After the sudden death of his wife two years ago, Darren Griffin has finally found peace. He has a good life, good job, two daughters he’d do anything for, and a beautiful home on the beach.
Greer Monroe is grieving the loss of her father. It’s the final rung on the broken ladder that’s become her life—crappy job, no friends, and a cheating ex-boyfriend. At the insistence of her aunt, Greer decides to spend some time at her family’s beach house.
When the glee-filled sound of children’s laughter dances through the breeze, Greer finds herself smiling again. The neighbor girls are carefree, depicting a life Greer has only dreamed about. Husband, children, happiness—a family. And their father, Darren, he’s everything a woman could ever want.
But it is, of course, only a dream.
She can’t stay at Carolina Beach, no matter how much she adores Darren and his daughters. She has responsibilities at home, a mother who needs her. Where there’s love, there’s heartbreak, and she can’t go through that again. And she sure as hell won’t do that to those little girls.
But Darren isn’t letting her go that easily. It’s been so long since he’s felt this way for anyone. Greer is his missing piece, a piece he never thought he’d find.
Saying goodbye is hard, but sometimes starting over is even harder.
Only when they dare to dream again, will they ever dare to love.
“Are they both asleep?” Greer asked as I stepped out onto the deck and handed her a glass of wine.
“Yes,” I said. “They both slowly gave in after they talked about you for at least ten minutes.”
She smiled as she lifted the glass to her mouth. I couldn’t help but watch closely as it came in contact with her plump, full lips, distracting me from my thoughts. The way she tipped the glass and the way her throat bobbed when she swallowed was so sexy.
“I had a great time; they’re both amazing,” she assured me as she lowered her glass and brought it to rest on the deck railing.
I was lost for a moment watching her profile as she looked out toward the water in the distance. She appeared so at peace, so settled. It was a feeling I wasn’t familiar with. Instead I found myself wanting to do whatever it took to keep her.
I stepped closer and my movements caused her to look up. Without any further delay, fearing if I didn’t do it now, I wouldn’t make the move, I lifted my hand and skimmed my palm over her cheek as I slid it farther into her hair.
“I don’t think I told you that you’re amazing,” I whispered as I moved my body even closer to hers, feeling her chest pressed firmly to mine.
“You did, but I sort of like hearing it,” she confessed as her eyes shifted from mine to my mouth, then back again to meet my gaze.
There was a silent pause just before I moved in, finally closing that last amount of distance between us. Her lips pressed to mine, and I hooked my arm around her waist and held her as close as I possibly could. A gentle brush of my tongue caused her lips to part, and I moved in, taking full advantage. That was the kind of guy I was, demanding, greedy. I just hadn’t been him for so long. But Greer ignited a need inside me that had been hidden someplace down deep.
It felt extraordinary to be a man with needs and wants and to act on them again. It was freeing and natural, and I knew in that moment that had I allowed my desires to go as far as my mind was screaming for them to go, I would have had her backed up against the house and panting my name in seconds.
But I had to move slowly, not only for her but for me. Because Greer, I could already tell, could be very addicting.
I pulled back from the kiss and rested my forehead against hers, and for a moment we both just remained connected, breathing as evenly as possible. My pulse raced and my body hummed from just one kiss. My lips tingled, begging for more.
She slid her hand beneath the back of my shirt, and the connection ignited my need again as I took her mouth once more. This time, I devoured her lips. The desire to stop was now long gone, replaced by deep hunger.
“Darren,” she panted against my mouth as she dug her fingers into my back.
“I know,” I said, though I wasn’t sure why. Maybe I was telling her I felt it too, or maybe I was agreeing that this was just too much.
I was torn between stopping this before it went further and taking what I needed.
My daughter’s voice broke us apart, and I backed away from Greer as if an ice-cold glass of water had been dumped over me.
Greer fumbled to right herself and knocked her wineglass onto the floor in the process. The look on her face gave me all the confirmation I needed that the moment we’d shared was now over.