on March 25, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
How do you start over when you gave everything to one life, one plan, and lost it all?
Althea refuses to allow herself to love again. Imprisoned in grief at twenty-four after her husband’s sudden death, she’s convinced her heart died along with him. She spends her days honoring his memory by clinging to the legal career he helped her to build and to the remaining pieces linking them together.
Griffen’s been running from his past. Despite success as an author and investigative journalist, he’s been traveling through life on autopilot. For a decade, he’s chosen perilous adventures and meaningless sex over the danger of any attachments. When he finally returns home to Pittsburgh, he’s slammed by the awakened memories and regret he’s spent years trying to escape.
A chance encounter brings them together. Their instant desire for each other – and the bond they discover between them – shocks them both. Despite her best efforts, Althea can’t resist Griffen’s charm or his intriguing proposition – if she agrees to a no-strings affair with him for the two weeks he’s in town, he swears he’ll walk away when their time is up. Assured she can test the waters of a new life while keeping her vow never to betray her husband’s memory by opening her heart to another, Althea throws herself into the escape Griffen provides her.
Their perfect plans go awry when the intensity of their connection overwhelms them. Will they risk it all on the chance of something great together…or will the power of their secrets and guilt tear them apart?
Griffen stroked her cheek and Althea thought how truly sorry she was to have woken him, especially because what she didn’t tell him was that tonight it wasn’t her deceased husband Jack’s face in her nightmare that turned to dust and disappeared. It was Griffen’s.
“Althea…” Griffen whispered.
“Shh. No,” she said softly as she reached up and caressed his face gently in return. “Will you just…will you please make love to me, Griffen?”
But it won’t be anytime anymore, Althea thought. He will turn to dust and I will be all alone. Again.
And she knew it had to be that way, because this emptiness in her heart was the penance she would always have to pay for failing Jack.
Griffen led her to the bed and they made love. It was the most tender and gentle experience of their time together. Griffen touched her everywhere, stroked her hair, kissed her face and soothed away each tear. He ran his lips down her chest and she gasped as he sucked her nipple into his mouth reverently. He somehow managed to put on a condom despite touching every part of her constantly and slid gently inside of her. She was grateful because she didn’t want any lead-in this time. She just needed him inside her, while her hands were full of his hair and his warm, giving flesh. She moaned and lifted his head from her breast to look at him.
“Baby,” he said, kissing her eyelids and finally claiming her mouth. She wrapped her legs around his, even curling her feet around his calves, desperately trying to make every inch of her body touch his.
She was so preoccupied with how full and complete she felt that her climax surprised her. This had not been about an orgasm, it was about closeness and human contact. Running off the demons of loss and fear, if only for a moment.
But Griffen didn’t know how to leave her unsatisfied. He couldn’t touch her without making her body go off like a sparkler in the backyard on the fourth of July, and even now, with his gentle lovemaking, it was no different. He groaned in her ear and came right along with her, spurring more spasms and electric shocks through her body.
“Oh Griffen, yes, Griffen,” she responded.
He leaned up and looked into her eyes, brushing her hair back from her face. His face looked so tormented.
“Oh Althea,” he said sadly over and over again, almost like a prayer, until he rolled over and held her until she finally fell into a blessedly dreamless sleep.