The long-awaited sequel to New York Times bestselling author, Nelle L’Amour’s critically acclaimed masterpiece, Undying Love.
“With love, there are no goodbyes.”
The heart-wrenching words of Ryan Madewell’s beloved late wife. It’s been almost five years since Allee died, but Ryan, now a successful writer, hasn’t been able to move on. Passing in and out of the stages of grief, he’s been unable to find a woman who can mend his broken heart. Someone new to love and cherish.
Until he meets Willow Rosenthal, a fiery, spirited former ballerina, who awakens in him feelings of lust and passion he thought he’d never experience again.
Allee, in her dying letter to him, urged Ryan to move on…to live his life and find another woman to make him feel alive again. And finally he has.
Just when Ryan thinks he can let go and love again, Willow’s demons from the past resurface and threaten to end their relationship. Their incredible love story. Ryan must fight for what he deserves. Will his heart be shredded to pieces or will he finally get his happily ever after?
“Is it okay if I sit down on the bed?”
“Sure,” I said breathlessly. A sudden wave of embarrassment and insecurity washed over me as he lowered himself next to me. Here I was in bed with Ryan Madewell IV, the drop-dead, gorgeous bestselling author of Undying Love. Holy shit!
His eyes swept around the room, taking in every detail.
“Is this where you slept as a child?”
“Yes,” I said diffidently. The room hadn’t been redecorated for years. It still bore my white wrought iron canopy bed and the painted cottage furniture my mom had found at the 26th Street flea market. The pink floral wallpaper matched my bedspread and the curtains that hung on the window. It was so embarrassingly princessy. And next to me on one of my pillows was my favorite stuffed animal—a dilapidated little monkey.
“Who’s that?” asked Ryan upon eyeing it.
“Baboo. I’ve had him since I was a baby.”
Ryan’s gaze stayed on him. “I had one of those. His name was Monk. But my mother threw him out when I was five. I think that was the beginning of all my fuckedupness.”
“I’m sorry,” I said with compassion, remembering what I’d read about his mother in his book. Eleanor Madewell. She was an icy alcoholic with narcissistic tendencies. So unlike my warm, loving mother.
His gaze moved to my nightstand. He studied what was on it.
“Is that your mom?” he asked, pointing his long index finger at a framed photo. It was a portrait of a woman in her early twenties with flaming red hair similar to mine. She held a little curly-haired redheaded girl in her arms. Me.
“Your father is right. She was beautiful…like you.”
“Thanks,” I murmured, heating from the compliment.
Before I could say another word, his face brightened. “And you still keep a copy of my book on your nightstand?”
I felt my face flush and smiled shyly. “I like to re-read chapters before I go to sleep.” I paused. “Thanks again for signing it.”
“No, thank you for asking me.” His eyes burnt into mine. I was having a hard time breathing and I didn’t know what to say next. The heavenly scent of his light cologne drifted up my nose, making me heady.
His eyes surveyed the rest of the room. I’d read once that writers are observers.
His gaze fixed on the framed photos on my dresser—most of them of me, taken at various stages in my life, in leotards and tutus, some at recitals, others at classes. Then, he shifted his vision to the worn, pink satin pointe shoes that dangled from my headboard. They were my very first pair—I was only ten when I got them.
“Are you a dancer?” he asked.
My muscles tensed. “Yes.” Or should I say was?
“Do you perform?”
I hesitated before responding. “No.”
A half-truth. I hadn’t performed for over six months and I wasn’t sure if I ever would again. I didn’t want to get into details about my recent past. Or think about Gustave …at least right now.
His eyes stayed riveted on the little pink slippers as he gave them a light tap. Tied to the bed by their frayed ribbons, they swung back and forth like a pendulum.
“Do you want me to go downstairs and get you something to eat?”
“Maybe in a little bit.” The truth was I hungered only for him; I didn’t want him to leave me. Not yet. As I soaked in his gorgeous profile, my heart thudded and a buzz of lust flooded my body. I longed to touch him. Run my fingers through his hair. For him to touch me. Trace my lips with his fingers. An awkward stretch of silence followed as he continued to play with my pointe shoes. Then, he turned to face me again, the expression on his face a mixture of hesitance and longing.
“Willow, I want to ask you something.” He paused, holding me in his gaze. “Can I kiss you?”
My lips parted in shock, and my heart practically stopped. “Yes, please,” I murmured. Now! I couldn’t wait a moment more.
On my next rapid heartbeat, he cupped my cheeks in his hands, leaned down, and crushed his soft, warm lips against mine. He nibbled my upper lip, then deepened the kiss, gnawing and sucking. Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. I’d never been kissed like this before. A heat wave spread through my body, setting every cell on fire. As a moan escaped my throat, his tongue parted my lips and found mine. They danced together, swirling and twirling, two strangers in the night discovering each other. The salty taste of the salmon lingered in his mouth and mixed with his sweet saliva, making him even more delicious. My fingers fisted his hair as our lips, tongues, and moans mingled. I had read about his kisses, but nothing had prepared me for the sensation of one. It was the kiss of all kisses. I thought I was leaving this planet.
Suddenly, heavy footsteps thudded in the near distance. My father!