ONE TO LEAVE
By Tia Louise
(Stuart & Mariska)
Some demons can’t be shaken off.
Some wounds won’t heal.
Until a pair of hazel eyes knocks you on your ass, and you realize it’s time to stop running.
A STAND-ALONE, ONE TO HOLD NOVEL. Adult Contemporary Romance: Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18. #SexyCowboy
One to Leave
By Tia Louise
I rolled us together onto our sides, wrapping both my arms around her waist and burying my face in her hair. Her hands slid down my arms until our fingers entwined, and we held each other through the whispers of afterglow.
All those nights in the desert, all those conversations. I never could get Stuart to see how great a wife, a home could be. Now he was pulling me away from mine.
I softly kissed the top of Melissa’s shoulder, and she struggled to get free, so she could turn and face me. Sliding closer, she wrapped her arms around my neck, and our bodies touched everywhere, shoulders to chest to hip to knee, even our noses met—just before she kissed my lips. I pushed her onto her back and parted them, sweeping my tongue inside for a deeper kiss that earned me another little noise.
My lips moved to her cheek, and I held myself over her. “Stuart wouldn’t be lost if he had this.”
Reaching up, she held my face, lightly tracing her thumbs over my cheeks. “Aren’t you the same age? And he’s never had a serious relationship?”
My brows pulled together as I thought about it. “If so, he’s never told me. I mean, he can get laid whenever he wants, but he never lets it go far. He says women are a distraction.”
Blue eyes narrowed. “How many distractions did you have in the service?”
That made me laugh, and I moved to lie beside her. “None. I was with Allison, and then… I guess I shared his opinion for a while. Until you.”
Those dark years after my first wife died seemed so far away now that I had Melissa and Dex. When the cancer took Allison so cruelly and so fast, I turned to stone, my heart a ball of rage and bitterness. I’d done my duty to God and country and came home planning a long life with my wife, starting a family, building a home. She was gone before we ever even had the chance.
When I met Melissa, everything changed. She was beautiful and kind and strong and so sexy. She soothed the anger in my heart. She healed me with her love, and she gave me a son. I could remember my past, of course, but it made my present so much more precious.
She rolled up beside me. “I love you.”
“I love you more.” I smiled, touching her cheek, and she continued.
“So what does all of this mean for us? What are you thinking?”
My eyes went back to the ceiling. “I might have to leave you for a bit if he needs help.”
“Derek! He’s a grown man.” She fell back on the bed, arms crossed, and it was my turn to prop up beside her.
“He saved my life, Mel. If he’s in trouble, I have to be there for him.”
“Doesn’t he have a family?”
“His dad was killed in the service. It’s just his mom, Patrick, and their little sister Amy.” With a big sigh, I rolled onto both elbows, onto my stomach. “Amy’s a college kid, and he’d rather punch Patrick in the face than take help from him.”
“Sounds like a prick.”
I couldn’t help laughing again. “I know you love Patrick, but I had that initial response to him myself.”
“Patrick is one of the good guys. If you can’t see that—”
“Settle down, I can see that. He might color outside the lines, but he manages to turn it around and come out on top. He’s a good man.”
That satisfied her. She smiled and relaxed her crossed arms, I reached out and pulled her against my side. “It’s more than an obligation. I want to be there for Stuart. You’d feel the same way if it was Elaine.”
She couldn’t argue with that, so we were quiet a moment. A tiny squeal from down the hall broke the silence, and we both grinned. I was out of the bed first, heading down the hall without bothering to grab underwear.
Of course, Mel catcalled after me. “Holy shit! Check out that rear view!”
Dammit again. Stuart had better have a good reason for pulling me away from this.
Books by Tia Louise
One to Hold (Derek & Melissa), 2013
One to Keep (Patrick & Elaine), 2014
One to Protect (Derek & Melissa), 2014
One to Love (Kenny & Slayde), 2014
One to Leave (Stuart & Mariska), Dec. 29, 2014
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About the Author
Tia Louise is a former journalist, world-traveler, and collector of beautiful men (who inspire all of her stories… wink)—turned wife, mommy, and novelist.
She lives in the center of the U.S.A. with her lovely family and one grumpy cat. There, she dreams up stories she hopes are engaging, hot, and sexy, and that cause readers rethink common public locations~
It’s possible she has a slight truffle addiction.
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