Published by Forever on December 5th 2017
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
A heartwarming small-town romance that will make you believe in love and second chances.
She has a million reasons to leave. Can he give her the one she needs to stay?
Cat McGuire's return to Firefly Lake is turning into much more than she bargained for. Sure, she missed the crisp pine-scented air and the comfort of having her family around her. But being home makes her feel less like the successful single mom she is--and more like the awkward teen who never fit in. It doesn't help that hockey-pro Luc Simard is back in town, too. Luc was her childhood crush, the hometown hero who never noticed her, and yet somehow he still makes her heart skip a beat.
Luc's homecoming has been bittersweet. He's lost his wife and his career, but there's no better place to start over than Firefly Lake. Coaching the local kids' hockey team makes him feel alive again, and he thinks his life is complete--until Cat arrives. The shy girl he always wanted to protect is now the gorgeous woman who's stealing his heart and making him believe in second chances. But how can he convince Cat that Firefly Lake is where she truly belongs?
In the tradition of New York Times bestselling authors Susan Wiggs and RaeAnne Thayne comes an emotional story about finding love in the most unexpected of places from Jen Gilroy.
“It’s true. Even when kids used to push you into snowbanks and take your books, you didn’t let it get you down for long. You said they must have problems nobody knew about. That stuck with me. You might have been small, but you sure were mighty. You still are.”
The respect in Luc’s voice humbled her, even as his words settled deep in her soul. “I…you…” Her skates slid out from under her, and she toppled onto the ice to land on her butt. “Oh.” The breath whooshed from her lungs.
“Are you okay?” Luc was on his knees beside her in an instant. His eyebrows and lashes were tipped white with frost, and the world telescoped to the size of a miniature portrait.
“I’m fine.” The padding in the ski pants they’d rented along with the skates had cushioned her fall so it was her dignity that was hurt more than anything.
“Maybe we need to practice that falling technique again.” Luc’s mouth moved, and Cat followed the pattern of his firm lips, mesmerized. “Let yourself fall forward, remember?” He pulled her to her knees to face him. “Up you go.”
“Okay, I…” She slipped and pitched toward him.
He caught her before she hit the ice again, and his strong arms held her tight. “That’s the way to fall.” His breath made a cloud in the cold air, and Cat’s body shook, more with the shock of his closeness than the near fall.
A truck rumbled by on the road behind the inn and faded. In the silence, her heart hammered in her ears.
“Textbook.” He lifted her off her skates and up his body then pressed his mouth against her jaw. His lips were warm against her cold skin, and she gulped. He moved his head back a fraction of an inch and there was a question in his eyes. “Are you sure? I…” His voice was raw.
Luc’s lips traced the outline of hers, gentle at first and then harder to coax her mouth open.
She went limp in his arms and a sharp stab of desire shot through her. She hadn’t been kissed or held by a man in almost thirteen years. After Amy’s dad, she’d been so afraid to trust anyone that she’d steered clear of men until it had become a habit, instead of a choice. And apart from Amy’s dad, she wasn’t one for a spur-of-the-moment hookup so on those rare occasions she’d considered getting close to a guy, she’d always stopped herself. Amy came first and she didn’t have time for a relationship.
She moaned and kissed Luc back. Later, she’d analyze why this wasn’t a good idea and berate herself for her lack of willpower. Not now. Even though she way out of her comfort zone, and he was way out of her league, she’d wanted to kiss Luc for years. And now he wanted to kiss her back.
Cat wriggled out of her gloves and lifted a hand to his face, where beard stubble scraped her palm.
“Catherine.” His voice rasped her name in the lilting French way, and she moaned again. Whenever anyone else called her by her full name, it sounded prim and proper. The way Luc said it was sexy, as if she was a whole different woman; one who was daring and maybe even a bit coy.
She glimpsed his eyes, so dark blue they were almost black, before he lifted her into his arms like she weighed nothing and held her even closer. She wrapped her legs around his waist, and he groaned. Then his mouth captured hers again, warm, insistent, and everything she’d ever dreamed a kiss from him would be.
He tugged at her hat and pulled it off. Then his gloves were off too, and his fingers tunneled through and beneath her hair to reach her neck and collarbone.
Cat arched against him as her tongue danced with his. She tasted coffee, winter, and him, and it was so good she couldn’t help it. She moaned again and he did too, guttural and aroused.
It was a sound that touched every part of who she was and changed her. In all those years of raising Amy, she’d experienced life secondhand, safe behind the barriers she’d painstakingly constructed. But this was raw and so honest that if she wasn’t careful, it could end in heartbreak. One kiss from Luc was all it took to tear down her defenses and peel away the careful layers she’d constructed around her heart to leave her way too vulnerable.
Then Luc yanked his mouth away, and her body cooled as if the ice beneath her feet had fissured to plunge her into the frigid water below.
“I don’t know what came over me.” He set her back on her skates and took a step back. “Coaching…Amy…I…” He scrubbed a hand across his face.
“Yes…Amy.” Cat fumbled for her gloves and hat. “I don’t know what came over me, either.
You can follow the Firefly Lake series on Goodreads.