With: Jody Holford
Thanks for having me on Just Contemporary Romance. I love your site. I’m so excited to be here sharing my newest release and the last book in the Love Unexpected Series, Story of Us. This is a special story to me. Declan wasn’t supposed to get his own story but once I started writing, it was clear he deserved one. In the book, Declan—a one time confirmed bachelor—not only falls head over heels in love, but with an employee and the younger sister of a very good friend. The odds might be stacked against them but they prove to everyone—most of all themselves—that they are meant to be. In the scene below, Declan is trying to find that line between friend and employer while doing his best to ignore the immediate attraction he feels for Sophia.
He waited and the only sounds were the gentle buzz of the computer and their combined breaths. She hoped only she could hear the heavy beat of her heart.
His fingers came to her cheek and he turned her to face him. “Are you going to stay with your parents?”
Stretching her mouth into a phony smile, she shook her head. “No. Would you move back in with your parents at twenty-eight?”
He snorted out a laugh and dropped his hand, leaned back in his chair and gripped the arms rests. “Not in this lifetime. I love them, but no way would I bunk with them again. But that’s different. I haven’t been gone ten years.”
“I bet, even if you had, you wouldn’t crawl home.”
Declan stared at her, his dark eyes too intense for the rollercoaster of emotions Sophia was juggling. “Your parents—your family—love you, Sophia. Whatever happened, they’ll be thrilled you’re home. Why are you so scared?”
She hated that word. It was exactly what she felt, not that she’d tell him that. “I’m not scared. I’m an adult. I’ve moved back into town and I’ve secured employment. Next on the list is a place to live. Then I can show up and tell them I’m just fine.”
Declan reached our and took one of her hands. He rubbed his thumb over the back of it and sensations tumbled around like her emotions. It wasn’t even noon yet. How could she feel so freaking much?
Her eyes shot up to his. “Am I what?”
He leaned into her space again and she wondered what it would be like to press her mouth to his. It was hardly the first time she’d wondered if his lips were as soft as they looked. She wanted to run her hand along his strong, square jaw and feel the rasp of his stubble against her palm. Against her neck.
“Are you fine?” His voice came out a husky whisper.
Blinking back tears and taking a deep breath, she nodded. “I am. Stop worrying. I don’t need another big brother, Declan. I needed a job, you gave me one. And I stand by what I said, you won’t be sorry.”
As they turned back to the spreadsheets and he showed her his accounting program, Sophia wondered if she’d be sorry. Sorry for coming back, for staying away, for keeping secrets. Stealing little glances at Declan while he spoke, she wondered what her life would have been like if she’d stayed. Would she have worked for her family, settled down, married someone they approved of and had a happy little family?
Sophia put a hand to her stomach and swallowed the lump in her throat. No sense wondering “what if” when she had a whole hell of a lot of “what now” to face.
STORY OF US
Declan James has been Brockton Point’s most ineligible bachelor––happy with his short-term relationships and focusing on his business. But now that his closest friends have found their happily-ever-afters, he can’t help but wonder what that might be like. And then Sophia Strombi shows up on his doorstep.
Sophia’s life is––well there’s no other word for it––a mess. She’s grateful to have some work at her brother’s best friend’s bar, and a place to stay. Since she’s working hard to get her life back on track, she’s desperately trying to ignore the fact her boss makes her heart pound in a good way. Wait––no. That’s not good at all.
Besides, she has a huge secret she’s keeping from everyone––one that’s a life-changer.