#2 in the AT THE SHORE Contemporary Romance Series
Behind the Scenes
Connie had vowed never to make the same mistakes as her mother . . .
As the only daughter of a single mom, Connie Reyes knows how hard it is to raise a child alone and without prospects. At an early age Connie vowed she would never put herself or her child in a similar position. But Jonathan Pierce is oh so tempting and a night of passion leads to unexpected consequences with a man she has been unable to forget. But loving Jonathan may upend Connie’s law career and all that she’s worked so hard to achieve.
Jonathan Pierce has always marched the beat of a different drummer. . .
Jonathan Pierce left home at nineteen, determined to explore his dreams and leave his unhappy childhood behind. A father who was always absent at work and a mother who left them her boys without even a goodbye. His only redeeming family connection is his big brother Owen. In the weeks leading up to the Owen’s wedding, sexual tension sizzles between him and the bride’s best friend Connie. Jonathan would love to show the uber responsible and work-a-holic lawyer that he’s a changed man.
When opportunity presents itself the night of the wedding, mutual desire will bring a lifetime of possibilities. Can Connie and Jonathan find a way to balance their very different personalities and build a loving family together?
Sea Kiss, New Jersey
Playing it safe was far worse than taking a risk on what you wanted.
Jonathan Pierce knew just what he wanted.
He grabbed hold of the gnarly branch of the decades-old wisteria vine that climbed the side of the Sinclair mansion and boosted himself up.
He’d made the journey so many times this past summer, he could do it blindfolded.
He scrambled up the vine, finding the familiar foot and handholds until he vaulted up and over the second floor railing, and landed silently as a cat burglar on the balcony. It ran the length of the immense oceanfront mansion, with elegant French doors offering views of the sea.
The first darkened doorway was Maggie Sinclair’s room. He rushed past it quietly; Maggie belonged to his older brother, Owen. Not that Owen had acted on it yet, but Jonathan had known for years that the two were meant to be together, family feud be damned.
The next doorway was usually Maggie’s dad’s, but the old man had stopped coming down to the Shore as often as he once had, so it was a good bet that room was unoccupied.
Reaching the third room, he saw the curtains wafting in the summer breeze and the dim light from behind the partially closed French doors.
He smiled and his heart raced with pleasure.
Connie was waiting for him. Ever-responsible, ever-loyal Connie had broken her own rules to fall in love with him. Or at least he thought it was love. It definitely was on his part. With barely a week left before the girls all went back to school, he intended to let her know just how he felt.
He slipped carefully through the open doors and shut them behind him. He’d gone no more than a step when she launched herself at him, laughing and kissing him as she said, “What took you so long?”
“I missed you, too,” he said, knowing it was more about the separation to come in a week and not about the long hours since last night.
He bent his head and kissed her, his touch tender and caring, and she answered in kind, her lips soft and coaxing.
Although Maggie had been bringing her friends to the Jersey Shore every summer since they’d met freshman year in college, he’d never really paid much attention at first. He’d had his share of girls from his high school class fawning over him.
But when Maggie and her friends had come back the next year, he had finally, gratefully, noticed what a real woman should be. Like Connie: all luscious curves; also proud, smart, and independent,
As impatient as he might be to make love to her tonight, he wanted her to know how much this meant to him. How this wasn’t only a summer romance for him.
He leaned over her, his gaze locked on her face. He wanted to say the words—Lord, how he wanted to—but they stuck in his throat and so he let every kiss and touch tell her what he couldn’t voice.
Connie’s heart thudded almost painfully in her chest as she wondered how, in a week’s time, she could leave him. The ache deepened beneath her breastbone and she put her hand there and rubbed to assuage the hurt.
What had started as a summer fling with a funny, smart, and beautiful boy had turned into something so much more, with an incredibly amazing man. Falling in love with Jonathan hadn’t been in her game plan, but he was just too hard to resist.
She should have resisted. He was a Pierce. She wasn’t a Sinclair, but Maggie was like a sister and that stupid family feud was still going strong, as far as she knew.
He was going back to Villanova in a week and she’d be returning to Princeton. The colleges were not all that far apart, but if she was to execute her game plan, she had to stay in the game, which meant studying and more studying. Not nights spent in bed making love and days spent daydreaming about the nights. But like Adam with Eve, now that she’d had a bite of such delicious forbidden fruit, she didn’t know how she could go on a Jonathan-free diet.
At the moment, she could just admire his sun-streaked light brown hair waving wildly around a masculine face with chiseled features. A sexy dimpled grin was on his lips and his eyes glittered with a blue as enchanting as a Sea Kiss summer sea.
That ache in her heart rocketed to life again together with an almost unbearable lightness in her soul. For so much of her life she’d been driven to accomplish more and more, but with Jon, she could just be herself. No goals or responsibilities. Just…happy.
And so, in the blink of an eye, her game plan altered. She could see it all so clearly, only now Jon was there beside her at each step. Finish college. Head to law school. Pass the bar. Get a job in a big New York City law firm so she could help her family financially, as well as others who had legal problems and couldn’t afford representation. Become a partner. Marry Jon. Or maybe marry Jon and then become a partner. She didn’t want to wait too long to be with him forever.
Not that she’d ever pictured getting married to anyone before, since her home life hadn’t been anything great. But for Jon, she’d make an exception.
As she snuggled into the curve of his arm and pillowed her head on his broad shoulder, she sighed and said, “I can’t believe the summer’s almost over.”
He grunted his reply in a too-typical male way. “Sucks.” But then he surprised her by adding, “I’d like to keep on seeing you once you’re back in school.”
She smiled, pleased by his admission, and glanced up at him. There was a contented smile on his full lips and the first hint of a dimple. The hard line of his jaw had a bit of blond stubble from an evening beard. She ran her hand up to brush away a lock of his hair.
“I’d like that, too,” she said.
His smile broadened and the dimple fully emerged, drawing attention to that luscious mouth. She couldn’t resist surging up to skim a kiss along that dimple and the corner of his lips.
“What was that for?” he asked.
She wanted to say because he made her happy, but she hesitated. She’d seen what could happen to a woman whose happiness depended on a man, as she’d watched her mother lose herself and her dreams.
“As a way for you to remember me until we visit each other at college,” she said instead.
Tension crept into his body, impossible to miss. Enough to worry her. She pulled back from him. “I thought you wanted us to see each other. At least, that’s what you said a minute ago.”
A chagrined look passed across his features, stirring the worry inside her.
“I do, only… I won’t be at college this year. I’m not going back to Villanova.”
She searched his face, finding it hard to believe, but he appeared deadly serious. “What do you mean you’re not going back? Did something happen? Are you transferring to another school?”
Behind the Scenes
The AT THE SHORE Contemporary Romance series was originally titled the Jersey Girl Bridesmaids. The series is still set along the fabulous Jersey Shore in the lovely town of Sea Kiss.
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