Title Monterey King: A Second Chance Romance (California Suits Book 3)
Author Claire Marti
Genre Contemporary Romance, Second Chance Romance
When former Army Major Cameron Taylor comes home a hero from his deployment in the Middle East his scars run deep - both physically and emotionally. But he’s starting over, running a luxury hotel with his best friends. And Lucy Goodwin, apparently…his high school sweetheart who he’s never quite managed to forget.
There’s only one reason Lucy’s been engaged - and walked away - three times and now he’s standing right in front of her. Cameron Taylor is the man she’s never stopped loving, even when he left her “for her own good” all those years ago. There was nothing good about it, that’s for sure. Just like there’d be nothing good about trying to break down Cameron’s walls now. But that doesn’t mean she’s not tempted to try…
***Monterey King is the third book in award-winning and USA Today bestselling author Claire Marti's spin-off contemporary romance series, California Suits. The series will follow the adventures of five best friends who are opening a string of luxury boutique hotels from La Jolla to Monterey to Beverly Hills as each one finds true love…usually where he least expects it. Each book is a standalone.
“That sounds fabulous. We deserve a treat after this afternoon. I still cannot believe that woman hijacked my boots.” Lucy snickered.
He grinned at the sound of her larger-than-life laugh. “We do. Like I said, I’m not sure how you handle these type of people all the time. Do you mind opening the wine while I order dinner and feed Frank?”
She popped up from the couch, Frank at her side. “Absolutely. Where’s the corkscrew?”
Cam pointed toward the drawer next to his stainless-steel stove and buried his face in his phone, not trusting his expression. Somehow it was if all the years had melted away. He and Lucy fell into a natural rhythm, hanging on a Friday night like they had for years. No tension. No stress. Familiar and new at the same time. Warmth filled his chest.
The first few years without Lucy had been the worst. Granted, he’d been consumed with punishing training and his first deployment. But at night, even when he’d collapse into his bunk completely spent, flashes of her bright smile or the expression she made when she came pierced his heart and had him tossing and turning until dawn.
Over the years and the distance, the memories faded but they’d never disappeared. And now, with her in his home, a long dormant seed was unfurling within him. Simply spending time with her again felt like they hadn’t been separated for more than a decade.
Lucy’s appealing citrus aroma reached him before she appeared and offered him a glass of deep red wine. “Where’s Frank’s food?”
Their fingers brushed, sending a flicker of heat up his arm, another reminder of how they’d never been able to keep their hands off each other. He retreated and pivoted toward the pantry. “Just ordered ours online and I’ll get his now.” Time to maintain some distance between them.
He stalked to the pantry, Frank on his heels. Unfamiliar feelings were battling to escape the tight vault in the back of his heart. And a certainty was pervading his system––a certainty that he’d made the biggest mistake of his life breaking up with Lucy all those years ago. What if he had left the door open, as she’d suggested?
“Can I do anything to help?” Lucy called from the kitchen. He winced––she was probably wondering what the hell was taking him so long.
“Just take your wine into the living room and find something on TV. I’ll be right out.” Create a wedge of space for him to pull it together so he could keep his desire for her under control.
“Oooh, I get control of the remote control. Times have changed.” Her voice was bubbling with laughter.
His lips twitched––saved by her humor. So, maybe he’d been selfish with the remote back in the day. “Only because I’m taking care of the dog. Don’t get any ideas.” He glanced up after mixing raw dog food with kibble and presenting it to Frank, whose tongue lolled in appreciation.
“Oh, we’re watching a period piece tonight, for sure. A really long one with difficult accents. Think Victorian England, not Vikings.” She brandished the remote control like a Viking ax.
He groaned but couldn’t help laughing. “You’d do that to me, wouldn’t you?”
“I thought you were trying to weasel your way into my good graces, right? This is a start.” Her grin was cheeky.
“Alright. I’m tough. I can handle it.” He forced a lightness he didn’t feel into his tone. They were slowly building something new, and he needed to act like an old friend and co-worker, not some remorseful heartsick clown.
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Claire Marti is an award winning and USA Today Bestselling author of swoonworthy Contemporary Romance novels set in Southern California, including the Pacific Vista Ranch series and the spin-off California Suits series. She lives in San Diego with her husband, silly dog, and three clever cats.
Claire started writing stories as soon as she was old enough to pick up pencil and paper. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in English Literature, Claire was sidetracked by other careers, including practicing law, selling software for legal publishers, and managing a non-profit animal rescue for a Hollywood actress.
When Claire's not writing, she's teaching yoga. You can find her sixty+ online classes on the international website www.yogadownload.com. A breast cancer survivor, Claire is a sought-after speaker on the power of yoga and meditation. She's been published in numerous magazines with articles on wellness and is the author of a memoir, Come Ride with Me Along the Big C, on her experience beating breast cancer.
Claire loves to hear from readers!
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