Release Date: March 4, 2020
Cover Design: Lori Jackson Design
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.Blu Thompson unexpectedly lost his wife twelve years ago. Since then, his focus has been raising his son. Women? Not on his radar. Lori Hopkins tragically lost her husband two years ago. Since then, her life has been her job and raising her daughter. Men? Doesn’t have time for them. Until the worst winter storm western North Carolina has seen in fifteen years lands Lori in Blu’s arms. For the first time since losing their spouses, attraction blooms on the bunny slope of a ski resort. Will they find out it’s something more when they’re stranded in a snow-covered cabin? And will it be enough to silence the ghosts that haunt them? Mother Nature brought them together, but will she give them the peace they both seek?
I stir the fire and throw on another log, then make my way toward the back closet. We keep straightened metal coat hangers in there for this reason. I wash one and pick up the bag I left on the counter. I smile and shake it. “Dessert.”
Her eyes light up when she looks at me. “I haven’t roasted marshmallows in years.”
I pull the pillow out of the chair when I sit on the floor in front of the fire and open the bag. I pat the pillow, and Lori joins me on the floor. “Our own private bonfire.”
“I like that idea.”
I push a marshmallow on the hanger and hold it in the fireplace. A moment later it catches on fire, and I blow out the flame. “You get the first one.” She blows on it and pulls it off the hanger. It’s gooey and drips down her chin where I catch the remnants and lick my fingers. “Mmm, that’s good.”
My eyes flair and my arms sag as I watch her suck the marshmallow off her fingers. For someone who put sex out of my mind years ago, everything she does is like a slow seduction. She smiles as she tries to lick the sticky mess. I don’t even think she realizes just how sexy she looks right now.
She giggles. “Oh my, that was fun.” She leans forward and turns her face back and forth. “Do I have any more on my face?”
I shake my head. “I took care of that.”
“Your turn. I can’t wait to see you get the sticky out of your beard.”
I run my hand along my jaw. “This isn’t a beard. It’s just a few days growth.”
“You keep telling yourself that when you’re picking the melted marshmallow out of it.”
I push a marshmallow onto the hanger and put it in the fire. Once again, I get it to the perfect state of burnt then pull it out. Blowing the chard parts, I watch her. Her eyes focus on my lips, and dammit, I want to kiss her again. I pop it into my mouth and wish I would have cooled it more. There’s a long string between the hanger and the mallow. When it breaks, it falls into the whiskers on my chin. Her eyes dance with humor as another giggle leaves her.
“Are you laughing at me?”
She slowly shakes her head, but I can see her laughing behind her hand. “No, I wouldn’t laugh at you.”
Yes, she would, and she is…but it’s nice to see this side of her. She’s been so serious since I met her. I’m relieved she’s able to laugh. Hell, even I’m laughing, and this is a side of myself I haven’t seen too much of in recent years either. I lean toward her and stick out my chin. “Help me get it off.”
She rolls her lips inward and picks at the cooled marshmallow. “I don’t want to pull it.”
“It’s okay. What you can’t get, I’ll wash off.”
Her brows furrow as she concentrates on her task at hand. I enjoy being able to watch her without any distractions. She’s gentle and caring. “Maybe I can get a warm washcloth,” she quietly says as she tries to push herself off the floor.
I hold her hand. “I can get that when we’re done here. Do you want another one?” “I’d love another one, but maybe we need to save them.”
“One more won’t kill us.” I glance at her. “If we’re down to eating marshmallows to survive, we’ll be desperate. Plus, Smokey and Ryder will come back before it gets to that point.”
“Okay, then one more.”
I put the hanger back in the fire to roast her another. When I pull it out, excitement fills her eyes. She really enjoys this. I make a note to do this later when Gabby and Ryder can join us.
Somehow the gooey marshmallow ends up strung between several of her fingers, and she’s trying to eat it before it’s literally everywhere. I take her hand and slip her pinky into my mouth, sucking the confection off. Her reaction is everything I could ask for and more. She whimpers, and her legs squeeze together as our gazes lock on each other, conveying what we both want but aren’t sure we should.
She quickly licks her finger, causing a visual of her licking me to pop into my head. On shaky legs, she pushes to stand. “I need to wash my hands.”
One of Five ARC’s for Blu’s Ridge
About the Author
I’m Savannah Maris, a southern girl and hopeless romantic. I’m passionate about writing stories that incorporate southern charm with a little spice.I grew up on a farm in a small southern town with a love of sports, dance, and music which usually find their way into my books. My husband and I have two grown children. When I’m not writing, my husband and I are attending sporting events, traveling, or working. What will find in my books? You’ll find suspense and romance in the Riverton Crossing Series. If contemporary romance is what you’re looking for, try Crossroads of the Heart.
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