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Synopsis: Graduate student Autumn McShane has had her share of heartbreak. She's been abandoned and betrayed and she lost her beloved mother in a tragic car accident five months ago. That loss damaged her body and fractured her spirit but she's learning to recover, until her ex-boyfriend returns to town, intent on making her life miserable.
Declan Fraser hates her ex as much as Autumn does, but the last thing she needs is to put her trust in the hands of another man, especially one like Declan: his hard body and lulling Irish accent makes more than a few girls weak-kneed. The talented rugby player is rude and sarcastic, with tattooed, muscular arms and a cocky attitude, but he's the only one who can help Autumn win an ill-advised bet that, if lost, could cost her more than she's willing to pay. The reluctant alliance between Declan and Autumn stirs up cravings she doesn't want to admit, but Declan is a hard man to resist.
Review: When tragedy strikes Autumn's life is sent spiraling into the abyss. The things she once loved to do she must now struggled with. The ones she loved the most are no longer by her side. Somehow she finds the strength to soldier on. I am not sure if it is courage that fuels her or good ol' fashion stubbornness. Regardless, Autumn tries to pull herself up by her bootstraps, dusts off the mud and tries to move on.
What Autumn never expected was for Declan to come stumbling into her life. Holy Hell. Thank you Eden Butler for Declan. This was my first rugby experience. Let's just say you may find me hanging around the pitch if there is a possibility of finding a man like Declan (sshhh don't tell my husband.) I am not sure what I loved more about him. His tattoos? Maybe. His outrageously gorgeous body? Sure. His lavishly sexy Irish accent? Someone catch me I am falling. But wrap all of this together with a bit of twine and his sweet caring, compassionate heart... dear Lord save me.
Alright, now that I have had a moment to compose myself I will continue. Declan and Autumn make an amazing duo. Whenever you put together two strong minded individuals it makes for an amazing story. I found their tale heartbreaking, but triumphant at the same time. The author did a great job developing not only Autumn and Declan's characters, but also the plot.
I strongly suggest you snuggle up with Declan today!
ExcerptI run the tap and splash water on my nape not really paying attention as the door swings open. When I return to the mirror, Declan stands behind me.
“I really don’t have time for this.”
“No, you don’t. Uppity bollocks is waiting for you.” The heat from his chest warms me, settles into a hum that shoots straight to my stomach. He watches my reflection, eyes down cast, cool. I don’t like that expression or how his indifference seems to be forced.
“What happened to not reliving the past, McShane?”
I wad up the paper towel and toss it in the trash, glaring when Declan traps me against the wall. “Please leave me alone.” He doesn’t speak. When I move to the right, he follows, arm stretching out to stop me. His fingers trace the high arch of my cheekbone, down my chin to rest at my bottom lip.
“You can’t go with him.”
“Why the hell not?”
Declan’s forehead rests against mine. He’s so close that I can see his throat working, the pulse speeding on his neck. When he doesn’t answer, I push him away, intend to leave, but his hand slams the door closed. The lock clicking sounds against the cold tile floor.
The wall against my back is cold, uncomfortable, and I grope for the lock, eager to escape the imposing way Declan watches me, absorbs my features. When I touch the door, he reaches out, one arm on each side of my head. “He’s not the one, love. You know that. Deep in your gut, you know it isn’t Tucker.”
“Then who is it?” I can’t help saying. “It’s not you. You’ve told me that a thousand times. This…thing, this whatever we had, is over.” He starts to argue, but I stop him with a quick shake of my head. “No, Declan. It was your choice.” I want to know, God how I want a plausible excuse for his rejection. Was everything I felt between us a lie? Was I misguided in thinking every touch, every kiss was forced, not at all real? His collar is stiff with starch when I curl it in my hands. I inch my fingers up to rub against his bottom lip and notice his chin shake, the quick blink of his eyelids.
There is a moist gleam in his green irises that I know comes from more than just the beer he drank. “I wanted you so badly. I still—” when my eyes slam shut, Declan inches forward, his fingers fanning down my neck. I stretch, pull back from his touch, but he’s so close, his breath a warm hint over my collar. “You rejected me. I’m not going to play games with you anymore.” “I can’t…if you knew—” There it is again. The long withheld mystery that he can’t talk about. His “not a wife, not a family, not dying” secret that isn’t his to tell. I won’t let him keep doing this to me. “Help me understand then.” An inhale against my shoulder as he rests there and the tremors in his hands, his shoulders move me back into the wall. “You don’t know how hard this is for me.” His hair brushes my cheek when he raises back up. “I want you. God, do I want you.”'
“Declan. Please. You have a girlfriend. You shouldn’t say things like that when you have Heather.”
“How do you know about her?” he asks, refusing to budge when I push on his chest.
“Was I not supposed to find out? She threatened me to stay away from you.”
Declan rubs his shoulder and I instantly miss the heat from his chest. The break is momentary. He adjusts his stance, returns his hand to the side of my face. “We’re not together. I don’t want her, Autumn.”
I try to leave again, but his grip is unyielding and my efforts to walk away are weak at best. I could leave. I could easily slip from him and he’d likely let me go. But his eyes have me locked, frozen to my spot. His gaze goes everywhere; on my mouth, staring, as if he wants whatever mad things he’s thinking to break free from his mind. But I’m not a mind reader and I can’t do this. Not anymore.
“Tucker’s waiting for me.”
“No.” He slaps his palm against the wall next to my head and leaves his hand there. “Don’t leave.”
I stare at the sharp point of his nose, the small frown that parts his mouth, anywhere but in those brilliant green eyes. When he doesn’t budge, the anger bubbles again. I am frustrated and eager for him to understand how much he has hurt me. Tucker hasn’t tried touching me, not since that first date weeks ago, but Declan doesn’t know that. To his eyes, we are together. That unsettles him. I won’t tell him the truth; it’s a commodity that we both use in this push and pull game. I’m not stupid. I know whatever Tucker is holding over Declan is the reason he walked away from me. Still, I want Declan to hurt, to suffer like I have, to understand what it feels like when I think of him with Heather. It’s a small lie, but cruel enough to make Declan’s heart quake, an echo of the pain he’s caused me.
“I’m going with him, Declan. I’m going out with Tucker. I’m going to have dinner with him. I’m going to dance with him. I’m going to let him hold me.” His eyes flash and he pulls his hand away from me. “And when the night is over, I’m going to let him kiss me, let him touch me if he wants. I’m going to do all of that because he wants me and he isn’t afraid to show me how much he wants me. Because he isn’t a coward.”
Declan slams his fist against the wall and I don’t even flinch. I knew it was coming. I take a step away from him and he reacts instantly. His hand on my arm, pulling, my shoulders back against the wall, his voice angry, deep. “Does he touch you like I do?” He presses against me hard and I close my eyes, inhaling to settle my pounding heart, to ignore the way my body aches, how everything in me tells me to hold tight to him. “Does he kiss you like I do?” Declan doesn’t wait for an answer. He takes my face again and kisses me. His tongue slips into my mouth, and I let myself enjoy the feel of him against me, the sound of his moans vibrating in his throat. He won’t give me space, even as I angle my face away from him. His body is firm over mine and in that moment, I hate him. I hate the way his arms cage me to the wall. I hate how my heart races, how my body throbs with his scent, with the taste of him. When I close my eyes again, another attempt to block out all the sensations he raises in me, Declan grabs my chin. “Look at me,” he says, his voice firm, even lower than moments ago. “Fecking look at me, Autumn,” he whispers.
Meet the Author:
Eden Butler is an editor and writer of New Adult Romance and SciFi and Fantasy novels and the nine-times great-granddaughter of an honest-to-God English pirate. This could explain her affinity for rule breaking and rum. Her debut novel, a New Adult, Contemporary (no cliffie) Romance, “Chasing Serenity” will launch October 2013.
When she’s not writing or wondering about her possibly Jack Sparrowesque ancestor, thinking up impossible plots, Eden edits, reads and spends way too much time watching rugby, Doctor Who and New Orleans Saints football.
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