Theresa – The Romance Studio – 5 hearts – This was a spicy and sweet quick read. The lead characters were so likable and realistic that I felt as if they became my friends in the time it took to read this novella. John was so mature and determined and his depth of feeling had me falling in love with him right along with the heroine. I could feel the tension Kate was experiencing and I liked finding out how she was going to handle her controlling parent. My favorite character was John’s mom, I thought she was just wonderful. I enjoyed this story so much that I’m sure I will read it again and again. I’m looking forward to seeing what else this author has to offer as I enjoyed this touching, yet spicy novella.
Available now in Kindle Direct Publishing
Kate Grady has a lot on her plate. She’s living by her father’s rules in order to patch their strained relationship. She’s running the family pharmacy single-handedly while said father heals his broken hip. His physical therapy doesn’t include breathing over her shoulder but he manages to do it anyway.
Then in walks John O’Brien, the boy next door. The very sexy, seven years younger boy next door. The last time she’d seen him, he’d been a gangly, gawky boy with thick glasses. Oh how he’s grown.
Can Kate look past their age difference to appreciate the man John has become?
Kate sank onto a wobbly stool, slid her strappy sandal off, and rubbed her instep, groaning out loud. Thank heaven it was nearly closing time. Her sound of pleasure still hung in the air when the bell over the door signaled a customer’s arrival.
Slipping the sandal back on, Kate stood and rounded the corner. She nearly tripped at the sight of the man walking toward the counter. Finger-combing blond hair off his face, he looked around the pharmacy. His profile had been hot, but full on his face took her breath away. With perfectly chiseled features, high cheekbones, and a hint of a dimple in his chin, the man could be a movie star.
When she realized she was staring, Kate blushed to the roots of her hair. “Can I help you?” she asked, adding an extra bit of professionalism to her tone, hoping to make up for the fact that she’d shamelessly ogled the man.
His smile revealed perfectly straight, white teeth and twin dimples.
She’d always been a sucker for dimples.
“Katie? You cut your hair.” Twinkling blue eyes met hers.
He seemed to know her, but Kate would swear she’d never met him before. He wasn’t the kind of man a girl would forget.
“Your hair,” he said, unnecessarily pointing to her head. “Last time I saw you, it hung to the middle of your back.”
Kate studied him, trying to figure out where she may have seen him before and still drew a blank. And since she’d just cut her hair six months ago, his comment didn’t offer her much of a clue.
“Do I know you?” she finally asked.
He chuckled, a deep rumble that went right through her, touching every erogenous zone in her body.
“We grew up next door to each other,” he said. “I was a few years behind you, but…”
Kate gasped. She actually gasped out loud.
The last time she saw him, he’d been so skinny a light breeze could have blown him over.
“I filled out a little bit.”
Kate cringed when she realized she’d spoken that thought out loud.
“I can see that.”
Had that sultry tone come from her mouth? The surprise that flashed across his face told her it had. Interest flashed in his eyes, scaring the hell out of her. His gaze shifted from her eyes to her mouth and back again. Definitely interest.
Kate had to nip this in the bud. The last thing she needed was to turn into a modern-day Mrs. Robinson.
“My dad said you’re going to be our new delivery boy. When can you start?”
His lips curved into a smile. “When do you want me to start?”
Deciding to ignore his double entendre, Kate picked up a clipboard and flipped through its pages searching for the weekly employee schedule.
“Kevin is in at ten tomorrow.” She clutched the clipboard hoping to hide her shaking hands. “Why don’t you come in then and he can show you the ropes?”
“Great. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
He looked like he was about to say something, but stopped. With a wave, he turned and walked out the door, his clean scent lingering on the breeze created by the closing door.
Kate slumped onto the stool.
She remembered waiting for the bus next to him on his first day of Kindergarten. Remembered the gawky pre-teen with huge horn-rimmed glasses riding his bicycle past her house. And God help her, she remembered the perfect shape of his ass as he walked out the door.
Cassie Evans never got over her high school sweetheart, Tim Brennan. She thought they had the perfect relationship and even when he received a professional hockey contract, she believed things would be okay…until she decided to surprise him one weekend on the road and got the surprise of her life.
Fifteen years later, Tim gets traded to his hometown team and has made it clear he still wants Cassie. She tries to stay strong, but it’s hard to resist a hottie hockey player who has love on his mind, especially when she still has feelings for him.
She felt him behind her before he made his presence known, and her traitorous body broke out in goosebumps. His scent enveloped her even through the smell of cigarette that had migrated from the bar area.
“Why aren’t you out there?”
Tim’s voice urged Cassie to drag her eyes from the dance floor and look at him. Big mistake. In everyday clothes he looked amazing, but in black tie, Tim Brennan was downright mouthwatering. That’s probably one of the reasons she’d turned into a cliché and lost her virginity to him on prom night. Not wanting to think about that, Cassie answered his question.
“My shoes pinch when I fast dance.”
“Then why wear them?”
“Because they make my legs look amazing.”
His gaze drifted to the objects in question and lingered. Cassie hoped her now-erect nipples didn’t show through her dress.
“That they do.” He dragged his gaze back to hers. “Don’t forget you promised me a dance.”
“I don’t think I ever gave you an answer.”
“For old times’ sake?”
Cassie was about to tell him “for old times’ sake” wouldn’t sway her to do anything with him when Tupelo Honey by Van Morrison began to play. Only the first soft notes filled the room, but she knew the song immediately. It had been their song.
Her gaze met Tim’s and she was both surprised and pleased to see recognition there. Memories flashed through her mind, snapshots of all the good times they’d shared. Any hostility Cassie felt toward him drained out of her and was replaced by a bittersweet ache. So when Tim held out his hand, before she could think twice, Cassie grasped it.
Without another word, Tim led her to the dance floor and pulled her into his arms. His touch felt so good, so familiar, so right. Cassie snuggled in and rested her cheek against his chest.
The beat of his heart was strong and steady and mesmerizing. She tangled her fingers into the hair that brushed his collar and moved closer. Tim groaned and squeezed her tighter, encouraging her to shift closer still. By song’s end, Cassie’s body was plastered against the solid wall of his.
The song stirred memories and feelings Cassie couldn’t forget. It had been playing the first time they made love in the back seat of his Chevy Nova and every time thereafter. It also brought her libido to life, which she couldn’t ignore. It’d been a long time between men, and her vibrator just wasn’t getting the job done anymore.
She’d never found sex with strangers particularly appealing, but Tim wasn’t a stranger. Sure, they hadn’t seen each other in fourteen years, but they had a past and memories and even a song together. What could be wrong with taking pleasure in each other for the night?
The fact that she was already wet seemed like a sign they should do just that. The fact that he was rock hard made the sign glow neon. Cassie snuggled closer as a new song began. Tim shifted, putting some distance between them.
“So tell me what you’ve been up to,” he said.
Cassie would have been hurt by his attempt to cool things down if she didn’t feel his tense muscles at her fingertips and steely erection at her stomach. He wanted her as much as she wanted him. To test that theory, she moved closer and rubbed her stiff nipples against his chest. She sighed at the aching relief as he groaned and tightened his hold on her.
“Cas?” Tim’s voice sounded thick.
“Hmmmm?” she purred.
“Let’s get out of here.”