Can a secret crush . . .
Jo Walsh has loved Cameron Mitchell for as long as she can remember. Whether front and center in her life or on the periphery, the tall, brooding artist has made his presence seductively and irresistibly known. But whenever they start to get close, Cam pulls away. Jo's tired of keeping her feelings in a box Cam is afraid to open. If he wants her, he'll have to prove it. And if he doesn't, Jo will need to know the real reason why . . .
. . . become the love of a lifetime?
How do you walk away from your soul mate? Cam wishes he knew. No matter how far he runs from Jo, he can't resist looking back at the silver eyes that seem to see right through him. But as well as Jo thinks she understands Cam, the dark truth about his past is something she shouldn't have to handle. Cam's sure that setting Jo free is the right thing to do. Too bad his heart has other ideas . . .
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About the Author:
Kennedy Ryan writes contemporary romance and women's fiction. She always give her characters their happily ever after, but loves to make them work for it! It's a long road to love, so sit back and enjoy the ride. In an alternative universe and under her government issue name, Tina Dula, she is a wife to the love of her life, mom to a special, beautiful son, and a friend to those living with autism through her foundation Myles-A-Part, serving Georgia families.
Her writings on Autism have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, and she has been featured on the Montel Williams Show, NPR, Headline News and others. Ryan is donating a portion of her proceeds to her own foundation and to her charitable partner, Talk About Curing Autism (TACA).
Her interview series MOMMIES DO THE MOST AMAZING THINGS is featured each month in Brooke Burke's online magazine Modern Mom.
“So how long are you here in New York, Cam?”
She watched, fascinated, as his shoulders lowered a few inches and the firm, beautiful line of his mouth relaxed.
“I’m not sure.” Cam plated her French toast, sliding it to her across the counter. “Sebastian wanted me to scope some galleries for my first official exhibit.”
“That’s great.” Jo said the words around the delicious caramel goodness dissolving in her mouth. “Also great? This French toast! Have you been cooking a lot while you’re here?”
“Nope. First time. Been eating out every day and night.”
Jo slowed her chewing, noting the makings of her favorite omelet on the counter. Shitake mushrooms, spinach, and turkey bacon. Those weren’t items you’d have just lying around in the fridge of a suite like this, even if it was more of an apartment than a hotel room. Especially if he hadn’t been cooking. Jo computed all the information and landed on a conclusion that raced straight from her brain to her never-does-learn heart.
“Did you get all this stuff just for me? This morning?”
Cam frowned, folding the omelet with much more concentration than it should require. He finally turned the burner off and looked at her, eyes guarded.
“It was nothing.”
“But did you have to go out? I could have ordered room service.”
“There’s a grocer up the street.” Cam slid the omelet onto a plate for her. “I wanted to at least give you a home-cooked breakfast.”
“Is that supposed to make up for six months of pretending I don’t exist?” Jo gave her usually checked irritation a little free rein.
“Don’t start.” Cam poured eggs for his own omelet into a bowl, glancing away from the bowl just long enough to narrow his eyes at her. “I told you I needed some space.”
“From everything. From Walsh, from Kerris, Amalie, Rivermont.” He stopped whisking and met her eyes, his still hiding something but more frank than they had been. “Yeah, you, too, a little. I needed to make my own way and live without all the drama for a little while.”
“So are you coming back to Rivermont now?” Jo stuffed her mouth with French toast so her rebel tongue wouldn’t beg him to consider coming home.
“Actually, I had an idea.” He settled his elbows on the counter and leaned forward to stab a square of French toast from her plate and placed it in his mouth. “Hmmm. That is good.”
Jo tried to focus on what he was saying instead of the maple syrup and caramel glistening sticky sweet on his full lips.
“What would you think of me holding my first exhibit at Walsh House?”
Hosting his exhibit at the community center Aunt Kris had built for foster kids? The strain of resisting licking those lips and of keeping a safe distance disintegrated. Jo scurried around the counter and threw her arms around Cam’s neck, heedless of the tension that had been snapping between them.
“Cam, that is so perfect.” Jo blinked back tears against his neck before pulling away to look up at him. “Aunt Kris would have loved that.”
Her aunt had always considered Cam a second son and almost from the first day he’d shown up at the foundation’s camp for foster kids had treated him like family.
Cam grinned down at her, wearing the expression she’d seen him only give her aunt. A fusion of tenderness, reverence, and respect. She recognized that look because even growing up with Aunt Kris and seeing her just about every day of her life, she had felt the same.
Jo rested her hands against Cam’s chest, the thud of his heart pounding into her palms. Second by second, Jo became aware of Cam’s hand molding her back. Of the other hand gripping her hip. Of her softness melting into the hard lines of his body. He dipped his head, nose brushing behind her ear.
“I’m sweaty.” Her words floated out on a husky breath.
“You smell good.” His breath misted her neck and he ran one hand up and down her back in long, slow strokes. Coming closer and closer to her butt every time. She wanted to grab his hand and slide it inside the tiny running shorts that barely contained the generous curves of her backside. She wanted to hop onto the counter, drag him between her legs, jerk his zipper open, hold him in her hands, stroke him, and then…
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