Cat Edwards has spent her life playing the wallflower in an effort to escape the repressive weight of her mother’s tarnished name. Dragged to a bar by her best friend in an effort to forget a broken heart, the shy bookworm is determined to be someone else for the night, but quickly gets in over her head. She discovers chivalry isn’t dead after all when a mysterious stranger comes to her rescue. He’s wearing black leather and a mischievous smile that promises to be exactly what she needs.
When his terminally ill father suffers a setback, Michael Brant returns to the town he swore ten years ago he’d never return to. He’s come back this time determined to make peace with the past, but being home brings up memories he doesn’t want to remember anymore. His first night in town, he’s captured by a damsel in distress. Cat’s beauty is made all the more alluring when he realizes she has no idea who he is. He can’t resist spending a single night in her arms. With her, he’s only a man, disconnected from his family’s name and the past that haunts him here.
As the town erupts with the news of his return, Michael’s dark past comes back to haunt him, putting Cat in danger. Someone is threatening her life and the life of her family. Desperate to keep history from repeating itself, Michael offers her his family’s name in order to keep her safe. When the lie spirals beyond their control, can they stop their hearts from becoming entangled as well?
JMS: Hi Michael. Thanks for agreeing to this interview.
MICHAEL: “My pleasure. Anything to help a damsel in distress.”
JMS: I wouldn’t exactly call me a damsel in distress, but I do know someone who was very grateful for the help you gave her. Tell me…what was going through your mind the first time you saw Cat?
MICHAEL: chuckles. “I was intrigued. Most women in bars are there for a reason. She looked uncomfortable and out of place. On top of it, she was clearly having a hard time dealing with one very persistent guy who kept putting his hands in places they didn’t belong. I wondered what on earth had brought her to a place she clearly didn’t want to be in.”
JMS: Is what attracted you to her?
MICHAEL: “No. Her eyes got me. She has the most beautiful green eyes I’ve ever seen. The color of bright green Jade. She also had no idea who I was. She looked at me like I was just another guy. She wasn’t staring at me with anger or resentment. She accepted me, as I was.”
JMS: And that’s important to you?
MICHAEL: “I didn’t expect to find that when I came home. Most people in this town know who I am. Certain people haven’t forgiven me.”
JMS: In your opinion, what is the story about?
MICHAEL: “Redemption, acceptance, and forgiveness. I came home to settle the past. To make up for the things I’ve done and the people I’ve hurt. Because you can’t live your life in the past. I expected to find pain and anger and resentment, was positive it was all I deserved. In the process, I met an incredible woman who helped me heal a wound I thought would never heal. She helped me learned to forgive myself.”
JMS: Did you think it was love at first sight?
MICHAEL: “No. I fell in love with her little by little. Just by being with her, all I did was put her life in danger, but she still put her trust in me. She accepted me as I was, and stood by me through it all. She even stood up to my father. She amazes me. She makes me want to be a better person.”
JMS: Did I do a good job telling your story?
MICHAEL: I’m not one to judge. Been judged too much in my life to judge someone else. I think you did a bang up job or I wouldn’t have chosen you to tell my story. Took us a while to get there, but we got there in the end. That’s what matters.
JMS: Thanks, Michael.
“Follow my lead.” His voice flowed against her ear, rich and smooth and darkly sensual. The kind of voice she could well imagine whispering to her in the dark. It added to the stubble prickling her cheek and, for a moment, her mind twisted off in another direction, filling with naughty fantasies. Suddenly she was dying to see the face behind the voice.
Louder he said, “Miss me?”
Velvet soft lips brushed her earlobe as he spoke, combined with the deep, sensual quality of his voice and sent delicious shivers slipping down her spine. For a moment, Cat forgot to breathe, forgot what in the world she was supposed to be doing. Somewhere through the haze that took over her mind, his meaning finally occurred to her. Her body went limp with relief. She had the sudden urge to turn and hug the man. Chivalry hadn’t died with King Arthur after all.
“You’re late.” Playing her part, she straightened on her stool and reached back to twine her fingers with his. Soft, thick fingers that filled her overheated mind with visions of them sliding over her skin.
The clod’s hand finally released her thigh, and Cat swallowed a sigh of relief then spun to face her savior. “You were supposed to be here…”
Her train of thought derailed as she came face to face with the center of a broad chest. A thickly muscled chest barely contained by the black T-shirt covering it. Her heart skipped several beats as she followed the muscles upward, past even wider shoulders, until her gaze collided with a pair of dark brown eyes that made her breath catch.
Oh boy. She clamped her mouth shut and swallowed hard. A five o’clock shadow covered a strong, square jaw, giving him a rough and rugged edge. His thick, almost black, hair licked at the collar of his worn leather jacket, just long enough to be rebellious, and tousled by the wind. Her fingers itched to reach up and slide through his hair to see if it felt as soft as it seemed.
“Forgive me.” As he bent down to her eye level, his eyes burned into hers, a hidden meaning in the dark depths she couldn’t quite grasp. She couldn’t concentrate much past the fact his face was now a scant inch from hers. His soft, warm breath fanned her lips, and her gaze zeroed in on the mouth that had sent delicious sensations thrumming through her body barely a minute ago.
Before she could ponder what on earth he meant or come up with a proper response,
he took their charade a step further.
He kissed her.
About J.M. Stewart:
J.M. Stewart writes sweet and heartwarming contemporary romance with a touch of passion. She’s a wife, a mother, a spiritualist, and lover of puppies, and happily addicted to coffee and chocolate. She lives in the Great Rainy Northwest with her husband of sixteen years and their two sons. She’s a hopeless romantic who believe everybody should have their happily-ever-after and has been devouring romance novels for as long as she can remember. Writing them has become her passion.
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