Jessica Channing’s big city life should be more exciting than sixty-hour work weeks and popcorn nights with her girlfriends, but it’s not. She has worked hard fulfilling her role as a child prodigy and graduating college years before her peers. She’s the good girl, the brilliant girl.
Unfortunately, she’s also the dateless young woman.
That all changes with one phone call. Jess’s rigid, predictable life upends when she must visit a small, obscure town to deal with a relative’s death. This isn’t just any little speck of a town, though. Long lost memories come crashing down on Jess’s world when two men, the Blackard brothers, seem to lure her in.
Dylan is cover model handsome, and pursues Jess the minute she comes to town. Then there is tall, dark and gorgeous Carson, who hides his own secrets behind his hardened reserve.
For someone who has been governed by her own obsessive behaviors and fears, Jess lets her guard down and jumps at the opportunity to have an affair with a man she actually finds attractive for a change.
There’s just one problem. Jess discovers that she can’t have a simple romantic fling because true passion does indeed come with some very big strings attached to it. She will have to own up to her own truths about love and face the two extraordinary men; both troubled in their own ways and both determined to have her.
This novel contains graphic sexual content and strong language. It is intended for mature readers.
Carson takes a couple long strides and is in my face before I can count to one. He has to lean over to be at my eye level. He places his hands on the counter on either side of me so I’m trapped. “He thinks you’re going to stay here for good. He thinks he has a chance with you. I want you to be honest with him and explain that you’ll be going back to your real life in New York.”
He moves so close to my face, I find myself staring back into his beautiful eyes that never leave mine. He is nothing like Dylan; I can see that in this moment. Carson is only three years older than his brother; however, he might as well be twenty years older. He carries a weight—a burden in him—that is marked by a serious, unwavering demeanor. I think a part of me remembers this about him and another part of me remembers trying to coax the fun side out of him. I know I have seen him laugh, the memory is there, buried with all the other fuzzy images, yet right now, I only see a man who is trying to look strong because there’s something that worries him.
If he’s trying to be intimidating and rouse my anxiety, it’s working. After a short stare-off between us, he moves back. My small victory is that he seems to be at a loss for words, too.
Dylan’s reaction is evident. I’m at the end of the hall in the kitchen doorway when Carson answers the door and Dylan’s face drops. “What the fuck are you doing here?”
“Hi, brother,” Carson greets him with a smugness in his voice. “I was working on the kitchen and thought I’d stay for dinner. I see you’re making your eggplant parm. Wouldn’t want to miss that.” He holds the door open for Dylan who storms through with two bottles of wine in each hand.
“Oh, fuck you,” Dylan snaps and head towards me. He kisses me on the cheek. “Hi. So we’ve got company.” He shakes his head at me.
“Here, let me open the wine.” Carson squeezes between Dylan and me, grabbing the bottles. “You cook. Jess and I will drink this fine vino you’ve brought us.”
“I didn’t bring it for you,” Dylan counters.
Carson studies the wine label and raises his eyebrows. “You’ve dropped an impressive little bundle on these two gems. Can’t wait to drink it.”
Dylan ignores him and makes his way into the kitchen where he begins to pull items out of the fridge along with pots and pans from the cupboards. I’m caught in the middle of some brotherly group dynamic that is foreign to me, so I stay out of it and keep quiet.
Carson uncorks a bottle of wine with a switchblade he pulls out of his pocket. I don’t know whether to be unnerved or impressed that he carries a knife and knows how to open a bottle of wine with it. He makes one slice around the seal, thuds the base of the bottle against one of the vertical beams along the wall and then pulls the cork out with his teeth. I’ve never seen anything like it. He looks even sexier merely by doing that little move. His hands are full with the bottle in one hand and the knife and cork in the other, so he pulls a kitchen chair out with his foot.
“Have a seat, milady, and join me in a glass of the grape,” he mimics a thick Scottish brogue.
“Oh, please,” Dylan says over his shoulder as he slams pans on the range.
I laugh and sit down. Carson smiles at me and pours a tiny amount of the wine into a juice glass for me. I take a little sip and nod approvingly. I know nothing about wine.
S. A. Wolfe lives with her wonderfully loud, opinionated children and husband. She is a voracious reader and passionate about writing, and when those two activities don’t keep her locked away in her room, she loves hiking mountains as much as she adores all the thrills New York City has to offer.