Title At Long Last Love
Author Livia Quinn
Genre Contemporary Small Town Romance/ Women’s Fiction
Readers fell in love with Madison Hart and Beau Larue who appeared previously in Christmas Wishes, book 4 of the Calloways of Rainbow Bayou. Now, in book 5, At Long Last Love, Beau has returned home…
What if a woman who has nothing to lose sacrifices even more for the man she loves. Love happens. . .when you least expect it! And sometimes it brings a long-awaited second chance.
Madison Hart has been in love with Beau Larue for most of her life. When he comes home unexpectedly, Maddie's traitorous heart leaps at the thought of a second chance. But an accident on Beau's Hollywood movie set has sent him home a changed man, in more ways than one.
Then Maddie makes a sacrifice that pushes Beau even farther away. Will her love be strong enough for both of them to finally find their happily ever-after?
A series with so much love and heart you’ll be cheering for each couple to get their happily ever after.
Beau leaned against the porch railing inhaling the scent of home, a combination of swamp water, bugs, humidity and clean air. No smog, no noise, no traffic.
He sighed. He'd forgotten how much he missed it. But peace was far from him when he thought of his reasons for coming home. Once again, he was a failure. Six years ago, his most fervent goal had been dashed by the one organization he'd hoped to build his future with, the U.S. Navy, followed by all the other branches and any subsidiary thereof.
So, he'd taken an offer from the producer he'd met after doing a bit part in a Louisiana movie and moved to Hollywood. He'd show them, he'd thought. Show them that he was physically able to handle the job, tough enough to make it in a tough business, and able to shine a positive light on the service even in that career. He'd done it, too. But hadn't he known it wasn't meant to be?
His father's death while serving hadn't doused his belief that he would have a career in the service but losing his mom and then having his own health issues as a kid gave him a different perspective, one that wasn't as positive.
Reflecting now, Beau had to wonder if maybe he'd been gung-ho to be in special forces for a different reason. Had he had some kind of death wish all along? Had this latest event been unavoidable?
He found it hard to believe he’d have allowed another boat to run over him and end his movie career. It just didn't make sense. But maybe he really didn't care what happened to him, knowing that it was inevitable. And now, what did he have to offer anyone?
Gravel on the drive made him back toward the door. He hadn't told anyone he was coming home. The studio had had his Range Rover delivered to Larue after while he was in the hospital, a sign that they were through with him. He'd taken a taxi from the airport which had been expensive as hell, but he couldn't drive yet.
He slipped through the open door and peered out at the driveway. He didn't recognize the late model Honda that rolled to a stop in front of the porch but he'd seen the face that stared at the house from the other side of the windshield in his dreams, many times. Maddie.
How had she known—wait, maybe she didn't know. Maybe she’d just been driving by and saw the Range Rover. Curious as a kitten. His heart squeezed once, then he inhaled and cleared his head. He couldn't let on that her presence was affecting him. She didn't need this. She definitely didn't need him. He hadn't worked all this time at staying away from her to just ruin it the first time he saw her again.
He leaned against the inside of the door, pretending not to be home. Go away, Maddie. But he didn't know if he was willing her to go away, or to knock.
He heard her step onto the porch and stand there. Probably wondering the same thing, should she knock or drive away. Back against the door, he gave in to the enticing draw of being so close to her even with all that wood in between. Would she smell like she used to, of that special floral perfume she loved so much?
He could remember the softness of her skin, feel those long-toned limbs as they wrapped around him even after all this time. A step on the porch made his eyes fly open and he realized he'd been day dreaming about her. His jaw clenched as he threw up his guard once again.
This couldn't happen. He'd put on that face, the one his character, Stone was famous for—taciturn, hard, emotionless. He was an actor, so he'd act. He reached for the knob.
When the door swung open he was proud of his performance—cool, detached, like his character, Stone. He steeled himself to inhale her, feast on her with his eyes, her quiet sincerity reminding him that he'd almost slipped and succumbed to her gentleness and caring over the Christmas holidays.
Letting her go had been the hardest thing he'd ever done, and he'd done it—twice. The first time had been five years ago when he'd been turned down by the Navy, and the Army, and Marines, and finally, the reserves. He was defective—deemed not tough enough or durable enough to make the grade.
He'd known kidney problems came with a limited lifespan—case in point, his mother. When he found out for sure he suffered from the same illness, he'd set Madison free, placing himself into a kind of hell away from her and then he set out to prove them all wrong. He was tough, and he would be a success using his physical skills, the skills he'd honed for a military Special Forces career, or die trying.
Beau watched her gaze as she took in everything about him starting with his eyes, his upper body and then down to where the hem of his jeans dangled halfway up his calf.
He'd almost succeeded. Her shocked and tearful gaze met his and he knew he couldn't keep up the pretense of indifference. This was Maddie and she'd always cared—too much. Apparently as hard as he'd tried to make her turn away from him, that hadn't changed.
He stepped back using a crutch to push the door open, silently admitting her.
She hurried in as if she was afraid he'd change his mind but once she was inside he acknowledged, or his body did at least, the joy of having her near, in the same room. Even under these circumstances—maybe especially so.
"Oh, Beau," she whispered.
For a second, he hesitated, then his arms came around her.
She felt his sigh as he dropped his head to hers and held her tight.
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Livia moved from D.C. to Louisiana where the weather and culture of the region inspired her writing, including her storm faerie, Tempest, and her contemporary romance series, The Calloways of Rainbow Bayou. She’s stored up fodder from her jobs as mail lady, salesperson, plant manager, business owner and professional singer to share with readers. Think of her as her characters’ biographer! On the bayou, she is protected from the alligators and bears by her husband and their feisty Pomeranian, Dusty.
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