FIVE WOMEN. ONE NIGHT. ONE YEAR TO GET IT RIGHT.
A Real Man
by Jackie Leigh Allen
Stifled by her previous marriage, widowed Melissa swears to find herself a real man—but Matt finds her instead, rescuing her from a car wreck and proving that the years since high school have only made him more desirable.
A crash resounded; Melissa’s chest hit the steering wheel, the air bag deployed with a bang then black silence.
A moment later, or so it seemed, a siren howled in the night. She opened her eyes and lifted her head.
Her neck ached, her head pounded, slivers of steel pierced her eyes. A rap on her window. A man in uniform crouched beside her window for an instant then opened the door.
“Can you hear me?” a deep voice asked. A voice that twanged a chord inside her despite her various aches and pains.
Good. She pleased the sensuous voice. Good.
“I’m going to touch you.”
Warm fingers smoothed over her forehead, down her cheeks, behind the base of her skull.
“Does any of this hurt?”
His touch? No! Oh, he meant her head.
“My head. My neck. My eyes. All of them.”
“Anywhere else?” His long fingers moved over her shoulders, along her arms, around her hips and down her legs.
“Feels good.” Damn. She’d said that out loud.
“I’d better check your head again.”
He pulled off her ski hat and gasped. “Melissa Martin?”
The question in his suddenly familiar voice blasted her eyelids up. In the dim light she saw a man with a dark beard around a sensual mouth. Her gaze moved up past a scar on his cheek to dark, concerned eyes then back to the scar she’d kissed a hundred times a lifetime ago. “Matt Conroy?”
This the second book of The New Year’s Eve Club featuring Melissa, a widower that isn’t crying too hard over the loss of her husband. Yes, no spoiler here if you have read Loving Mick. 🙂 I suggest that you do. These stories are connected but you do not have to read them in order to understand them.
Hmmmm, I’m not sure where to start with Matt and Melissa. Overall, I truly enjoyed the story but it seemed to be missing something. I expected a huge black moment in their relationship and I didn’t get it. The writer in me was coming out and that is so annoying. And then it hit me over the head, slapped me upside my head…the black moment or conflict was there the whole time. Duh!!!! Good lord, I can be dense. Subtlety, not hit over the head, neon sign pointing to the black moment in the book.
Once, I realized that, my entire thoughts about the book changed. This is a perfect second chance story. Matt and Melissa dated in high school and broke up when Matt landed his football scholarship out-of-state. Crushed Melissa married the next man in her life and she was miserable. It wasn’t until she met Matt again that she realized that she still had feelings for him. *sigh* I love stories like this. One problem, Melissa had The List and she needed to be sure that Matt measured up to The List.
The dates that he took her on, the subtle things that he did for her, the food that they ate, all reminded her of the past but at the same time, things were being checked off The List. I really felt for Matt at times. Not realizing that he was somewhat being tested by Melissa, he just kept on surprising her in the way that he was now, not back in high school. Melissa kept seeing Matt has he was in high school and kept her walls up.
Again, the story of Matt and Melissa is subtle. It sneaks up on you and draws you in without you even knowing it. I love it! Of course, its in San Diego and I felt like I was there all over again. 🙂 Watching Matt and Melissa realize that the past can be recreated but this time its better and more emotional satisfying.
Jackie Leigh Allen enjoys writing and is delighted to be published. A Real Man is the second of five novellas from Boroughs Publishing Group. The New Year’s Eve Club features five friends looking for the right man with a New Year’s Eve deadline to find him. My short story, FIRST IMPRESSIONS, was released as part of the Lunchbox Romance line.
- Website www.jackieleighallen.com