Release date: June 29, 2015
Bashful town librarian Bree Adams has put her friends’ and family’s needs before her own for as long as she can remember, in part to hide a hurtful secret. But on New Year’s Eve, she resolves to stop punishing herself for old mistakes. Everyone deserves a happy ending, and she’s going to get hers. But then she comes face to face with her painful past.
Ryan Pettridge left Scallop Shores a hometown hero with a full scholarship to UCLA and an NFL destiny. Then a freak accident stole his hopes and dreams and turned the all-star athlete into a desk jockey accountant. Now his father’s stroke brings him home to take over the family hardware store.
Fate conspired once to keep Bree and Ryan apart. Despite the years that have passed, they still can’t resist each other and sparks rekindle between them. But will their difficult past be too much to overcome, or can Bree prove to Ryan once and for all that he has always been a hero in her eyes?
Sensuality Level: Sensual
Jennifer DeCuir is still looking for the perfect balance between being a wife and mother, getting all the stories out of her head and onto paper, and catching up with her ever-growing TBR list on her Kindle. “Sleep? What’s that?”
An excerpt from Always My Hero:
New Year’s Eve. It was the perfect date for a wedding. It was all about new beginnings. Ten … nine … eight … Out with the old. Seven … six … five … Starting the next chapter of their lives. Four … three … looking toward the future—together. Two … one …
“Happy New Year!” Bree had edged toward the outskirts of the dance floor while everyone counted down but not quickly enough. A large hand snaked around her waist and pulled her up against a very hard chest. She recognized the cologne she’d been secretly sniffing throughout the night. Feeling her blush right down to her toes, she looked up at the man holding her against him.
“Oh no you don’t. I see you sneaking away. They paired us up for a reason. It’s only right that we ring in the New Year with a kiss.” Foster Duncan, groomsman and the head chef of this restaurant hosting their friends’ wedding reception, grinned down at her. She doubted any woman in their right mind could say no when he flashed those sexy dimples.
“You know full well that we’re the only two people in the wedding party without significant others.” Rising to her toes, she gave him a quick peck then slipped out of his arms.
Yeah, she was crazy for turning down a proper kiss with probably the most handsome man in the room. Her heart tripped in her chest as she considered changing her mind. He was right there. She just had to walk back into his arms. Pausing, she chewed at her bottom lip. Nope. Couldn’t do it.
He gave her a long, considering look from under his sinfully dark brows. Bree stood her ground, resisting the urge to run for cover in the ladies’ room. After a moment, Foster raised his champagne flute, downed the contents and gave her a little wave, drifting into the crowd. She was such a ninny!
“I know I’ve already told you this, but you really do look lovely tonight.” Bree’s mother, Lyssa, murmured as she approached from behind. Then she kissed her oldest child on the temple.
Distracted, Bree patted her normally plain brown hair. She was amazed to find not a single curl out of place nearly twelve hours after the town hairdresser, Kayla, of Kayla’s Kut and Kurl, had transformed her into a Grecian goddess. The soft velvet gown of cranberry did wonders for her coloring. She stood up taller. She almost felt beautiful.
“Your brothers have reached their limits. I need to get them home.” Her mom gestured to a table in the corner where three little boys had pushed their plates of wedding cake to the center of the table so they could rest their heads on the white linen. They had been so excited to be invited to such a grown up event.
“Of course. I’ll help you get them home and tucked in. Let me get my purse and say goodbye to Cady and Burke.”
“No, dear. I won’t hear of it. You stay and enjoy yourself. This is their special moment and you are a big part of that.”
Lyssa pulled her daughter in for a hug, hanging on a second longer than necessary. Gripping Bree by the shoulders, she studied her, almost as though she were looking for something.
“It’s a new year, sweetheart. Anything can happen if you want it bad enough.”
“Mmm hmm, like my own happily ever after?”
“And why not? You are an amazing woman, Bree Adams. You deserve to find your own happiness. Put yourself first, for once in your life. Stop thinking about what might have been.” Her mother gave her one of those looks that only a mother could.
Bree kissed her mother goodbye, watching as the woman collected her three sleepy boys and herded them toward the restaurant exit. If she only knew the whole truth. Oh, she’d put herself first once, when she was young and foolish. The tragic results of which she’d used to punish herself every day for the last thirteen years. It was exhausting, and it really had to stop. The only man she’d ever imagined a happy ever after with had moved on a long time ago. It was time she did as well.