(The Red Oak Bay series #1)
By Riley Lory
Publication date: February 13th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
My life is a mess.
I’m only twenty-two years old, and it’s been a mess for four years already. Every plan I had made for my future fell apart the day tragedy hit. Every dream I had found a new place in the smallest, most hidden corner of my mind. Responsibilities replaced them, and now it seems like that’s all my life is made of. And I’ve come to accept that reality. I don’t like it, but I accept it.
Until Noah drops anchor in the small town I never left and gives me a taste of what my life could be.
His smile and his intensity have my heart begging me to get closer, even though I know that I have no business wanting him. He makes me feel alive again, but I can’t let my heart lead the way if I don’t want to experience any more heartbreak. The problem is, I’m not sure that just one taste of this man will be enough.
I swore off relationships a long time ago.
The painful heartbreak brought on by the betrayal of the person you worship isn’t worth years of love, if you ask me. Especially when it turns out that that love was nothing but a lie all along. Now, I live on my boat, travel around and write my songs, and that’s all I need.
Until one of my stopovers. When I cross paths with her.
I look into Alyx’s beautiful, sapphire eyes and see the tinge of sadness despite the smiles easily brightening her face. She’s gorgeous. She’s also so sweet that I could let myself get attached without a second thought, if I didn’t know better. It’s always been easy for me to leave any town I’ve dropped anchor in, and I keep reminding myself how easy it will be to leave at the end of the summer. But it doesn’t matter how many times I repeat that thought to myself, I already know it won’t be. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting her.
While he busies himself adjusting the strap around his neck and tuning the guitar, I kick off my shoes and settle cross-legged on the bed, propping a pillow against the headboard and leaning my back on it. Noah sits down in front of me, only smiling a cute, almost shy smile before the first note rises.
It doesn’t take long until I can make out the melody Kellan and I played with for a few hours. It’s clearly there. I focus on the slow, quiet pace of the music. It’s a ballad, much more flowing and emotional than its first draft was. And Noah’s intense edge isn’t missed in it. The melody is beautiful up until the last note gradually fades inside the tiny room.
Noah’s soft, unsure gaze finds me, and I swallow thickly. “It’s beautiful. Really beautiful,” I add even though it doesn’t seem like the word is nearly powerful enough to describe how beautiful this music is, and how much it shook me to hear it. “Thank you,” I whisper.
Noah releases a barely noticeable breath, and a grin takes shape on his lips, so I must have made my point just fine. “My pleasure.”
“Would you teach me to play it sometime?” I ask him.
A ray of sadness crosses his eyes. He knows that my thoughts inescapably went to Kellan while he was playing. “Of course.”
“Have you written anything to go with it yet?” I ask him to shift the subject to a less doleful one.
He stretches his arms to set the guitar against the wall behind him. “I’m writing down words, ideas… But I’ll put them together once our time is up.”
When he turns back to me and our eyes lock again, I’ve plastered a bright smile on my face. It’s a pretense at its finest, because my gut feels like it took a mean punch that smashed into it hard and fast. Stealing the intake of air that I should have taken and skipping to the next one.
Once our time is up.
I already knew he doesn’t live here. I knew he’d leave town in six weeks. There was no secret. And it sounds ridiculous even to my own ears, but I’m suddenly wondering what I’m going to do once he’s gone. It’s not like I didn’t have busy days before he bounced into my life, but will I just go back to them like Noah didn’t share weeks with me? Those days were mine only two weeks ago, so it’s not like I don’t remember them well. The problem is, I’m not sure I want to go back to them.
“Good thing I introduced myself to new technology, huh?” he adds, breaking through the unease that this sudden understanding brought on me.
I force a snicker. “Good thing you introduced yourself to technology is more appropriate. New isn’t exactly accurate in your case. But yeah,” I retort with a wink. His phone really is a museum piece.
The atmosphere shifts right there as something flickers in Noah’s eyes. A primal sheen that has my belly fluttering in a crazy dance.
“I like it when you wink.” His voice is croakier than usual, enwrapped in a desire that has a mirroring one building right between my legs. The same desire that overwhelmed every part of me last night. “A lot,” he adds.
“And I like it when you look at me like that,” I admit as I stare straight back at the feral spark in his eyes, my low tone giving my own aroused state away. “A lot.”
I could swear a growl rumbles somewhere in his chest, but I can’t be sure because his hands running up my calves distract me. I look down at his sauntering fingers grazing my skin, then back up at his face, which is dark with the same need growing in me. My tongue darts out to lick my lips on pure instinct, but it triggers Noah’s next move, and suddenly, the tongue wetting my lips is his. There’s no thinking when I open my mouth to let him in either. A moan instantly tickles the back of my throat, and all thoughts of tomorrow evaporate. Only today exists. I dive in his kiss. Gentleness and animality both lead it, each one continually trying to surpass the other without ever succeeding. One of his hands twists in my hair, gripping it just firmly enough to feed my own wantonness. Yielding to the urge to feel him, I move to sit between his legs. My legs twine around his waist, my ankles locking behind him to bring me even closer.
From one bookaholic to another, I hope I’ve helped you find your next fix.
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