MATT REED IS HIDING
…from his fans
…from his past
…from a failure too painful to contemplate
Most of all, Matt is hiding from himself.
VIVIENNE FORRESTER IS A WOMAN WHO GIVES HER ALL
…to her friends and family
…to her online food blog
…to the man she loves
Vivienne will try anything and everything to coax Matt out of his self-imposed exile. But for this to work, Matt is going to have to meet her halfway…
Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan’s Return, in November 2011. Since then, she has published twenty more titles and has become a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She lives with her husband of twenty-five years and their two sons in Wake Forest, North Carolina.
He was kissing Vivienne.
And she was kissing him back.
Matt couldn’t believe he had made the move and yet now that he had and she was slowly wrapping her arms around him, he was glad he did. Slowly he lowered his hands from her shoulders and skimmed down her arms and then moved to her waist. She was soft and warm and curvy, and as he banded his arms around her, he marveled at just how right she felt.
Vivienne sighed as his tongue teased at her lips and she seemed to press impossibly closer to him. He could feel her from head to toe, and he wanted more. Her hands raked up into his hair. His head angled so he could take the kiss deeper, and when he felt the soft swipe of her tongue against his, Matt’s knees went weak. Over and over his lips claimed hers with a need that threatened to overwhelm him.
How was this even possible? Hell, he knew from the first moment he’d seen her a week ago he was attracted to her. A man would have to be dead not want her – curvy and beautiful with an amazing smile and laugh…there wasn’t a thing about Vivienne Matt would change. It seemed like fate that she had come back into his life at this point – at a time when he needed someone like her. Someone with her light and her gentle spirit and fiery determination. He sent up a silent prayer heavenward she hadn’t seen him at his worst – when he was drinking heavily and partying and…
Matt roughly broke the kiss and lifted his head and looked down at her with equal parts embarrassment and horror. “We’ve done this before.”
Her eyes snapped open and it took a moment for his words to seem to sink in. When they did, she moved out of his arms and took a few steps away from him before turning her back on him.
“Vivienne?” he asked impatiently. “Am I right? This wasn’t our first kiss.”
“I should go,” she murmured and tried to open the door, but Matt slapped his hand against it to stop her. He waited for her to turn around, but she wouldn’t. Instead, she rested her head against the door and sighed. “I really should go,” she said quietly.
“Why didn’t you say anything? I’ve been back here for a week – we’ve seen each other every day, and you never mentioned it had only been…two years since we’d seen one another. Why?”
Slowly she turned around. “To what end, Matt? Why would I bring it up – especially in front of my brother?”
Crap. He hadn’t thought of that. “You left that night…”
“I was escorted out of the building,” she corrected. “And none too gently, thank you very much.”
“Viv, I had no idea…”
She held up a hand to stop him. “It was a long time ago, and it doesn’t matter.” A flush crept up her cheeks, and she wouldn’t meet his gaze. “I…I really should go.”
“No,” he said. “Not yet. I think we need to talk about this.”
She looked ready to spit nails. Seriously? He wanted to talk about this when she was clearly hostile? Did he have a death wish?
“There’s nothing to talk about,” she said firmly. “I went to the concert and came backstage to say hello. You’d obviously been drinking, and we kissed. It’s not a big deal.” And then she mumbled, “Clearly.”
Before she could move away, Matt grasped her arm and pulled her close. “Clearly?”
“Oh please! You didn’t even remember it happened up until a minute ago! So yeah…I’m going with it not being a big deal.”
“That’s where you’re wrong. It was a big deal. It is a big deal!”
“Why?” she cried, her frustration at this conversation difficult to ignore. “Do you carry on like this over every woman you’ve ever kissed?”
Matt reeled back as if she’d slapped him. He released her arm and then took another step back. He noticed a glint of satisfaction in her eyes as she, too, took a step back.
Without another word to him, she turned and reached for the doorknob again.
That was it? He was just going to let her leave like that? Like hell he’d beg her – even though it was exactly what he wanted to do.
“This isn’t over, Viv. Sooner or later, we’re going to talk about it. I’m not going anywhere for another couple of weeks. You can’t avoid me the entire time.”
She didn’t comment, and she didn’t look at him. She simply walked out the door and closed it behind her.
And left Matt standing there wondering if she was stubborn enough to stay away.