Genres: Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 21, 2014
Leah Marino hasn’t been on a date in two years. After discovering the man she loved had manipulated and deceived her, she refuses to even entertain the idea of a relationship. Instead, she focuses her attention on taking care of her family, a role she’s assumed since the death of her mother and the one place she knows her kindness won’t be taken advantage of again.
When a nostalgic trip back to her childhood home results in a chance encounter with Danny DeLuca, a smart-mouthed mechanic who’s as attractive as he is mysterious, Leah’s carefully cultivated walls begin to crumble. She finds herself unexpectedly drawn to Danny, despite his unreliable behavior and mixed signals.
But Danny has a secret…
One that could shake Leah’s already precarious foundation and bring her world crashing down around her. Suddenly, she’s faced with an incredibly difficult decision–is she willing to risk everything for the chance at finding the love she’s always wanted? Or are some obstacles just too big for the heart to overcome?
“Do you want to be alone?” she asked.
Danny turned to her, his eyes meeting hers before he shook his head.
“Okay,” Leah said gently, and he released her hand as she put the car in park and cut the engine.
They rode the elevator up to his apartment in silence; Danny’s eyes were trained on the floor as he chewed the inside of his lip, and Leah rested her head on his shoulder until they arrived at his floor.
He seemed distracted as he opened the door to his apartment, and Leah followed him inside, putting her purse on the entryway table.
“Do you want me to make you something to eat?” she asked.
“No,” he murmured. “Thank you.”
He was standing in the living room with his back to her, and she walked over to him, placing her hands on the sides of his waist as she rested her forehead against the back of his shoulder. After a few seconds, he turned to face her, and Leah lifted her head, looking up at him.
He stared down at her for a moment before he dropped his eyes, watching his hand as he hooked two fingers in the front pocket of her jeans. She saw him wet his lips, and then he gave a gentle tug, pulling her a step closer as his other hand came to the hem of her shirt, taking it between his thumb and forefinger.
Danny’s eyes were trained on his fingers as he toyed with the soft fabric, and then his knuckle grazed her belly button as he started pulling it up slowly. When her stomach quivered in response, he glanced up, his eyes meeting hers before they dropped again.
And then he slid it up a bit higher.
She lifted her arms out of reflex, and suddenly, her shirt was off. He tossed it somewhere behind her before he hooked his fingers in the front of her jeans and gave her another tug.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered, pressing his lips to the top of her shoulder as his fingers came to the button of her jeans. She felt it pop open as he exhaled against her skin. “I’m sorry. I just…”
Leah closed her eyes as she brought her hand to the back of his head. “It’s okay,” she whispered. “Take what you need.”
He made a small sound in the back of his throat as he dropped his forehead to her shoulder. “God, how do you do that?” he asked, easing her zipper down.
“Do what?” she asked softly, running her fingers through the back of his hair.
“You make it stop hurting,” he said against her skin. “Every time.”
Leah exhaled as she brought her hand to his chin, lifting his head before she brought her mouth to his.
1. “Being with him, talking to him, was the emotional equivalent of bungee jumping. There was the freedom, the adrenaline, the exhilaration of the fall, only to have it come to an abrupt halt, roughly yanking her back in the direction from which she came.” –Leah
Priscilla: I love the image this evokes of Leah’s internal battle. When she first meets Danny, there’s something so freeing about being with him—but his unpredictability brings those “free falls” to an abrupt halt, leaving her wanting more.
2. “Believe me, if given the opportunity to rock your world, there isn’t a hangover in existence that would prevent me from getting the job done thoroughly.” –Danny
Priscilla: Danny, Danny, Danny—I love it when you’re in a playful mood. Leah once accused you of working out of a handbook entitled How to Reduce Leah to a Besotted, Quivering Pile of Easy, but I’m thinking you could probably do that to just about any woman, handbook or not.
3. “So if something seems too hard, princess, before you throw in the towel, you should always ask yourself, ‘Will the reward be worth the suffering?’” –Mr. Marino (Leah’s father)
Priscilla: I loved writing Leah’s relationship with her father, and this is one of my favorite scenes involving them. Without giving too much away, this conversation is a turning point for Leah, and these words from her father come in to play later in the novel.
4. “The night he found your bracelet, he had this little glint in his eye. Like Christmas morning. Even better than finding it was finding his excuse to call.” –Catherine (Gram)
Priscilla: This scene between Leah and Catherine is another one of my favorites. They’re both very vulnerable at this point in the novel, and Catherine gives Leah a little insight into Danny. Plus, Catherine has this way of being profound and wise while still managing to be adorable and completely endearing.
5. “It’s hard to watch someone you care about suffer. But when you love someone, you do it. You do it without question or reservation. You do it because there’s no other option—because the thought of being without them is a hundred times more excruciating than bearing their burden.” –Leah
Priscilla: I think this a sentiment a lot of people will be able to relate to, and I love this line because it demonstrates Leah’s assertiveness and strength. Plus, even though it’s a simple concept, there’s something almost poetic about the way she says it.
6. “It’s gonna be an expensive evening for you. First, all the drinks you’ll have to buy her, and then the next forty years’ worth of Valtrex prescriptions.” –Holly to Jake
Priscilla: Ninety percent of what comes out of Holly and Jake’s mouths is either hilarious or completely inappropriate (or both). I love them because they provide comic relief to the story, but at the same time, they are incredible friends to Leah and Danny and end up guiding them at crucial points in the plot.
Priscilla Glenn lives in New York with her husband and three children. She has been teaching English at the middle and high school levels for the past twelve years while moonlighting as a writer, mom, coach, student, and professional laundry-doer.
If you catch her when she’s feeling sophisticated, she’ll tell you her favorite things are great books and good wine. In the moments in between, she’ll admit her love for anything Ben and Jerry’s, UFC fights, and Robert Pattinson.
Glenn is the author of the contemporary romance novels Back to You, Emancipating Andie, and Coming Home.
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