and Sarah totally lost their shit. It was the best she’d felt with one of her siblings in forever.
Hefin and Des are sharing a tender moment in Des’s old childhood bedroom, which now has a new occupant who manages to . . . . interrupt things.
She opened her mouth under his and his tongue touched hers. Their kiss was just soft touches with their mouths, and it made their breathing seem loud.
Being so quiet, trying not to move too much, it made her body get really hot all over, like she was going to break out in a sweat from the tight and aching tension of everything they weren’t doing with their bodies and their mouths and their hands.
When he pushed his hips a little into her stomach, she let her hand press from his waist to his fly. He was so hot, even through the thin denim, so hard, her own hips kicked forward and she squeezed a bit tighter than she meant to, just overcome with her own neediness.
He backed away from their kiss and put his face in her neck, all smooth skin with a bit of bite from the first new whiskers. She rubbed, he bucked, she felt his open mouth on her neck.
The baby let out a ripping fart.
They both jumped, Hefin taking his hands from the wall so fast, he had to step back to keep balance. She put her hands to her hot cheeks, her heart going a million beats a minute, and then had to bend over to keep from laughing out loud.
Holding her waist, tears streaming down her face with suppressed laughter, she dared looking at Hefin, and then wished she hadn’t, because he was literally biting his fist to keep from losing it.
About the Author
Mary Ann Rivers was an English and music major and went on to earn her MFA in creative writing, publishing poetry in journals and leading creative-writing workshops for at-risk youth. While training for her day job as a nurse practitioner, she rediscovered romance on the bedside tables of her favorite patients. Now she writes smart and emotional contemporary romance, imagining stories featuring the heroes and heroines just ahead of her in the coffee line. Mary Ann Rivers lives in the Midwest with her handsome professor husband and their imaginative school-aged son.
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