“Heartfelt, beautiful and sexy!”
– Lauren Blakely, #1 New York Times bestselling author
Only Love, an all-new sexy standalone romance from USA Today bestselling author Melanie Harlow is available now!
A gorgeous former Marine with a tortured soul.
The beautiful, compassionate therapist living next door.
A meddlesome grandma determined to get them together.
I was expecting a proposal on my birthday, and I got dumped instead.
How could I have been so clueless?
Grams knew exactly how to distract me.
The “cute boy next door” who’s been helping her with yard work clearly needs a little therapy. Who better to call than her newly single therapist granddaughter?
She even fakes dementia to get me to visit, and now that I’m here she’s doing everything in her power to throw us together.
Not that I’m complaining. Ryan is the sexiest man I’ve ever met–I mean the full package, from the chiseled jaw to the massive shoulders to the rippling abs. (And yes, his package is full, and he knows exactly how to deliver it.) He makes me want to get out of my head and follow my heart. He makes me want to take chances I never thought I’d take.
He also makes me want to take my clothes off. A lot.
But he’s moody and challenging–one minute he’s an open book, and the next he’s completely closed off. He holds me like he’ll never let go, but insists he wants to be alone.
Some wounds are so deep, only love can heal them.
How can I convince him to let me try?
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I’m a firm believer that ‘love heals all things,’ but that doesn’t mean that the journey will be easy or that it will be a quick process, especially when it comes to two people whose hearts and minds have been deeply wounded and the last thing they’re looking for is the only thing that will make them whole.
There’s just something about a wounded hero…it could be the fact that underneath his tortured soul and his standoffish demeanor is a man who desperately wants to heal and move forward but hasn’t quite figured out how to do that and isn’t quite ready to allow someone new into his life, even if that person might be the very person he needs.
Ryan Woods is a wounded warrior…a veteran who is plagued with a multitude of scars due to his time in the service, and while some of them can clearly be seen, the mental wounds – the ones that fester beneath the surface are the ones that Ryan must address, but until he’s ready and able to ask for help…to put himself in a position to lay himself bare, the only person who can help him win this battle is himself, which is an extremely difficult task because fending off personal demons and working to not succumb to the darkness, to the nightmares, and to the constant reminders of what he’s been through is usually beyond one’s individual means.
Although Stella Devine is not a wounded solider, there are parts of her heart and her mind that need to be healed and if Stella’s meddling grandmother has anything to say about it, Stella and Ryan are going to experience the healing powers of love together and with the sizzling connection that seems to exist between these two as soon as they meet, I don’t doubt that with a little help from gram, a whole lot of patience, and quite a bit of faith that Stella and Ryan will find a way to help each other mend their broken pieces, giving them a reason to believe in the healing powers of love.
Even though there is a bit of an instlove feel to Only Love, as Stella and Ryan explore what’s between them, learn about each other’s pasts, and work to mend some of their festering wounds, readers watch the couple’s bond solidify, and it gives us hope that these two lonely souls can find solace and peace in one another’s arms and that their love will heal all things and allow them to, once again, fight for what they want and for what they need, leaving the past where it belongs and focusing on what matters most – the present and a possible future together.
Only Love is an heartfelt story about two people finding the courage to let down their walls, work through their pain, and realize that sometimes all it takes to heal is a strong connection and a bit of meddling from someone who simply wants the people around her to be find their happy.
4.5 Poison Apples
Startled, I turned around to find Stella standing a few feet away on the grass, wearing a T-shirt and pajama pants, arms crossed over her chest. Her feet were bare, and her hair was loose around her shoulders and a little messy, like she’d already been asleep. Thinking about her in bed did things to my insides. “Hey. Did I wake you?”
“I was awake. My windows are open, and I heard something and thought I saw you through the window. What are you doing?”
“Uh, building you a swing. But it was supposed to be a surprise.” Now that she’d caught me at it, I was kind of embarrassed. What if she thought this was stupid?
“You built me a swing?” She came a little closer, and I realized she might not be able to see it in the dark. The moon was only a sliver tonight.
“Yeah.” I grabbed one of the ropes. “Right here.”
She stared at it. “Why?”
“I’m not entirely sure.”
Her eyes met mine, and my heart pumped harder.
“Want to try it?” I asked.
“Like right now?”
I moved behind it and held both ropes steady. “Come sit.”
She hesitated, and I thought maybe she was going to tell me to quit being weird and go home before she called the cops, but after a few silent seconds, she came toward me. Turned around. Lowered herself to the seat and closed her fingers around the ropes.
“Well?” I asked. “How does it feel? Like you’re a kid again?”
“This was very kind of you, but not necessary.” Her tone was stiffer than her posture.
She didn’t answer.
“You’re sorry about what we did?”
“I think I’m more sorry about what we didn’t do.”
Her head turned sharply, and she looked at me over one shoulder. “You sure know how to confuse a girl.”
“One of my many talents.”
She looked straight ahead again. “Tell me about some other ones. And give me a push.”
I smiled, even though she couldn’t see it, and gave her a little nudge. “I’m fast.”
“Yeah.” I gave her a little harder push.
“Track team in high school?”
“Tried. Didn’t take.”
“They expected me to show up for practice.”
“Ah.” She straightened her legs and leaned back in the swing, her hair dangling behind her. “Tell me another one.”
I gave her another push. “I’m good with my hands.”
Her laugh floated back to me. “I have observed this about you already. Give me another one.”
I pushed her again, just so I could feel her hair brush against my hands. “I’m not afraid of anything.”
“Nothing I can think of.”
“Are you analyzing me now?”
“Kind of. I mean, you can’t say something like that to a therapist and expect her not to reflect on it a little bit, right?”
“Do you think I’m a liar or a fool?”
“Neither,” she answered. “I think you mean what you say. I think you only lie when you have to, and even then, you hate it. And if I dug a little deeper—which I won’t, because my sisters have told me it’s annoying and intrusive—I think I might discover that it’s because above all, you value your honor. Your word.”
For a moment, I was too stunned to think or move or speak. Then I said, “I take it back.”
“Take what back?”
“What I said. That I’m not afraid of anything.”
“Oh? And what are you afraid of?”
She swung back toward me and I caught her around the waist. Put my lips to her ear. “Your ability to read my mind.”
Beneath my arms I could feel her chest expand and contract faster. “I’m sorry, Ryan. I know I shouldn’t say those—”
“Come home with me,” I said, my voice raw with something like thirst. I pressed my lips to her throat and breathed in her scent. I let one hand move toward her breast. I waited for an elbow to the ribcage, a cry for help, a slap across the face. Because if she could read my mind right now, she’d know exactly what I wanted to do to her—and it was a long, detailed list.
“Yes,” she whispered. “Yes.”
About Melanie Harlow
Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her heels high, and her history with the naughty bits left in. When she’s not writing or reading, she gets her kicks from TV series like VEEP, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Homeland. She occasionally runs three miles, but only so she can have more gin and steak.
Melanie is the author of the AFTER WE FALL series, the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s. She lifts her glass to romance readers and writers from her home near Detroit, MI, where she lives with her husband, two daughters, and pet rabbit.
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