Title: Addicted to Love
Author: Jennifer Wilck
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Dan Rothberg struggled after an accident killed his wife and he nearly lost custody of his daughter. He can no longer allow himself to get attached to anything or anyone. Until he meets Hannah.
Hannah Cohen is a young executive with a meddlesome grandmother and a troubled brother. She’d like nothing better than to find her own Mr. Right, after too many Mr. Wrongs. A sexy older man with a teenage daughter was never in her plans.
As they navigate their relationship through adolescent attitudes and grandmotherly interference, they realize age is just a number and love can be right in front of them. But when the terrible truth of Dan’s former struggles is exposed, Hannah must decide if she can get past his deception and allow love to conquer all.
Dan sat in his living room with the lights out while he waited for Tess to come home. He shook his head. He managed his life by being super-organized, planning everything in advance. He controlled his leg pain in the same way. What made him think a date wouldn’t require the same advanced planning?
Sure, he’d planned the activity and the dinner. But he should have figured his leg into the plan. He’d been so concerned about giving Hannah a good time, he hadn’t allowed for ways to accommodate his leg. And she’d noticed. By some unknown random bit of luck, he’d handled it, but one of these days, if he weren’t careful, she would ask more pointed questions.
A wry smile played about his lips. Despite everything, he’d enjoyed tonight. Hannah was funny and enthusiastic and compassionate. He could still hear her voice, throaty and soft, like perfectly aged whiskey. Whiskey he no longer drank.
And her lips. He could watch them for hours, the way they molded words, stretched into a smile, tucked between her teeth or puckered for a kiss. He could still taste her—berry and white wine—and the memory of her kiss turned him on. Unless it was the taste of the wine...no, it was her kiss. He had nothing to worry about.
The sound of the key in the door pulled him out of his memory. He turned on the light next to him as Tess walked in the door. “Hey, Tess.”
“How was your date?”
“Great. How was babysitting?”
“Zoe was cute, as usual. She had me do her hair and makeup and nails, and then she did mine.” She held out her hands to Dan. He smiled at the orange and purple streaks that crossed her nails and covered her skin, remembering when Tess painted nails the same way.
“So what’s Hannah like?” Tess sank into the chair next to him. Dan refrained from telling her to go to bed. For once she wanted to talk—he’d spend all night with her if necessary.
“She’s nice. Funny and smart, too.”
Tess winced. “Sounds great.” Her tone implied anything but.
Dan nudged her. “Trust me, she is. I didn’t think you’d want to hear other kinds of stuff.”
“Eww, no. Where’d you guys go?”
“I took her to the planetarium, and afterward, to Isabella’s.”
Tess sat up straight. “You took her there? I thought you were joking!”
“What? She liked it.”
“Really? Or was she just pretending?”
He paused and considered Hannah’s reaction. It hadn’t seemed fake. He’d been careful not to overload her with too much geek data, which might fascinate him but bore others. No, he was sure she’d liked it.
“Her eyes didn’t glaze over, and she pulled me along to show me things she thought were interesting. So I’d have to say really.”
“Weird. Are you going to see her again?”
This was worse than he expected, as he tried to keep from squirming in his seat under Tess’ direct gaze. “I hope so.”
“When do I get to meet her?”
“You’ve met her, Tess. At the JCC concert.”
“I know, Dad, but when do I get to really meet her? If you like her enough to go out with her so often, I should at least get to know her better. Invite her over for dinner.”
He glanced at his watch. “Shouldn’t you be...in bed or something?” He regretted his eagerness to talk to her. Well, that was his feeling lots of times as the father of a teenager, but this time she was talking about Hannah. And for some reason, she made him feel like his mother was interrogating him, rather than his daughter. He needed to regain the upper hand. Somehow. “Dinner’s a good idea, Tess. Just not right now.”
“Why not? You’re a good cook. Everyone has to eat. You can invite her here, impress her with your culinary skills, and she and I can get to know each other better. What’s the problem?”
The idea had so many problems her compliment didn’t hit him until after. “Thanks,” he said.
“For telling me I’m a good cook.”
“You’re welcome. But changing the subject won’t work.”
Damn. He ran a hand through his hair and remembered he needed a haircut. Turning in his seat, he grabbed his phone and added it to tomorrow’s to-do list. “Tess, I think it’s too soon in our relationship for this to happen.”
“Too soon? What’s too soon about it? You’ve been dating a couple of weeks, right?”
“Ten days.” Was it only ten days?
“You have a daughter.”
“So, it’ll look weird if you keep me hidden away, like Mr. Rochester’s wife.”
“Oh, a literary reference,” he said. “Nice touch.”
She grinned. “I thought you’d appreciate it. As my reward, I think you should listen to me. I could always come with you somewhere if you don’t want her at the apartment.”
Letting out a sigh, he faced her. “Like a chaperone? Oh, sounds fun. Come here.”
She stood and he pulled her into a hug. “I’ll think about it. I’m glad you’re okay with the idea of me dating.”
Tess shrugged. “I don’t know. I mean, Hannah seems nice, but do you have time to date? You always tell me how busy you are.”
He pulled her into another hug. “No matter what I do, I’ll always have time for you. I promise.”
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Jennifer started telling herself stories as a little girl when she couldn’t fall asleep at night. Pretty soon, her head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Even as an adult, she thinks about the characters and stories at night before she falls asleep or walking the dog. Eventually, she started writing them down. Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with happily ever after.
In the real world, she’s the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men she knows. When she’s not writing, she loves to laugh with her family and friends, is a pro at finding whatever her kids lost in plain sight, and spends way too much time closing doors that should never have been left open in the first place. She believes humor is the only way to get through the day and does not believe in sharing her chocolate.