Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on June 28th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Can two hearts come together in one divided town? As a boy, Nash Hawthorne spent countless afternoons on the Louisiana side of Cottonbloom with Tally Fournette, wading in the river, peeling oranges and catching frogs. When illness stole his mother, Nash yearned to take Tally and run awayÔÇöfor good. Instead, he crossed the state line to live with his aunt. It was a short distance as the crow flies, but it swept him into a whole new worldÔÇª
After Nash left, Tally managed to struggle through her own losses without him. But now that sheÔÇÖs crossed paths with him againÔÇöat Cottonbloom College, where the grown-up, gorgeous Nash teaches historyÔÇöshe is reminded of their cherished youthful connectionÔÇªand an attraction that has only gotten stronger with age. Between TallyÔÇÖs possessive ex and NashÔÇÖs snobbish aunt, no one thinks they belong together. In a town torn apart by old resentments and rivalries, can they find their way back to the life they once sharedÔÇöand turn their long-lost dreams into a real and lasting love?
ÔÇ£ThereÔÇÖs one thing on my list I havenÔÇÖt told you about.ÔÇØ The tease in NashÔÇÖs voice had been roughened away.
ÔÇ£How am I going to help if you donÔÇÖt tell me?ÔÇØ Tally couldnÔÇÖt stop staring at his mouth, and dabbed her tongue along her lower lip.
ÔÇ£I wasnÔÇÖt sure if youÔÇÖd be willing to help me cross it off.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Is it dangerous?ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Could be. Might start a fire even.ÔÇØ He removed his glasses and tucked them into a pocket of his shorts.
The moon had risen and his brown eyes seemed to reflect back the meager light.
ÔÇ£I want to kiss you.ÔÇØ The words fell between them like it was a done deal, yet he moved more like a predator, slowly, cautiously, giving her a fighting chance at escape. ÔÇ£Not a peck on the cheek like when we were eight, but an honest-to-goodness, grown-up, man-woman kiss. Does that freak you out?ÔÇØ
It totally did. Not because she was disgusted or creeped. The opposite. The compulsion to kiss him at the river had almost overtaken her. But this was Nash. Her Nash. Her stomach spiraled in a slow arc of nerves and anticipation.
Whenever she was nervous about something, like the school spelling bee, Nash had made her list the worst, most outrageous things that could go wrong. She reverted to old habits, the questions popping out in a rush of words. ÔÇ£What if you start thinking about Charlemagne to keep from being bored? What if youÔÇÖre totally grossed out? What if you canÔÇÖt look at me the same way? What if we can never be friends again?ÔÇØ
She had backed into the tower, and he braced his hands on either side of her head. ÔÇ£I can guarantee I wonÔÇÖt be disgusted or bored. IÔÇÖve been thinking about kissing you since that first night at the Rivershack Tavern. Maybe youÔÇÖll hate me slobbering all over you.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Maybe,ÔÇØ she whispered, even knowing it was a lie. Every part of her was drawn to him like filings to a magnet. Good sense kept her from confessing her biggest fear.
What if she didnÔÇÖt want him to stop at a kiss?
ÔÇ£Listen, this is just an item on my list. One kiss. If the kiss is weird and either one of us doesnÔÇÖt like it, letÔÇÖs agree that it wonÔÇÖt affect our friendship. WeÔÇÖll keep hanging out.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£What if we do like it?ÔÇØ The possibility threw open a door she wasnÔÇÖt sure she wanted to slam shut or run through.
ÔÇ£Well then. I might have a lengthy addendum to my original list.ÔÇØ He cocked his head. ÔÇ£WhatÔÇÖd you say we do something really crazy?ÔÇØ
Unlike at the river, the narrow platform offered no escape, and she was glad. She didnÔÇÖt want to escape, even as the most vulnerable parts of her screamed at her to run. While she was perfectly willing to risk life and limb and trouble with the law, the risk Nash posed to her heart was too great to contemplate. But this was only a kissÔÇöhow dangerous could it really be?
ÔÇ£Okay.ÔÇØ The word came out as soft as a breath.
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What Others Are Saying:
“Appealing protagonists, a heartwarming relationship, and descriptions so vivid one can feel the steamy heat and the river mud between their toes make this a perfect, lazy summer read.” Library Journal
“Do you like small town romances that avoid saccharine and surrender to real? Read this book!” Fresh Fiction
“Equal parts funny, romantic and sexy. It had a little bit of everything that I love in a romance.” 5 stars from Wishful Miss Book Reviews
In The Series/Coming Soon
Kiss Me That Way: A Cottonbloom Novel #1 – Available Now
Till I Kissed You: A Cottonbloom Novel #3 – Coming Soon August 2, 2016