When Manhattan chef, Jake Maxwell, walks into the Rock Bottom Bar and Grill, he’s hit with an overwhelming sense of belonging. It’s not the place that feels like home, but rather, the bombshell behind the bar armed with a quick wit and a fresh sharpie.
Ashlynn Hicks is fighting to keep a roof over her family’s head, even though her father’s addictions threaten to tear it all down. She knows better than to fall for the city boy’s charm, but something in his eyes provokes a dangerous feeling of hope.
Hope isn’t real, not for girls like her. It’s fleeting and leads to nothing except disappointment and heartache. Still, the pair is drawn together despite the ghosts of their pasts threatening to tear them apart or the devastation that leaves them staring down the barrel of a gun.
When shots are fired, they find out that while separate, they may be broken; together, they are bulletproof.
“I want more, but…baby steps.”
“Could’ve fooled me,” she muttered, still shredding blades of grass between her fingernails.
I frowned. “What does that mean?”
She shot me a heated glare and pushed to her feet. “You weren’t all that interested this morning.” Her voice was low as she brushed herself off.
I reached for her arm, and she snatched it from my grip. “What are you talking about?”
She shook her head. “It’s fine. Don’t worry about me. I’m fine.”
When she turned to walk away, I reached for her elbow, tugging her against my chest and crashed my lips to hers. She stiffened as fire ignited from all the places where her body was pressed against mine. Slowly, she began to relax beneath my touch, and her lips began to move. I pulled her closer, my hand spreading wide against her back as her body went almost limp in my arms.
I threaded my fingers through her hair and tilted her head back to give me better access to that mouth I’d been dreaming of since the moment I’d laid eyes on her. She gasped against my lips and tightened her arms around my neck. I pushed my tongue past her parted lips, deepening the kiss. She tasted of whiskey and salt. I kissed her harder, wanting nothing more than to wash away the pain and sadness that lived behind those incredible eyes. I wanted to take it from her, to see that pain melt away.
I broke the kiss, but not my hold on her. “Does that feel not interested to you?”
Samatha “Sam” Harris lives near Baltimore, Maryland with her husband David and daughter Ava. Born in Florida, she migrated north which most people agree was a little backwards. She has been an artist all of her life, a Tattoo Artist for more than ten years, and a storyteller since she was a kid.
Sam has a slightly unhealthy love for Frank Sinatra, classic movies, and Jazz and Blues music, but her first love will always be reading. From Romance, to Thrillers, to Historical Fiction and everything in between, she loves to become a part of the story. As a writer she tells the stories that she would want to read.