Love at Last
A Standalone Romance
By: Claudia Connor
Released April 24th, 2018
Easy to love, easy to leave.
With her ex-fiance's words, I'm in love with someone else, still ringing in her ears, Clare Franklin flies off on her would-be honeymoon alone. Resigned to the fact that not everyone gets a happily ever after, she's sworn off men. Until she gets tangled up, quite literally, with one very sexy veterinarian.
The only thing Dr. Deacon Montgomery is looking to share is his surgical expertise, but his instant attraction to Clare makes him wonder if he could be more than just a doctor, and daddy to his twin two-year old daughters.
Sun-filled days and hot, steamy nights only deepens the connection, causing them each to hope for something more. Until one phone call from home changes everything. But a love like theirs is hard to find, and definitely too hard to forget.
His wide, warm palm grazed her lower back as they wove their way through the tables to the exit. They crossed over the water garden in silence, slowing as they reached a fork in the path.
“Which way?” Deacon asked. “I’ll walk you back.”
“That’s sweet, but you really don’t have to. It’s a five-star resort, not downtown Los Angeles.”
Deacon kept walking. “True. But you know, I took you to dinner and all.”
She arched a brow at him. “It’s also an all-inclusive resort. Maybe I took you.”
“Maybe you did.”
He flashed her that slightly lopsided grin that hit her right in the chest. She conceded to the walk, and together, they followed the brick path. The resort was dark, but lights along the sidewalk lit the path and shined up the skinny gray trunks of the swaying palms. It was quiet, and when they didn’t pass even one other person, she was glad he was walking her back.
She slowed as they came to the breezeway leading to her building and pointed up the steps to the second floor. “I’m up there, so…”
Deacon started up the steps. “I’ll walk you to the door. I’m funny like that.”
She probably should have said no, insisted that she could make it to her door on her own. Because of course she could. But she didn’t insist, just followed enormously glad she’d removed the HONEYMOON banner from her door.
They reached her room, and she turned to face him. Just the two of them now, up here, alone at her door. She felt a slight buzzing in her head that had nothing to do with alcohol.
“Well, Clare of the here and now.”
She rolled her eyes at the reminder of her earlier word-vomit ramble. “It was nice to meet you.” She stuck out her hand, hoping it wasn’t sweaty.
“It was nice to meet you, too.”
It didn’t feel like a simple handshake as he wrapped his fingers around hers. “I had fun tonight. You turned what might have been a horrible night into something surprisingly nice.”
“Thank you for catching me and saving my top and for dinner and talking and…” And maybe she could stop talking.
A frog gave a low croak, and another answered, but she figured the pounding of her heart was louder.
The buzzing in her head grew louder, and she felt dizzy from looking into his eyes and staring at his lips because she wanted him to kiss her. She wanted to feel those smooth, firm lips on hers, to taste him and feel his arms around her. I'm losing my mind.
“You’re beautiful,” he said. “I’ve been wanting to say that all night.” He lifted his hand and lightly brushed his thumb over her cheek.
Then he leaned in, and she moved. Just…moved. In and up, her fingers twisting in the front of his shirt. She was just falling into the taste of him, just getting that warm, tingling flood of a first kiss when her brain fully registered that he’d been leaning in to kiss her cheek.
“I’m sorry.” She swallowed hard, felt a stinging heat flooding into her cheeks, and wished desperately to disappear. Deacon was staring at her in complete confusion. That made two of them. “I’m… really sorry.”
She spun to her door. A stiff wind sang through the open-air hallway, slapping her hair across her eyes. How she got her key in the lock, she had no idea. Mumbling one more apology over her shoulder, she opened the door and closed it behind her. She stood, heart pounding in mortification, her lips buzzing.
The champagne glasses and fruit and cheese tray had been cleared. The bed had been turned back, and the damn swans were back, nestled in the center of the bed and kissing right on their terrycloth lips.
Claudia Connor is an award winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance, including the beloved McKinney Brothers series. When she's not writing, Claudia enjoys movies, reading, and travel, with a heavy dose of daydreaming during all three. In another life, she’d like to be a back up dancer for Jennifer Lopez. Claudia lives near Memphis, Tennessee, with her husband and three daughters.
You can find out more about Claudia’s books at http://claudiaconnor.com. News on upcoming releases, promotional sales, fan club swag, and chances for advanced reader copies can be found in her monthly Newsletter. https://www.facebook.com/ClaudiaConnor
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