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Cadence Defined (The Cadence Series Book 2)
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Title: Cadence Defined
Author: Dakota Willink
Genre: New Adult, Romance
Published: February 26, 2019
One love. One destiny. But it only takes one person to bring the house of cards tumbling down…
Seventeen years ago, Fitz Quinn stole the heart of Cadence Riley. He took her innocence, then left her broken. When a twist of fate brings them back together again, she quickly learns even time couldn’t dim their chemistry. Fitz was sexier than ever—successful and provocative. He became the man she always knew he would be, and the heat between them quickly became unbearable. Despite the promise she made to herself, she felt the walls to her heart start to crumble and began to fall all over again.
However, things aren’t the same as they once were. Cadence is the driving force behind a non-profit organization where she handles each case with the determination of a shark. Fitz is known as Washington’s fixer. He is the CEO for a public relations firm—one that represents the politicians who fight against everything Cadence stands for. What do they say about opposites attract?
Finding themselves at a crossroads, Fitz needs to decide if going against his father is worth pursuing a second chance with Cadence. One wrong move and his reputation could be obliterated. For Cadence, she needs to let go of her secrets and forgive Fitz for leaving her alone all those years ago. But more importantly, she needs to decide if sacrificing her values is worth being with the only man she has ever loved.
Cadence Defined Excerpt
As if on a cue, the band changed songs and a male vocalist took the mic. I instantly recognized the steady drumbeat and synthesizer as it rippled across the room. A high, sustained guitar was soon followed by the lyrics to With or Without You by U2.
I looked down at Cadence, studying her face. Her eyes were wide and glassy. She blinked rapidly, almost as if she were fighting back tears.
“That was one dance, Fitz. Thank you, but I have to go now,” she all but whispered and pulled away.
“Wait,” I said, reaching out to her. She didn’t pull away again but let me guide her slowly back into my arms.
“Just one more,” she whispered the warning like she didn’t really mean it. She knew what I was feeling—she felt it too.
The moment, the song, it was all too real. It brought me back to another time and another place. It was reminiscent of all we once shared together—the sunsets, the slow and tender touches, the mixed tapes we listened to for hours on end. Even the smell of her was the same— that vanilla scent I’d never forget. A lump formed in my throat, and I swallowed it back, wanting to beat myself for wasting so much time. Too many years had passed.
“Do you know how many times I thought about finding you? I went to your parents’ house once. It was right after Bethany died. Your father answered the door. I begged him to tell me where you were, but he said I’d had my shot. He told me you were happy and had moved on with your life.”
She sucked in a sharp breath.
“I never knew.”
“I left the house thinking it was for the best. I was trying to deal with the mess Bethany left behind, my business, and Austin. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind. Years passed and I tried to forget you. It didn’t work. I never should have left you in the first place. I’ve spent my whole life regretting that decision, but you have to know I’m not the same man I was then. I was twenty-two years old with more baggage than I knew how to carry.”
“Shhh…please don’t. I can’t. Don’t ruin this moment by talking about the past.”
We fell silent and moved to the music, her body moving with ease against mine. The song began to come to a close all too soon, and I didn’t want to let her go. When she began to pull away for a second time, I didn’t hold her back. She had a job to do and it was wrong of me to get in her way.
“U2 revived the Joshua Tree tour,” I said offhandedly, trying to break the intensity in the air. “They’re playing FedEx Field. I should see about getting tickets for us.”
“Yeah, maybe,” she said so quietly, I barely heard her over the final guitar riff from the song. She took another step back. “That was two dances, Fitz. I really need to go work on lighting up that flower.”
She stared at me for a beat, her expression unreadable. Then without another word, she turned and walked away.
I must have stood there like a fool for another three minutes at least, stunned by the connection I still had to this woman. I shouldn’t have been surprised. It had always been there, but now it was burning brighter than the sun. I shook my head, forced myself to leave the dance floor, and made my way over to the bar. I needed a fucking drink.
After ordering a Jamison’s neat, I scanned the crowd until I spotted Cadence. I watched her work the crowd for a while, completely in awe of her ability to move efficiently around the expansive ballroom, never lingering too long with one guest before moving on to the next. She was beautiful—the whole package—and not just in appearance. It was her whole persona and the way she presented herself. There was so much goodness in her, and I wondered if she even knew it. I always saw greatness in her, and tonight was proof.
Dakota Willink is a contemporary romance writer and editor, and the author of The Stone Series. She is an associate member of Romance Writers of America and a two-time Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards winner.
Dakota has always had a passion for reading and writing. From the time she was an adolescent, she enjoyed curling up with a good paperback, reading genres that ranged from thriller and fantasy, to mystery and romance. She always dreamed of one day writing her own book, but had put her aspirations on hold to focus on her family and a career that would pay the bills. However, her heart continued to be with fictional characters – whether they belonged to a favorite author or if they were just stories that she made up in her own head.
In 2013, Dakota gathered enough courage to turn her dreams into a reality. In between playing chauffeur to two very busy children and working her job during the day, Dakota began to put words on paper. Eventually, she began to describe her life as a book. Everything she saw or heard throughout the day, intertwined with her imagination for the creation of future writings. By 2014, with the support of her husband and two children, she gave up the security of a steady paycheck and began working on her first novel full time.
Her first novel, Heart of Stone, was published in December of 2015. Less than a year after its release, the Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards recognized Heart of Stone as the 2016 Bronze Medalist in the romance category. In September of 2017, Readers’ Favorite announced Stepping Stone as the Gold Medal winner in the Contemporary Romance category.
Dakota resides in the Western New York area, where she enjoys spending time with family, her two Labrador Retrievers, and her spoiled rotten cat. During the summer months, she can often be found soaking up the sun on the Great Lakes with her family.
Official Website: www.dakotawillink.com
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