A Southern Comfort Novella
A Southern Comfort Novella
By: Sarah Title
Releasing February 17th, 2015
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There’s nothing like a hot kiss on a cold day…
Librarian Maureen O’Connell might have predicted she’d find herself crying into the ice cream case at the supermarket after a bad breakup—but she definitely never imagined that a guy hot enough to melt the Rocky Road would flirt with her right there in the freezer aisle. Only Gavin Fraser isn’t a fantasy, he’s a mouth-watering new flavor…
When a freak snowstorm strands Maureen at Gavin’s after just one date, it’s a perfect excuse for something a lot steamier than hot chocolate in front of the fire. It’s definitely lust. Can it also be love?
This is a short and sweet novella that is perfect to read on a cold winter's day snuggled in your favorite chair. Librarian Maureen has just been dumped by her jerk boyfriend of a couple of years and this leads her to the ice cream isle at the end of her horrible day. One the plus side, she meets Gavin there, a "Knight in shining armor" kind of a guy who can't stand the sight of the poor woman crying her eyes out. So what's the cure? A scorching kiss.
You feel the connection between Maureen and Gavin right away and the small town feel of the story. I liked that Maureen was a librarian and she deserved a lot better than her ex and Gavin was a man with a good heart. He was sexy, fun, and flirty and was the perfect Maureen, even if she had her doubts. This story had a few "it's a small world" twists as weel as some chuckles with Gavin's elderly neighbor who weighed in with her match-making advice. I thought this was a real feel good story. I've never read Sarah Title before, but I will again.
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By day, Sarah Title is a (sort of) mild-mannered librarian in West Virginia, and by night, she writes funny, steamy, comfort reads. Sarah holds a B.A. in English from Vassar College and an M.L.S. from Indiana University. Her first book, Kentucky Home, was released by eKensington in April 2013. The follow-up novella, “Kentucky Christmas,” came out, surprisingly, the following December. She also contributed to the anthology, Delicious, with Lori Foster and Lucy Monroe.
By the time she got to the ice cream freezer, Maureen couldn’t hold it in any more. So she just let it go. Why not?
It was a Friday night. Now that she was apparently single, why not let fat, ugly tears stain her oversized, hooded sweatshirt while she stood in the ice cream aisle of the grocery store?
“There’s frozen yogurt, you know.”
Maureen jumped and turned to see . . . well, a god. He was at least a head taller than she. His brown hair was a smidge too long and curled into the collar of his flannel shirt. His jaw was strong and sharp—a man face. His dark eyebrows emphasized deep blue eyes—eyes that were looking at her with curiosity, sympathy, and, if she wasn’t mistaken, a hint of mischief.
“If you’re so upset about the calories, try frozen yogurt.” “Oh, no, it’s not that, it’s just—” Maureen was stammering.
Stammering in front of a god.
“Oh. Ha.” Bad jokes. Okay, so he wasn’t perfect.
“Sorry. I do my best work in produce.” Damn, that was cute. He’s definitely perfect, Maureen thought as she stood there dumbly, unable to process the perfection of his face (and those shoulders—even through his beat-up leather jacket she could see he had strong shoulders).
Not to mention the fact that a god was making bad jokes at her while she stood crying with the freezer door open.
“Can I just—” He reached around her for a pint of mint chocolate chip.
“Oh, my gosh, yes, sorry.” Maureen completed that articulate thought by backing into her shopping cart.
“Hey, easy now,” the god said as he placed a steadying hand on her arm. Even through her sweatshirt she could feel his hand was warm and strong.
“Listen, are you okay?”
“What? Yes! I’m fine.”
“It’s just that I don’t always see beautiful women crying in front of the ice cream.”
Ha. Beautiful. “Where do you usually see them crying?” He laughed. “Nowhere, if I can help it.” “Well, I don’t usually do this. I’m just a little . . . emotional,” she sniffed, wiping her nose on her sleeve. Smooth, Maureen. Real smooth.
“I can see that.”
“I didn’t mean to bother you.”
“The only thing that will bother me is if I leave this store without seeing you smile. I bet you have a great smile.” She raised an eyebrow. Was he flirting? He was pretty sure of himself. Probably came from being so perfect.
“Ah, a look of disdain,” he said. “We’re getting somewhere.
So, what’s it gonna take to make you smile?” “Maybe I just don’t feel like smiling, okay? Maybe I have nothing to smile about.”
“Did your dog die?”
“Is that why you’re crying? Your dog?” “No, I don’t have a dog.”
“Did you lose your job?”
“No! That’s not funny.”
“Well, what else is there to cry about?” “My boyfriend, okay? My stupid boyfriend decided after two years that he’s ‘not feeling it’ so he dumped me.” “Idiot.”
“And I was naked!”
She caught him looking her up and down, no doubt taking in her spinster sweats and frazzled hair. “Double idiot.” “Yeah, right.”
“You know what you need?”
“A hit man?”
He laughed again, quick and smooth. “No. What you need is someone to take your mind off your boyfriend. Exboyfriend.” “Are you propositioning me? In a grocery store?” He looked a little flustered, but soldiered on. “I’ve seen it dozens of times. Beautiful, sharp women dropped by undeserving idiot men. And you’re going to go home and drown your sorrows in ice cream and wonder what you did wrong.” “Are you suggesting I shouldn’t eat ice cream?” “Hey, I’ve got no problem with ice cream,” he said, indicating the pint melting in his cart. “I have a problem with you feeling bad.”
“You don’t even know me.”
“I know you’re gorgeous.”
“Okay, almost a smile. Have a drink with me?” He took a step forward.
Maureen felt somewhere in the back of her mind that she should step back. But he smelled good, like that crisp Irish soap she loved, so she didn’t.
Instead, she matched his step forward.
“Absolutely. I love this hair.” He fingered a blonde curl that had escaped her ponytail. “Your freckles are adorable.” He ran a finger over her cheeks. “Your lips,” he ran a thumb over her lower lip, and Maureen couldn’t take it anymore.
She took that last step, closing the distance between them, and his mouth came down to meet hers. His lips were soft and warm, and she felt his fingers gently tickle her neck as she opened her mouth to let him in.
All of her tension, all of her heartache rushed out of her the moment her tongue touched his. At first he was tentative, but she began to wrestle his mouth, fighting to get closer.
His hands moved boldly down her back, pulling her hips until she slammed into him. She threw her arms around his neck and tilted her head so he could move deeper, deeper, exploring her with teeth and tongue. She lifted her foot onto the lip of the open freezer, tipping her knee out so she cradled his hips and the impressive bulge in his jeans. She clamped her fingers in his hair to get a hold on him because she thought she was melting away and she wasn’t ready for this to be over. This was nothing like kissing Dave. This man was a complete stranger and his kiss possessed her, bewitched her more thoroughly than Dave ever had. He wrapped his arms around her waist and lifted her off her feet so she was pressed against him, molded to solid muscle. He felt so strong and so sure.
But a girl had to breathe. Reluctantly, she pulled back and he gently lowered her to the ground. She was glad to see he was as dazed and breathless as she was.
His simple exclamation, said on a swift exhale, hit her right in the gut. She had done that to him. She, disheveled and in sweatpants, had flummoxed a god.
She looked up into those deep blue eyes, still dark with passion.
And she smiled.
“I guess I do have something to smile about.”