Release Date: August 9, 2018
Cover Design: Amy Queau - QDesign
Cassidy Freeman doesn’t believe dreams come true because every night her dreams trap her in a nightmare she barely escaped as a child. She maintains rigid control over all aspects of her life, giving the illusion she's strong and confident. Allowing very few close enough to see the brave heart buried beneath, she’s convinced she’ll carry her burdens alone.From the minute they met, Caleb Lockwood disrupted everything by destroying her sense of order. His patience, compassion and sensuality obliterated her defenses. It’s as if he knew her from the inside out. Helping his younger brother hire a wedding planner shouldn’t have led to this. In just a few short days, Caleb’s learned untold secrets about his family – and about the Freemans. When he demands to meet them, he doesn’t expect the pull he feels towards the petite dynamo in front of him whom life has dealt an unspeakable hand. With Caleb, Cassidy’s lost her semblance of control. Now, she's not sure she wants it back. Not if giving it up means having a chance at something she never imagined. Love.
“You kissed me on the stairs as if it didn’t mean anything to you, but it meant something to me. I can’t have you not know when the little casual touches mean nothing to you, because they mean a hell of a lot to me. Every time you touch me, I feel something here.” She hits her heart with her open hand.
Her breathing is ragged. I can hear her try to get it under control before she goes on.
“If you don’t want to continue this”—she points between us— “because of my past or inexperience, that’s fine. But I can’t be casual.” She stops and stares at me.
I stare at her across the space of darkness.
During my tours in the Army, I thought I saw all kinds of bravery. I thought what Keene had done, stepping in front of a hail of bullets to save me had to be the bravest thing ever in this world or the next. Brother saving brother.
I was wrong.
The definition of valiant and brave were standing in front of me on a cold night, wrapped in a cashmere coat with the fall leaves swirling around her ankles.
“I think…” I say as I move closer. Her eyes widen—not from fear, just wariness. “You might be the most beautiful, courageous, strongest woman I’ve ever met.” The disbelief creeps into her eyes. “No arguing, Cassidy. My opinion. And if it takes forever, you’ll believe it too.” Slowly, so not to scare her, I wrap my arm around her waist and pull her flush against my body. I lower my forehead to hers, just to hold her for a few moments.
When she looks up at me, her gaze holds a mix of hope, hesitancy, and amazingly, desire.
I can’t resist.
Leaning down, I brush my lips once, twice against hers. I hear a soft expulsion of breath and settle my mouth on hers for a deeper kiss, hearing a delicate moan escape her.
I satisfy myself with this for a few minutes. I feel her arms tighten, pulling her body closer to mine. Without pushing, I gently run my tongue against her lips, seeking entrance. She parts hers and I slowly slip in between her luscious berry lips for what may be the softest, most sensual kiss of my life. Her taste is unlike anything I have ever known. It’s this indescribable combination of cinnamon and sweet.
I have a hunger to know more than just her secrets. I want to devour her. I want to lay her back and kiss her all over, spending hours, days, months uncovering who this woman is. Layer by layer, reaching until I find the core of who she is. I need to feel her body against mine in as many ways as possible.
When we pull apart, her eyes blink open and look at me before her trembling hand touches her mouth.
I feel her body shake against me from a combination of the cold air around us and what I think might be fear of the unknown. And I realize quickly why.
Her first real date.
Her first real kiss.
If I have my way, I’ll be her first everything.
Hell, I’ll be her only.
One of Five ARC's for Free to Dream
About the Author
Tracey Jerald knew she was meant to be a writer when she would re-write the ending of books in her head on her bike when she was a young girl growing up in southern Connecticut. It wasn’t long before she was typing alternate endings and extended epilogues “just for fun.” After college in Florida, where she obtained a degree in Criminal Justice swearing she saw things she’ll never quite believe and never entirely forget, Tracey traded the world of law and order for IT. Her work for a global internet startup transferred her to Northern Virginia where she met her husband in what many call their own happily ever after. They have one son. When she’s not busy with her family or writing, Tracey can be found in her home in north Florida drinking coffee, reading, training for a runDisney event, or feeding her addiction to HGTV.
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