Release Date: June 20, 2018
Cover Design: Amy Queau / QDesigns
Photographer: Wander Aguiar
Model: Jase Dean
How could he walk away from the one he promised to love forever?I believed him. I trusted him. I loved him. I, Emmie Carmichael, am an optimist. If life throws me lemons, I make lemonade. I believe everyone deserves a second chance, and happily ever after isn't just for fairy tales. It exists in the lives of real people, including me - at least that's what I believed until my now ex-husband spoke the two words that sucker punched me into reality. No more sunshine and rainbows for this girl. Now now, not ever. Beau Matson is the last guy I need in my life. He's dark, secretive, and insanely sexy. Plus, he has issues, and I mean real issues: his business is failing, he's afraid of commitment, and I think he may be a stalker. But, when I stare into his eyes, all his faults fade away and it feels like he can take my broken pieces and make me whole again. He doesn't believe in love, and I don't believe in forever - at least not... Until Him.
“Excuse me, excuse me,” I call out. What the hell is wrong with this guy? I know he hears me, but he continues to walk away without even a glance back.
“Hey!” I holler, sounding a bit irritated. Beau finally stops walking and turns to face me.
Piercing silver eyes meet my gaze as his right hand grips the back of his neck. He shakes his head a couple of times before rubbing his jaw.
We stand here in the middle of a mostly empty parking lot without either of us saying a word. Feeling a bit uncomfortable, I pull my eyes away from his. My gaze travels quickly to his hand on his jaw. I’m usually not a hands kind of girl. But for some insane reason my focus is on his damn right hand. It’s big, and probably strong. The calluses on his fingers reveal years of manual labor. God, I bet he’s good with those hands. I push that thought from my mind as I allow my eyes to drift over his body, which is a mistake because his jeans are not only snug around his ass, but also around his…I immediately drop my eyes toward the ground. My face flushes as heat shoots through me. What is wrong with me? I obviously don’t get out enough. This is the reason I need to have sex—it’s been far too long and it’s starting to show.
I quickly jerk my head up so my eyes are back on his face.
“Hi.” I fold my arms across my chest and take in a deep breath.
He nods while still rubbing his jaw. Can he not speak?
“I’m Emmie Carmichael, and you are?” Even though I know exactly who he is, I’m still going to press him to introduce himself to me.
“Matson, Beau Matson,” His voice is deep and gruff. Silver eyes watch me as I continue to force this uncomfortable conversation.
“Oh, you must be Leo’s brother.” For some odd reason, I keep up the charade of not knowing who he is, and then I move closer to look for any resemblance between him and his brother, but there is none. Beau is tall and broad, where Leo is thin and lanky. Beau’s skin is a deep olive color and Leo is fair. Beau’s hair is short and brown where Leo’s is long, dark, and messy.
“Yep, Unfortunately…” He smirks, or is it a grin? Whatever it is, it sends a chill up my spine.
“You say that like it’s a bad thing. Leo was courteous this morning when he picked up my Jeep. He was a perfect gentleman. Well, except for the cigarette hanging from his lips. But I ignored it because I needed his help. Anyway, I like your brother. And it seems like he’s good at his job. At least from what I could tell.” Oh, crap. Now I’m rambling and he probably thinks I’ve got a thing for his brother. Which I don’t. Dammit! I’m so bad at this. Or maybe I’m just bad at this with him. Because normally people don’t have this kind of effect on me.
“I’ll be sure to let Leo know he needs to lose the cigarette.”
Geez, I hope I didn’t get him in trouble. I need to shut up and go back inside where I can function without making a fool out of myself.
“No, I didn’t mean it like that. The cigarette was fine. Really, it wasn’t a big deal.” I smile and then continue. “So, what was the problem?” He looks over his shoulder at the truck waiting for him at the curb and I catch a glimpse of his profile. Strong jawline, slight bump in what was probably once a perfectly straight nose, and just enough scruff to give him a rugged sexy look. For some reason, he looks oddly familiar.
His gaze returns to mine before he answers my question with a question. “The problem?” He narrows his eyes.
“My Jeep? What was wrong with it?”
“Right, your Jeep. It was the battery.” He steps back, distancing himself from me. It’s obvious he’s itching to leave.
“It’s fixed—new battery? Oh, wait, I need to pay you. Hold on just a sec.” I turn to head back into the office to grab my…Crap! All I have is a credit card and that’s not going to work. I stop after just a couple of steps and glance back toward Beau. “Can I stop by the shop in the morning and pay you for your services? I don’t have any cash.”
“Yes, new battery, and there’s no need to go out of your way. I left the bill and keys with your receptionist, so you can put a check in the mail.”
“Are you sure? It’s really not out of the way.”
“Yeah, mailing it will be good.” He turns to walk away—again—and I notice someone in the passenger seat of the truck waiting on him. Maybe that’s why he’s in such a big hurry—because he’s not alone.
“Wait, just one more second,” I plead because I need to know if we’ve met before—other than me checking out his ass earlier today at the automotive shop. That doesn’t count. I mean, it does, but he doesn’t need to know I think he has an amazing ass.
“Yeah?” he says as he glances back at me.
“Do I know you from somewhere? I mean, have we met before…because you look kinda…”
“No, Ms. Carmichael. We’ve never met,” he cuts me off without hesitation.
“Please call me Emmie,” I tell him as I scan his face one more time. I tap my finger on my chin and then continue, “Are you sure? Because I swear I’ve seen you somewhere before.”
“I’m positive,” he says before cutting his eyes away from me. He rubs his jaw and shakes his head again. Then he does something so unexpected. He swiftly moves toward me and leans in close to my face with his mouth so near I can feel the warmth of his breath on my neck. “I never forget a face, Emmie,” he says smoothly. And oh, how I love the way my name falls from his lips. I close my eyes and take in his nearness. I quietly inhale all that is Beau Matson—the smell of motor oil combined with a deep woodsy scent, the slow steady breaths that continue to brush against my skin, and the roughness of his five o’clock shadow as it grazes my face.
“I’m sure you’re right,” I whisper softly.
Beau pulls away from me and I open my eyes in time to see him walking away. I’m confused about what just happened. But I dare not question it because having Beau that near me, even if it was only for him to whisper those six words into my ear, was worth every second.
“Thank you again!” I yell as he walks away from me. God, I’m such an idiot. What am I thanking him for? Dropping my Jeep off or nearly giving me an orgasm just from leaning into me and whispering my name near my ear? And what did I do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing but stand here. This is a prime example of why I’m alone.
One of Five ARC's for Until Him
About the Author
Emery grew up in Southern Arkansas and has lived most of her adult life in Northern Louisiana. She spends her days working as a Nurse Practitioner in rural health and her nights reading, writing, and occasionally sleeping.She loves real life romance…lots of angst and heartbreak, but always a happy ending.
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