This time when he kissed her, she didn’t run. She learned what it meant to kiss someone. His lips were soft as flower petals, moving gently over hers, back and forth across her mouth. He kissed her full on the mouth, then her cheeks, her eyelids, her forehead, and finally the top of her head. It wasn’t sexual at all, it was affection, or at least she assumed that was what it was. The entire experience was like a dream, one she hadn’t yet had until now.
“Lettie.” His voice was ragged, full of the same ancient pain that pervaded her soul. His breath was hot on her hair, his heart thumping steadily against hers. His scent was intense, filling her. He was so alive, so much so she became overwhelmed by him, by this.
This little bit of what she could never have was over. It had to be, because Lettie was too damaged inside and out for anything else. She managed to find her voice. “I can’t be who you need.”
His chuckle was rusty. “I don’t know what I need, honey, but I’m sure I can’t be who you need either.”
It was a simple word, one she heard all the time from one person to another. No one in her life had ever called her honey, or darling, or sweetheart, or anything other than her name, or something worse. In his voice, she heard affection, the one thing that could be so dangerous to both of them.
Up close, she saw his eyes were not simply the color of ashes. They were a swirling mix of grays, full of an aching loneliness she recognized too well.
He kissed her once more, so lightly she almost didn’t feel it. “You make me want to be a man again.”
Lettie didn’t want that responsibility, and she wasn’t woman enough for any man, that was for sure. Yet his words touched her heart, like he’d reached in and plucked a string that vibrated through her. She made him want to be better. She did that. Lettie Brown, a woman who didn’t know the first thing about being female.
“You are a foolish man.” She couldn’t help but be honest, seeing as how they were touching chest to thighs, closer than ticks on a dog’s ass.
“You won’t meet another man more foolish than me.” He cupped her face, his thumbs wiping away traces of tears. “Don’t cry, Lettie.”
She’s learning to live. He’s forgotten how. Love will be their teacher.
Lettie Brown has lived in the shadow of violence. After escaping her brutal past, she’s finally at home in Forestville, Wyoming, where she would live a normal life—if she knew how. She’s content working at The Blue Plate and printing the town newspaper, if not happy. Then a stranger stumbles into her world and turns everything upside down.
Shane Murphy is a shell of a man, destroyed by the aftermath of the war, his personal tragedies and a penchant for cheap whiskey. When he lands, literally, on Lettie’s feet, his future takes a hard right turn.
As they fumble through a relationship that should not have been, a deep love takes root, one that cannot be denied. Together they discover a bond as unbreakable as steel and as undeniable as life itself—until the past rears its ugly head and threatens the happiness they’ve found in each other.
Available May 29, 2012