Celeste Hebert has always appeared to have it all, but there are many things she's never had, been forbidden from having. One night. One song. One kiss. The perfect trifecta to unleash the floodgates of a forbidden attraction between the widow and her husband’s bad boy cousin, Adrian. Celeste endeavors to rebury the feelings that surface after this one night since her powerful family despises him. Kindred spirits, best of friends they attempt to douse their attraction; however, Adrian always seems to know exactly how to push her buttons and may prove too much to resist. Having defied his family by making his way on his own terms, Adrian struggles to regain their acceptance. When he meets his cousin’s wife and wants her for his own, he feels he’s finally lived down to the title—black sheep. But, when his cousin dies unexpectedly, Adrian fights his attraction and swears to honor them both by helping her raise her boys. Finding himself enveloped in a cocoon of love and acceptance, Adrian knows it’s more than just physical attraction. However, unforeseen events threaten to destroy those he now holds dear and his newfound peace. Will the ties that bind them be their undoing?
Excerpt #1—Everything I’ve Never Had by Lynetta Halat
Adrian runs his hands up my arms and shoulders until they grasp both sides of my neck to tilt my head back so that I'm staring straight into his arctic blue eyes. I immediately start trembling, and it's not with fear. "Celeste, I'm begging you not to leave here looking like that. You look gorgeous, babe, but I can't sit here all night wondering who's hitting on you, who's imagining moving that scrap of fabric over to get a glimpse at what is..." "What is what?" I breathe heavily. "What is underneath it all." His brow wrinkles, and I feel his hands tighten their pleasurably painful grip. "What is underneath it all?" "Just me, Adrian, just me," I breathe. "That's all." "So everything then. Just like I thought." He removes one of his hands to run it up the back of my thigh. My eyes widen and I swallow hard. "That's not a good idea," I whisper. His hand wraps all the way around my thigh, his fingertips coming to rest along the crease of my left cheek. My thigh pulses with fire. "Why not?" His fingertips tease back and forth a little. Even though it’s a light touch, it feels like his calloused fingertips mark me. "Why not? Look at us. We can't even have a civil conversation for everything that has passed between us, and you want to further complicate it. What you're doing will further complicate matters." His hand stills. He exhales loudly and lets his head drop on my chest. "You do this to me. I don't act like this. That day in the park, watching you cross and uncross your legs. Throwing your hair over your shoulder. Laughing without a care in the world. Cheering me on like it was your favorite thing to do! It killed me. Killed me. I've never wanted a woman the way I want you. Never." His words rain down on me like fiery drops of lust. I close my eyes and rewrite that memory. I thought he was just being an ass, but his unexpected anger was because he was yearning for me. I bite my lip, open my eyes, and shake my head. "It's just because you can't have me, Adrian. I'm nothing special." "Oh, baby, you have no idea." He runs his nose up my throat, scenting me as he goes. I lean my neck back, giving him more access even as my brain screams at me to run—not walk—out of this room. But when he says, "You're everything to me." My head falls back even further and my eyes close again as I feel him slant his head and attack my chin, throat, and neck with closed-mouth kisses. I hear myself moan and give myself one more little jolt to try to spare myself from this delicious torment that will only end in frustration. All rights reserved.
Excerpt #2—Everything I’ve Never Had
I consider exactly how truthful I should be with him. He was so truthful with me. I owe him that much, don't I? "Adrian, I don't need time apart. You're my friend and you're amazing with the boys. They love you. I would never deny them your presence. I just...I just need us to get back to normal as quickly as possible. I...I am attracted to you. I have been for a while. But that's all it is—a physical attraction." On these words, I see his eyes narrow ever so slightly. I turn my head quickly and vow, "I promise to control myself, though." I allow my eyes to find his again. "I don't want to lose you either." He studies me for a minute. Just as I find myself about to squirm under his intense gaze, he releases me. "OK, Celeste, that settles that. Back to normal. We'll both behave. This physical thing between us will pass. No harm, no foul. Right?" "Right," I say on a smile. Standing up, he turns to go back to his mowing; but then he spins around and comes back to tower over me. My head flies up, my gaze searching. I open my mouth to ask him what's wrong, but he beats me once again. "Celeste, just so you know," he says as he tilts my chin back further and runs his calloused fingertips up my cheek to tuck a strand of errant hair behind my ear. His hand curls itself along my jaw. "That kiss...that kiss was exceptional, and I'll never forget it. As I stand here and as long as I live, it was the best I've ever had, the best I could ever have." Since my heart has lodged itself firmly in my throat, he's gone before I can speak or even form a coherent thought for that matter. Slowly, I shake my head at his retreating back. We'll never get back to normal if he keeps touching me and talking to me like that.
Author Info :
For as long as she can remember, Lynetta Halat has lived to read and has written countless stories and plays since she was a young girl. A teacher by day and an avid reader and closet writer by night, she has always dreamt of penning books that people could connect with and remember; and her first novel, Every Rose, was the perfect catalyst to launch her into the world of publishing. Her love of the English language prompted her to attain her master's degree in English from Old Dominion University in Virginia. A self-proclaimed "Coast Girl," she lives in Mississippi with her adorable husband, two amazing sons, and two loveable dogs. She is currently at work on her third book.
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