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We Can Love Again (MF)

Siren-BookStrand, Inc.

Heat Rating: SENSUAL
Word Count: 67,435
Available Formats
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ePub

[BookStrand Contemporary Romance]

The end of Julia Belden’s marriage came as no surprise. Although it began for a pregnancy, she and Carl stayed married for ten years. Their only emotional connection was a baby who did not survive past one day.

After two years of grieving for his wife, Nick Sitello kept busy while teaching high school math and raising Sammy. Romance never entered his mind, until his encounter with Julia while on a weekend getaway. It was a timely moment when she tumbled into the water, just as he and his son coasted by in their rowboat. As he helped her from the lake, the attraction was immediate.

Nick questioned Julia’s love when Carl reentered her life. He was protective of his feelings, but mostly of his son’s. Julia was torn between her new relationship and an obligation to Carl as childhood ghosts returned to haunt him, vindicating his distant nature while married.

Note: This book contains some adult language.

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A BookStrand Mainstream Romance

Professional Reviews

4.5 HEARTS: "Ms. Donna Marie has presented her readers with a fast moving, interesting romance. Her main characters were poignant individuals who had traumatic pasts. Their summer romance was plagued with other mishaps. The characters were believable and captured my sympathy the further they journeyed into their new relationship. The secondary characters were so appealing. They were many but there were only a few who trekked through the story with them. Even though they didn’t all appear constantly in the book, they were so important for the telling of the story. This author has an exciting way of portraying both her characters and the vivid scenery. The sensuality was evident. However, the storyline was wonderfully understated which made it a book for all ages. I recommend this book and will definitely read this author’s work whenever I get the opportunity." --Brenda Talley, The Romance Studio

4 STARS: "Julia met Nick during a summer hiatus. He swept her off her feet. The fact that he has a wonderful little boy only made her fall deeper and more quickly. What is the sure way to break up a romance? Start taking care of your ex-husband. Can they handle that and his grief over losing his wife? This book has romance, drama, and great sex. The ending is sweet, and the characters are lovable. This is a book to savor. I recommend this!" -- Stephanie Rollins, BookReviewsRUs.com

Excerpt

Just as Julia was about to open the envelope to sign the divorce papers, a man and little boy coasting by in a small rowboat seized her attention. She rose from her seat to stand at the porch banister. The little boy waved to her, she returned the gesture since waving to boaters from shore was a neighborly motion for the residents of Lake Camelot. Julia smiled as they glided by, admiring their obvious contentment with the pleasant morning.

As she turned around to pick up her almost empty coffee cup, she grabbed the envelope instead.

What am I really waiting for? she thought to herself. I am prolonging the inevitable when it’s time to move on with my life.

With that, she took the papers from the envelope and without further hesitation, she signed on the dotted line with an unexpected feeling of relief that a major crossroad of her life was before her. Julia kicked off her flip flops and refilled her coffee cup before walking down to the wooden bench set at the end of the pier overlooking the lake. The warm sand soothed her feet as she slowly strolled across the beachside end of the property. It was still too early in the morning for much action on the water. As the time would approach just before noon, the lake would become lively with water skis, wave runners, and speed boats. During the early hours, however, fishermen catching their lunch for the day, drifting pontoons, and area residents taking peaceful rowboat rides enjoyed their calming time on the water.

Just as Julia was about to climb the three steps onto the pier, she recalled her conversation with her dad warning her about the wooden dock needing a major renovation. He intended to make his repairs before summer. It seemed to look intact. So, despite the cautioning words from Dad, she continued her stroll toward the bench at the end of the pier. With every footstep, there was a bit of creaking, but not enough to steer her away. There they were. The little boy and the man were still rowing the rowboat which slowly passed beyond the shore in front of her. Julia couldn’t help but notice the man paddling. He was without a doubt, the nicest looking guy she had given a second look to in a long time. She faced another direction, but her eyes, hidden behind her sunglasses, wandered toward this man and the movement of his muscular shoulders as he propelled the oars in a circular motion.

Once again, the child waved to her. Just as she raised her arm to wave back, wooden timbers supporting the very edge of the pier gave way. The wooden bench which rested at the dockside edge collapsed into the water, and Julia did as well.

“Dad,” screeched the child as the man made an about face with the rowboat.

Julia swam to the neighbor’s berth which she hoped was more intact. She attempted to pull herself out of the lake by holding on to the docking pole but slipped back into the water when she suddenly felt a sharp object jab into her shin. The man anchored his boat to the dock and hopped onto the pier, the child following just behind.

“Take hold of my hand,” he said, reaching out to Julia.

 She put her hand in his, and with one firm pull and the secure guidance of his other arm supportive around the small of her back, she was once again on dry surface.

“It looks like you got a pretty good gash there,” he noted.

There was a lawn chair nearby which he pulled right up to Julia so that she could sit back.

“I’ll be fine. I’ll just walk back up to the cottage and put a bandage on it,” she said, embarrassed.

The stranger seemed to ignore what she said as he removed his t-shirt in order to wrap it around her leg.

“What are you doing?” Julia asked as he was about to wrap her bloody laceration in his white shirt. “I told you I’m fine,” she added as she began to rise from her seat.

Even through her pain, she could not help but notice the strapping build of his bare chest. The gold chain and cross hanging from his neck reflected the sun to her eyes. The man gently took her arm to lead her back to a sitting position.

“Take a look at your leg. It’s bleeding so much there’s blood on the pier. Let’s get it wrapped up and get you to the hospital. You need a couple of stitches...and maybe a tetanus shot as well.”

“Dad, we’re going to the hospital again?” the boy asked.

“I don’t need stitches. Really...I’ll just get a towel and put some pressure on it. There’s nothing here that a clean bandage can’t take care of.”

She couldn’t help but wonder why she was bickering with this stranger like they were an old married couple. As she stubbornly began to stand once again, blood spurted out of the slash of her leg. Suddenly light headed, she fell back in the seat.

“Dad, that’s so gross. Look at all that blood,” the child yelled.

The man continued what he planned on doing in the first place, and wrapped his shirt around her leg.

“Are you here alone?” he asked.

“Yes, I am,” she answered with frustration, at the same time realizing she was telling this strange man that she was totally alone out in the country.

“I’ll help you back to the porch. I’m from around the bend, just three lots down. Give me a minute to get my car so we can get you to the hospital.”

“Really, um...” she began to say, then realized she didn’t know this man’s name.

“Nick…Nick Sitello.”

“Really, I can get myself there. It’s my left leg, so I can still drive a car.”

“I don’t think so,” he said as he guided her out of her chair.

As she stepped down on her left foot, she nearly collapsed while gasping a deep breath. Her pain was obvious when she reflexively clutched his wrist. Without thinking twice, Nick swept her off of her feet as if he had known her for twenty years. She couldn’t help but feel the strength of his arms when he carried her to the porch where she sat in amazement at what this stranger had just done.

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