A Country Roads Novella
Forever Yours, Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: November 1, 2016
— SYNOPSIS —
THE THIN LINE BETWEEN LOATHING...AND LUST.
It's been a tough year for Beth Boone. She's lost the person she cared about the most: her big sister. But Beth isn't grieving alone. She's now guardian to her sister's three children and though she loves them fiercely, so far she's not exactly winning at parenting. In this noisy, peanut-butter-everywhere chaos, there is no calm. None. So Beth has zero patience with the infuriating guy next door-not to mention his destruct-o "puppy"-wreaking more havoc in her life.
Except that Tripp Black is all muscles, deep brown eyes, and lips that promise way-too-delicious things. Every time Tripp and Beth confront each other, there's an undercurrent of red-hot sexual tension, one that threatens to break down all her carefully constructed walls. She's been burned before, and Tripp is a self-proclaimed bachelor for life. There's no way that Beth's too-hot-neighbor-from-hell could ever be the man for her-until their uncontrollable attraction becomes so much more.
— PURCHASE —
— EXCERPT —
Tripp knew within an instant that Beth Boone tasted better than anything he’d ever had in his mouth. There was no gentle coaxing necessary in the kiss. The second his lips were on hers, she opened for him, her tongue sliding against his.
And it wasn’t just her taste, either; she felt better than anything he’d ever touched…or had been touched by. Her hands were under his shirt, her bare palms moving across his abs. She flexed her fingers, her nails just biting into his skin.
Okay, so she liked it a little rough. He could work with that.
He repaid the slight sting she’d left on his lower belly by nipping at her bottom lip. Her answering moan sent him over the edge and just like that he had her pushed up against the counter. He gently tugged on her hair, getting her to tilt her head and allowing him to deepen the kiss.
It was a whole new experience kissing Beth, the shock to his system setting off a chain reaction in his body. His blood ran hotter, his heart beat faster, his skin felt over-sensitized…stretched too tight and tingling.
The feel of her against him—her mouth, her hands, the scent of her, the taste of her— burned him.
She burned him. Kissing this woman was like something he’d never known.
“Holy shit.” He pulled back, needing a full breath of air before his lungs exploded.
Beth’s head was cradled in his palm and he took in the full picture as he looked down into her face. Her blue eyes were dazed, blond hair wild, lips slightly swollen, breath coming in and out in uneven gasps.
So damn beautiful it was insane.
“What are you doing to me?” he asked, shaking his head.
But he didn’t give her a chance to answer before his mouth was on hers again—tongues tangling, breaths mingling, need consuming.
Yeah, consuming was the right word, which was why it probably took both of them entirely by surprise when two dogs barking echoed around them. Tripp pulled his mouth away from Beth’s, keeping his hands firmly in place as he turned.
Duke and Frankie were already wrestling on the floor in front of Finn, who was standing in the living room. His eyebrows were raised in surprise at the scene before him. “I, uh, knocked… The door was open so I figured you were outside or something.”
“I was just leaving.” Beth pulled away from Tripp’s hold, her face and neck flushed. Whether it was more from the kissing or being caught he wasn’t entirely sure.
What he was sure about was that he really didn’t like the fact that she wasn’t under his hands anymore.
“You sure? I can just come back so you two can finish up.” Finn pointed to the door as he bit his bottom lip, trying and failing to hide the smirk that was making his mouth twitch.
“That’s not necessary.” Beth moved farther across the kitchen, putting distance between her and Tripp. “I’ll see you later. Enjoy the pie,” she said before she turned and practically ran down the hallway.
But that wasn’t how this was going to end.
“Give me a sec.” Tripp made to follow Beth before he turned quickly and looked at Finn. “And don’t eat my pie.”
Beth practically sprinted from Tripp’s house, her mind, heart, and pulse racing. Tripp Black had just kissed her…and she’d had absolutely no problem kissing him back. The instant his lips had touched hers she’d opened her mouth for him. Good gravy, if Finn hadn’t walked in there was no telling what else she would’ve opened for him.
Oh, that was a lie; she knew exactly what else she would’ve opened for him. She’d have let that man carry her off to any hard surface and spread her out. Let him do whatever the hell he wanted.
He’d had his hands on her, those big masculine calloused hands that had been gentle and demanding at the same time. It had been so long since she’d been touched by a man…but no one had ever touched her like that.
And she’d touched him back. Her palms still burned with the feel of his skin and she balled her hands in an attempt to hold onto the sensation.
She was almost to the side door that led to the garage when the sound of her name had her turning around. Tripp was rounding the side of his house at a jog, a look of fierce determination on his face.
Her stomach started to somersault immediately.
What are you doing to me? Tripp had asked that question right before he’d started the second round of kissing that had been damn near close to destroying her.
No, the real question was, what was he doing to her?
“What the hell was that?” he asked when he was only a few feet away. “You just walk away?”
But that was all she got out before he pushed her up against the brick wall. “I wasn’t done kissing you.”
His mouth came down hard on hers, and just like before, she didn’t fight him one little bit. And why the hell would she?
He’d awakened a hunger in her that had been dormant for way too long, a hunger that in that moment was stronger than it had ever been. Maybe it was stronger because it was shared—the man seemed pretty hell bent on devouring her.
She had her hands in his hair this time; she hadn’t reached that high before as she’d gotten distracted by touching his body. The strands were soft and damp between her fingers. He must’ve just showered; the scent of soap on his skin strong.
“God,” he groaned as he trailed his lips down her neck. “If I’d known this was what kissing you was like, we could’ve saved ourselves a lot of arguments.”
“Is that right?”
“You wouldn’t have been able to yell at me if your mouth had been occupied with mine.”
“But then you wouldn’t have gotten cookies…or pie,” she countered as his lips started to make the return journey up her throat and across her jaw.
“I’d rather have your mouth.” And just like that he was kissing her again, his tongue stroking against hers and taking control.
When Tripp pulled back from her a minute—or five—later, Beth was slow to open her eyes, taking more than a second to focus on him.
“Consider everything forgiven.” He brushed his lips against hers, the scruff of his beard just rasping against her cheek as he moved his mouth up to her ear. “And Beth?”
“Hmmm?” she hummed, unable to say any actual words.
“I’m still not done kissing you.” With that he stepped back from her and walked away.
She stood there, unable to pull her gaze from him as he disappeared around the side of the house.Holy fuck. Did that really just happen?
Yes, yes it had. Tripp had kissed the ever living daylights out of her. He’d thoroughly decimated her brain…which was probably why her back was still fused to the brick wall and she hadn’t moved at all.
She’d go inside just as soon as she remembered how to walk again…whenever that was.
— ABOUT THE AUTHOR —
Shannon Richard grew up in the Florida Panhandle as the baby sister of two overly protective but loving brothers. She was raised by a more than somewhat eccentric mother, a self-proclaimed vocabularist who showed her how to get lost in a book and a father who passed on his love for coffee and really loud music. She graduated from Florida State University with a BA in English Literature and still lives in Tallahassee where she battles everyday life with writing, reading, and a rant every once in a while. Okay, so the rants might happen on a regular basis. She's still waiting for her Southern, scruffy, Mr. Darcy, and in the meantime writes love stories to indulge her overactive imagination. Oh, and she's a pretty big fan of the whimsy.