Title: Burning Bridges
Author: Anne Krist
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Letters delivered decades late send shock waves through Sara Richards’s world. Nothing is the same, especially her memories of Paul, a man to whom she'd given her heart years before. Now, sharing her secrets and mending her mistakes of the past means putting her life back together while crossing burning bridges. It will be the hardest thing Sara’s ever done.
He reached out and squeezed her shoulder.
It was nothing, a throw-away gesture. The kind of thing a guy would do to his kid sister. But his touch sent shock waves through Sara’s body.
Her eyes widened and she gasped. In a daze, she saw his eyes darken, revealing an emotion that hadn’t been there a moment ago. She couldn’t put a name to what showed in his features, but instinctively she knew it wasn’t something one would see in a brother. His hand still rested on her shoulder, branding her with the outline of his fingers and the circle of his palm.
She stepped back and his hand fell to his side. Neither spoke for a second or two. Then, “Thanks, Paul. I appreciate your understanding.” Fumbling with her purse, she turned and practically ran for the door and then for the car. When she reached it, she looked back. He stood watching her.
She climbed in and started the engine, letting its consistent hum work to calm her. Shivering, she turned the heater on full blast. Cold permeated her body—all except her shoulder where Paul left his searing imprint. Dropping her head on the steering wheel, Sara silently implored the little engine to flood the car with warm air so she would stop shaking.
Finally, hot air blasted from the heater vents. Still she trembled. It was then she knew she shivered not from the cool air, but from the heat of his touch.
And she wanted his touch again. His touch and more. The concert, which for weeks had been at the center of her thoughts, devolved to an interval of white noise sandwiched between Meeting Paul and Being With Paul.
She’d never wanted anything so much in her life, nor had she ever risked so much. If her parents found out, she’d be grounded until they sent her off to William and Mary in the fall. She knew in her heart he was worth the gamble.
The parking lot had emptied. She swung the car around to the door and strained across the gearshift to see if Paul was still there. Her heart sank. He was nowhere. Not inside the door or at the window where she’d left him.
Sara heaved a sigh. Her head fell against the headrest and she closed her eyes, wondering if she was more relieved or disappointed. Then she jumped at a tap on the passenger window.
Opening her eyes, she saw Paul looking at her expectantly. She reached over to unlock the door.
“Hi.” It was too simple, but all she could manage. Her heart was in her throat and her pulse raced. She was both scared to death and exhilarated.
“Hi.” He settled in the seat and turned to face her. “I was about to call a cab when I saw you out here. Were you waiting for me?”
“Yes. Yes, Paul, I’ve been waiting for you.” The words hung there, the double meaning clear to both of them.
“Good.” He rested his hand on hers atop the gearshift. Once again, his warmth flowed through her, as though she were a cold, distant planet, and Paul, rays of solar energy bringing her to life.
“I’m sorry you might get into trouble for something that isn’t your fault,” he said quietly.
“Ah, but now it is my fault.” Her wry smile sparked a half smile from him. “But I couldn’t really let you take a cab, could I? After all, you’re just passing through and what kind of impression of my city would my bad manners leave in your mind?”
“How do you know I’m passing through?” He squeezed her hand and rubbed her knuckles with the pad of his thumb.
Paul scrubbed his free hand through his short hair. “What gave me away?” He cocked his head, watching her chuckle, then added, “I don’t come out and say it because let’s face it, the military isn’t too popular these days. I’m Navy. Is my being in the service a problem for you?”
“It will be for my dad. He’s in the Navy, too, which will make this worse in his eyes.” She sighed at his raised brows. “He loves the Navy but not sailors. Not for his daughter.”
“I hate to admit it, but I understand why he’d be unhappy.”
“It gets worse.” She watched his face. “I’m seventeen.”
The movement of his thumb stopped and his hand tensed. Then the tension drained away. “I admit, I did think you were older, but I like you, Sara. I felt it immediately. Maybe even before we spoke, while you were thinking about how you’d missed getting that parking space.” He looked thoughtful, his brow wrinkled slightly. “I’m not all that much older than you. I’m twenty.”
“Twenty isn’t very old. But my age…”
“Yeah. Your being underage does strike fear in my heart.”
“Might as well call a spade a spade. I’m jail bait.” Sara held her breath, afraid he would climb right back out of the car.
Instead, he smiled. “I’m not looking to get physical. I just want to be friends. Can we do that?”
She breathed again. “Yes, I think so.”
“Good, because you’re right. I’m a long way from home and will be going a hell of a lot farther in a few weeks. I need a friend.” Another smile.
Would her heart ever beat normally in the face of Paul Steinert’s smiles? She doubted it.
“I just have two questions. First, when will you be eighteen?” His grin was impish and she laughed.
“Okay, we just have to get through the next few weeks. By the time I get back you’ll be legal and maybe I can take you out without fear of being arrested.”
“I’d like that. What’s the second question?”
“Can we adjust the heater? It’s hotter than blazes in here!”
Laughter bubbled up from deep inside her. “Yes! It’s plenty hot, now.”
Amazon KU http://mybook.to/BurningBridges
Why is your featured book a must-read?
There is so much emotion packed into this story. They meet in Virginia Beach near the end of the Vietnam War. Paul leaves, having pledged himself to Sara. But he never writes. Finally, when she confesses to her parents that she is pregnant, her father discovers that Paul is dead. Yet the love continues—this time as a “second chance.” I always love reading second chance stories. We all deserve one.
Enter to win an e-book bundle of all 24 books featured in the Canada/America Bookish Event:
Runs July 1 – 4, 2020.
Winner will be drawn on July 11, 2020.
A few years ago, Dee S. Knight began writing, making getting up in the morning fun. During the day, her characters killed people, fell in love, became drunk with power, or sober with responsibility. And they had sex, lots of sex.
After a while, Dee split her personality into thirds. She writes as Anne Krist for sweeter romances, and Jenna Stewart for ménage and shifter stories. All three of her personas are found on the Nomad Authors website. Also, once a month, look for Dee’s Charity Sunday blog posts, where your comment can support a selected charity.
Anne Krist is the “sister” to erotic romance author Dee S. Knight. She is quieter, more reserved, and certainly more circumspect about S-E-X than her wild and crazy sibling. Thus she’s more comfortable writing sweet(er) romance, where there might be a few sensual scenes, but no more than that. One thing about Anne: she’s not more romantic than Dee. They both write in happily ever after and share the solid belief that love can last forever and beyond!
Social Media Links:
#BurningBridges #AnnaKrist #DeeSKnight #TheWildRosePress #romance #contemporaryromance #romance #romancereaders #womensfiction #book #books #bookish #bookgiveaway #giveaway #4thofJuly #CanadaAmericaBookishEvent #Canada #America #mustread