They say it happens when you least expect it.
It did for me.
It started the moment I saw the simple message pop up on my computer screen:
Cameron’s Mac: Hi.
And when I met the eyes of the gorgeous man messaging me from across the coffee shop, I never thought my reply would lead to the most intense, sexual, and passionate relationship of my life.
We both agreed to check our bags at the door and put our future hopes and aspirations on the table.
I fell in love with his no holds barred attitude, sexy smirk, and undeniably good heart . . . and for a while we forgot about our baggage. We happily tripped over it to get to the other, neither of us willing to show the contents of our pasts in the off chance it could ruin us.
We built our love on a foundation of gray.
It was life in black and white that threatened to tear us apart.
I’m so glad that I made reading new-to-me authors a part of my 2018 Reading Challenge because, so far this year, I’ve come across some amazing storytellers, and I can wholeheartedly say that Kate Stewart is an absolute gem of a romance writer…not only does she craft emotionally charged, angst driven stories, but she also develops multifaceted characters who, despite every obstacle faced and every self-sabotaged situation created, find their way to a contented present and a loving future that is absolutely deserved.
Despite Abby’s heartbreaking past, she’s an intelligent, driven, and quirky heroine – one who lives by a set of controlled rules because that’s how she copes with all that she’s had to endure. Cameron is definitely a game changer for Abby, and while she may not handle her feelings for Cameron in constructive ways, at times, she is doing the best she can with everything that’s been thrown her way, so even though readers might have some concerns about Abby’s ability to be everything that Cameron deserves, Abby absolutely deserves every happiness in life and Cameron is the only man who can give it to her.
The King of Woo is an apt name for Cameron, but it’s also only part of the man who Cameron is. Time and time again, he proves himself to readers and to Abbie, even when Abbie seems to get lost inside her head and has to fight every instinct not to runaway from the turbulent emotions that threaten to overwhelm her. Cameron’s the real deal and despite his own baggage, he breaks through and allows them both to be as honest and as open as any two people with complicated pasts can be.
The Real is an absolutely amazing romance – one that has all of the components of a fantastic story, but the one idea that I kept going back to as Cameron and Abby’s story continued is that it is one of the most realistically crafted fictional tales I’ve read in a long time. It deals with real issues and handles them as delicately as they deserve to be.
Kate Stewart is a storyteller who helps her readers truly experience what her characters think, feel, and do, so much so, that they can’t help but become emotionally invested right from the start, and that, in my opinion, illustrates a truly gifted writer.
5 Poison Apples
Cameron’s Mac: Hi.
I looked above my laptop and took a deep breath before I accepted his invitation.
Abbie’s Mac: Hi.
Abbie, he’s going to wear your skin! I tried to ignore my inner voice.
Cameron’s Mac: I saw you with the homeless guy.
Abbie’s Mac: Ok?
He took a sip out of his Real Men Love Pomeranians mug and shrugged before he typed.
Cameron’s Mac: So, that was nice of you. Most people in the city just walk on by.
Abbie’s Mac: Oh. Most people do walk past Bennie. But he’s different and I’m not most people.
He lifted a brow and bit his lip.
Cameron’s Mac: I see that.
Cameron’s Mac: Want to have your next cup with me?
Say yes, say yes! It’s only coffee!
Abbie’s Mac: No, thank you.
His brows drew tight with his frown.
Cameron’s Mac: Sure? How about some breakfast?
My pulse raced with the memory of my last reaction to that type of attention and the consequences, and I answered without another thought.
Abbie’s Mac: No, thanks.
His chuckle was deep and covered me, even across the space between us. He bit his full bottom lip as he typed, his smirk still intact.
Fuck. Me. Damn it, Abbie!
Cameron’s Mac: Well, I guess today is not my day.
Abbie’s Mac: That’s all you’ve got?
I had no clue why I sent that message . . . why I was bothered that he didn’t try harder. Just that fucking smirk. It was sexy as hell.
He read my message and shrugged as he typed.
Cameron’s Mac: You seem to enjoy coffee. I don’t have an agenda. You’re beautiful, I noticed. I wanted to drink coffee with you. You said no. I’m going to scrape up the rest of my pride now and head out.
He closed his laptop and stood while I deflated. Damn it. He was being nice. Since when are guys just . . . nice?
Am I a man hater? Have I become that woman?
I spoke up as he slipped his computer into a worn leather bag.
“I’m sorry,” I offered in quick apology. “I was expecting some horrible line or screwed up proposition. The web, messaging, anything that has to do with technology has been hazardous for me. I’ve seen enough unsolicited dick pics for a lifetime. I was just being cautious.” And that was the truth. But I’d said it aloud in verbal vomit. Did I really say “dick pics” out loud?
He chuckled again as he looked down at me from where he stood, then grinned.
“Today isn’t the right day.” The husky baritone of his voice matched the silky hue of his eyes, which seemed to darken as he looked me over.
“No?” I asked in a whisper as I sized up his six-foot-plus frame and imagined the possibilities.
“No,” he said. “Maybe we can not have coffee again sometime?”
He’d tapped out with a simple ‘no’ from me. He couldn’t have been that interested in the first place.
I couldn’t deny the disappointment welling up in my ovaries.
“Okay.” I lifted the last syllable when he didn’t press further.
Cameron pulled out his wallet and set some money on his table then walked over to mine and did the same.
“At least let me buy your next cup.”
After setting the bills down, he stood over me briefly and I caught his scent—purely masculine. I inhaled as much as I could without being obvious. He didn’t smell like a psycho.
Cameron picked up his man–bag while I pictured running my fingers through his messy, inches thick, dark-brown hair.
Don’t let him leave. Tell him you aren’t that big of a bitch. But that would seem desperate. You aren’t desperate. But you are horny. Omg, are you horny??
As if reading my thoughts, I caught another flash of his teeth and had to bite my cheek to keep my reaction in check.
“I’ll see you.”
“Yeah, see you. And thanks,” I said to his retreating back, an octave louder than necessary. “For the coffee,” I added. Outside the window, Cameron bent and exchanged words with Bennie before sticking some cash in his hand.
Well, Abbie. Guess you’ll just have to wait until the next time you roll out of bed and a beautiful man hits on you. Should happen again, you IDIOT!
Once again, my hesitance had cost me. And I couldn’t help but feel like this time it cost me big.
Sagging into my seat, I continued to stare in his direction, watching those broad shoulders walk out of my life.
About the Author
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