The Falling Trilogy, Book 3
Written Musings (June 2020)
The Third Book in the Falling Trilogy
Rocky beaches, shaky pasts, and second chances …
The bestselling author of Falling Hard (“An addicting read!”—Jen McLaughlin) returns to the racing hotspot of Chambliss, Florida, where the only thing faster than the cars on the track is the surge of chemistry in the stands.
Ever since she was a teenager, Grace Parnell has had one ambition: to prove her father’s innocence and overturn his prison sentence. That drive led her to become a tough, compassionate lawyer—until the case hits a dead end. Now Grace is adrift, with no idea how to rebuild her life. It’s certainly not the time to fall in love. But from the moment she meets Artemis Tanner, their instant connection is undeniable.
A motorsport pioneer, Tanner has come to this little coastal town for the racetrack—but he’s staying for Grace. Even though the standoffish attorney seems determined to stay out of reach, Tanner doesn’t need a law degree to tell that their attraction is very, very mutual. As her visits to the track become more frequent, and as Tanner learns more about Grace’s trouble family, he starts to pry open the tiny cracks in her controlled demeanor. Hidden beneath, there’s an incredible passion waiting to be set free.
Read an Excerpt
“Would you like another lick, toss, and suck?” he asked, then nodded toward the empty shot glass when Grace gave him a shocked look. “That’s what I call the shot you just had.”
“I’m good, thanks.” One more tequila shot, and she’d be licking him. Which would be good and so not good at the same time.
He swirled the glass, making the ice clink pleasantly against the sides. “My name’s Artemis, by the way. What’s yours? Wait, let me guess. Jane Smith?”
She chuckled. “Grace. You’re Artemis? Seriously?”
“Yeah, I know. My mom obviously had high standards for me. Or low ones. I can’t quite figure it out. Never got a chance to ask her.”
She frowned at the implication of that but didn’t want to pry. “That’s too bad.”
“So, Grace. Wanna talk?”
“I thought we were.”
“About whatever had you in such a frown.”
She did, surprisingly. He had the sort of kind face and inviting voice that made her want to confess all. And the way he’d rolled her name over his tongue made her glad she’d told him her real name. “I just found out that my husband has four other wives and fifteen children. He wants me to move to an old motel where we can all live in one place. I hate him, but I still love him. Should I agree to it?”
“Do you love him as much as you hate him, or is it a percentage or two off either way? I’m thinking, if you love him thirty-five percent and hate him the rest, say no.”
He played along so easily, appeared to be so earnest in his advice, that she wondered if he believed her. It made her curious, with a start, whether he was an attorney. She decided that she didn’t want to know. In fact, she rather liked this little liar’s game of theirs.
She studied the ceiling, made of bronze, molded tiles, and pretended to consider her deep feelings for her bigamous husband. “I think I love him twenty-nine percent and hate him sixty-five percent, and the rest is ambiguous. So I’ll say no. And since our marriage is null and void there’ll be no divorce.” She cupped her hand over her stomach. “But what will I do about our triplets?”
That, unfortunately, drew his gaze down her body to said stomach. “Let’s get married. I’ll raise them as my own.”
She doubled over in laughter, because he’d said it so damned straight-faced. “They’ll be princes and princesses,” she said when she could speak again. “Will the paparazzi be a problem in your country? I don’t want to have to fight them off whenever we take the children out.”
“Nah, in my country we stone them.”
She actually snorted that time, her hand automatically going to his arm to steady herself. “I hope you mean the paparazzi and not the children.”
“Of course. Goodness, woman, we’re not barbarians.” He gave her a mock shocked look that failed to mask his grin.
His arm was solid, warm, with a light dusting of silky blond hairs. Maybe it was the three tequila shots, but she felt giddy and light for the first time in . . . well, maybe years. An awareness stole through her, and though she made herself pull back as the nachos arrived, she sensed that a lever had flipped. She could almost hear the rusty grind as it switched from off to on. That switch released electricity through her blood and heat over her skin.
She focused on the nachos lest she act on it and pushed the plate between them. “Since we’re going to be married soon, I suppose I should share.”
They shared the nachos, and another order, and she dared have another lick, toss, and suck now that she’d consumed food. More people started filtering in. The music grew dancier, and the din grew louder, and they had to lean closer to hear each other. He smelled good, a light, musky scent of either soap or cologne. Their arms pressed together as he accurately guessed which guys would approach which women. They put words into their subjects’ mouths, hilarious lies tantamount to the ones they’d told each other.
Three hours later, he hadn’t tried to hook up with her. Hadn’t even dropped a hint or tried to eyeball her cleavage. When she thought that he simply wasn’t interested in her that way, she saw his gaze drifting down her body appreciatively.
“I’m not showing yet,” she said with a caught-you smile.
“You’ll always be thin and beautiful to me, even when you’re out to here.” He hovered his hand three feet from her stomach. She wished he’d move it closer, pretend to feel a kick, maybe.
She tilted her head. “And that’s why I love you.”
She expected him to choke or double over in laughter, as she had, but he merely grinned and said, “I call it as I see it.”
You told him that you loved him. Even if you were kidding, that was crazy.