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Phoebe needs a second chance at life.
In the aftermath of the devastation from her failed marriage, Phoebe returns to her old stomping grounds to open her own bed and breakfast. Starting over is the bravest thing she’s ever done – or so she thinks. But opening her front door to find a blast from her past on her front porch changes all that. The teenager she’d once known has become a jaw-dropping, dominant man in his prime.
He wasn’t looking for a relationship until she blazed back into his life.
Graham runs his own construction business, remodeling homes, and building brand new ones. When his buddy gives him a lead on a new project, he never expects to run into Phoebe, the woman he shared a single kiss with eons ago. Nor is he prepared for the Dominant in him to stake his claim before the end of their first meeting. He wanted her in high school but there had been too wide a gulf separating them. Now, Graham will stop at nothing until he makes her his. But there are larger forces at work, attempting to tear them apart.
When everything Phoebe holds dear becomes a target, Graham will risk it all for the one woman he knows he can never live without.
Publisher’s Note: This steamy second chance romance contains elements of power exchange. While it is the second in the Crescent City Kings series, it can be enjoyed independently.
Read an Excerpt
“Graham? Graham Layton, is that really you? You’re the contractor Dante recommended?” Joy filtered into her voice as she stared at the blast from her past. It had been almost nineteen years since the night of the winter formal in high school. The night she had always considered one of the best of her life.
Surprise filtered over his handsome features. A grin split his face wide and his thick, dark chestnut brows rose to nearly beneath his hairline, almost touching the Rayban sunglasses shoved on top of his head. There were tiny laugh lines around his eyes that crinkled.
“Phoebe, as I live and breathe. Well, aren’t you a sight?” Graham dismissed all formalities, stepped through the doorway, and surrounded her with an effusive hug. She stiffened at the impromptu embrace, but only for a moment, because the delight of seeing him overrode her internal panic button.
She caught a whiff of him, a sinful mixture of man with traces of his soap, a spicy, exotic fragrance that made her want to bury her face in his chest and just inhale him. The boy she’d known on the cusp of manhood in the intervening years had grown into a powerfully built man. A very hot man, with a killer smile and a body that made her dead hormones rise from their early grave and pay attention before he released her. It left her dumbstruck: the sudden onslaught of disappointment that rose in her chest when he released her.
Wasn’t that just the oddest thing?
“It’s great to see you. If I’d known it was you…”
Graham gave a manly half-shrug as he stepped back. “It is a surprise—a nice one, to boot.”
Then he knelt, resting his elbows on his knees so that he was at eye level with Daisy, and held his hand out for her to sniff. “And who is this?”
“Daisy, this is Graham. He’s a friend.” Daisy glanced up at her for the okay, her golden eyes searching Phoebe’s face. When Phoebe nodded in the affirmative, Daisy’s stance relaxed, and she turned into a normal, goofy dog. She snuffled Graham’s hand, and then lavished his face with a few swipes of her pink tongue against his cheek before falling at his rather large feet as he stroked her fur and gave her a belly rub. Euphoria emanated from Daisy. And, for a split second, Phoebe wondered what it would feel like to have Graham rub her belly—and further south.
“Beautiful dog.” Graham rose with Daisy following him up into a sitting position from which she stared at him with adoration. “I cannot believe you’re the one who bought Riverland Plantation. When Dante gave me your name, it didn’t ring any bells.”
“Same. I didn’t realize you were G.C. Layton of Layton Construction. For me, it’s the last name that’s different. Probably why my name didn’t sound familiar to you.” Quite a few other things had changed as well, like that she no longer believed in love or happily ever after, or that she could depend on anyone but herself.
Oh boy. So as most know, I didn’t read FSOG or watch the movies. BSDM used to be on my favorite sub-genres to read but that book more or less ruined it for me. I was told by too many people that I would throw my Kindle and Nook, so I didn’t bother. And the influx of all the books that followed, I just stopped reading them. To my surprise, I choose this book to read for a couple of reasons. One being the author. I trust Ms. Summers to write an emotional, character-driven book with a satisfying ending that is believable. The smexy parts are a bonus for me when reading.
Ms. Summers didn’t disappoint with Graham and Phoebe’s story. It’s about a second chance at romance, finding the strength to give up a small part of the control and to trust that the control that you give it will cherish it, respect it and give you wings to fly. Phoebe’s been through hell and back so finding a person to trust is really hard for her. She doesn’t give up control at all and knowing that she could possibly do that with Graham is huge for her. What makes the story so poignant is Graham. He realizes this early and doesn’t push her. He gives her the time and space that she needs.
Both Graham and Phoebe are richly drawn and fabulous characters. There are some flashbacks, danger and emotionally filled scenes that kept me glued to the book. I read this book in one afternoon telling my boys to leave me alone. The secondary characters are great, too. I didn’t read the first book but you will not be lost in this one. Ms. Summers gives you just enough that you will want to read the first one, too.
Again, I went into this book with my eyes open and I’m sure glad that I did. Ms. Summers and her other pseudonym are fast becoming my favorite authors. I can always expect a great story, wonderful characters and a satisfying ending that I crave more. And yes, with this story, I will dip my toes back into the world of BDSM. Baby steps, just like Phoebe.
About the Author:
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Anya grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Anya never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.
Anya is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance under the name Maggie Mae Gallagher. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the Midwest with her two furry felines.