He'd always managed to best her…
Jodi Chapman will do whatever it takes to get top care for her autistic son. If that means going home and convincing local farmers to sell their land, so be it. Even if her biggest opponent, childhood rival Daniel Gleason, is equally determined to convince farmers to buy into his co-op plan. And he's not playing fair.
Facing off against Daniel is the last thing Jodi wants. The attraction that's always fueled their competitiveness is as strong as ever and just as distracting. But with both their futures on the line, and years of distrust between them, how can they ever be on the same side?
He tucked a curl behind her ear and the feel of his touch made her shiver. It was so quiet, she could hear every breath he took, felt it vibrate through him in the cramped bottom of the boat.
“Let’s enjoy every moment together until it’s our last.”
“But that moment isn’t today,” she said, so grateful that he’d agreed. She wanted to be with him until she couldn’t. It was that simple.
His hand smoothed the length of her hair as he gazed into her eyes, his expression tender and full of longing. “No. It’s not.” The words sounded so reverent they could have been a prayer.
His fingers trailed down her cheek to her lips, outlining the shape of her mouth. He bent down, his lips against her cheek, brushing it lightly. Shivers ran through her whole body, making her tremble. He brushed his mouth against the hollow of her temple then traced the line of her jawbone.
The aching anticipation for his kiss was suddenly too much and she reached up and pulled his mouth to hers. He kissed her gently, carefully, but it wasn’t gentleness she wanted, not when time was fleeting. She knotted her fists in his shirt, and pulled him closer. He groaned softly, low in his throat, and then his arms circled her, gathering her against him as the boat rocked beneath them. The small possibility of falling into the water vanished as soon as it occurred to her.
All that existed was Daniel. She could feel his warmth burning through his clothes and hers. She ran her fingers along his arm—soft skin over lean muscle, a scar like a thin wire on his biceps. It was an imperfection that made him seem even more perfect. He fumbled as he pushed her heavy hair aside to kiss her ear. She didn’t think she’d ever seen his hands unsteady before.
She trailed her nose across his jaw, inhaling the clean smell of summer countryside, of him. He released a pent-up breath, the sound like music. Her pulse tapped a fast beat and her breath quickened with it. She stroked his cheek and kissed every inch of his neck until he moaned again. Or maybe she’d made the sound; they seemed to share each breath, each heartbeat. It felt as if the universe disappeared and all that remained was the two of them, holding each other close.
“I forgot it was like this,” she said when Daniel pulled back and looked down at her. It seemed as if the stars hurtled down around her head like a rain of silver tinsel.
“It wasn’t.” He kissed her nose, then traced the line of her cheek with his fingertip, a dreamlike intensity in his gaze. “This is better.”
And she never wanted it to end. She felt feverishly alive, every nerve ending jangling as they watched the sky, enjoying the private moment.
“I agree,” she sighed, nestling against his side. “I wish we could stay like this forever.” When he toyed with her earlobe, she tried, unsuccessfully, to settle her heart back in her body. She watched the stars shimmer above and it also felt as though they were celebrating.
“Me, too,” he said softly in her ear. He captured her lips in a kiss so fierce and full of longing that it felt like a love song.
* ARC received in return for an honest review
His Hometown Girl by Karen Rock is a sweet and gentle story of realising that old, and very true, saying...'home is where the heart is.' I fell in love with all of the characters, especially Tyler!
Jodi Chapman is a single mother who only wants the best care she can get for her young autistic son, Tyler. But the specialised care Tyler needs is way above Jodi's financial means, until she is given the chance (and a huge bonus)to return to her old home town and persuade the local farmers to sell their land to the agricultural company she works for.
Daniel Gleason is a farmer in Cedar Bay and Jodi's rival. He is trying to convince his friends and neighbours to buy his idea of a co-op.
Jodi and Daniel have a history going back to their school days, they've always tried to get the better of one each other, one way or another. They had a brief relationship until Daniel hurt Jodi and she left Cedar Bay, not returning until now...but the attraction and chemistry is still there.
Jodi has a plan. Buy as much land as possible, go back home to Chicago and enroll Tyler into the school he needs. Sounds simple right? But Jodi doesn't realise how deep their feelings for each other really go or how much she will actually miss him when she eventually leaves.
I really felt for Jodi. She felt she wasn't the best mother for Tyler as she couldn't get him to communicate like he did before his father cruelly left them. She was concentrating so hard in trying to secure enough sales to ensure Tyler would get the best support he deserved and needed that she didn't realise she was what he needed. Tyler may not have been communicating verbally the way she felt he should but he still was communicating, it just took someone else to come along and make her realise it.
I loved Daniel, the way he put others before himself, the way he accepted Tyler for who he was and didn't judge him. Daniel put his career on hold, permanently, to help his father on the farm and look after his sister when their mother left ten years previously.
Oh, my heart melted for Tyler, with his eyeglasses attached to his head by a head band, his love for his soft toy elephant, Ollie and his own way of communicating...I wanted to wrap my arms around, give him a huge cuddle and smother him in kisses, he's sooo adorable!!!
I have to admit I did have a few tears and high-fived Jodi when she faced a few less than friendly members of the public, but I won't tell you why. You'll have to go read the book and find out yourself.
His Hometown Girl is a wonderful heart warming story, one I definitely recommend you read. In fact, I'd recommend any of Karen Rock's books, she is fast becoming an author whose books I won't pass up the chance to read!
Andrea gives this a rating of...
For more information about Karen's upcoming books, check out her website at http://www.karenrock.com, Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/karenrockwrites or follow her on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/karenrock5 . She’d love to hear from you!
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