G I V E A W A Y E N D E D
@XpressoTours Blog Tours – June 12th to June 16th
Blitz-wide giveaway (INT), 18+ – Open until June 21, 2023
For readers of Elsie Silver, Laura Pavlov and Catherine Cowles, fall head over heels for this binge-worthy read of two hearts who have always been destined to come together…even after twelve years of being apart.
We were both orphans.
While Johnny Moore was the product of alcohol and bad decisions, he never let his family define him. And me? Well, let’s just say that my mother’s unwanted pregnancy almost destroyed her family name and leaving me behind was the best decision she ever made.
Johnny and I made a pact all those years ago—never leave. Two simple words that always gave me hope. Something solid to lean on when things got tough.
But I guess promises are meant to be broken. The memory of Johnny walking away on his eighteenth birthday will forever be burned into my heart like a brand.
Ten years of forgetting him. Ten long years of forging my own path and trying to make my dreams come true…without him.
Nothing could have prepared me for the series of events that brought me back to Pebble Brook Falls and face-to-face with Johnny Moore. The very man I wanted nothing more than to forget…forever.
And nothing could have prepared me for the man that was the embodiment of my weaknesses. With his towering height, southern accent, and a smile that made me weak in the knees, I was completely helpless against him.
He had been my first for everything, and I mean everything. And even though I knew he was the only person who could break my heart, the moment I laid my eyes on him after ten years, I knew I wanted him to be my last—my forever.
The only question was, would he even want me to stay?
Johnny’s hand cradled the back of my head as he brought his mouth to my ear. “Every moment we’ve been apart, there hasn’t been a single second when my thoughts weren’t of you. How your blonde strands feel like silk against my fingers. The way your blue eyes remind me of sweet summer days filled with your laughter. And how your cute button nose crinkles when you’re frustrated or thinking too hard about something. But most of all”—his thumb grazed the bottom edge of my lip, tugging it down slightly and I swore an entire field of butterflies flew came to life in my stomach—“I missed these pretty pink lips and how they taste like honey pulled straight from the hive.”
I closed my eyes as his hand slid up to cup the side of my cheek and a quiet moan escaped from my lips.
When I opened my eyes again, I said, “Coming back to our home made me realize that there is no place I’d rather be because this is where you are, Johnny. I’m not staying for a few more weeks just to see what might come of this thing with my mother’s journal. I’m staying forever to see if I might have a chance of you loving me again.”
A raspy chuckle and then, “Darlin’, haven’t you been listening to a word I’ve said? Since the first time I held your hand in the garden behind the orphanage, and probably even before then, every breath in my lungs, every beat in my heart has been for you. I love you, Willow Mae. Nothing has and nothing ever will change that.”
And then he kissed me. Slow. Tender. With such agonizing gentleness, it brought tears to my eyes because this was what I had held onto for twelve long years of his absence. The song his heart sang to mine when he was near—and even when he was far, far away.
When he stopped walking I turned to face him. He took a step into my space, crowding my senses in a way that made it impossible to think. The world stopped moving as he brought his palm to my cheek, stroking my skin with his thumb.
“You’re so beautiful when you blush. I’ve always loved how your cheeks turn pink like an early morning sunrise made just for me. ” His voice was raspy. I leaned into his touch, closing my eyes so I could savor every single second.
I heard his breathing increase and it was a song that matched my heartbeat. One that we had danced to countless times before when the only thing that mattered was being together and the promise that was shared when our bodies became one.
My eyes fluttered open and I saw the pain of our past etched into his irises. And something more—weariness, perhaps of what the world had almost turned him into. Fatigue from the burden he carried of being the product of such damaged souls. And the weight of witnessing the underbelly of the world while fighting in a war.
It was all there, laid bare for me to see—like he needed me to see it. All I wanted to tell him was that I’d been here. This entire time, waiting for him to let me in again. Confused at how we had been each other’s everything, only for him to walk away, deciding to do it all alone.
Why, I wanted to scream. Why leave me? Leave us?
My chest tightened with such brutal force, I could hardly breathe. I took a step back, his hand dropping from my face. Everything he’d revealed in that one look was gone in an instant. Locked—once again—behind a door that I didn’t have a key to.
I grasped his large hand in mine and brought it to my lips, pressing gentle kisses to each of his knuckles. He watched me with hooded eyes that tracked my every movement. The air was thick between us. Tension buzzed and I thought he might pull me down to kiss him again as his lips parted.
But instead, he said, “I’ve missed this so much.”
I knew what he meant because I felt it too, but I still wanted him to say it out loud. “What did you miss?”
The tilt of his lips revealed his dimple, nestled deep against the edge of his mouth. Even after all these years, he still knew me so well.
“I’ve missed you, Lo. I’ve missed the way the moonlight turns your blonde hair silver. How your tiny button nose scrunches when you’re frustrated. And the way your blue eyes light up every time you see a furry animal.” His gaze dipped to my mouth, an intense smoldering burned in his irises. “And the way you always taste of sweet nectar when you open up for me.”
The pad of his thumb scorched me as he slid it over my bottom lip. When he pulled down slightly, the hunger I felt for him intensified. When we made love for the first time, it was tender and innocent. Neither one of us had a clue of what to do. And though neither one of us had been with anyone else, I still knew things would be different if we crossed that line now. Johnny was no longer a gangly teenager. He was a man in every sense of the word. And I wanted to see just what those twelve years of experience could do.
Brianna Remus is a Florida-based author who lives with her husband, three pups, and terrorizing cat. She started her writing journey in 2016 to ward off the woes of graduate school. The light-hearted hobby quickly turned into a passion filled dream that consistently distracts her from the real world.
When Brianna isn’t working as a psychology resident or writing books, you can find her getting lost in the worlds created by others (through writing and movies), spending a day at the ocean, or taking a walk in the forest. She loves to spend her days outdoors surrounded by the beauties of nature.
A true Tolkien nerd, she also spends a lot of her time immersed in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, as well as praying that Amazon doesn’t completely f*** up the new LOTR series.