I told myself it was time to move on, until one epic night changed everything. Now there’s no denying the way I feel when he touches me, or the reckless desire in his eyes.
Once we cross that line, there’s no going back. But can I risk it all for him when he’s still hiding secrets of his own?
Some love stories are destiny. Ours is still unwritten.
How about a little taste?
I only have one New Year’s resolution, and it’s the same I’ve had for six years now:
Make Blake Callahan fall madly, deeply, and uncontrollably in love with me.
Every year, I write it in big block letters on the first page of my new journal, and every year, I finish out December with those some words still taunting me. But not this time. This year, I’ve decided, I’m really going to make it happen.
“Happy New Year!”
Noise floods through my thoughts. The party is in full swing around me, hundreds of people crammed into the amazing beachfront mansion. Music plays so loud I can feel it in my chest, and everywhere I look, people are flirting and laughing, getting ready for that midnight kiss.
I check my phone. Just a few minutes to midnight. My heart beats faster. If I’m going to do this, I need to do it now. I can see Blake out on the deck, looking illegally hot in a vintage white T-shirt and jeans that deserve an award for their services to womankind. I haven’t seen him in a couple of years, but clearly, he only gets more devastating with age. It’s the reason he’s tipped as the hot new Hollywood star, about to break out in his first big movie role. But to me, he’ll always be plain old Blake Callahan: my first love, my unrequited crush.
My best friend’s older brother.
I’ve always been too scared to cross that line, but tonight is different. Tonight, everything changes. I take a deep breath, slide the doors open, and step outside.
“Hello, stranger.” My voice comes, sounding flirty and bold. Good start.
Blake turns, and I swear, his jaw drops. I feel another tremor of nerves, but they melt away when I recognize the familiar look in his eyes, the one I’ve seen from plenty of guys since my transformation, but never from him.
He blinks at me in disbelief.
“Zoey?” he says, sounding uncertain. “Holy shit, what happened to you?”
Play it cool, I remind myself. Easy, breezy, like he’s been the last thing on your mind.
I arch an eyebrow. “Good to see you too.”
I sashay over and lean in to kiss him on both cheeks, the way I learned in Europe. I leave a smudge of scarlet on his skin, so I reach up and wipe it away. He looks confused. “Sorry, Paris,” I explain, kicking myself for the familiar gesture.
“Uh, hey,” Blake recovers. “Welcome back. Is it just a vacation visit?”
“It depends,” I say.
“Uh, depends on what?” Blake asks. His gaze drifts down my body, all the way to my peep-toe sandals, the ones that usually make me feel invincible. But now, I feel stripped naked under his blue eyes, my heart beating so loudly in my chest I swear he can hear it over the muffled sound of the music inside.
I bite back the truth. “You’ll see,” I answer cryptically instead. “But, yes, I’m back.”
Zoey is a girl abandoned, quite literally. Her parents are wealthy, her dad an ambassador, and she traveled along as their baggage until they left her in boarding school. There she met Tegan Callahan and her three older brothers. Blake, older by four years, was especially nice to Zoey and helped her feel good about herself on all those occasions when Zoey’s parents couldn’t be bothered. You know, like Christmas and graduation day?
Anywho, Zoey idolized Blake, loved him from afar, and ran off to Paris when she finally learned that Blake would never see her as more than his sister’s friend. Two years more worldly and wise, Zoey’s returned to the US, and catching Blake’s eye is her number one priority.
Blake has shielded his heart for so long, he can’t really connect to his needs. His parents’ died his senior year of high school, but Blake keeps up the positive façade to motivate his siblings–and himself. Getting close to a woman is impossible, because they all want to know about his tragic past–but Zoey’s different. She’s always known his backstory, after all. All grown up she’s quite the classy girl, and he can’t seem to escape her now that she’s a production assistant on his movie set.
Their attraction is fierce, but they proceed slowly, neither willing to sabotage their friendship. For Zoey, Blake’s family is all she has. For Blake, Zoey’s dynamite, threatening to blow his positivity persona to Kingdom Come. Plus, Blake’s movie career is starting to blossom. Can Zoey handle the scrutiny and scandals? And, why should Blake expect her to?
I liked Zoey a lot. She takes her lemons and makes meringue pie. She is unfailingly optimistic and loves with her whole heart. Blake is the only man she wants, and–like Grease’s Sandy–she transforms her dowdy juvenile look into a sleek woman to catch his eye. Once there, she proves to be far more intriguing than Blake had ever imagined. Even so, she’s still rather innocent–a little leaguer suddenly promoted to the Yankee’s starting rotation. Blake is captivated, but unable to pursue her due to his (misplaced) loyalty to his sister, at first. A little well-timed jealousy, cultivated by his own pal, forces Blake’s decision to pursue Zoey–and he botches it brilliantly.
Readers, have no fear. Blake makes a spectacular backtrack and the HEA is cinematic. (Good thing, because Blake’s family was really, really, unhappy with him!)
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About the Author:
Melody Grace is the New York Times bestselling author of the Beachwood Bay series. A small-town girl turned SoCal beach lover, after spending her life with her nose in a book, she decided it was time she wrote one herself. She loves steamy romance novels, happily-ever-afters, and lusting after fictional menfolk. She lives in LA with her two kittens, Bucky Barnes and Steve Rogers.