Cover, Excerpt & Trailer
Stonehill Romance Book Three
No one has ever accused Annie O’Connell of backing down from a challenge.
She’s tough as nails and that’s what everyone has come to expect from her. But even the strongest of people need someone sometime.
Marcus Callison has loved Annie for as long as he’s been working at O’Connell Realty. He would stand by her through thick, thin, and everything in between.
If only she’d let him.
When tragedy strikes and Annie is left feeling vulnerable, Marcus does everything in his power to make all right in her world again. He just hopes it’s enough to convince her that he is worthy of breaking through the walls she has built around her heart.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Content/Theme(s): Real estate agents, Second chances, Love over 50
Release Date: October 16, 2015
Excerpt & More
“Annie, I’ve, um… I’ve been thinking about what I told you last night.”
She creased her brow. “Remind me.”
“About how it’s human nature to think about the chances we let pass. How I didn’t believe that you’d never considered what your life would be like if you’d made a different choice when you were left to finish raising your brothers.”
She shook her head. “Leaving Paul and Matt to fend for themselves was never an option.”
“No,” he said quickly. “I get that. That’s not what I mean. Not exactly.”
“Then what are you getting at?”
He bit his lip. Hard. As if trying to stop himself from saying what he was thinking. “Annie, I’ve been…”
Oh, God, don’t say it, she silently pled.
He tried again. “For the longest time…” A humorless laugh left him as he let his words trail again. Finally, he met her gaze again. “You’re probably going to fire me, but—”
She gave him a forced smile. “I can’t fire you, Marcus. You’re invaluable. Whatever it is, I’m sure you can work it out.” She took a step and tried to squeeze by him. “Just take a few days off or…” Great. Now she was the one who couldn’t finish a thought.
He dropped his hand to her hip, stopping her from leaving the tension-filled room. She closed her eyes. His touch sent volts of electricity shooting through her, lighting every nerve. She wanted nothing more than to lean up and kiss the life right out of the man. For some reason, though, putting herself in a position where she could be sued for sexual harassment didn’t seem like a wise business move. Not that she thought Marcus would ever go that far, but people change. Situations get awkward and out of hand.
It was best to avoid the possibility of things going wrong between them and just ignore how much she wanted him.
“Marcus,” she whispered.
“I have been attracted to you for so long, Annie. I thought I was alone in this,” he said in the same hushed tone, “but lately I’ve started to think…you feel it, too.”
She licked her lips and lowered her face. Shit. He said it. The elephant in the room was out there now and neither could ignore it any longer. “I’m your boss.”
“I can’t. We can’t.”
“I know. But I swear to God, I’m about to lose my mind from wanting you.”
Her knees actually went weak. She leaned back against the doorjamb to stay standing.
“I think about you all the time. I know it’s wrong. But all I can think about is how much I want to kiss you.”
A whimpering moan left her as he closed the distance between them. He stopped a fraction of an inch from her mouth and, goddamn it, the temptation gripped her so hard she could barely breathe.
“Tell me you don’t feel the same,” he whispered. “Tell me to stop. And I will.”
She should. She had to. But the words wouldn’t leave her.
“Tell me to go to hell, Annie.”
She wanted to, but her protest refused to form. She fought with everything she had, but then slowly gave in to need and gently pressed her hands to his face. He exhaled slowly, pressing his face against her palm and closing his eyelids, as if relishing in her touch. His heat radiated into her, burned its way down her arms, and stole her breath. Her heart pounded so hard she barely heard the heavy sigh leave him as he opened his eyes.
“You son of a bitch,” she whispered, and he grinned.
She knew she shouldn’t, but with her hand on his face—his skin as smooth and hot as she’d always imagined it would be—she had no choice but to brush her thumb over the lips that had been taunting her for so long. As she did, he kissed her thumb, then her palm, then turned his face and kissed the inside of her wrist. The sensation of his lips on her flesh was more than she could resist. She’d wanted him to touch her like that for so long. She’d fantasized about it more times than she could count. Seeing him kiss her, feeling his breath tickling her skin and his lips pressing against her, was more than she’d imagined it could be. Her resolve crumbled like a sand castle in a hurricane.
He wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her against him as he leaned back enough to search her eyes. She could read what he was thinking. This was her last chance to back away. She knew she should.
Don’t do it. Don’t let this happen.
But then she did. She lifted her chin, just a fraction of an inch, and put her lips on his.
That was the only way she could explain what she felt in that moment. Heat erupted from their contact and engulfed her body. She was instantly dizzy. Her muscles melted. She dug her fingers into his hair, and his mouth moved over hers as he held her so tightly she couldn’t be sure he wasn’t trying to crush her. A moan filled her ears, and she realized it was hers. Fisting the collar of his shirt, she held him as she parted her lips and let him delve in. The sensation of his tongue sliding over hers went straight to her groin. She clung to him, holding him as tightly as he was holding her, as he kissed her until she was breathless. She gasped as she broke the kiss. He put his forehead to hers, panting just as heavily. She couldn’t recall the last time she’d been kissed so passionately or had kissed someone else so passionately. The lust between them was palpable. She was certain if she asked him to make love to her right there, he would. And she would let him.
And that was a huge problem.
“Shit,” she breathed pulling away from him. “I am so sorry. I should not have done that.”
He eased his hold on her. “No. I’m sorry. I instigated that.” He was saying the right words, but his tone conveyed disappointment.
“I’m your boss.”
“I know that.”
She pushed against his chest until he stepped back. “I’m not supposed to let things like that happen. It’s completely unprofessional. Goddamn it.”
“Come on, Annie. You’re only human. It’s not like you could resist my magnetic pull forever.”
She laughed softly. However, her amusement faded quickly as her guilt returned. “I’m sorry, Marcus. If you weren’t my employee…”
“No, you won’t. I can’t lose you. You’ve got connections that I don’t. You carry more than your fair share around here. I’d be lost without you. You can’t leave me.”
“And you can’t date an employee.”
She sighed and looked away. “No. I can’t.”
“Look, Annie, I know some people would see it as disreputable—”
“Because it is.”
“This isn’t a large corporation where favoritism could be an issue.”
“I still have standards and principles.”
“I wasn’t implying that you don’t. I’m just saying, maybe…” He brushed his hand over her arm again. “They could slip a little.”
She looked at him, licked his kiss from her lips, then shook her head. “No. It’s a risk I can’t take. I can’t. I’m sorry.” She brushed by him and went into her office, where she grabbed her purse off the desk and left before he could convince her to break every rule she’d ever put into place.
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Be on the lookout for Marci Boudreaux's future release(s): Jessica's Wish coming January 2016 and Unforgettable You coming March 2016
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