TITLE: By My Side
AUTHOR: Theresa Troutman
GENRE: Erotica , Comedy , Romance
RELEASE DATE: January 10th
“Maybe it’s not what you’re running from, but what you’re running toward.”
Alicia travels to an exotic land, with hopes to reinvent herself. She moves to Auckland, New Zealand, to heal and escape her unhappy past in America.
Hunter works in a bar to distract himself from the memory of a tragic past. Playing in a local band and resorting to one night stands are his only means for an escape from his reality.
Brought together by circumstance, an unexpected romance blossoms between these two tortured souls.
Can being by each other’s side bring them the happiness they are desperate to discover? Or will being together break their fragile trust and lead to more heartache?
I saw Hunter before he saw me. He was kneeling on the deck, scrubbing the red vinyl seat near the captain’s wheel. My breath hitched. His lean muscles flexed as his arm moved back and forth. He wasn’t wearing a shirt and his tight six-pack glistened in the sun. The baseball cap he was wearing was pulled low over his eyes to shield them from the bright light and the scruff of a beard was evident from his lack of shaving. Silently I stood, my feet planted in place, watching him work.
A few minutes later, he looked up and noticed me. Tossing the scrub brush in the bucket, he stood up straight. The view was even better as he faced me his army green cargo shorts slung low on his hips. I needed a fan or a glass of cold water to cool me off. “Alicia.”
“Hi,” I finally managed to speak. “Do you have time to talk?”
“I’m working tonight,” he said as if looking for a way out of the conversation.
“Not for a few hours,” I reminded him.
“Come on up,” he motioned. “Better take those shoes off first.”
Reaching down to my feet, I removed the black leather pumps and tossed them in my oversized bag. Hunter grabbed my hand and helped me onboard. We stood there looking at one another.
“You look nice today,” he complimented as his gaze traveled from my bare feet up to my black skirt and patterned short-sleeved blouse.
“Thank you.” There was an awkward silence hanging in the air, so I plucked up the courage to say what I had traveled here to get off my chest. “Hunter, I’m sorry.”
He tilted his head to one side and raised an eyebrow. “What are you sorry for?”
“The kiss—Sunday night.”
“I’m not sorry we kissed, Alicia.”
Now it was my turn to be confused. “You’re not?”
“Than why have you been missing all week?”
“You noticed, eh?”
“Yes. I…if kissing me brought back some memories of your fiancée, I’m sorry.”
Hunter pushed his hands in his pockets and sighed. “I want to tell you about Emily. I just don’t think there is enough time right now.”
“I’m not going anywhere. Why don’t you stop by my place when you get off work.”
“That won’t be until two-thirty in the morning.”
“I don’t have to work tomorrow. I’ll leave the porch light on.” I said.
“Yeah, maybe,” he said in a non-committal tone of voice.
One minute he wanted to talk and the next minute he clammed up. I was making an effort to communicate with Hunter—find out more about what made him tick. He was either eyeing me up like I was the most delicious dessert on the table or totally ignoring me. That pissed me off. “Hey, you were the one who kissed me first. So much for your theory about men and women being able to maintain a platonic relationship,” I seethed.
“Alicia, I can’t do this now,” he sternly reiterated, as if I were a child.
“Forget it,” I said as I stormed past him heading toward the edge of the boat.
I didn’t move fast enough, however, because Hunter caught my wrist and pulled me back to him. “Why are you so barking mad woman?”
I wasn’t crazy. I was angry; my breath was labored. My eyes would have shot laser beams at him, if only I had that power. “I don’t need a man and I certainly don’t need you!” my wounded pride lashed out at him.
“Oh, I think I’m exactly what you need,” he growled, reaching for the back of my neck with his free hand and pulling me into a passionate kiss.
Taking possession of my mouth like it was his personal property. I bit his bottom lip then sucked on his tongue and a low dangerous groan escaped his mouth. In one fluid movement, he lifted me over his shoulder and took me inside the cabin. My mind was racing with the things I wanted him to do with me. “Put me down right now Hunter Greene!” I warned.
He threw me and I squealed. My body bounced as it landed on the bed. Then he knelt down on the floor and pulled me toward him, until my knees bent over the edge of the mattress and my feet hit the ground. The move caused my skirt to hike up around my waist exposing my black lacy panties.
“God, you are going to be my undoing,” he said in a deep raspy voice. He pulled off his hat and tossed it on the ground, his blond fringe falling in front of his eyes. Hunter began planting light kisses on the inside of my right thigh. Halfway up, he licked my skin and bit me. It was a playful quick nip, but it took me by surprise. I propped myself up on my elbows and continued to watch as he got closer to the one spot I so desperately needed him to touch. When he reached the apex, he kissed my panties. I was so wet and ready I held my breath to see what his next move would be.
Hooking his fingers on the inside of the fabric, he pulled them down my legs and over my feet, discarding them on the floor. My breath hitched as he spread my legs. Then his tongue covered me, laving and sucking my clit, the onslaught was masterful and controlled. Then he added two fingers to the mix and I moaned aloud. It was sensory overload. No man had ever gone down on me like this before and it was exhilarating. The pace of my ragged breaths quickened as my orgasm built to a crescendo accompanied by a string of incoherent moans and sighs escaping my lips, as I fisted the duvet.
Hunter leaned back on his calves, a devilish smile on his face, that was equal parts cocky and cute. I sat up and looked down at him sitting on the floor. I was coming down off my high and trying to regulate my breathing. “Wow.”
He let out a boyish laugh that was warm and wonderful. “You can say that again,” he said, as he took my hand and pulled me onto his lap.
We kissed and I could taste myself on his lips and it was arousing me all over again. “Let me do something for you,” I purred, reaching for the button of his shorts.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Alicia moves to New Zealand looking to start over. She was married for a year before catching her husband cheating on her. Alicia has a job she loves, but was able to keep the job with the move. She had no problem leaving the rest behind. She meets her sexy next door neighbor Hunter, and while she is attracted to him, she is not in a place where she wants to be in a relationship. Hunter has lived through a tragedy that has kept him from being in any serious relationships for years. Both quickly realize that their attraction to one another may not allow them to stay apart.
I liked this story and the characters. Alicia is easy to connect to. Hunter is hot and there really isn't anything identifiable not to like about him. The two of them together have great chemistry and are a great match. I think my main issue with this book was that there was no major conflict. Sure the characters have been through a couple tough situations, but from the time Alicia moves to New Zealand it is really all smooth sailing from then on out. Not that I wished for these characters to struggle, it just made me feel like there wasn't much going on story-wise. I enjoyed seeing Alicia find a group of friends as well as the supportive parents she never had in Hunter's parents. I guess with a nice easy story line like this one, I really need something more. More character development, etc. Overall, I would recommend this to someone looking for a nice easy read about characters finding happiness.
*An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review
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Theresa Troutman lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and their crazy dog, Niko. She loves reading, theatre and traveling. Her books include: My Secret Summer, A Special Connection and the Love's Great Adventure Series: Life's What You Make It and Love This Life and London Loves.
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