by Jessica Jayne
Publication Date: July 23, 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Standalone
Gracelyn Riley married a firefighter and knew that came with risks. But she never imagined herself widowed in her early thirties with two children to care for on her own. Even though her marriage to Chad Riley had its difficulties, dealing with the last year without him has not been easy. Her brother-in-law, Matt, has been the rock that has kept her from collapsing or imploding.
As a fireman, Matt Riley had been at the scene when his brother, Chad, was killed. For the last year, Matt has suffered from survivor’s guilt and drank himself into oblivion. His sister-in-law, Gracelyn, supported him, lending him a shoulder to cry on. Her friendship has pulled him through time and time again until he finally sobered.
With the year anniversary of Chad’s death upon them, Gracelyn and Matt turn to each for support and comfort. What they didn’t expect was to realize that their feelings for each other go beyond the solid friendship they share. Can they overcome the guilt and the scrutiny of their family and friends to find love together?
“I can’t ask you do more than you already do.” She sighed into his neck. Her breath tickled his skin, causing goosebumps to rise. “You already do so much. Too much. You need to have a life. How will you ever find another woman to share your life with if you spend all your free time taking care of your brother’s widow?”
“Gracey, you’re more than Chad’s widow. You’re family. My best friend. You’ve been a tremendous support for me. I wouldn’t have made it through my divorce a few years back or this past year without you. I will do whatever I can to help you. You know that. We’ve leaned on each other this last year, and I’m not abandoning you now. I’ll always be here for you.”
“I don’t want to be alone anymore.” Her fingers twisted into his t-shirt, pulling him closer as she sobbed.
He tightened his arms around her and tried to ignore the painful squeeze in his heart and his gut. Eventually, she’d move on. She was still young and would find a man to share her life with. Any man would find her a catch. That the thought made his stomach uneasy rocked him. He had no right to feel that way.
The past year had been difficult for everyone in the Riley family. Gracelyn had stayed strong, whether for the kids, for his parents, for him, or for herself he didn’t know. He’d only seen her break down twice: when he told her about Chad’s death, and then at his brother’s burial. Not that she hadn’t shed tears. She did. They both had. Maybe she sobbed every night in the shower or while lying in bed by herself. But Matt hadn’t seen it.
She lifted her head and stared at him through her tears.
He touched her face with the back of his hand, wiping away the tears that streaked her cheeks.
Leaning into him, she cupped his face and pressed her lips to his.
What the hell? Was she kissing him? She was distraught, upset. She didn’t know what she was doing.
He couldn’t comprehend what was happening. Soft lips moved against his, kissing him with a confidence that was all Gracelyn. Her fresh strawberry scent enveloped him, wrapping around him like a blanket on a cool autumn evening. She smelled so sweet. So intoxicating. Like summer. Like strawberry jam, despite it being the end of September.
Stop this before it goes any further! She was emotional, reeling from the anniversary of her husband’s death. His own emotions were raw.
When she slid her tongue against the seam of his lips, leaving a trail of cinnamon flavor and longing, his thoughts jumbled in his head—none coherent. And the blood rushing past his ears silenced the inner voice yelling at him, repeating all the reasons he should—no, that he needed to—put an end to this kiss. However, his body’s reaction was perfectly clear. Blood rushed to his dick, engorging it instantly and leaving him lightheaded.
He weaved his fingers through her long tresses, palmed the back of her head and pulled her into him, responding to her kiss. He flicked his tongue over her plush bottom lip.
She sighed, her breath mingled with his. Her lips parted, granting him access.
He took the opening as acquiescence and plunged into her mouth, tasting her.
Jesus Christ! It had been a while since he’d kissed a woman, and he felt it all the way down to his toes. Their tongues danced and dueled.
He released his hold on her head and pulled back, breaking their kiss. Her chest heaved as they both gasped for air. The sunlight filtering in through the bedroom window danced off the golden highlights of her hair, making her look like an angel. His angel.
Their gazes clashed. He expected to see regret or anger in her eyes. Even though she’d instigated the kiss, he should know better. He sucked in a breath. He saw nothing but longing in her blue depths. To his utter surprise, she hauled her t-shirt over her head, baring herself.
She wore nothing under that shirt—not even a pair of panties. He growled, the sound feral in his ears.
ABOUT JESSICA JAYNE
Jessica is a born and raised small town Ohio girl, who moved to the Sunshine State after graduating from college. She graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in English. What college major could possibly be better than one that makes you read novels and write about them! Now she is thrilled to be able to share all the stories floating around in her head!
Jessica loves to travel and travel often! She’s a huge sports fan, especially college football and the Ohio State Buckeyes! She’s a wine-making (and wine-tasting) aficionado. She loves all music. And nothing is better than sunset at the beach!
In the journey of life, she also married a wonderful man and had three beautiful (and sometimes crazy) children. Life is always an adventure.
ENTER THE GIVEAWAY