Gemma Andrews doesn’t trust men.
She’s been left with a bitter taste in her mouth after her father left her mother while she was still pregnant, for another woman, and started a whole new perfect family. Gemma doesn’t feel like she belongs with her father’s family—with her family—and has done everything she can to push them all away.
One summer, her last summer stuck with these people, is about to change all of that.
Abe North, the hunky night guard she meets by chance, breaks down Gemma’s carefully built cinderblock walls, and shows her what she’s been missing out on. He helps her to reconnect with the brother and sister she has kept at a safe distance all these years. In the end, maybe, just maybe, Abe can show Gemma that all men aren’t bad and that he’ll be the one who’ll be there for her.
But is Gemma ready to accept love?
Or is she too broken?
Release Date: June 10 2014
Photography & Cover Designer: Emily & Daniel
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Ten Fun Facts (It turned into 12 because I am just that fun.)
1. I was 6 weeks pregnant the day we adopted our son... and 10 weeks pregnant before I knew.
2. I can only watch my favorite movie, Life as a House, once a year because of how much it makes me ugly cry.
3. I have an unhealthy obsession with Emma Stone, thus my short run as a redhead.
4. I have a tattoo on my wrist that makes me feel like a rebel every time I see it.
5. My husband likes my books. This may seem silly to most but when your man loves to read a girly love story you wrote, it's pretty much awesome.
6. I've never broken a bone or sprained anything. (Knock on wood)
7. I do not listen to music when I write, it distracts me, however, songs always inspire scenes and even books. I also have to have music to edit or I will lose my mind.
8. My celebrity crush, and the only man I'm allowed to leave my husband for, is John Krasinski.
9. I hate, hate, hate beach vacations. They bore me to death. I love big cities with a lot to do. I'll be vising NYC for a week in September.
10. I tried grape hooka once and now if I smell grape leaves I gag and run.
11. I have a degree in accounting and don't use it AT ALL.
12. I hate bananas but love banana pudding and banana bread.
When they made it back to the group all eyes were on them and then just as quickly looking around inconspicuously. She looked up at Abe and rolled her eyes as he chuckled, “It’s nice to know they care,” he whispered. As they started to walk again his arm came in contact with hers and he straightened his finger to brush along her hand. She had to concentrate on her steps to keep from going down.
“Hey guys,” Emily yelled from the far side of the group, “we’re all going in, come on.”
Gemma watched as one after the other the perfect girls around her started ripping off their shirts and the males around gawked obviously. Suddenly shy, she lowered her hands from the hem of her shirt and looked out to the water, “you know, I’ve been trying to read for about a week now and haven’t had time because someone keeps sending me home. I think I’ll stay up here and take advantage of his distractions.”
Abe reached out and pulled her back to his front, resting his hand on her hip. “If that’s what you want,” he lowered his mouth to her ear and instantly goosebumps erupted everywhere, “but I can’t lie, it’s killing me not to see what you have under there.”
She turned her head in surprise, putting their mouths dangerously close, “Really?”
“You have no idea,” he made sure she was looking him in the eyes before continuing, “Sexiest girl out here is hiding on the beach. I’m not the only guy disappointed, I’m just the only one with a shot in hell to see more, later.” He smirked at her and then kissed her cheek. “See you soon.”
She finally let her legs do what they had been waiting to do since he brushed her hand, and fell to the sand. A shiver ran down her back. This was not her life. The sexy, confident, bachelor didn’t beg her for a chance. He didn’t fight for her. And yet, here she sat, completely turned on, watching him look back over his shoulder at her. Shaking her head to herself as she stood and found her bag and proceeded to pretend to read, trying not to make it obvious her eyes didn’t leave him for a second.
Hours later Gemma made her way down the beach and kept her eyes peeled for Abe. He was supposed to be waiting for her just down the road from her house but he hadn’t been there. They had been apart for two hours and she already ached for him. She knew it was only going to get worse as they took things to the next level and she couldn’t make herself care. Slightly annoyed that he still wasn’t in sight she kicked a rock as she rounded the corner that brought her to the first entrance to the public beach. As she closed the gate behind herself she turned and her eyes rounded in surprise. “Abe,” she took a few steps closer so they could hear each other better, “what is this?”
He smiled as he walked up to meet her, “I remember you saying that if it was possible to sleep in a hammock out here you would.”
She quickly took the last couple of steps that separated them and jumped, wrapping her arms around his neck. “It’s perfect. You are so damn perfect.” She smiled as he wrapped one arm around her waist and pulled her knees up with the other, carrying her to the hammock.
“As you’ve seen the past couple nights we have about two hours before they show up at the bakery. We won’t do anything you don’t want to do. We won’t go any further than you want to go. But, Gemma, I’m begging you, please just let me kiss you a little more tonight.” He lowered her on to the hammock and then eased himself up beside her. They rolled toward the middle, facing one another.
“How can I tell you to stop when you haven’t started?”
“Good point,” he placed his hand on her thigh and started working it up her leg. She immediately reached down and stopped his progress.
“I’m sorry.” She winced as he quickly pulled back.
“Stop,” he whispered as he pulled her chin up so she would look into his eyes. “Don’t apologize.”
“But I acted all tough and then you touch me and-“
“And I should have known better than to push it so far so soon.” He rolled so he was back on his side and pulled her head onto his chest. “I will do anything for you, Gem. And that includes taking our time so I can prove to you that I’m in this thing.”
“And what if that means you are waiting on me until our wedding night?” It dawned on her what she had said and she considered rolling out of the hammock and running for it until he spoke.
“One, just the fact that you can think of us and wedding day shows how much you are already starting to trust me. Two, if that’s the case then I take my wife to bed and discover her like millions of men have done before me.” He gently kissed the top of her head and the word swoon flashed through her mind. “You, Gemma Andrews, are worth the wait.”
Harper James currently lives in Louisiana. When she isn’t admiring her husband, the rock star, or playing with her baby boy and girl, the two cutest kids ever made, she can be found either reading or writing one of the many books she has floating around in her head. She has an unhealthy addiction to all things romance and will always fight for a happy ending.