He’s been broken, repaired, and has finally risen above his devastating injury.
She’s a cute, foul-mouthed nurse with an attitude as big as the ocean, but has a caring heart even bigger.
They once loved each other back when life was simple and being an adult wasn’t an issue. What was once a beautiful love turned into a devastating heartbreak. Are they brave enough to give it another try now that life is complicated and ugly? Because while their circumstances once tore them apart, love was never their problem.
Eighteen years old when she broke my heart. Eighteen years old when I left to join the Marine Corps, knowing when I got back, she would not be there waiting for me. I never expected to see her ten years later, all heartbroken and humbled. I just don’t know if I can go there again with Adria Green. She’s short, sassy, and even more stubborn than she was when we were kids – and painfully more beautiful. So why do I find myself completely and inexplicably drawn to her? Because what drew me to her back then has been reignited without my permission, and there doesn’t seem to be a way to douse the old flame. I’ve already lost half a leg. I can’t lose my heart, too.
Am I to blame for my actions when I was just a kid and starting out at life? I was stupid back then, but I’m not stupid anymore. I’m educated, confident, and after my ex-fiancé cheated on me and left, I’m even more careful with who’s going to get my heart. Seeing Kyle Adams after all these years made my heart stop and then almost drop out of my chest. He’s even more gorgeous and considerably more built than he was when we were in high school – despite the injury. I feel myself being pulled toward him like nothing I’ve ever felt, not even back then. But can we go there again? Can you really and truly go back? No, I don’t believe you can. I’m just not sure I can go forward now, either.
Beyond Love is book 4 in the Imperfect Heroes Series, and is for readers 18+. Contains adult situations, language, and minor scenes of war.
I parked in my designated spot in my apartment complex’s lot and unbuckled Luke, pulling him out and setting him down. I handed him his backpack and held his hand as we made our way to our first-floor apartment. Lucy followed faithfully at my side.
“Can we go swimming, Dad?” he asked, eyeing the pool.
“You calling me Dad again?” I asked, smiling. He could always make me smile even when I didn’t want to.
“Okay, Daddy. Can we?”
I ruffled his hair and said, “No, let’s get something to eat. I’m starving. Aren’t you?”
“What’s for dinner?” he asked as I looked down at him, and then my keyring to get my house key ready.
We rounded the corner to my unit and I heard, “Chinese takeout.”
I looked up to see Adria sitting on my front step’s mat, sitting cross-legged, wearing shorts and a tank top. Beside her sat two white bags with takeout containers in them.
I froze for a minute, and then a huge grin spread across my face.
Luke froze. “Who’s that, Daddy?” he whispered.
Adria stood and walked to meet us. Crouching down, she said, “Hi, Luke. I’m Adria. We met at Duke’s house at the barbeque a few weeks ago. Do you remember that?”
He shook his head and looked up at me.
“Say hello, son.”
“Hi,” he said, a small smile on his face.
She put her hand out. “It’s very nice to meet you. Your dad has so many nice things to say about you.”
Luke’s eyes got big and he looked up at me, then back at her. “Really?”
She tapped his little nose and stood up, laughing quietly. “Yep.”
I couldn’t stop staring at Adria with my son. It was beautiful. She was beautiful, and he wasn’t being his usual shy self around her.
She picked up the bags and said, “Do you like Chinese food?”
He looked up at me. “What’s that?”
“You will love it,” I told him. I’d never given him any since we rarely ate out.
I opened the door to the apartment and prayed it was clean. Well, clean enough. I kept it picked up most of the time, but today had been such a blur I couldn’t remember.
Adria wasted no time finding the kitchen and opening up the bags. I sort of felt like it was weird that she was here without any notice or explanation, but knowing what I knew about her, I knew she would tell me. I was touched by her generosity nonetheless.
“Luke, go put your backpack in your room, then go wash your hands, please.”
As he disappeared around the corner, I went behind Adria and purposely pressed my body against her backside as she attempted to open the high cabinets to find plates. Easily opening one and pulling out two plates for us, I placed them in front of her on the counter.
With a smirk on her face, she turned around and looked up at me. “I had that.”
“No, you didn’t,” I replied.
“Okay, I didn’t,” she whispered as she stared up at me with curious brown eyes.
I pointed to the food. “Are you always this spontaneous?”
She shook her head. “Harper told me where you went today. I didn’t want you to be alone tonight. Whether you are celebrating or sad, I wanted to be here. It just felt right.”
Damn, did she know me or what? “I’m kinda speechless,” I said, not breaking eye contact, but pulling back from her even though I didn’t want to. I grabbed three forks from the drawer, and Luke’s favorite plastic Batman plate from another cabinet, and set them on the small table I kept in the kitchen.
“I’m hungry,” my son said, coming into the kitchen.
“Have a seat and I’ll get you some food.”
He went over to the chair he always sat in and waited for us. I poured him a glass of milk first and set it in front of him.
“I don’t have much to drink here,” I said to her, “but you can take a look.”
She sat down next to Luke and said, “Water is fine.”
I nodded and poured two glasses of ice water and went to join them at the table.
As we feasted on lo mein, sweet and sour chicken, fried rice, and dumplings, I looked at the way Adria was interacting with my son and all thoughts of Marissa, the lawyer, and the five hundred bucks I’d had to drop today melted into a happiness that spread across my face.
After dinner, I gave Luke a quick bath and put him to bed. It was a little early, but I’d been at the lawyer’s office longer than I’d thought and had gotten home a little later than usual.
I closed my son’s door, leaving it cracked, and went into the kitchen to find Adria putting the leftovers into my small fridge and throwing away excess trash. She set the dishes near the sink and I gently grabbed her wrist to keep her from turning on the faucet. “Leave the dishes.”
She gave me a half-smile. “If you say so.”
After watching her nice legs and luscious plump ass walking around my small kitchen, I really could not form an intelligible word, so I decided words were not necessary. I wrapped my long arm around her waist and pulled her into my body. Without a word, I leaned down and pressed my lips to hers. I was rewarded with her snaking her arms around my neck, and when I licked the seam of her lips, she opened them for me like a good girl. I groaned and pushed myself into her harder, backing her up onto the kitchen counter until she had nowhere else to go. Reaching around, I firmly gripped both ass cheeks and hoisted her up so she had no choice but to put both legs around my waist.
Her breaths were heady and fast when she came up for air between kisses, and I couldn’t get enough. I bit down on her bottom lip, and I moaned when she sucked my tongue into her mouth and played with it.
My dick was so hard it was almost painful. The heat from between her legs and the way she grinded on it was going to make me lose it, and that was the last thing I wanted. I needed to take things slow, explore her naked body with a deliberate appreciation that would make it unforgettable for the both of us. Breaking the kiss, I reached up to cup my hand along her small jaw, and with the pad of my thumb, I ran it across her chin and said, “I’ve missed you so much.”
Her once-hooded eyes got big and she smiled. “You have no idea how much I’ve thought about you over the past ten years.”
I grinned. “And that is why I want to thank you for the Chinese food, and also let you know that you need to leave.”
I Knew You That Way – Luke Bryan
Starts With Goodbye – Carrie Underwood
Helium – Sia
Take It Out On Me – Florida Georgia Line
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye – Luke Bryan
Unlove You – Jennifer Nettles
Ocean Eyes – Billie Ellish
In Case You Didn’t Know – Brett Young
All Time Low – Jon Bellion
Back To Me – Chris Lane
How Not To – Dan + Shay
Someone Like You – Adele
What’s Left Of Me – Nick Lachey
Body Like A Back Road – Sam Hunt
Earned It – The Weeknd
Gorilla – Bruno Mars
Without You – Hinder
Drown In You – Daughtry
For Her – Chris Lane
From The Ground Up – Dan + Shay
Mercy – Shawn Mendez
C.J. is a USA Today Bestselling author living in Colorado. Lover of red wine, wearer of fabulous shoes, and a die-hard Niner fan, she’s also an editor at heart. She’s written over a dozen books and short stories that contain both contemporary/new adult and paranormal romance that are a little bit badass, a little heart-wrenching, and sort of funny (to her, anyway). Almost all of her books usually contain law enforcement or military undertones, since strong, brave, alpha men and women are her weaknesses. When she’s not writing, she can be found working at a very strange day job, which may or may not have some mild influences on her gripping stories – so strange, in fact, she may just write a book about it one day.
She’s also a member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA).
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The sexy, action-packed first book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Court of Thorns and Roses series from Sarah J. Maas.
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a terrifying creature arrives to demand retribution. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she knows about only from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not truly a beast, but one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled her world.
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As she adapts to her new home, her feelings for the faerie, Tamlin, transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But something is not right in the faerie lands. An ancient, wicked shadow is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it, or doom Tamlin-and his world-forever.
From bestselling author Sarah J. Maas comes a seductive, breathtaking book that blends romance, adventure, and faerie lore into an unforgettable read.
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