Evan Downey buried a part of his soul when put the love of his life in the ground. He knows he needs to get his shit together for the sake of their son, but escaping into his art is the only way he can begin to cope with Rae's death. When the chance to move back to Evergreen Cove, one of the few places that has ever felt right to him, he knows it's a chance he has to take. For his sake, and his sons. Charlotte Harris would give anything to have her best friend back. But if she can't have Rae, then she vows she'll at least be there to support the family Rae left behind. So when she learns that Evan is looking to move home, she does everything she can to help him and Lyon re-build their lives at the Cove. But when sparks start to fly between Charlotte and Evan it's the first glimpse of something bright and beautiful either of them has seen in far too long. And they start to wonder if fate has offered them a second chance at happiness-- if only their brave enough to take the risk and let love back into their lives.
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She wrenched her eyes from his and focused on a spot over his shoulder.
“Because you didn’t want to live in Columbus anymore.” That’s what he’d told her. That he wanted a change. That he and Lyon had outgrown the house. And, she imagined it’d be hard to live in the house where Rae had passed.
“But why here?”
His fingers grazed her jaw and turned her head, his palm moving to her neck where he cupped her nape and forced her eyes to his.
Reluctantly, she met them.
“Rae’s more alive when you’re around, Ace.”
Her heart, oh her heart. Kicking against her chest in a confusing, hectic rhythm.
“You bring her to life for Lyon—more than anyone else. I need him to remember her because he can’t remember her alive.” His hold stayed, his palm warming her neck, his gaze unwavering.
She tried to separate the two feelings she was having—one that she was now talking about Rae with Evan and two, that he was touching her while talking about Rae.
Before she could, his lips closed over hers.
Her thoughts short-circuited.
This wasn’t anything like a soft peck hello. This was his lips moving over hers, slanting over hers, warm and firm and then his mouth opened and--
Oh my gosh!
His wet, warm tongue slid along the seam of her lips and she stopped being passive and started kissing him back. When she would have touched her tongue to his, he relocated it, running along her bottom lip instead and tugging with his teeth.
If she’d been standing, her knees would have given out and dropped her right on her butt.
And then there was the palm on her neck, now spearing up through her hair and clutching onto a handful of it. He held her captive, his hand fisting her hair as he angled his mouth again. In response to the soft whimper escaping her throat, he swept his tongue into her mouth. He tangled his tongue with hers once, twice, and released her.
When he pulled his mouth away, a long, satisfied sigh escaped her lips. Because that was a kiss. A kiss to rival all other kisses.
She opened her eyes to realize A) she’d closed her eyes and B) she’d at some point wrapped both hands around his forearms where she was holding tight and C) Evan looked as please as she felt.
“God damn, Ace. Your mouth.” His eyes flicked to her lips. Lips still tingling from the rough scrape from the stubble surrounding his.
She concurred with that sentiment. Not that she said anything. She’d gone dumb; completely mute.
He backed away, but held onto her chin and tweaked it lightly with the rough pad of one thumb. “That’s the way this is gonna go from now on.”
Her breathing went shallow, her thoughts went muzzy and her head blurred as her heart palpated to the point of panic attack.
She didn’t mean to say it, and it had only been a whisper, but by the look twisting Evan’s face—the angry look twisting his face—he’d heard. And he hadn’t liked what he’d heard.
“Sorry,” she said to him this time. “I should go.”
Unbelievably, he leaned closer. She pulled her chin back until she realized she likely had a double chin, then settled her head on her neck in a more reasonable position.
Gosh. He was making her crazy.