BY ANNE CONLEY
Sam is a single dad, trying to get over the death of his ex-wife, and help his daughter move on from the loss of her mother.
Rachel is a single mom with a secret of her own that has kept her out of the dating scene for years.
What happens when this drop-dead gorgeous firefighter moves in across the street from the reticent woman with a past?
Sparks fly as the heat level rises in this new novel of Serendipity
RELEASES WEDNESDAY JULY 19
Rachel was mopping her floors the next morning, trying to forget last night while Sophia was stripping the beds to wash sheets when a knock at the door sent Sophie running to see who it was. A squeal of delight, met with a matching squeal took Rachel to see what the hubbub was all about. Her hands immediately moved to straighten her hair, when she saw Sam's massive frame leaning nonchalantly in her living room doorway, his enormous frame crowding the small space.
"Hey there," she squeaked, suddenly breathless in his presence. Memories of last night flashed, unbidden to her consciousness. The way his arms felt around her, leading Rachel around the dance floor with the grace and ease of an old married couple. She had filed the memory away, to revisit on rainy days when she was feeling sorry for herself, but seeing Sam in her doorway made it jump to the forefront of her mind like a toddler craving attention, saying, "Look at me!"
He didn't move, his arctic blue eyes on her, intense, just like they were last night. Electricity sizzled in the cozy room, causing sweat to break out in Rachel's armpits.
"Hey," he said, as nonchalantly as he looked. As if the attraction that nearly brought Rachel to her knees didn't affect him at all. He pushed himself off the door frame, and took the two steps across the room that his long legs needed to reach Rachel. "Why did you run away last night?"
"I was just fixing to leave anyways. You know, babysitters and all..." She was trying to match his nonchalance, but it came out a stammering mess.
His eyes narrowed on her, making a flush steal across her cheeks. "You had just gotten there. I saw you walk in the door."
"Oh…" Damn. He kept staring at her. "Um…I don't know, Sam." She sighed, unable to come up with a suitable excuse.
"Were you running?"
"Why?" His gaze was still on her, intense, boring for the truth that she wasn't willing to give him.
"You were so mad the last time we spoke. I can't read you."
Sam's mouth opened to say something, then shut with a snap. His eyes traveled her face, from her eyes to her lips, and back again. Seeming to reach a conclusion, he said, "Read this, Rachel." Before she could react, his hands were on her face, keeping her from escaping his mouth, tongue against her lips searching for access.
Her hands reflexively went to his chest to push him away, but then his scent invaded her senses, and she was lost to his masculinity, his very presence overwhelming her. She opened up to him, grudgingly granting his tongue entry with a weak whimper.
A triumphant growl rumbled from the back of his throat, and his kiss deepened in intensity, causing emotions to well up that Rachel had never felt before. His tongue swept into her mouth, and she tasted him, his hunger and his desire, and she suddenly wanted more.
As her tongue tentatively met his, she realized that this was good. This was something that she had denied herself for so long, and now that she allowed herself to feel this, she didn't ever want to stop. She had never been kissed this way before, it was a kiss that made her ache at the thought it would have to end.
Her fingers spread against his chest, moving upward, to feel the hard planes of his pecs, his shoulder muscles, as she wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him closer, kissing him deeper. His arms went around her waist, squeezing her against him gently, his massive hands spanning her back.
Abruptly, he ended the kiss that was rapidly changing Rachel's life, and took a step back, still holding her waist.
Rachel couldn't catch her breath, her knees were weak, and her pulse was racing. Reality crashed down on her, and she remembered that there were two ten year olds in her house, and she was standing here in her living room, breaking every promise she'd ever made to herself.
Sam squeezed her waist again, gently, before releasing her and walking over to settle in a chair in the corner of the room. Rachel inhaled deeply, then exhaled a deep shuddering breath and looked at the face of the man who was causing her so much turmoil.
He was smirking.
Rachel couldn't find her voice. It had obviously fled to the place where all of her resolutions had gone.
"Can you read me now?"
I'M GOING TO BE HONEST, I STARTED READING HOT MESS WITHOUT ANY IDEA WHAT IT WAS GOING TO BE ABOUT. IT STARTED OUT AS THE TRADITIONAL SINGLE DAD FALLS FOR THE SIINGLE MOM NEXT DOOR, BUT BOY WAS I WRONG. THIS IS NOT A FLUFFY, EVERYTHING IS PERFECT ROMANCE NOVEL. RACHEL AND SAM BOTH ARE PUT THROUGH THE RINGER AS THEY WORK OUT THEIR FEELINGS FOR EACH OTHER.
SAM AND HIS DAUGHTER MOVED TO TOWN TO REBUILD THEIR LIFE. AFTER LOSING HIS MOTHER TO CANCER AND LOSING THE MOM TO HIS DAUGHTER . HE HOPES TO BRING HIS DAUGHTER OUT OF HER DEPRESSION.
RACHEL A SINGLE MOTHER LIVES ACROSS THE STREET AND HAS A DAUGHTER THE SAME AGE. THE GIRLS INSTANTLY BECOME FRIENDS AND THE FAMILIES BECOME INSEPERATABLE. THE CHEMISTRY BETWEEN SAM AND RACHEL IS FLAMING!
JUST AS YOU THINK EVERYTHING IS FALLING INTO PLACE FOR A HAPPY EVER AFTER THE UNIMAGINABLE HAPPENS AND SECRETS ARE REVEALED, LIFE-OR-DEATH SECRETS.
CAN THEY WORK TOGETHER AND OVER COME THE CHALLANGES THAT LAY AHEAD, OR WILL THEY GET BURNED?
PLAYLIST FOR HOT MESS
PLAYLIST FOR HOT MESS
"ONCE THOUGHT TO BE SIMPLY A GIFT FROM THE GODS, COMBUSTION IS NOW UNDERSTOOD TO BE A COMPLEX CHEMICAL REACTION. FROM FIREFIGHTER'S HANDBOOK, ESSENTIALS OF FIREFIGHTING AND EMERGENCY RESPONSE."
AUDIO EXCERPT READ BY ANNE CONLEY
Q & A WITH FIREFIGHTER SAM
How long have you been a firefighter and what made you decide to go into the profession?
I've been a firefighter for eleven years. Before that, I was working odd-jobs and trying to help take care of my mom, who was dying of cancer. It made me feel so helpless, watching her die like that, I knew I needed to do something to help others. Since I'd been so helpless with Mom, I wanted to do something that would make me a hero. It started out as an ego boost, but I love all aspects of the job so much, I can't imagine my life as anything different.
What challenges do you face as a firefighter?
There are the obvious challenges of saving people during intensely dangerous situations, but training makes all of that second nature. The most challenging thing for me personally is working with the other guys on my crew. We have to consciously build a team mentality to work together, and sometimes that's hard.
What do you do in your free time?
I work out, read, play pool, and fish with my buddies. I also spend a lot of time with my daughter.
What music do you like to listen to?
I listen to lots of things, depending on my mood. Country, rock, punk stuff. I'm a nineties kid, so I enjoy lots of stuff from that time period. Violent Femmes, the Toadies, Morphine. Recently, I've started listening to Passenger, it relaxes me.
Who is your ideal woman?
I like a woman who isn't totally into herself. I don't want a woman who has to be somebody else, I want her to be comfortable and happy with her own body image. I also don't like a woman who comes on too strong.
Do you like children?
I love children. My daughter is ten, and we have a lot of fun together, or at least we used to. Since her mom died, she's had a hard time loosening up, but I know that time will heal, and I'm trying to be there for her when she needs me. It's hard to see her hurt, but I know that in the end, she will be okay.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
Anything that involves my Mom's cookies. I miss her cookies like a man in the desert misses water. They were sooooo good. It seems like almost everything reminds me of them.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I hope to be right where I am. I've got everything I need right now. I wouldn't mind having a woman to share my life with, but I'm not actively looking. My daughter and I have a nice life, living in Serendipity, and I can only hope that in five years, we're still here.
What are your weaknesses?
Like I really want to tell you that! No, I'm probably too full of myself. I'm a firefighter, and I've got a great body. I can get any woman that I want, and I know it. My arrogance has gotten me into a fair bit of trouble in my lifetime, but you know how it is. Also, I'm pretty nosy, especially if I'm interested in a woman. I want to know everything about her there is to know.
What are your strengths?
I'm protective of my loved ones, especially family. I've loved and lost, and I don’t want it to happen again, so I try to hold on to what I have. My daughter is very important to me, and I would do anything to keep her from getting hurt, you know? She resents it sometimes, but I'm a dad. That's what we do.