Title: Love’s Wall
A Time for Love Series Standalone
Author: Karen Deen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: December 4, 2017
Falling in love can be so easy – but is it always the right thing to happen in your life? Everyone has a history but, for some, that history makes them believe they aren’t worthy of love.
Life sends us the right person at the right time. You just have to be ready to accept them.
When his last relationship ended and shattered his dreams for the future, Zach moved forward carving out a life on his farm. He built a wall around his heart so he’d never be hurt again.
Family is everything for him. Working in the family-owned building company, life was simple and happy. Yet something – or someone – was missing from that life. Zach didn’t know it, but things were about to change. His wall was about to be tested and love was going to challenge everything he has strived to protect. Will it crumble enough for him to accept his one?
Just when you least expect it, there is that one moment that changes everything.
Being a single Mom, every day is a challenge for Emily. Her life has become a series of relentless hurdles. She decided a long time ago that love was on hold until her children were old enough to support themselves.
Life has toughened Emily. She’s created a wall around her little family to protect them – and her heart. Never again would she allow it to be taken and abused by someone else. Pushing hard to survive the latest blow, Zach walks into her life and turns it upside down. Seeing Emily at her lowest, Zach wants to rescue her. Can she let her pride slip enough to allow her wall to crumble and open up to him? If she finally shares her world, will Zach still look at her the same? Should she put it all aside so she doesn’t miss her one?
Can love erase the history that has made their walls so thick and high? Even if they both know they’ve found the one, can they demolish their walls enough to make the leap?
GOODREADS LINK: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36491587-love-s-wall
Heading across the bedroom, steam still swirling around from the shower, I paused. The view of the mountains brought a smile to my face as I stood naked at the window, enjoying the morning in all its glory. The breeze carried the bird’s morning song and the sounds of the cattle in the paddocks through the open window. Nature was busy getting ready for the day. I pulled my clothes on for the office. Part of me wished that I could just jump back into my farm jeans, shirt and boots and head out to the barn to saddle up for a ride. I could use one more day to relax in this tranquil place like I had been for the last two days.
Thinking back on the weekend I could see that, although I loved my life, it was missing something. Or perhaps someone. My life was full. I had an amazing family and a business that made me happy to get up and go to work every morning. My home was my safe-haven, it gave me a place to just be myself with no expectations. It also gave me a place to hide. With all of the things that were right in my life, there was still a part of me that was empty. After letting my mind drift, I knew I needed to get my head around the start of a new week. Jumping in the car, I placed the same call that I made every Monday morning as I drove out of the gate.
“Good morning, Zoe, how was your weekend?” I smiled, waiting for the usual answer.
“Morning, Zach. Let’s just say that several words can describe it. My weekend was fun, crazy, drinking, partying – all of which have led to my head paying the consequences this morning!” Zoe then launched into stories of the weekend and we spent time laughing about her nights out.
As I turned down the entrance to the highway and felt my foot press down on the pedal, my body pushed back into the leather seat that wrapped around my body so well. The buzz of driving a nice car at speed brought a smile that inched up my face.
“So the big question is, Zoe – did you spot your Mr Right out there somewhere?” I let out a little chuckle, hearing Zoe sigh and then laugh. She got ready to joke it off, but I knew deep down under the party girl exterior it was no joke. She was a young lady who would give anything to have a man to love and protect her, to plant her feet on the ground. My gut feeling was that man would be my brother, Luke, but the two of them just hadn’t worked it out yet. The sexual tension between them could light up Times Square, yet they both fought so hard to keep that ‘friend wall’ up. One day something was going to flick that switch and the explosion would be more impressive than the Fourth of July fireworks. I’d just sit back, watch, wait and then say ‘I told you so’ because I knew all along.
“Now Zach, you know as good as I do that there is no good man out there who will pin me down. Living the dream, Zach, living the dream”. I burst out laughing at Zoe’s comment, knowing she was trying to convince herself of that. “Tell your head that this morning, Zoe. Anyway, as much as I hate to hurt that little brain of yours, what’s on the agenda for today? Also, did you get that email I sent you re the plans for Branch Street that need to be at council by 10.00am?”
“Yes, yes,” she sighed. “Already done, you know I am always one step ahead of you!”
Zoe joined our building development company five years ago straight out of secretarial college and had been my assistant from day one. It was a match that could have spelled disaster. She walked in on a day that had me dragging myself up off the couch in my office. I was trying to make the bathroom to throw up the bottle of bourbon I had consumed the night before. Tragically, I stumbled and managed to throw up on her shoes and then lay moaning at her feet.
Our relationship could have gone either way. She could have turned around and walked straight back out, cursing me as she left, never to return. Instead, Zoe just looked down at me and burst out laughing. She proceeded to tell me to take my hungover ass and grovel back to the couch while she changed and cleaned up my mess. She walked over and threw her shoes in the bin, mumbling that she expected two new pairs of shoes to replace the ones which were now laying sadly in the bottom of the bin. It hurt my head to laugh, but I couldn’t help but let out a quiet chuckle. We would get on just fine.
Zoe spent our first day of working together in her gym clothes. Luckily, they were in her car and clean. Me? I was in the singlet and jeans I had on from the night before, minus the shirt. It had a new home in the bin with her shoes!
Zoe had cleaned me up, poured coffee that was as thick as tar down my throat, along with bottle after bottle of water and plenty of pain relief. We managed to get to the end of the day and she never asked what happened. And I never told her. From that day forward, we had been great friends, as well as work colleagues. She knew I would be there to stand up and protect her, no matter what. Zoe would jump in front of anyone trying to take advantage of my soft caring heart. If I was the builder of the wall in front of my heart, Zoe was the guard at the gate. We just clicked that way. Although I already had two sisters, Alesha and Lilly, Zoe had become like my third and I was just as protective of her.
“Ok, so if you are one step ahead of me, what am I doing today, Miss Smarty Pants?” I heard the tapping of her long painted nails on the keyboard as she called up my calendar.
“You will be in the office in approximately thirty minutes. Oh wait – what are you in today, the SUV or the BMW?”
Waiting for the smart answer that would come back, I replied, “The BMW, so you better adjust the time frame.” I pushed the speedo up and got into the fast lane. One of my weaknesses was the love of a fast fancy car. Although I had not indulged myself in the last few years, I still loved my BMW. It may not be the highest priced or the fastest model, but it appealed to me with its style and lines. That was me, I was always looking at how something spoke to me before I acquired it. I had to feel it was meant to be part of my world before I proceeded.
“Ok, you will be in the office in twenty minutes so we can have a coffee and run through this week’s planning. Then you have the family meeting at 12pm for lunch. You will need all your files for that. I’ve put the updates and proposal for the Branch Street property on your desk. Bob Walter is meeting you at 4pm with the legal papers for the eviction notices for Branch Street. Then you have dinner booked at 6pm with your Grandmother at Waters Edge. Your older control-freak brother, Grant, is picking her up at 5.40pm from home. I have the birthday present wrapped and on your desk as you asked. How am I doing so far?”
“Wow! What would I do without you, Wonder Woman?” I grinned as I looked out the window, trying to hold my laughter inside.
“Screwed, I’d say. Now, can I get off the phone so I can get a coffee, otherwise that morning smile you are wishing for will be non-existent.”
As much as I loved Zoe like a sister, you never crossed her before the first coffee in the morning. “Just quickly before you start having a meltdown, I am going past Branch Street before I come to the office. I want to take a few more photos, so don’t worry about my coffee. I will grab one on my travels”
“Ha, like I was getting you one anyway. Bye.” I hung up with a smile, knowing she would have had one on my desk when I walked in the same as she did every other morning. I was such a creature of habit. I also knew I never got to say goodbye because she always liked to have the last say. Typical woman.
Zoe always believed she was one step ahead of me. I loved to humour her, but the truth was, I knew everything she told me this morning because I was a fine-details person. She was my back up and was damn good at it. Her job was very important to her. It kept her out of the mess of a life she’d worked so hard to rise above.
I put my head back on the headrest and searched through music playlists to get my Monday morning going. I loved all sorts of music, but when you are cruising down the freeway with the sun shining, there was nothing better than good ol’ solid eighties rock to sing along to.
The Monday morning drive into the office of our family owned-property development and building company always gave me time to prepare mentally for the week ahead. I loved the challenge of my role – sourcing properties in need of development to increase their value. Or finding those sitting on the market needing to be demolished. My true passion, though, was to restore homes and buildings to their former glory whilst modernising them with the comforts of the twenty-first century. These properties were hard to find and I was very selective of the ones I purchased, due to the cost of restoration in relation to what they would sell for.
Sometimes, though, there was that special property that came along that spoke to me. The costings became less important and the project became about me. That was the case for my home, which I purchased two years ago. It was situated on fifty acres of land, thirty minutes outside of the city. The day I saw the listing pop up in my real estate watchlist, I knew I had to have it.
The first photo I saw was of a two-storey farm house with wide verandas all the way around the house. The front of the house had a beautiful set of stairs that opened out like welcoming arms, just like that first warm embrace of a loved one. The stairs led straight up to solid double doors at the entrance. When opened, they gave the first glimpse of a home full of love and laughter. The problem was that the love and laughter had been sucked out of this home. The previous family had spent ten years battling over the proceeds of the deceased estate of an elderly couple.
I had later found out the previous owners were Tom and Nellie Smithton. They had built this home after marrying seventy-five years ago. The two souls had spent a lifetime devoted to each other and their home. Tom and Nellie were never able to have children, but it never changed the amount of love they’d had to share. Many friends from church had taken their children to spend time on the farm. Nellie enjoyed baking for the children and fussing over them. They became known as Poppy Tom and Nanna Nellie to generations of children who’d loved them dearly.
They passed away within a week of each other, Nellie from a stroke in her sleep and Tom from a broken heart six days later. The farm was left to the church in their will. But, as it happens so often these days, the will was challenged by two great-nieces and a nephew. The nephew challenged to try and stop his greedy twin daughters. They were spoilt little rich girls and never felt that generous wealth was enough. The nephew had always said he would gift back to the church if he was successful. He had disowned his daughters for their terrible behaviour. Needless to say, it dragged on to become a lengthy court battle where the only winners were the lawyers. In the end, the decision was that each would receive part of the estate. The property needed to be sold. That became my lucky day. In my heart, I hoped to bring their property back to being a place that was a treasured home.
When I saw the home listed, I rang the agent straight away. I offered the asking price without any haggling, on the condition that it be pulled from the market immediately and a quick settlement negotiated. I wanted this house more than I had wanted anything in my life. Well, except for the one thing that I would never allow myself to have again. My heart could not take that.
I didn’t tell my family I had even put in an offer on the property until I had already settled the purchase. Grant was pissed, to say the least, because he had not been consulted whether he thought it was a good investment. Ever since my parents had retired, Grant had become the self-appointed head of the family, whether we wanted it or not.
Luke had complained, but only because he had to put up with Grant’s grunting. The silent treatment always happened in the office when Grant believed one of us had stuffed up. Of course, the girls both questioned why I had bought a house so far out of the city – it would be like going to the end of the earth to have to travel that distance every day to civilisation. Apparently, life ceases to exist past the Central Business District of Cashmore! Nobody sold coffee or shoes that were up to the standard of my fashion conscious, latte-sipping sisters. Zoe just raised her eyebrows and gave three reasons why it was a dumb idea – no night clubs, no girls and no life!
I remember the feeling of the grey cloud my family had painted getting heavier over my heart. For once, I felt like I had finally found a place to just be me and make my mark on the world, but they were raining on my parade. It hurt, but I would never let them know that. I did what I had always done for many years – painted a smile on my face. I loved my family with every part of my being and would never hurt them. I had kept a part of me hidden from them, as well as from the rest of the world. I would never again be vulnerable to having my world shattered. Love is amazing and the most comforting emotion, but it could also rip you to shreds. After being on both sides of the wall, I had chosen my side. The side which was comfortable and safe. I had built my wall just that little bit higher, thicker and stronger so it kept me safe and stopped any future intruders from crossing over it.
It hurt to think of my life before then. I had never completely shared with anyone what truly happened, nor would I ever. No matter how much you moved on, pushed it down, stepped on top of it and tried to climb above it, there’d always be a part of it that would pull you down.
Regardless of what my siblings and Zoe had thought, the house was right for me and I would make it my home by bringing back its dignity. Maybe that was what I’d needed to do to help me see value in my own life. To feel like I had dignity again. That was a thought I kept to myself.
When my Mom and Dad came home for a few weeks, in between travelling the country in their motorhome, it was their opinions that mattered the most. My father was the typical all-American, hardworking, self-made, protective alpha male who valued his wife and children above money and power.
My grandfather had died from a heart attack when Dad was ten years old. Dad took on the responsibility of becoming the man of the house and looking after my grandmother. He took it very seriously and, as an only child, Grandmother had no one else to lean on. Dad grew up faster than most kids his age. He was a great man and worked hard to be the best father he could, providing us with all that we needed. He always loved us. We knew we were loved unconditionally. While the love for his children was big, the love in his heart for our Mom was huge. They had that connection of love that made their souls melt into one, their lives intertwined around each other’s hearts to keep them safe.
My mother was the opposite to Dad. Dad was the foundation of our family tree. He was strong and solid and lifted us all up to the sun. My Mom was the softness of the leaves, the beauty of the flowers and the memorable moments of their scent. She was the branches that twisted, curled, intertwined and reached out to protect her family tree. They were the perfect couple that you always heard about. The ones women swooned over in those trashy romance novels, like the ones Zoe read when she thought I wasn’t watching.
I grew up with the perfect family around me. I’d forever be grateful for the love we had and the feeling of always being safe. Many aren’t so lucky to have grown up in such a home. My parent’s life, although it was perfect for them, was one that I had decided was not going to happen for me. While thinking my siblings would all at some stage find that special person to love, cherish and share a life with, it was no longer in my life map. I was resigned to be the uncle who was always there to be fun, protect, guide and love any nieces or nephews that came along. I hoped there’d be plenty, but being a father was no longer an option for me. I always imagined I would make a good dad. I’d visualize it and see a little boy with brown hair and brown eyes like me. Or perhaps a little girl with ringlet curls like my sisters, with big eyes that would suck her Dad in every time.
My family would never know why, but the uncle life was the path for me. They would be the ones to benefit from the love I had to give, without the pain that could come in return when giving out that love. Family was your safe place. Well, it was for me.
When Mom and Dad arrived at the property for the first time, I held my breath. Although I knew I had made the right decision for me, their opinions were so important.
As their truck came slowly down the gravel drive from the front gate, I wondered what they thought of the house at first sight. Did they see it the same way I did? Was I the only one whose heart had skipped a beat on their first trip down the same strip of gravel that they now travelled?
The drive to my home was lined with maple trees that were bare at the time the property became mine. They stood tall, solid and strong, yet sparse as I’d crawled slowly towards the house that memorable day. They looked like they were reaching out to find someone to love the property and, in turn, them.
The truck crawled to a stop in front of the staircase where I stood at the top, looking down. Mom jumped out and raced around the front of Dad’s truck, which was his pride and joy. He always told us, ‘every man needs a truck so they can work hard and provide for their family’. Mom always giggled at that statement, but all of the boys in our family owned trucks, even if we had other vehicles. It was in our blood that every man needed a truck to be as big a man as our Dad. He was our hero.
Mom took the steps at a jog and jumped into my arms with a big tight hug. I wrapped my arms around her and buried my head into the crook of her neck. I took a deep breath and with it, the scent that was my Mom. My safe place. It was the scent that took you back in time to when you scraped your knee and she kissed it better. Or the time you were sick in bed and she sat all night holding your hand while you battled the fever. Mom was always home, no matter what.
I lifted my head up and looked down at her face which, now aged a little with many laugh lines (as she called them), had the loving smile she saved just for her kids. Although she was having a ball travelling with Dad, she missed her kids terribly. And although Dad would never admit it, I think he did too. Mom always said they were travelling now so that by the time grandkids were arriving, they would have that bug out of their system. There was no way in hell she was missing one moment of being a grandparent. God help her grandkids, they were going to be smothered with love! Then again, what more could any child want but to feel the love of a whole family?
Mom was not a short woman, standing at 5’7”. To my 6’2” height, her head sat perfectly under my chin and leant against my heart, taking it all in. When she looked up at me finally, her eyes were damp. There was warmth shining out of them and her smile lit up her whole face. It told me her heart had skipped that beat on the trip down the gravel driveway too.
“So, what do you think, Mom? Does it give a good first impression?” I asked, thinking I already knew the answer. “Oh Zach, it is wonderful! What a precious looking home. It looks just perfect. I can’t wait to see what you do with it. I would love to hear all your ideas for it. Take us on the grand tour and share what your dreams are!” Mom bounced with excitement and talked quickly as she dragged me towards the front door.
“Hang on a minute, woman! Can I get a word in, or at least a hug from my son?” boomed Dad’s deep voice as he climbed from his truck.
“Hey Dad, thanks for coming to check the place out and give me your thoughts”.
“Zach, my boy, good to see you,” he said, giving me the typical Dad man-hug with the compulsory man-slaps on the back. Always three slaps. When we were little, I asked Dad why he always did three slaps on our backs. He laughed and hugged me, his arm around me with his hand on my shoulder blade. He slowly slapped me and said, “This first slap is to let you know I am glad to see you. The second is to let you know that I am always there for you. The last is the most important. It is to remind you that, no matter what happens in your life and no matter where you are, I will always love you.”
I have carried that memory with me every day since. For a man who always appeared to the outside world as the strong alpha male, he also had a soft spot that he only showed to his family. Even now, as grown adults that were out living their lives in the world, we immediately got the hug and three slaps from Dad. Only after Mom had hugged the air out of us first, though!
Dad pulled back from the hug and looked up, casting his eyes over the house. He went quiet and started to wander off around the outside of the veranda, lifting his eyes up and down and taking in the structural elements. As I stood and watched him with anticipation, Mom tapped me on the arm and grabbed my attention. “Come on, Zach. Let him go. You take me inside and show me around this gorgeous new home of yours.” I looked down at the excitement in her eyes and took her by the hand. We turned towards the front door and I lead her into my new world. The one I was creating to live in.
“I have so many ideas, Mom, that I feel like my head is going to explode with the amount of activity that is going on in there. It’s hard to concentrate on work when my mind keeps coming back to here. I want to bring life back to it and show the house as it once was. There is so much beauty in the original architecture and building materials, but it has been left to rot. It’s been neglected for the last ten years, some of the house is past just a paint job. Some of the timber will need to be repaired or replaced to return it to its original state.”
Mom started to run her hand along the walls as we stood in the entry and fell silent while she assessed the sight that played out in front of her. What was she doing rubbing the walls, I wondered? It’s not like she was testing for wood rot or structural soundness, because Mom would never make a builder. After she stood for a minute, she turned to me with a serious look on her face. As she contemplated whatever she was thinking about, the wrinkles on her forehead relaxed and the corners of her mouth began to curve up towards her eyes, bringing out the warm smile.
“Um, Mom – what are you thinking?” She let out a nervous giggle, sighed and looked me straight in the eye. “This house has a great vibe to it. It will make a perfect home for you, Zach, you can feel the love in its walls. It was built to be filled with the love of a family. It will be a special place for you to bring home a bride one day. The two of you will fill it with love and a family of your own. It will be magical for this house to be the home it was built to be by the old couple. There is magic here, Zach, I can feel it.”
My heart stopped beating and my brain froze. How do I break my mother’s heart and tell her that would never happen? There would be laughter and smiles here, but the love of a family would only be here when they came to visit. I stared at her while she continued to talk ten-to-the-dozen, but I didn’t hear a word. Doubts began to creep into my mind. Did I do the right thing buying this property? Was it meant to be a home for some lucky family who would have kids running around screaming, laughing and climbing the trees? A dog chasing at their heels as they rode their push bikes from the house to the front gate and back?
“Zach…..Zach………ZACH!” Mom started waving her arms madly in front of my face. “Where did you zone out to, Zach, this isn’t like you? Are you okay, honey? Did I scare you with all the talk of a bride and kids?” She sniggered to herself. “Don’t worry, plenty of time for that. Let’s get the house fixed up first and then you can go looking for your bride to make it a home.”
Just paint on that smile again, Zach, and it will be okay. Take a breath and just relax. Breath in, then out, in, then out. Every breath in is helping put another layer of bricks between the safe side of the love wall and the other side that I can’t go to.
“Zach, are you okay? You look pale and have lost that excited look you had when we first walked in.”
“Sorry Mom, just got lost in a daydream about the renovations” More like a nightmare, I thought to myself. “How about I show you through the downstairs living areas, then we can take a look upstairs at the bedrooms and bathrooms. What do you say?”
I held my arm out for her to take, and the moment she linked her arm in mine, the calmness of a mother’s love warmed my body. I relaxed into her side as we stepped together down the hallway through to the formal lounge room. This was the room where I had visions of me after a long day at work, sitting back in my leather recliner in front of the open fire. I’d watch the flames dance over the wood as it burned. The warmth would spread through the room, enveloping me and seeping into my body, relaxing my muscles. My body would sag back into the cosiness of the chair and I could lose my thoughts gazing out the large bay window facing the front of the property. I would look towards the surrounding open space of the farm, with the beautiful trees that line the drive and the mountains in the distance. A great way to unwind with a glass of red wine and just contemplate the world.
As we studied the room, I explained my visions in broad terms to Mom. I wanted to keep part of my dream as mine for a while until such time as it was completed or I was ready to share it. Mom loved the room and all that I was going to do to bring it to life. The rest of the tour went much the same as I lead her from room to room until we ventured upstairs.
“Wow, look at the size of this master bedroom, it’s huge! Especially for the era the house was built in. And the views from this window to the river and mountains are spectacular! I can imagine what it would look like at night lying in bed looking out to the stars over the mountains. Zach, you could not have found a more perfect home!”
“Thanks Mom, it means a lot to hear you say that. You know, Grant didn’t talk to me for a week when I told him and Luke that I had bought it.”
I jumped a little as Dad’s voice came from behind us unexpectedly. “Your mother is right, Zach. This is a great buy with plenty of potential to bring it back to its prime. Don’t worry about your brother. He is just sulking because he had to realise you don’t need him to hold your hand. I swear he thinks he is the father of this family, frickin’ control freak!”
Mom nearly choked as she burst out laughing at my Dad. “Gee, Mitch, I wonder where he gets that character trait from?”
“Bite that cute little tongue of yours, Sophia,” he said as he strode across the room and wrapped her up in those big manly arms of his. He leant down and placed a very tender kiss on her lips and whispered, “Or will I have to shut that cheeky little mouth for you?” He winked, making her blush. As much as I love my parents, there were times when I thought, I do not need the vision of you both doing anything else other than kissing and cuddling.
Mom stretched up on her toes to whisper in Dad’s ear as I turned to stare out the window. I didn’t need to share in that private moment.
“Like I said, Zach, the house is structurally sound and I look forward to seeing what you do with it”. As we stood staring out to the farm sprawling before us, Dad asked me what I planned to do with the worker’s cottage.
“I am going to fix it up first to a neat liveable standard, then move in there to live while I work on the house. That way, I can take my time on the house and continue on it at night after work. I won’t have a thirty minute drive home each night after I finish.”
“Sounds like you have it all thought out, son. I am proud of you and know you’ll do a good job.”
“He had a good teacher, Mitch.” My Mom’s pride showed in her eyes as she looked up into my Dad’s.
“She’s right, Dad, you taught us all so well. Not only about building, but how to be a man. I hope I have lived up to that for you.” In my heart, I didn’t think I had. But it didn’t stop me from desperately wanting to hear it from my father.
“As I said, Zach, I am proud of you and who you are. Just as I am of your brothers and sisters. You have all grown into great people. Your mother and I are excited everyday watching you all embrace life.”
“Thanks Dad, it means a lot,” I whispered as I stood trying to process the emotions created by what he’d said.
“Now enough of this mushy crap. What’s a man got to do around here to get a feed and a cold beer?” Laughter echoed off the bare walls and the moment was gone. Another rare glimpse of Dad’s soft side to store in my memory bank.
The day ended with us in the local steakhouse. We chatted over the house plans and heard about their last trip. Dad wanted to get up to speed on where work projects were up to. He might be retired, but always liked to keep his finger in the pie. The day ended with Mom probing me for gossip on my siblings.
We’d made a pact years ago. Mom got the everyday gossip, but anything serious we kept to ourselves so the person involved could share it when they were ready. It worked most of the time until Mom hunted for confirmation that one of us was in need of her help. The thing was, she was usually spot on the money. I guess it was part of a mother’s sixth sense, like when you were younger and she already knew what you’d done wrong.
I would always look back on that day with a smile and the memory of my parent’s love, feeling so at home and safe. As I floated back into the present, I saw the edge of the city and heard the sound of horns above the tail end of Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer”.
Karen Deen has been a lover of romance novels and happily-ever-after stories for as long as she can remember. Reaching a point in her life where she wanted to explore her own dreams, Karen decided now was the time to finally write some of her own stories. For years, all of her characters have been forming story lines in her head, just waiting for the right time to bust free.
In 2016, Karen put pen to paper for the first time, with Zach and Emily being the first characters fighting to have their story written. From that first word, she hasn’t been able to stop. Publishing Love’s Wall (her first novel in the Time to Love Series) in 2017 has ignited her passion to continue writing and bring more of her characters to life.
Karen is married to her loving husband and high school sweetheart. Together, they live the crazy life of parents to three children. She is balancing her life between a career as an accountant by day and writer of romance novels by night. Living in the beautiful coastal town of Kiama, Australia, Karen loves to enjoy time with her family and friends in her beautiful surroundings.
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This is the first book that I’ve read by Noelle Adams and it certainly won’t be the last. I absolutely loved it. In this book we meet a girl called Ashley, she’s madly in love with a guy from her work called John Cooper, sadly John doesn’t know she exists. She meets Sean Doyle, he’s a hot sexy guy, but definitely not your commitment type of guy. They make a deal. They meet every 2nd Wednesday night at a hotel down town. They have no dates. They have no communication between their fortnightly meetings. They make no other commitments. There are no heart or flower. It’s just meeting fortnightly for a night of “passion”. Ash know’s about Sean’s past and why he only has this type of relationship. It suits her fine. She know’s she his second best. Can she ever become his best? What happens when John Cooper finally notices her? How will Ashley react? How will Sean react? Will second best be best after all? This was a lovely story with a few suprising events.
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Wow just wow, this book was amazing. I’ve only discovered Maya Hughes in the past month or so and her books have now become an automatic oneclick for me. In this book we meet Melanie, she’s had a tough life, she works as a waitress in a café, she rents a room with one of her friends but has problems with the friends boyfriend who often stays. Rhys Thayer, he’s a Billionaire , after being widowed his beautiful little girl Esme is his life. He… would do anything for her. Sadly Esme hasn’t spoken to anyone but her Dad since her mothers death. Esme goes missing and Rhys is oh so close to losing it. Melanie is having a bad day, one of her customers runs out without paying and that means she has to cover the bill, so she runs off after him only to fall over an hurt herself. She makes her way back to work, via the atm where she tries to take money out of her account to pay the bill only to find her account empty. Esme find Melanie at the bank and offer’s her her handkerchief as she can see she’s hurt. Melanie wonders where this little girl has come from, she looks around and can’t find any parents looking for her so decides the best thing to do is take Esme back to the café with her and hope she can find her parents. Mel gives her the best hot chocolate. Rhys is relieved when Esma turns up safe and sound with a cute and sexy little waitress and is about to give her a reward for finding his daughter when Esme speaks to Mel. Rhy is totally shocked. It may have only been a simple “thank you” but it was words and she had spoken them to someone else. Rhys decides to offer Mel a job as nanny to Esme. There are sparks between these two but Rhys knows that Melanie is off limits – she’s there for his daughter and not him. There are twists and turns and several surprising events in this story. I absolutely loved it.
PURCHASE LINKS – 99c for a limited time
Free in Kindle Unlimited
All He Wants This Christmas
by Claire Woods
I love this time of year as it’s when we start to get the Christmas stories. This was a really lovely story that I thoroughly enjoyed. We meet Kate Gilletti, she’s a single mum who has her hands full from everything she does. We also meet Gianni, he’s a single dad and as hot as hell. Kids love him….. Women want him….. what happens when Gianni and Kate meet? She doesn’t have time to fall in love with the town hunk, he might be on every other single womens Christmas list but he isn’t on hers. This is a fun, light and sexy Christmas story with a few surprising events.
PURCHASE LINKS – 99c for a limited time
Free in Kindle Unlimited
Fortune (Not Like the Moves Book 2)
by Lauren K. McKellar
Although this book is part of the Not Like the Movies Series it can be read as a stand alone. This book follows the story of Grace Storey, who we previously met in the Ms McKellar’s book The Vine. Grace can’t wait to leave the family winery and escape the small town for the big city where she expecting to find work, better cell phone service and her Prince Charming. The guy she fell in love with at high school turned out to be a psychopath and the only other guy in town being Creepy Keith, her options are very limited. Enter Darcy Fortune, he’s your typical bad boy rocker and has 3 things on his mind, Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll. That’s how he lives, it’s his way to protect himself from pain, which he has previously experienced. The last thing Grace needs in her life is a bad boy rocker. The last thing Darcy needs is a sassy journalist. Sparks fly when these two meet. How will they both handle it??? Will Grace be able to break through the tough exterior of Darcy??? Will Darcy be able to show Grace he isn’t as bad as his reputation???? This was a fantastic book that I thoroughly enjoyed. Twists and turns that I didn’t expect made it even more enjoyable. It was also great to get to visit old friends from previous books of Ms Mc Keller.
Passion on the Pitch
By Maya Hughes
This is one of the first books by Maya Hughes that I’ve read and I absolutely loved it. I couldn’t get enough and have since read 3 other books of hers. In this book we meet Jess Montgomery, she works as an Actuary and all about following the rules. She heads out one night to meet her friends at a bar and because of other reasons they don’t show up. After an ultacation at the bar, where she stands up for someone she meets a green eyed Irishman who literally blows her mind. Aedan O’Connell is an Irishman, he’s a football (soccer) star and has come to American for a break during the off season. He’s sick and tired of people treating special because of who he is, he never knows if someone is interested in him as a person or him because of what he does. When he spots Jess in the bar he is totally smitten. After chatting for a while they share one night of passion. He’s only in America for a couple of weeks and Jess decides why not spend some time with him.
Jess has no idea who he is????? What happens when she finds out????? Can he convince her to keep their romance alive when he heads back home????? This was a great story with lots of twists and turns. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend it…… It can be read as a standalone.