Grief pulls some families together and rips others—like the Hollands—apart. Two years have passed since Alys and Fletcher Holland lost two of their children in a fatal accident. But time has done nothing for Alys’ broken heart.
Her surviving son’s destination wedding means a reunion for Alys and Fletch, who divorced shortly after the accident. Alys intends to keep to herself for the wedding festivities and hustle back home to her quiet, sterile life when the big day is over.
When the double-booked Valentine Suite at the Kahalina Resort puts Alys and Fletch in close quarters, Alys soon finds it’s difficult to ignore the man she fell in love with over twenty-five years ago. Fletch frustrates her, but he protects her, too, acting as a buffer between her and the rest of his family and their son’s wedding guests.
Will their stay in the Valentine Suite drive them further apart and send them home as strangers or will their time together in the suite mend their broken hearts and put their family back together?
Copyright 2021 Tracy Broemmer
No idea how much time had passed, Alys stepped inside and closed the door. She padded bare foot to the kitchen for a drink of water. Bottle in hand, she rested her elbows on the counter and stared at the other bottle, the one she had begun to rely heavily on to get through even the easiest of days.
“What, Fletch?” she asked with a sigh.
“Don’t drink more. Please?”
“I’m not.” She straightened and waved her water bottle at him.
“It’s after one. Come to bed.”
The words used to mean so much more. Now it simply meant that Fletch was worried that she would break open the bottle of whiskey the second he turned his back on her. She wanted to argue but only capped the water bottle and put it back in the refrigerator.
He hadn’t moved when she turned to the door. Lamplight glowed faintly from the living room, giving Alys a good look at his strong, muscular legs beneath his shorts. Deeper in the kitchen, she was in darkness and free to drink him in.
They spoke at the same time. A small smile perked his lips up, and he nodded at her. “You first.”
She was going to say I need this to end. Because she couldn’t get used to sleeping with him again. And then get used to sleeping alone again. She wouldn’t do that to herself.
“Never mind.” She shook her head.
She knew when he stepped closer that he was going to kiss her. She knew she would kiss him back. What she didn’t know was how good he would taste and how much it would hurt. He had kissed her forehead the day she walked out. Papers filed. Marriage ended. Love supposedly gone. A chaste kiss on her forehead. Before that, there had been a frenzy of hard, animal sex as they both tried to drive the demons from their minds. Kissing then had been teeth crashing and biting, and both of them cussing and crying out.
Now, though. This kiss was cautious and tender.
Not sweet. God, no. They had been through far too much to share a sweet kiss on a night like tonight after the loss they had shared. His fingers hovered near her chin, just short of touching her. His lips brushed hers, lazy and light. Back and forth. Again. And again.
The fingers of his other hand were soft on the back of her neck, under her hair. That touch was almost more intimate than the kiss. Until she gasped at the shock of how badly she wanted this. And more. And then he stroked her lips with his tongue, and she responded, and the kiss was slow and sad and so intimate, it hurt.
Tears in her eyes, she broke the kiss and backed away from him.
She shook her head and held a hand up to stop him. No excuses. No apologies. She didn’t want to hear his voice right now. Because it was laced with pain, and she couldn’t handle his pain on top of her longing for him.
About Tracy Broemmer
Tracy is the author of the women’s fiction series, the Williams Legacy, and several stand-alone women’s fiction novels. She has recently dabbled in contemporary romance, as well.