On the outside, Huntley Morgan is your typical girl-next-door, with her long blonde hair and piercing blue eyes, and that’s exactly what she wants people to see. Her name exposes her to the demons of her past but remembering her reason for moving across the country to start over is what keeps her alive. For the first time since the brutal murder of her mother, Huntley allows herself to care about the people around her.
Grayson Carter has everything a 21yr old College Senior could wish for – he’s the star of Whitley University’s football team, he has a different girl willing to be in his bed every night and a supportive family. For years he has managed keep his family together and hide their dark secrets from the small town of Breckinridge, Alabama.
When Huntley and Grayson meet, a force so strong pulls them together in a hurricane of feelings neither of them could have ever anticipated. Huntley and Grayson try to stay away from each other, but when Huntley’s demons seek her out, their pasts become the biggest storm of all.
Will they learn to trust each other and build a new future together or will they simply do nothing to prevent history from repeating itself?
“You’re not what I was expecting,” Huntley says shifting in her seat to face me. The comment is blunt and completely unexpected, pulling me straight out of my dippy thoughts.
“Oh yeah?” I quip sarcastically, “Why’s that?”
I’m dying to know what people have told her about me. Probably about what a play boy I am or how I party too much or maybe how I have a new girl on my arm every night. Stupid rumors piss me off so much I’ve never really wasted any time negating them. But I wish I had, just so that Huntley won’t have any reason to believe them.
“I’ve heard things,” she doesn’t look me in the eye and I hate it. Clearly she’s already made up her mind about me. I hate that too.
“I’m sure you have,” I growl, shaking my head. My tone is less kind than I intend but it makes me furious to know that someone has taken the time to deprecate Huntley’s opinion of me before she’s had the chance to even know me. I guess this is all part of keeping secrets and why I refuse to get attached to anyone.
I jump out my truck and slam my door, pulling my fingers through my hair while I take in the warm air. I hear the passenger door close but I don’t look back at Huntley, afraid I’ll snap at her for shit other people have said. I squelch the urge to yell and release my frustration the way a toddler would.
“I’m sorry.” Her voice is soft and tiny. I snap my head back and frown. Before she can look up, I walk the few steps between us and cage her in against my truck. She looks scared, like I might hurt her, but when her eyes find mine I see nothing but warmth and benevolence in their boundless sapphire-colored depths.
In that moment I feel naked, like she can see my soul stripped bare of its impurities and imperfections. I don’t like that it makes me feel vulnerable and completely exposed to the derision I know will follow when she sees the ugly secrets that keep me awake night after night.
I take the chance to inhale her scent. Leaning in a little closer, I drag my nose along her shoulder, getting as close as possible without touching her. The edges of my mouth turn up, forming a smile, when I find that I’m right. She does smell like strawberries. And vanilla. It’s a heady combination that I’m going to become addicted to very quickly.
“I won’t hurt you,” I whisper, “But I think it’s best if we stay away from each other.”
Hurt flickers across her features and it’s like a punch to the stomach. “What made you think I was interested Grayson?” she bites back. She has a fire inside her. I see it. I feel it. And it’s sexy.
“Oh, I know you are,” I know it’s arrogant but I’m hoping my cocky attitude will repulse her enough to make her stay away.
A car pulls up to the curb, making us both shift apart. I cringe when my body immediately misses the heat that radiated off of her in waves.
Her back straightens and she squares her shoulders, pushing off my truck. “Goodbye Grayson.” Her back turns to me and I watch her get into Demi’s red Lexus and drive away. I should’ve kept my mouth shut until Demi got here. That would’ve been the smart thing to do.
Review by Venture
Huntley is moving away from her past to go to college where her aunt and uncle live. She is making a fresh start and has her future planned out. She has no plans to make friends much less have any dating plans. She is perfectly content with spending time with her family and going to school. Huntley might have left her past behind but still is broken. She meets Grayson and his reputation before that. He may be gorgeous and she might want him but she knows she needs to stay far away from him.
Grayson sees Huntley for the first time and knows she is going to be trouble for him. He decides he better stay as far away from her as possible. He doesn’t do relationships. He does warm bodies that make the night go a little better and sex that scratches an itch. Yet he can’t seem to take his eyes off of Huntley. He finds her beautiful. The fact his family and hers are friends just makes it a little more difficult to stay away. But, he refuses to get close to her. She is the first female in a long time that he wants to tell his sad story to and that is not going to happen.
Huntley’s past might crash into her future. Will the friendships she makes and the boy she likes be the difference of having a happy future or no future at all? Only if Huntley can find the strength in herself to share and move on from her past. Will two broken people be able to fix each other or will they break each other more?
I found this story absolutely captivating. The author sucks you right into the story and you sympathize with both Grayson and Huntley. When I read that this was the author’s first book I was doubly astounded. I find this book to be one of the best books I have read this year. I have already read it half a dozen times. I already put it in my favorites as a book I read to go to sleep with. Huntley and Grayson are characters that are not easily forgotten. The things they have had happen to them aren’t forgotten and over. That is why I like this story. The past isn’t pretty and a magic wand doesn’t make it all go away. Both characters are far from perfect. They just are perfect together. I give this book 5 books and a huge thank you to the author for such a fabulous story!!!!
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- God Bless The Broken Road – Rascal Flatts
- Wanted – Hunter Hayes
About the Author
Tamsyn is a 21 year old blogger turned author from South Africa who has an insatiable hunger for New Adult Contemporary Romance novels, coffee and chocolate. When she’s not getting caught up in yet another steamy romance with a new book boyfriend, she can be found spending endless hours working away on her laptop in pursuit of her Marketing degree and a career in book Publishing. Tamsyn is a Brat when it comes to books and believes that every story, no matter how challenging, should have a Happy Ever After. Tamsyn is currently hard at work on her debut novel Beneath Your Beautiful, set to be available July 2013.
Cover Models: Lexie Lynn Cain & Carson Fields