From This Moment, an all-new sexy and emotional standalone from USA Today Bestselling author Melanie Harlow is available NOW!
From This Moment by Melanie Harlow
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publishing Date: October 10th, 2017
It was like seeing a ghost.
When my late husband’s twin brother moves back to our small town, I want to avoid him. Everything about Wes reminds me of the man I lost and the life we’d planned together, and after eighteen long months struggling just to get out of bed, I’m finally doing okay. I have a new job, an amazing support group, and a beautiful five-year-old daughter to parent. I don’t want to go backward.
But I’m drawn to him, too. He understands my grief and anger and guilt like no one else—and I understand his. Before long, that understanding becomes desire, and that desire becomes uncontrollable.
He says he doesn’t care what people think, and love can never be wrong. But life has taught me its cruelest lesson–love doesn’t always win.
If only my heart would believe it.
Panty Scorching: 5
Over All Rating: 4.5 Stars
Kindle eArc provided by Author
Reviewed by Robin
Hannah is struggling day after day following the unexpected death of her husband. Doing everything on her own after thinking she had found her partner in life. When Drew’s twin brother Wes moves back home, it’s utter pain to just see him. Will this confuse her five-year-old daughter Abby? Will it set her back into a depression to be around someone who looks exactly like her dead husband? But then the unexpected happens…she feels attracted to Wes. What does she tell her heart about her desire?
“Did she even want me around? Tonight had seemed comfortable enough – maybe a little tense at start, but I felt like she was able to smile and relax a bit. And I loved that she felt close enough to me to break down a little. To tell me what she was feeling. It felt like trust, and it had made me want to wrap my arms around her and hold her tight, tell her I missed him too, but everything would be okay.
But I hadn’t. I couldn’t. She wasn’t mine to touch that way – she never had been.”
I’m getting so emotional thinking of this story. Hannah has lost her husband and she’s been through so much just being a single mother to her daughter without a whole lot of support. Her journey without real family to lean on and feeling inadequate to provide the nurturing her daughter needed. When Wes comes back to town I just wanted to open his eyes to everything that’s been happening while he’s been away. You would think love and attraction would be a good thing. I really channeled my inner Wes and wanted to punch a whole bunch of people. Why do I feel so violent? Poor Hannah seemed to have suffered some perception issues which any type of adversity would set her off. And her crying would get me crying and it was just one big sobby mess. But what I’m trying to say is I loved this beautiful story. Loved the complicated characters. Loved the messed up romance. Just loved it.
If you love those heartrending, emotional love stories, you need to read about Hannah and Wes. This is kind of a second chance romance that never really was that romantic the first time around. The one you let get away.
“Want to go out in the canoe?” he asked.
“Okay.” I ditched my flip-flops on the small, beach-level deck, and we set our wine glasses and the bottle on the deck’s little round table. Wes was already barefoot. Together we dragged the forest green canoe from the tall beach grasses on the side of the deck down to the water’s edge and tipped it over.
“Let me rinse it out a little,” Wes said, frowning at the dirt and spider webs inside. “Want to grab the paddles? They should be in the shed.”
“On it.” I went to the small shed on the embankment, opened it up and grabbed the oars, which stood in one corner. On the shelves were life jackets and sand toys and deflated rafts that probably had holes in them, and scratched into the wooden door among other graffiti was WP + CB. Huh. I’d never noticed that before. Who was CB? I glanced over my shoulder at Wes, who’d taken off his T-shirt and tossed it onto the sand.
My stomach full-out flipped.
Quickly, I shut the door to the shed and brought the oars down to the canoe.
Wes stood up straight and stuck his hands on his hips. He wore different sunglasses than Drew had worn, more of an aviator than a wayfarer. The body was similar, though Wes’s arms seemed more muscular, especially through the shoulder. Other things were the same and caused a rippling low in my body—the soft maroon color of his nipples, the trim waist, the trail of hair leading from his belly button to beneath the low-sling waistband of his red swim trunks. In my head I heard Tess’s voice. Arms. Chest. Shoulders. Skin. Stubble. Muscle. The smell of a man. The solidity of him.
“What’s the law on drinking and canoeing?” he asked.
What’s the law on staring at your brother-in-law’s nipples? I wondered, swallowing hard. What was wrong with me?
“I think we’re okay,” I said, handing the oars to him. Our hands touched in the exchange. “Let me grab our glasses.”
“Perfect. If you hold them, I’ll take us out.”
I retrieved the wine glasses from the table and walked carefully across the sand to the lake’s edge, taking deep, slow breaths. A sweat had broken out across my back. I was wearing a swimsuit beneath my cover up, a modest tankini, but I didn’t want to remove it. Wading ankle deep, I attempted to step into the canoe, but it wobbled beneath my foot.
“Whoa.” Wes took me by the elbow and didn’t let go until I was seated at one end, facing the other. “Okay?”
I nodded. Despite the heat, my arms had broken out in goose flesh.
“All right, here we go.” As he rowed us away from shore, the breeze picked up, cooling my face and chest and back.
“Drew and I used to have canoe-tipping contests.”
I snapped my chin down and skewered Wes with a look over the top of my sunglasses. “Don’t even think about it.”
He just grinned, the muscles in his arms and chest and stomach flexing with every stroke of the oars through the water. Momentarily mesmerized, I allowed myself the pleasure of watching him. It was okay if we were both thinking about Drew, wasn’t it?
In fact, it was only natural that I was intrigued by the sight of Wes’s body. He was my husband’s identical twin, for heaven’s sake, and I missed his physical presence in my life. I missed looking at him naked. I missed feeling the weight of him above me. I missed the feeling of being aroused by him, of my body’s responses to his touch, his kiss, his cock.
Deep in my body, the rusty mechanism of arousal creaked to life. My nipples peaked, my stomach hollowed, and something fluttered between my legs.
I sat up straighter, pressed my knees together, and closed my mouth, which I realized had fallen open. Hopefully I hadn’t moaned or anything. After another sip of wine, I turned my head and studied a freighter off in the distance. My heart was beating way too fast.
It’s only natural. It’s only natural.
Wes stopped paddling and set the oars in the bottom of the canoe, their handles resting against the seat in the middle. “We’ll have to bring Abby out here.”
“Definitely.” Did my voice sound normal? “She’ll love it. Here, want this?” I held his wine glass toward him and he reached out to take it. His fingers brushed mine, and I pulled my hand back as if the touch had burned me.
“Thanks.” He tipped the glass up then looked along the shore. “I’d like to find a place on the lake. Maybe not along this stretch of beach, though.”
I caught his meaning and smiled. “A little too close to home?”
“Yeah. But I don’t want to be too far away. I’d like to get a boat too.”
“What kind of boat? Drew always talked about it, but we never quite settled on one.”
“Not sure. Maybe just a little fishing boat, something to ski behind.”
“That sounds fun. Drew loved to ski.”
“We’ll have to teach Abby.”
I laughed. “You, not we. I managed to get up and stay up a few times, but I am not the expert.”
“You can teach her to cook, I’ll teach her to water ski.”
“Deal.” Separate activities seemed like a good idea.
“Breakfast was incredible.”
“Thanks.” I tucked a strand of hair that had escaped my ponytail behind my ear, but the wind blew it right back into my face. “I really like working there. I’m so glad Georgia suggested it to me.”
“How long have you been there?”
“Since spring, when they got busy. I’m not sure what I’ll do this winter when it slows down. I’m dreading it, actually. Abby will be in school full time, and it will just be me at home alone.” This was something else I hadn’t talked about with anyone, how worried I was that the gray skies and cold weather and silent hours would set me spiraling into depression. “I always thought I’d have another baby to take care of, but life saw things differently.”
“You’re still young, Hannah.”
I shook my head. “I’m really not. And I feel even older than I am.” Please don’t go Grief Police on me and tell me I’m being ridiculous, I begged him silently. This isn’t the life I chose. It was handed to me and I’m doing the best I can.
But he didn’t say anything more, just sipped his wine and looked out at the horizon. I was grateful.
“What about you?” I asked. “Think maybe you’ll get married now that you’re back? Have a family? Abby won’t have any siblings so she needs some cousins.”
“That seems to be a popular topic of discussion around here,” Wes said, shaking his head, “but I really have no idea.”
“Small town. We like to know everyone’s business.” I smiled. “Hey, what about CB? I saw your initials carved with hers on the door of the shed. Maybe she’s still around.”
He groaned. “Is that still there? Jesus. That had to be twenty years ago.”
Hugging my knees, I leaned forward. “First love?”
“Not even.” He hesitated, as if he were trying to decide whether to confess something.
“Come on,” I cajoled, carefully reaching out of the canoe, and splashing water toward him. “Tell me. I’ve been spilling my guts for an hour.”
I squealed. “And?”
He cringed. “It’s too embarrassing.”
“Wes, I had a completely humiliating breakdown in front of you last night. I got snot on my arm.”
“This is worse.”
“Get it out. You’ll feel better.”
“Let’s just say it was a very awkward, very fast experience.”
I gasped. “You lost your virginity to her?”
“No. Just my dignity.”
Laughing, I tilted my head back and felt the sun on my face, the wind in my hair, and something like joy in my heart.
It had been a long time.
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About the Author
Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she’s not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like VEEP, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Homeland. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak. Melanie is the author of the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.
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