AUTHOR: M.E. Montgomery
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
EDITOR: BJS Editing
COVER DESIGN: Cover to Cover Design
CONTENT WARNING: Sexual Content and Violence
Is our fate in the stars…or in our hands?
Everyone who knew her wanted Mikayla Matthews as their friend. But in her love life, she never seemed to be good enough. After one betrayal too many, she packed up her shattered heart and moved across the state to start over. Losing herself in a new job, she is convinced no man will ever truly want her, not that she was willing to trust another to find out anyway.
Alex North found himself in the one role he never wanted – guardian of his nephew after his sister and best friend are killed. On unfamiliar territory as a dad, Alex gave up his bachelor lifestyle and worked to create a nurturing environment for five year old Aiden. Attempting to hold his new life together, he masked his pain and threw himself into being the rock for his family.
Brought together by fate on several occasions, Alex decides Mikayla is the key to heal not only Aiden, but himself. He recognizes that only she can offer him the kind of love he never thought he would find. Mikayla discovers she has the strength to give love a second chance as well as the courage to fight for it. Together they heal each other and begin to create a future together.
But not everyone supports them, and outside forces threaten to destroy all the happiness they have worked for. Will Alex and Mikayla be strong enough to hold together the fledgling family they are building?
Or will the past and the present work together to rip them apart?
Alex and Kayla have found in each other what they need to move moved beyond the tragedies of their pasts and are ready to embrace their future together. But the problem with the past is it doesn’t always agree to be left behind, and sometimes it follows, unwilling to let go.
Now everything they thought they knew to be true is suddenly turned up on end. Collisions between the past and the present challenge their happiness, and hiding in the shadows lurk more obstacles that threaten their future.
Alex and Kayla are determined not to let these twists and turns destroy their happiness. But is love enough? What happens when lies, uncertainty, and deception entangle with their plans? Will determination be enough when faced with disaster?
Plotting a course is easy; finding your True North and staying the course presents a greater challenge.
“Sylvia was right. You are not the type of woman I have usually dated.” I started to turn away again, but he wouldn’t let me.
“Yes, they were beautiful,” he continued, “but only on the outside. They were shallow, selfish, and greedy. Their biggest interests were acquiring more clothes and jewelry and finding ways to get me to buy it for them. They wouldn’t dare dirty themselves playing with children or cooking or cleaning up messes. And they sure as hell couldn’t have thrown darts without breaking a nail.” He smirked at his last comment.
He pushed my hair away from my face and tucked it behind my ear. “You, on the other hand, are the most stunning woman I have ever known. I love to run my hands through your thick, silky hair. I love to hold your soft, sweet curves against my body.” He paused and brushed a finger across my lips. “Your smile is pure sunshine and your beautiful eyes hold me captive and seem to see into my soul, seeing the real me and not just what I have to offer. You amaze me at how kind you are to other people and how much you enjoy giving of yourself.”
He leaned his forehead against mine and continued in a soft, gruff voice. “So, you see, Mikayla, Sylvia was right. You are not the type of woman I usually date, and it’s really more that I am not worthy of you.” I was unable to look away from the adoration I saw as he looked back at me. My heart pounded so hard I was surprised my shirt didn’t pulse outward with each beat.
“I can’t even begin to imagine why you haven’t been snapped up by some other lucky bastard, but I thank God you weren’t. I want you, Mikayla. So I don’t ever, ever want to hear you put yourself down again and wonder why I want to be with you.”
The woman finished placing her order and waited patiently at the bar, casting her long lashes down as if she were uncomfortable with all the people surrounding her, especially the drunken idiots sitting at the bar next to her. The guy closest to the end leaned backward as he laughed hard at something his buddy said. I watched in disgust as he lost his balance and began to fall sideways off his stool. In the process, he slammed into the beauty standing next to him, causing her to lose her balance. She reached out to try to grab onto something, but her flailing arms found nothing but air.
Instinctively, I reached out and caught her around the waist and pulled her toward me and away from him. She was such a light little thing I inadvertently lifted her onto my lap. She landed on my thighs with a little ‘umph’ as she grabbed my waist for balance. Unable to help myself, I inhaled her sweet scent – almost like vanilla with a touch of cinnamon; not like that strong, sense-clogging perfume used by so many of the women I knew.
“Whoa, you okay there?” I asked her.
“Oh, my gosh! I’m so sorry…” She stopped talking as our eyes met for the first time. Or at least I didn’t hear anything else. Her voice was almost like honey, soothing and quiet, calming my tired soul like a comfortable blanket. My mind went blank when I looked into her beautiful hazel eyes. There was no hidden agenda in the green and gold specks that broke up a warm brown, just a genuine look of gratitude alongside a certain wariness. Wearing a dark blue pair of jeans and a white button down shirt, she was much more modestly dressed than the blonde I’d sized up of a few moments ago. A sparkly pink scarf decorated her neck hinting that beneath the conservative exterior there was a spark of playfulness. To me, she was much more attractive for leaving something to the imagination, although pressed against me as she was, I didn’t need to imagine the full curves underneath those clothes.
Her eyes darted across my face and she appeared to be appraising me as well. She focused on my eyes as though she could see into me if she looked hard enough. Her look drew me in. I wanted to pull her closer and go ahead and let her see inside, feeling as if she could soothe all the pain and anger I tried to keep locked up. At the same time, I wanted to hold and protect her from whatever caused that look of caution, almost fear, that abounded in her eyes.
What the hell just happened to me? I had never had these thoughts before. She noticed my intense gaze and her cheeks began to turn the cutest shade of pink. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen a woman blush; usually they were so forward I was the one who was embarrassed for them.
“Thank you for catching me,” she said. “That might have ended badly otherwise.”
My mind snapped back to attention when she began to push off of me. I doubt she noticed, but her second hand had settled on my crotch when she landed in my lap, and the gentle pressure she was asserting had it starting to rise and twitch in anticipation of more.
I grabbed her wrist gently. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you not to push too hard there.”
She tilted her head sideways, not immediately understanding my words until I gestured with my eyes at our hands. I knew the instant she figured it out because her pink cheeks turned bright red and she jerked her hand away.
“Oh,” she gasped. “I…I’m so, so sorry!” she said as she carefully crawled off me.
“Trust me, it was my pleasure,” I teased, glancing at my lap.
M.E. Montgomery has been an avid reader her entire life, and her Amazon account will attest to that fact! Recently, several voices began telling their own stories in her head. After being assured she wasn’t crazy and this was the sign of an emerging novel, she decided to put her fingers to work and started typing, and with lots of encouragement, decided to share Alex, Kayla, and Aiden’s dramatic and heartwarming tale.
Her family considers her adept in most subjects, to include science, history, reading, spelling, and all mathematical studies, which loosely means she is the homework queen to her four school aged children. Fortunately, her biology and elementary school teaching background help her to keep up the expert façade, at least for now.
Although born and raised in the Washington DC metro area, she has considered many places to be called home since she left to attend college in North Carolina. She is a proud Navy wife, setting up hearth and home wherever in the world the Navy sends her husband. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves to go camping with her family, drinking wine on the deck, and romantic getaways when her husband’s work permits.