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?
The whir of a vehicle engine and the squeal of tires pulling into his driveway caught his attention. Gracelyn’s Jeep Cherokee slammed to a halt. She pushed the door open, banged it shut, and marched up the driveway in her black, heeled boots.
“How dare you,” she spewed, strutting in his direction.
Her hips swayed in a tantalizing rhythm, mesmerizing him. He shook his head, trying to gather himself. Her long, chestnut waves flowed over her shoulders. Her blue eyes sparkled with fierceness and determination. For what, he didn’t know, but she looked gorgeous. The exhaustion that had consumed him a minute ago washed away with a new wave of sexual energy. Heat spread through him and settled in his groin, thickening his dick. Something about her had him hornier than a teenager whenever she was within view, even if she looked like she might knee him in the balls.
She’d definitely be the death of him.
“How could you embarrass me like that?” She halted just inside the garage, her hands on her hips, and her chin tilted up in defiance.
“Well, good evening to you, too.” The sarcasm in his voice was light, but she raised a brow as if surprised that he’d be anything but chagrin. “I thought we already hashed this out at the pub.” Matt grabbed the hem of his t-shirt and lifted it to wipe the sweat from his face. Her gaze dropped to his exposed torso, and her expression shifted from anger to desire, if even just for a second. If he hadn’t been watching her closely, he might have missed it.
“Don’t get smart with me.” She raked her gaze back up his body. When she reached his face, he smirked. She lowered her brows and glowered. “As the evening went on, I had to field questions about your behavior. Those are my co-workers, my friends. Acting like a jealous boyfriend was immature and thoughtless. For someone who wants our situation to be nonexistent, you’ve opened a can of worms. The rumors have officially started.”
“I apologized, Gracey.” He dropped the fabric in his hands, and the bottom half of his shirt covered his abs. “I’ve struggled to deal with our situation. Seeing Jeremy with his arm around you did make me flip out like a jealous boyfriend. I freaked out. My behavior was irrational. I admit it. I don’t tend to think rationally where you’re concerned, so I don’t know what else you want me to say.”
She twisted strands of hair around her index finger and glanced down at the floor. Her anger dissipated for a split second, and she looked vulnerable, exposed, and his heart tightened at the sight. He wanted to wrap his arms around her and shelter her from all the things that made her anything but happy. Unfortunately, that likely included him these days.
“It will only be a matter of time before your mom hears about this.” She glanced back up at him. Her hair still tangled around her finger. “Roberta was apparently watching us closely. She asked me what your scene was about. You know she walks with your mom on Monday evenings. Now what?”
Roberta was a good friend of his mother’s and a bit of a nibby-nose. She’d have no problem mentioning his outburst at the pub to his mom, but he wasn’t overly concerned about it. That surprised him. All this time, he’d believed he couldn’t be in a relationship with Gracelyn because of his mother’s reaction, but as he stood here in front of this woman he adored, he wanted the world to know.
A palpable energy emanated from her. The area between them zinged with her anger, but also with something more. Need. Lust.
“Is this why you’re here?” He stepped in her direction, closing the space between them. “Did you come here to scold me? To tell me to grow up? To question how I feel about you?” He gripped her by the shoulders and pressed her against the side of his truck. She gasped, eyes wide. She tensed under his hold. Her sweet, strawberry scent enveloped him, making him lightheaded. His mouth watered to kiss her, to taste her. “Or did you come here with the hope that I would slam you against my truck, hike up your sexy dress, and sink deep inside you with my now-hard cock?”
She inhaled sharply at his words, but her muscles relaxed as if submitting to what was about to happen.
Matt lowered his mouth roughly on hers. He molded his lips to hers, eating at her mouth with the hunger of a starved man. She didn’t respond immediately, but she softened her lips, and he thrust his tongue between them, exploring and tasting her. He weaved a hand into her tresses and cupped the back of her head, holding her still so he could take her mouth the way he wanted. Hot and heavy.
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.
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