Runaway Love Story by Sadira Stone, Book Two in the Book Nirvana Series.
Fierce passion or long-cherished dreams…she can’t hang onto both.
Release date: June 24, 2019
Page Count: 392
Word Count: 90094
Genre: Steamy Contemporary Romance (Explicit love scenes, M/F, no kink)
Setting: Eugene, Oregon
She hates average…he’s as average as they come.
High school history teacher Doug Garvey is trying to enjoy his last few weeks of summer vacation, but receiving his final divorce decree hits him harder than expected. After a brief fling fizzles, he fears love just isn’t in the cards for him. If only he could find someone who’s real, someone interested in something beyond herself…maybe a new running partner who can keep up with his more carnal appetite. When sexy, straight-talking Laurel runs across his path, he dares to hope again.
He’s done with social-climbing posers…she’s ambitious and has big dreams.
Fired from an art gallery, Laurel Jepsen shelves her pursuit of an art career in San Francisco to help her beloved great aunt Maxie move into assisted living. While out on a morning run, she’s harassed by a group of teens until a tall, broad-shouldered hottie steps in, pretending to be her boyfriend with a kiss that makes her wish it were true. But she’s only passing through, not looking for a relationship.
Their fierce chemistry burns up the sheets—and the couch, the shower, the forest—but falling in love would ruin everything. Laurel can’t stay in Eugene, and he can’t leave. Doug’s only hope is to convince her the glittery life she’s after could blind her to the opportunities already in her path.
Fierce passion or long-cherished dreams…she can’t hang onto both.
Chasing a big-city art gallery job, Laurel detours to Eugene, Oregon to help her spitfire great aunt into assisted living. While on a run, she’s harassed by a group of teens until a tall, broad-shouldered hottie rescues her by pretending to be her boyfriend–with a kiss that makes her wish it were true. But she’s only passing through.
Their fierce chemistry burns up the sheets—and the couch, the shower, the woods…but falling in love could cost Laurel more than she’s willing to sacrifice. She can’t stay in Eugene, and he can’t leave. His only hope is to convince her those big-city lights have nothing on her inner sparkle.
“I’m sorry she called you the S word.”
She laughed. “Yeah. That’s a curse word, as far as I’m concerned.” She leaned her head on his shoulder.
“I’ll strike it from my vocabulary. Your S word is sparkle.” He traced her jawline with a feather-light touch. “Look at you, Laurel. You’re blinding.” His twilight-blue gaze made her heart dance—a steamy tango with swirls and dangerous dips. He kissed her, and, for a moment, she forgot all about caution, about cutting things off before they became too serious, about San Francisco. Her focus narrowed to his lips on hers, his nearness heating her whole body, opening her like a blossom, soft and willing. Ripe for the plucking.
“God, I’ve missed you.” He scooped her legs across his lap. One hand cradling her nape, the other gripping her thigh, he kissed her senseless. His velvet tongue teased her lips apart. He tasted of sugary coffee. The world around them faded—just two bodies, calling and answering, breathing in sync, their pulses beating the same rhythm.
Laurel’s conscience nudged the grin off her face. The customer was right—Doug was a natural with kids. He deserved a nice woman who’d stay in Eugene and build a family with him. She was just distracting him from his true path. If it weren’t for the chemistry pulling them together like an industrial-strength electromagnet, she’d never pick a guy like Doug. Sweet, dependable, generous, outdoorsy…
Shit. Except for not being an artist, he’s pretty much perfect. Leaving him in December is going to be damned painful.
Still, she’d been honest with him. He knew about her plans, and he wasn’t holding back. Why should she? Why deny herself his friendship, and a physical connection of volcanic proportions?
Because she was messing with his heart, that’s why. And her own.
And another, from the inside cover
He stepped closer, close enough to feel the heat rolling off his body.
A flush painted his cheekbones and his long, straight nose. Exercise, sunburn, or something more interesting?
The air between them vibrated with tingly energy. She focused on the floor, because looking into his face felt too dangerous.
He moved still closer, his toes nearly touching hers. “We’re good now?”
Her gaze slid up from his long, muscular calves, covered with blond fuzz, to his powerful thighs, to the impressive bulge between them, then up his slim torso, his muscular chest, his broad shoulders, until her gaze rested on his face.
His lids lowered, his lips parted. As if magnetized, her fingertips skimmed up his arm.
Stop. She dropped her hand. “We’re good. I’m sorry, Doug. I saw something between you two, and I jumped to the wrong conclusion.”
His smile blossomed slowly. “I’m glad that’s all cleared up.”
Not all, but it’s a start. Another thought, a crazy one. I could just kiss him, right here, right now. Get it over with, see what happens next.
Once that seed was planted, it was as if a giant electromagnet switched on, tugging them together. Its power hummed in her bones. Invisible sparks crackled between them. She slid a few inches closer.
Book tropes and themes:
Seasoned romance (hero is 39), beta hero, teacher hero, artistic heroine, opposites attract, indie bookshop, unsupportive family, dealing with dementia, caretaking for elderly relatives, social media, small-town vs. big-city, ambition vs. family obligations, feisty old lady, heroine with commitment issues, divorced hero, running, inconvenient attraction, irresistible chemistry
Ever since her first kiss, Sadira’s been spinning steamy tales in her head. After leaving her teaching career in Germany, she finally tried her hand at writing one. Now she’s a happy citizen of Romancelandia, penning contemporary romance and cozy mysteries from her home in Washington State. When not writing, which is seldom, she explores the Pacific Northwest with her charming husband, enjoys the local music scene, belly dances, plays guitar badly, and gobbles all the books. Visit Sadira at www.sadirastone.com.
Inspiration for the Book Nirvana Series:
Until recently, I was one of those readers–literary snobs who look down their noses at romance for the usual stupid reasons: too corny, too predictable, too fluffy. Then I read a few online articles about how fun and lucrative writing erotica can be. I thought, what the heck? Let’s try.
I have never had so much fun with a writing project! My first steamy romance, Through the Red Door, nearly wrote itself, though it damned sure didn’t edit itself. I’ve totally immersed myself in the world of romance, gobbling books like popcorn, filling my ears with romance podcasts, and joining the Romance Writers of America. From skeptic to romance mega-fan in two short years, I’m totally addicted to passionate, heartfelt stories with happy endings.
Why set the series in a bookshop? Ever since I was a wee lass, I dreamed of owning one. Add to that my fascination with historical erotic art and literature, and you’ve got the Book Nirvana series, set in an indie bookshop with an extensive erotica collection behind a locked red door.
I love stories in which a couple’s powerful physical attraction leads them to consider a partner outside their usual M.O.—one who just might turn out to be their perfect match. That’s how it happened for my husband and me, and my romance fiction contains that element.
I sort of pulled the setting out of a hat. I wanted to set my series in a college town. I’d heard that Eugene, home of the University of Oregon, has a lively arts scene and a rich counterculture legacy from the hippie era. After much online research, correspondence, and hours on Google Earth, I finally made the trip. Eugene is even lovelier than I’d imagined. Kate Rock, a resident author, kindly shared her knowledge of the city’s history and the flavor of the different neighborhoods. I look forward to many return trips.
I want to hear from you!
Radio Interview with Readers Entertainment Radio: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/circle-of-seven/2019/04/04/readers-entertainment-radio-presents-author-rhonda-gilmour
Praise for Through the Red Door (Book One in the Book Nirvana Series):
“…a beautiful love story filled with wonderful characters and if you like your romance hot, hot, hot look no further. It is a story about being able to begin anew and still love the one you lost.”
— Linda Tonis, RWA Paranormal Romance Review Team
“The erotic scenes in this book were off the charts – even the ones that were only Clara’s “dreams.” Ms. Stone’s debut novel is a rich mix of love, sex, and thoughtful introspection as she tries to move on with her life.” – Peggy Jaeger, author of Christmas and Cannolis
“This book is in a class by itself…from the graphic descriptions of the erotica collection that’s locked in a room of widow Claire’s bookstore to the hot-hot-hot interactions she has with a certain hot-hot-hot widowed professor with an intellectual interest in that collection…
What elevates this book is the excellent writing, the memorable characters, and the captivating story. PLUS…parts of it are verrrry funny. I mean laugh-out-loud funny. There are also some very touching parts, too. Parts that’ll bring tears to your eyes.”
Susan Flett Swiderski, author of Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade