in the Hope Town Series by Harper Sloan!
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I've loved once. I gave everything that I had to that love. Blindly believing that nothing could ever take that feeling away from me. Away from us. And when my little world of happiness was ripped from my fingers, I felt a loss that still haunts me to this day.
Now I use that lingering grief as a shield to keep my heart from loving again. It's that fear that keeps me from letting anyone, except my daughter, get close enough to make it hurt. To make my heart bleed when I inevitably lose again.
Until the day I met Liam Beckett and everything I thought I had protected myself from was shoved back in my face.
He's on a mission to prove to me that a love worth having is a love worth fighting for.
His mouth leaves mine and with his hand still on my leg, he demands, “Dig your heels in deep, baby.”
I give him what he wants, but not because he told me to. I give him what he wants because when his hand leaves my leg and pushes into the mattress, bringing his body up he goes even deeper into my body and those heels push hard.
Just as he demanded earlier, my hands go to his shoulders on my own accord and as he takes my body hard, my nails dig in with my heels still pushing hard against the small of his back. Our eyes never leave each other’s probing gaze. Never once do I take my eyes away from his, so full of lust that I know there isn’t an ounce of control left in his body.
He drops his head and I lift up to meet him in a kiss so sweet it doesn’t match the powerful way that he’s taking my body. A kiss that gives me more than words ever could at this moment. His hips slow and as his tongue rolls against mine, his hips start to take me in slow, deep rolls. He doesn’t pull back, just rocks his hips against mine.
I push up and cry out when he slips even deeper.
His lips come from mine and his hooded eyes open a sliver. “Feels like heaven,” he says softly. “Everything, darlin’. Feels like everything.”
Prologue - Megan
What am I doing?
“Oh, God! Right there… I’m coming… Don’t stop!”
Is that me screaming like that?
I didn’t even know that noises like that could come out of my mouth!
“You like that?” he asks with his lips pressed against my neck – the vibrations shooting straight to my core.
I focus, my now alcohol free vision, on the man thrusting above me. His dark hair is blending in with the shadows that are dancing around the room. His face is a mask of ecstasy as he thrusts into my waiting body. It’s a look of pure desire that I will never forget.
What the hell am I doing?
“You feel so good. Your body so greedy for my cock. You want it harder, darlin’?”
I moan shamelessly and feel my body get even wetter with his huskily whispered words.
Screw it – this feels way too good to stop now.
I reach down, dig my fingers in the firm globes of his ass, tip my head back and beg. Beg with incoherent cries for him to take me harder. To take everything he can.
**Two Hours Earlier**
“You look beauuuutiful,” I sing as Dani Reid – No, Dani Cage – walks over to sit next to me at one of the tables scattered around the backyard wedding.
She looks at me, her stunning green eyes bright with love and happiness.
“And you sound a little drunk, my friend,” she laughs.
I just smile at her, running my fingers through the lace on her wedding gown. “This is soft.”
She just laughs and leans back and looks across the yard to where her new husband, Cohen, is standing by the dock talking to some of his friends. This is another one of those moments when I’m reminded that this group doesn’t have a single unattractive person in it. I take a second to look at all the well-built, good-looking men standing around him. When my eyes meet Liam Beckett’s, I look away quickly. For months now Liam has made no secret that he would love nothing more than my undivided attention.
“They’re all so unfairly hot. No men should be that attractive,” I whisper in awe, gaining me another chuckle from Dani. I blush when I realize that my thoughts aren’t staying in my head, where they belong. When I look back over to where the group of men are standing, my eyes hit the familiar pair of deep brown ones again, eyes that always seem to know each and every time I’m looking their way. I quickly look away, feeling that blush get even brighter. I’m not ready to deal with him right now. At least not when I’m this tipsy.
Picking up my wine glass, I take another healthy swallow as I do a quick scan, taking in all that is the Reid Family property. They’ve done a beautiful job transforming the backyard of Dani’s family home for Cohen and Dani’s wedding. I still can’t believe that Dani managed to pull off a surprise wedding without Cohen even catching the smallest hint of her plans.
“Are you sure you’re okay with Molly spending the night with my parents, Megs? I know it’s hard for you to leave her overnight, but they just love your daughter to pieces. And I know Owen loves having her around.” Dani reaches out and takes the hand I had resting against the table while she speaks.
“Yup,” I smack and nod my head.
“You’re drunk,” she says, repeating her earlier observation.
“I’m not drunk, I’m tipsy. There’s a huge difference there. If I was drunk I wouldn’t be able to walk. Watch!”
I jump up from my chair with a little more power than I mean and quickly stumble when the narrow heel of my five-inch shoes sinks into the soft grass beneath me.
“Whoa, there darlin’.”
I feel it, those words, every single syllable deep down in my gut. Each rumbled word vibrating through my body creating a slow burn until they end with a sharp pulse between my legs. His arms locked at my elbows and my back solidly against his front – where my graceless stumble caused me to end up. I jerk my body tight and feel his laughter reverberate through my body once again.
I attempt to pull my arms from his loose but strong hold, only to give up when it becomes clear that he isn’t going to let go. Shifting until my face is turned, he lets one arm go and helps me spin until I’m facing him, and moves his hands from my elbows to my hips.
“Hey,” he says with a smile, the dimple in his cheek popping out.
“Liam,” I sigh and then curse myself for not being able to hide my reaction to him.
His smile turns knowing and his eyes darken before dropping to my lips.
“You should be more careful, Megs.”
“It’s Megan,” I snap.
“I know, babe, you don’t have to keep reminding me.”
“Then why can’t you seem to actually remember it?” I squeak and try to pull my body away from his grip – and fail, again.
“Someone doesn’t sound drunk anymore.” I hear Dani speak but I don’t take my gaze off Liam. “She does look it though.” She muses on a laugh, which finally gets my eyes to snap to hers.
“I’m fine! I just had a few glasses of wine and I haven’t eaten much. But, I most definitely am not drunk. I think I would know if I was drunk.”
Okay, so that’s a lie. I might not be drunk, but I am definitely slightly past tipsy. Dealing with Liam – or rather my attraction to Liam – is hard enough for me on a good day, when I’m completely sober. But with this amount of wine flowing through my body, I just can’t trust myself.
It’s taken everything I have to keep him, and his obvious interest, at bay for the last couple months. When he’s around he goes out of his way to get me alone and lay it out. He wants me.
“You look stunning when those shadows aren’t rolling around your shoulders,” Liam whispers, his lips press close enough to my ear that I can feel his words one by one against my skin.
I shiver, his words hitting me close to home, but the tone causing me to forget I should be pushing him away. Especially when he’s talking about things that he has no business speaking about.
“I’m fine,” I stammer.
“Yeah, darlin’, I know you are.”
His eyes keep their hypnotizing hold on my own. I hear Dani excuse herself. I don’t turn to watch her disappear in the lingering crowd of party-goers that are still left milling around. The music is still floating in the air around us. As I look into his eyes everything around me feels like it’s…alive. It’s a feeling that I’ve been missing for the last few years. A feeling that only comes to visit when I’m with my daughter, or until recently, when Liam Beckett is in the same room. It’s a feeling that, even though I shouldn’t, I feel guilty for allowing myself to enjoy.
Whether it’s the wine, the fact that Molly left a few hours ago with Dani’s parents, or the man standing in front of me, all I know is if I don’t hold on to this feeling for as long as I can right now, I’ll regret it for years to come.
“Megs,” he says on a sigh, his fingertips digging in and his eyes swirling with a rich hopefulness that turns those golden flecks you can normally see swimming in his brown eyes into a burning fire lighting his gaze.
I don’t think. If I had given myself just a second to process my next move, I’m sure I would have backed out of his hold and run as fast as I could to my car. But, I didn’t think, so my next move was pure, one-hundred-percent Megan. But not the Megan I’ve been for the last couple years since my husband died. No, this Megan feels like I’ve finally dug myself out of those ashes I’ve been living in since my life burned up around me. The cloak of depression that normally lingers loosely around my shoulders, dropping to my feet with the feel of Liam pressed tight. I know this feeling won’t last, but I suddenly want to hold on to every second I can of this experience, until it leaves me.
I reach out and curl my fingers around his forearms. My eyes growing wide when his brow lifts. With a quick push I rock up and close the distance that is left between our mouths. When my lips touch his, that feeling of being alive burns so bright every nerve in my body feels it, each inch of skin boiling and cooling so quickly it’s as if I can’t make up my mind if I want to be hot or cold. My hairs stand on end, my skin pebbles – going cold before rushing heat fills my veins, and the very thump of my heart seems to skip a beat the second our lips touch.
One thing I know for sure. I want this. I want this and Liam’s going to give it to me.
He doesn’t pause. His groan vibrating against my chest only lights the feeling that is firing through my skin. My hands move from his forearms and I run my hands up his chest until both hands curl around his neck and I use the hold to pull my body even closer to his.
His hands move from my hips and he curls them around my bottom, pulling me tightly against his body. When I feel the very obvious sign of his attraction, I moan deeply, and shiver when he answers with one of his own.
I can’t tell you how long this kiss lasts. When his tongue moves to swipe against my lips, I open without reservation. We continue, our tongues dancing together while each of our moans are swallowed by the other, until I have to pull away to gulp a breath of air before I pass out – however, the way I feel right now, passing out might very well be a possibility.
“This is finally happening,” he snarls in a tone that should scare me, but all it does is act as kerosene to our already uncontrollable fire of lust.
“It is,” I agree without question.
“Now,” he says.
“Okay,” I agree on a sigh and sway toward his hard body.
With the encouragement he needs, his hands finally leave my body. He turns me, wraps one thick arm around my shoulder, and turns to walk toward the front of the house.
“We’re leaving?” I question lamely.
“Darlin’ I didn’t stutter. This is happening,” he says, pausing when he reaches the side of the house and the shadows that will give us the privacy we need. His body turns, moving me to stand before him once again. “I need to know you’re with me, Megan. I’ve wanted this since the day I met you, but I knew you weren’t ready for me. I’ve been trying to keep my distance, just waiting for those clouds to leave your eyes. If you don’t want me to take you back to my house, strip you naked and fuck you until you can’t walk for weeks, then say so now, because the second I have you I won’t be letting go.”
“Oh, boy,” I whisper.
“I prefer oh God, but I’ll make that the first item on my to-do list.”
“You’ll make what?”
“My to-do list, Megs. The list of things I’ve wanted to do to you for months now. Making you scream oh God will be number one, followed by my name, of course.”
“Oh, God,” I repeat, my mind swilling with the promise his words inflict.
“Yeah, you’re getting it.”
His mouth crashes down on mine for a hard but quick kiss before pulling back and giving me another one of those knee-melting smirks. “Last chance, Megan,” he whispers while his hands are framing my heated face.
Whatever he sees in my eyes is enough, he gives me a light kiss, takes his hands from my face and curls one around my left hand and pulls me toward his truck.
“Last chance,” he tells me with a wicked grin. “And this time I mean last one, darlin’. We take this step and make no doubt about it, you will be mine. You give me this and I fucking promise you that I will never make you regret taking that step. You ready to jump from that chapter you’ve been skimming through and skip into mine?”
I give him a smile, one that is full of confidence and not the least bit unsure as the words that he had told me weeks before come back between us.
“Fuck,” he groans. “Buckle up, baby.”
My smile doesn’t slip for a second. Not when I pull my belt across my chest. Not when he slams the door and races to his own. It grows wider when he slams the truck in drive and fishtails back onto the path that will take us back toward town. It isn’t until his big hand reaches out and takes my leg in his strong hold that my smile slips slightly, but it only slips because my head falls back and I whimper and try to rub my legs together to ease the ache between them. I lose the smile completely when my mouth drops open and that whimper turns into a loud whine as his long fingers dance up my legs until he slips beneath the hem on my shorts and pushes my panties to the side, pressing against my clit in sure movements that have me panting in seconds.
“Fucking drenched,” he grounds out through his tightly clamped teeth.
I roll my head against the headrest and look across the cab at his face. His finger dips from my swollen clit and as he drops his hand lower, his wrist twists slightly so that when he gets there his finger slides deep inside me.
My legs spread instantly when his thick finger fills me and I hear his rumbled groan fill the space around us as he slides his finger as deep as his position allows before pulling it back, then repeating his movements until I can feel myself soaking his hand. If he keeps this up, I won’t last. He adds a second finger and my hand digs into the door and I reach out, wrapping my other around his forearm and choke on shattered breaths when he thrusts his fingers so deep, I feel like I’ve been electrocuted as he hits that spot that has me panting, whimpering and begging incoherently.
“Please, Lee, please,” I pant. How I formed those words, I’ll never know.
“Fuck,” he snarls, the sound making my arousal spike even higher. “You’ll call me that when I’m so deep inside you my balls will be soaked with this sweetness.”
His fingers curl and I pant, my hand cramping around the force of my grip.
“Please, oh God. Not without you, please.”
I pray he understands my plea and when he curses, I know he gets me. His hand leaves my pants and I cry out, causing him to spit out a string of curses that would make a sailor blush. His leg slams down and I feel the truck pick up speed as I watch him take his fingers to his mouth and lick every drop of my wetness from his skin.
“Holy shit,” I exhale.
“You’re getting my mouth first, darlin’. That wasn’t enough of a taste and fuck me, I’m starved.”
I say nothing, just continue to feel like my heart is about to slam from my chest as I continue to shift my legs back and forth in attempt to ease the burn he’s lit between my legs.
Harper lives in small town Georgia just a short drive from her hometown of Peachtree City. She (and her 3 daughters) enjoy ruling the house they dubbed 'Estrogen Ocean', much to her husband’s chagrin. Harper has a borderline unhealthy obsession with books; you can almost ALWAYS find her with her eReader attached. She enjoys bad reality TV and cheesy romantic flicks. Her favorite kind of hero--the super alpha kind!
Harper started using writing as a way to unwind when the house went to sleep at night; and with a house full of crazy it was the perfect way to just relax. It didn't take long before a head full of very demanding alphas would stop at nothing to have their story told.
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I'm not sure where to even begin but I guess it is best to start by saying how much I love Liam Beckett. Liam knew from the very beginning that Megan was who he wanted and he fought for her and Molly. It was amazing to read the path it took for Megan and Liam to get together. This is a difficult story to read at times but I absolutely loved it and could not put the book down. I do believe Liam and Megan are my new favorite book couple. It is great to get glimpses of his family as well as Dani and Cohen.
Harper Sloan has once again written a fabulous story that kept me from the first page to the very last. I can't wait to read her next book! I would give this one five stars and my heart is still with Liam and Megan.