*Story contains explicit/steamy scenes that are intended for mature readers.
Emma Slate married her high school sweetheart at twenty and lost him at twenty-two. Now she has built a cozy, safe life for herself that includes everything but romance. When Matt, a handsome young contractor, begins work at her house, she tries to ignore the spark between them and keep her feelings in check.
Matt Winter should know better than to get involved with a girl who is moving out of state in a few short weeks. Especially one who is so guarded. There are so many reasons why he shouldn’t go there…so why can’t they stay away from each other?
A sizzling love story from the author of Constructing Us.
“If ever there was a time to fall against him, cling to him, count on him–it was now. If ever there was a moment to admit the truth, this was it.”
**This moment in the book is particularly profound for Emma because it comes after a crisis that not only shakes some of her resolve, but confirms Matt’s true character.
“ ‘Jesus, Emma,” Matt rasped, pulling back just enough to look into her eyes. ‘Why do you torture me?’
Gazing into those intense, dark eyes, Emma became overwhelmed by a longing that was almost painful. She reached up and brushed her lips across his. ‘I didn’t mean to,’ she said softly, and it was the truth. ‘Don’t go,’ she whispered, digging her fingers into his hair and keeping him close. Lightly she bit his lower lip. ‘Don’t go…’ ”
**I love this scene because it’s erotic and emotional and represents a major turning point for Matt and Emma–and also is literally just the beginning of their first intense night together…
“Being with Matt did something to her. It brought back a younger version of herself, a younger time in her life.”
**This is a theme that’s played implicitly throughout the story and a concept that Emma wrestles with and embraces at the same time. She’s only twenty-seven, but has responsibilities that make her feel older and more settled than that. Matt taps into her youthful, fun-loving spirit and almost makes Emma forget the reasons why they shouldn’t be together…
“ ‘Well, that was before I knew who he was.’ Or more to the point: that Matt wasn’t an anonymous, two-dimensional stranger, guest-starring in Emma’s life for a passing moment. If her life was a script, Matt’s credit would have been: Guy At Hardware Store. But discovering he was Tragan’s best friend…it changed everything. It meant that Matt Winter was a real flesh-and-blood male she could fall for. She could hardly explain any of this to Andy, because Andy wouldn’t understand why falling for a guy would be a bad thing. (Bless her little sister’s naïve, idealistic heart.) ”
**This is a passing thought of Emma’s that occurs early in the book and is significant, because it’s an indication of her deeper emotional state–of the lingering baggage from losing her husband–and it’s the first time Emma acknowledges it, even to the reader. But it’s not something she allows herself to contemplate much, and even Andy has to push her later in the book to see that over the years she has developed a fear of love.
“In his lustful haze, Matt already felt close to worshiping her–the warmth of her soft body, her feminine scent, the aroused little sounds she made when he kissed her. And then there was the thrilling thought that this was Emma underneath him. She was his girl, she had to be.”
**Matt Winter is my favorite type of hero! He’s strong, masculine and appealing, but also truly romantic. His emotions for Emma evolve sort of effortlessly on his part. He does not overanalyze his feelings or obsess over his past, either. Mostly he lives in the moment, and once he starts falling for Emma, he’s all in.
C.J. Lake is a storyteller who is passionate about art, surfing, and skiing/snowboarding. Residing near the coast of Massachusetts, C.J. is currently working on a new book. Meanwhile, readers can check out her first novel, Constructing Us, which is the story of Andy and Tragan.