From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Corinne Michaels comes a new story in her Salvation series…
I was poised to become partner at my law firm even before I became secretly engaged to my boss. After being humiliated by him on my wedding day, I can’t face working for him any longer. So I quit, waving my middle finger on my way out.
Now the only things I’m poised for are unemployment and loneliness.
When an opportunity with Cole Security arises, it seems like the perfect way to run, all the way to Virginia Beach. I wasn’t expecting my childhood sweetheart to be there. I definitely wasn’t prepared that when we saw each other again, Benjamin Pryce would be so grown-up. So gorgeous. So Navy SEAL-ish.
And still the same guy who broke my heart when I was fifteen–and could do it again.
They say if you’re fooled once, shame on them. The second time, it’s on you. The third time, it’s going to be me that runs… unless he can convince me to stay forevermore.
Novellas are tough. They are shorter, so they have to get to the "meat" of the story quickly, but they have to build the connection in a way that is strong enough that you believe in the romance.
While there are a lot of ways to handle this, I tend to connect best with the ones that are a second chance, or at least have some sort of past relationship. Ben and Gretchen knew one another years ago and while a lot about them has changed, their attraction remains the same. Which, I think, comes as a significant surprise to both of them.
Ben has some reasons that he is not willing to believe that she could want to be with him...and, he needs some time to be convinced that when Gretchen is with him, she doesn't care about the things he feels should matter to her. It's not possible to go into this in detail, as it is a spoiler...but I can definitely say that he has reasons, and they are good ones and, this detail gave this story a strength that isn't usually present in a novella.
The story had depth that is uncommon in a novella as well, and this let me really feel the connection between them. Even though it was an "instalove" story when they get back together, it was a story that also built to the relationship in a way that I was invested in and believed.
I enjoyed this title and I recommend it.
I don’t have a plan or an idea on where to go. There are no rules right now. I can do anything, live anywhere and choose something other than what I always thought.
Some might feel very liberated. I feel like I can’t breathe. The lack of order isn’t welcome.
A year ago, my list was solid and workable. Now, there’s too much uncertainty. Is marriage even what I want? Then there’s the fact that all I keep thinking about is Ben. Each time I go to write, he is the first thing I want to put down, which is fucking insane.
Harold never made my list. He was just who was going to fill in that slot.
A knock at the door causes me to jump.
“Shit,” I mutter, pushing the book under some papers so he doesn’t see it, and I try to collect myself as I walk to the door.
I close my eyes, hand on the door handle, release a deep breath, and smile. “Hey,” I say as I open it.
“Hello, gorgeous.” Ben’s deep voice washes over me. “These are for you.”
In his hand is a beautiful bouquet of daisies.
Daisies. “How did you...?”
“Are they not your favorite anymore?”
“They are, but I can’t believe you remembered.”
Ben looks at me like I’m a wounded animal. “Why wouldn’t I?”
Because it’s been so long. Because my stupid fiancé didn’t even know daisies were my favorite. Each year, I’d get lilies or roses as he’d tell me he knew how much I loved them—which I didn’t. I hate lilies. They’re too strong in fragrance and give me headaches. Roses are pretty, but that’s what you put on a casket. Morbid, I know, but after my Nana passed away, roses became associated with death.
Daisies, though, they’re bright and airy. They’re what little girls pick petals from and dream of love. They make me smile.
“It’s just...very sweet. Thank you, Ben.” I lean up on my very tippy toes and press a kiss to his cheek. “Come in, I made food.”
He looks as though he wants to say more, but he nods and enters the house.
Jackson and Catherine’s place is cute and quaint. It’s a little beach bungalow a few blocks off the beach. They bought it a year ago when Catherine was visiting on one of their walks to the lighthouse. She said it was fate and needed it. Jackson, not being able to ever resist his wife, bought it immediately and spent two weeks fixing it up.
While the size isn’t anything great, it has the most spectacular view of the lighthouse where she fell in love with Jackson Cole.
“I haven’t been here since I got my place,” Ben says as he looks around.
“What do you mean?”
Ben’s smile makes my stomach clench. “I lived here before I found my place. Jackson and Cat sort of use this for the Virginia Beach crew as temporary lodging when we’re not sure we’re staying.”
“But you did.”
He takes a step closer and nods. “I did. Are you planning to?”
My initial though is, yes. Yes. I want to stay. I feel more alive since being here than I have in my whole life. More than that, I want him. I want to know why he was the first thing I kept thinking of when I was going to make my list.
“Do you want me to?”
ABOUT CORINNE MICHAELS:
Corinne Michaels is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author of The Salvation Series (Beloved, Beholden, Consolation, Conviction & Defenseless), Say You’ll Stay, Say You Want Me, and Say I’m Yours. She’s an emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun loving mom of two beautiful children. Corinne is happily married to the man of her dreams and is a former Navy wife. After spending months away from her husband while he was deployed, reading and writing was her escape from the loneliness. Both her maternal and paternal grandmothers were librarians, which only intensified her love of reading. After years of writing short stories, she couldn’t ignore the call to finish her debut novel, Beloved. Her alpha heroes are broken, beautiful, and will steal your heart.