I'm very excited about this book, as it is my first full length story that's not paranormal in nature.
I hope it will be received as well as my vampire novels, because I would truly like to continue expanding my horizons with different genres. Tell me what you think...
After five years away, Julia Benson has finally come home. Facing the painful memories awaiting her in the small Texas town is nothing compared the mess she’ll make when she gets there. Dealing with the ripple affect leaving caused the ones she loved is just as hard as dealing with being abandoned by a father who wasn’t everything she’d believed him to be.
Dylan Banks was the boy from across the street who’d loved Julia since they were twelve. She was the only girl for him and the only one he couldn’t have. Unable to repair that broken part of the girl he loved so much from afar, he now had a second chance to fill the void the only way he could… love her until she got it through her thick skull that not every man was like her father.Can love really repair all that has gone wrong in Julia’s life or are some wounds just too deep to heal?
Bright sunlight penetrated the sheer curtains of Julia Benson’s bedroom window. The pillow over her head slid to the floor as she rolled over. Heat from the sun’s intrusive rays warmed her face. Prying one eyelid open, she glared at the fuzzy green numbers on her clock radio.
“Seven–forty in the morning? Are you kidding me?” she grumbled as the loud echo of a lawnmower buzzed outside. “Who the hell mows grass on Saturday at the crack of dawn?”
She kicked the blanket off her feet and managed to stumble to the window. The hot Texas sun already baked against the pane and she shielded her eyes from the glare.
The lawn mower spat, sputtered, and came to a rickety halt. She moved the curtain away and peered down into the back yard where she watched a noticeably frustrated, tanned Adonis, slick back his shoulder length, black mane.
She rubbed her eyes to clarify the unexpected sight below. Beads of perspiration glistened across the inside of his bicep and trickled down around the side of a tapered waist that disappeared beneath a pair of low riding khaki cargo shorts.
Julia’s gaze floated up from the thin treasure trail just above the silver button snap, and bumped over a ripped six pack, followed by a chest that you could bounce a quarter off of.
My, my. What do we have here?
He knelt next to the stalled mower and fiddled with the motor with a white t-shirt shoved in his back pocket. A well portioned specimen of a man, just the kind of sight any red blooded woman would die to see first thing in the morning.
But, this wasn’t any morning and not just any red blooded woman. This was Julia Benson, fresh off the bus from nearly five years away at college, sleep deprived and in no mood for the loud ruckus of a push mower, even at the hands of the wondrous apparition in the back yard.
The engine backfired as the shirtless hunk yanked the nylon cord. It slapped against the metal as it recoiled.
He shook his head, stood up and kicked the small tire, moving the contraption several inches. His brows pinched with frustration and Julia noticed the dark blue vein pulsating in the side if his neck as he dragged the broken mower to the side of the house where he disappeared from sight.
She grabbed her terrycloth robe and slipped it over the oversized sleep shirt with puffy-painted kittens plastered on the front. Sliding on her fuzzy house shoes, she galloped downstairs in a huff.
“Mom, who’s making all that noise outsi—” She stopped short as she rounded the corner to see her mother hand the handsome, half-dressed man a glass of orange juice.
“Dylan Banks, sweetheart,” her mom replied with a cheerful smile.
“Morning, Jules,” he said behind a refreshing sigh. “The juice hit the spot Ms. B.” His baritone voice melted across her like warm brandy.
“Dylan?” Julia stepped back, surprised.
He wasn’t the Dylan Banks she’d known since the second grade. He couldn’t be the same boy she’d raced up and down the street, jumping over homemade ramps on their bikes. And, he certainly wasn’t the Dylan who asked her to the eighth grade homecoming dance and gave her the hideous purple carnation that clashed with her pearl toned chiffon dress.
No, that boy was pale and thin with short, spiked hair. His nose would be buried in a sports magazine or he’d be parked on a sofa watching a football game, not standing behind a lawn mower with rippling muscles and a straight from the beach tan.
“It’s been a minute, huh?” His mouth widened into a toothy smile, as he eyed her up and down.
Julia suddenly felt naked and would’ve probably looked better if she had been. She choked up the collar of her raggedy robe. “And then some,” she replied as blood rushed to her face and settled on her cheeks with a singeing burn.
“You look great.”
“Uh, thanks. So do you.”
His t-shirt draped over his shoulder and a tingle sparked inside her stomach as she glanced over his beautiful physique one more time. Golden eyes against his coppery tanned skin shimmered like fiery orbs. His longer black hair likened him to a male model for Aéropostale rather than that kid from across the street. Had he always been this gorgeous?
“My mower broke, so I’m gonna have to use your old one in the garage, if you don’t mind, Ms. B.” He glanced back at Julia.
Julia leaned against the counter and continued to eye him, transfixed with wonder at how much he’d changed over the last few years.
Dylan’s left brow arched ever so slightly, his jaw flexed taut. He folded his arms across his chest in a nervous manner and then turned his attention to her mother.
Carolyn Benson cleared her throat, breaking the spell that had rapt Julia’s thoughts. “No problem. It’s right where you left it,” Carolyn replied. She settled against the sink counter and glanced back and forth between Dylan and Julia. “Do you need anything, Dylan? I have to run into town.”
“No, ma’am. I’m fine.” He smiled.
Yes, you are. An instant attraction sparked as Julia’s heart fluttered. It had been so long since she’d seen him, who would have thought he would have filled out so nicely. Leaving home may have been more of a mistake than she had ever thought possible.
“Well, if you ladies will excuse me, I should get back to it.” He nodded at them both and backed out of the kitchen. His smile faded as he glanced back at Julia, who hadn’t spoken another word. “Um, later, Jules.”
Julia shook off the scattered erotic thoughts that flooded her mind. “Oh, yeah… Uh… sure,” she stuttered through the reply. Get a grip.
He shut the door behind him.
“Julia?” Her mom called out snapping her fingers in front of her face. “What was that?”“I don’t know.” Julia fumbled with her robe and stared at the floor, mortified by her aberrant behavior. “I guess I just didn’t recognize him.” Or remember him looking like that.
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