The distance from Colorado to Maine is not far enough to escapethe memories. The time I've been away is not long enough to heal the pain. I left Colorado, determined to discover who I am outside of my grief, but I fell apart along the way. I'm lost again.
When Jude follows me, I can't turn him away. But I can't let him in, either. Not all the way. I know when he finds out my secret, the one I keep hidden in the darkest part of my heart,he’ll leave me. Alone. Like I was before.
“Are you okay?”
He laughed, but it was without humor. He dropped his head andstared at his plate as I had minutes earlier. “Am I okay?” Shaking his head, he said,“No, I’m not fucking okay.” He pushed away from the table hard enough thatthe screech of the chair across the wooden floor startled me. Jude was always so steady, and while hewasn’t necessarily predictable, he wasn’t prone to outbursts of anger like this. Hepicked up his plate and walked to the sink and I stared at his back, willing him to talk to me. But Icouldn’t ask that of him.
Picking up my plate, I debated what to do. It was surreal almost,being in Jude’s apartment but not touching him the way I wanted to. Finally, I joined him atthe sink as he worked a sponge into a lather and swiped it across his plate. “Let me doit,” I said softly, reaching a hand in to take the sponge from him.
He let go of the plate and clasped my forearm as I reached into thesink. His touch was gentle as he turned my wrist over and rubbed a thumb slowly across the length ofmy vein, visible through my translucent skin. I could only hold my breath as he touched me like this,like he was memorizing the blue lines that ran the length of my forearm. His hands were warm,searching, and I realized that I’d been yearning for this, for the simple act of him touching myskin like it was delicate. His fingers moved down, and my closed fist opened to give him access to mypalm, where he traced the lines in my hands. It was so intimate, even in its simplicity, that all I coulddo was watch him as he examined my hands. “I’ve missed you,” he said in avoice that was just short of a whisper. My heart turned over as he bent my fingers gently back into myfist and rubbed his soapy fingers over the knuckles.
When he let go of my hand and turned away from me, I felt goosebumps ignite across my skin. All I wanted was for him to keep touching me, but I’d hurt him.And he’d hurt me.
We had miles of pain between the two of us, and even though wewere no longer miles apart, that pain existed between us like another person, holding both of usback.
“I missed you too,” I said too late, when I’dcaught my breath again.
“Please,” he pleaded as he rinsed the plate in hishands. “I can’t hear you say that right now.”
Nodding, I backed away. I understood. This wasn’t the timeor place, and we were little more than strangers right now. I was a new Trista, someone he had neverknown.
Likely, someone he didn’t want toknow.
I am a wife to one and a mom to two humans and one cat. I have adeep and abiding love for nachos - especially the kind with the liquid cheese, like from Taco Bell(sorry). I run on less than four hours of sleep thanks to copious amounts of Diet Coke. (Note: thisparagraph is not sponsored by anyone except my hungrystomach.)
As a Navy brat, I grew up all over the country, from California, upthe east coast from Florida to New England and Colorado. I currently live in Idaho, where we have lotsof potatoes and windmills.
I write character-driven New Adult novels, heavy on the emotionalconnection. I LOVE love. I love writing about broken characters who find their soulmates.
As a hardworking, hard-partying firefighter, Hayden Walker values his career and his freedom. But as the eldest son of a U.S. senator, he agreed long ago to follow in his father’s footsteps and run for office, and that means settling down and marrying the picture-perfect wife. Hayden just isn’t ready for that sort of commitment . . . not with women like beautiful, curvy Saylor Dean—the naughty bridesmaid he recognizes the morning after his buddy’s wedding—tempting Hayden to stay single forever.
The unwanted love child of a well-known politician, Saylor has always felt isolated and alone, her only solace the animal shelter she runs in Forrestville. Then she meets Hayden at her best friend’s wedding. During their impulsive and unforgettable night together, Saylor feels desired like never before—only to wake up and find that Hayden doesn’t remember his drunken proposal, or their hasty marriage, or her. But when the truth comes out, Saylor finds it’s a lot harder to fall out of love than in love.
**Can be read as a stand alone.
Advance praise for Hard to Fall
“Marquita Valentine strikes gold with relatable and quirky characters in Hard to Fall. She will have you fanning yourself and then reaching for the tissues as you cry from laughter. Hard to Fall is a fun read, full of steam and drool-worthy moments. How can you not fall in love with an alpha male who fights fires? Yum!”—Meghan Quinn, author of Stroked
“Five sweet and steamy stars! With quirky yet relatable characters, a sexy love story, and a compelling plot that keeps you entertained the entire way through, Marquita Valentine has done it again!”—Stacey Lynn, author of the Fireside series
“Sweet and quirky heroine and a steamy hero tangled together in a complicated romance readers will root for!”—Caisey Quinn, author of the Neon Dreams series
Hard to Fall - Marquita Valentine
Saylor is one of my all-time favorite heroines. She’s strong yet funny, courageous yet quirky, and shy yet confident. She’s spews some of the craziest things but she means well. She’s the unwanted daughter of a politician who was raised by a Hollywood sweetheart. She wants to find happiness in the future but she sure as hell knows she will never date a politician………..
Hayden, hot firefighter Hayden, had his whole life mapped out for him. To follow in the footsteps of his father and go into politics. Hayden would rather continue his life saving lives and putting out fires but his father is hard on his butt about taking the next step into the political world.
I absolutely loved the flow of the story, the comical relief, and the steaminess! They have more secrets in this book than Victoria has…..bad joke I know…….but it’s the truth. Hayden is so stinking sweet and hot. He definitely had me swooning for his awesome southern self.
I hope you will one click this one when she goes live on 10/18/16. You won’t be disappointed!
Some might call me a lonely, little rich girl with first world problems. I disagree with that descriptor, well, the lonely part, anyway. My heart pinches, just like it always does when it comes to the man who has no use for me. Anywho, you’d think I’d be miserable around families who love one another, especially ones as big as my best friend, Evangeline’s. I think she has eleventy billion relatives attending her wedding today. Or fifty. Whatever. It’s a huge family. The groom, Hunter—his is no different on his mother’s side. I think they brought all of Tijuana with them. Except, we’re all supposed to travel to Mexico for a second reception tomorrow. So you’d totally think I would hate weddings joining said families together. But you’d be wrong. I’m a total sucker, romantic… or masochist. Take your pick. In any case, I’m overjoyed for Eva. She deserves someone like Hunter mooning over her, sexing her up all the time, and being completely, utterly in love with her. “Smile wider, please,” the photographer orders and I pull my lips back from my teeth like a beaver about to get her wood on. “Not that wide,” he mutters. With a little sigh, I slump and almost dump my boobs out of the top of my dress. Tugging the material up, I ask, “Better?” “No,” the groomsman beside me whispers in my ear and I stiffen. Here come the comments about my breasts. “I like the one before he made us look like deranged antelopes.” Delighted at his comparison, I glance up at him. “You have experience with them?” He smiles, making my stomach flip, just like he’s done since I first laid eyes on him while walking down the aisle. “I was joking.” “I wasn’t. The animal shelter needs to be prepared for anything.” “People around here bring antelopes back from Africa a lot?” I’m not sure if he’s teasing me, so I just go with it. “No, but they do adopt animals that they don’t keep longer than two weeks, and then we’re responsible for them.” “Hey, Chatty Cathies. We’re trying to take a wedding picture here,” a guy calls out. “Shut it, Rollins,” the groomsman growls, then turns his sexy blue eyes on me again. “Ignore him. You talk for as long as you want.” “That could be a really long time,” I admit. “I live by myself and Empress Padme is exceptionally good at the quiet game.” His eyes widen a little. “Really?” The sound of a camera whirring as it takes our pictures doesn’t stop me from looking at him. Something that is a feat in of itself since I’m a teensy bit vain when it comes to how I look in photographs. “I’m Saylor by the way.” “Hayden.” “You’re Anakin.” I practically breathe his name. Wincing, I attempt to correct myself. “I meant that you have the same name as the guy who played him and Darth Vader.” “My acting chops are far, far worse.” “Doubtful.” Only a smidgen of guilt pokes me in the gut for being so disloyal. “Have you seen the latest one?” Before Hayden can answer, Hunter grabs his arm, giving me a smile and Hayden a pointed look. “Mind if I borrow him?” “It’s your wedding.” I watch as the two of them walk away, Hunter talking intently to Hayden. Evangeline, looking radiant in her wedding gown, joins in on the picture, which is now only of bridesmaids and flower girls. There are twenty-five of us. Or three.
Eva has a lot of nieces, a sister, and four sisters-in-law. They’re all beautiful, happily married—the sisters, not the nieces—, and kind… I want to hate them, but I can’t. They’re undeserving of that kind of emotion from me. Plus, they did my makeup and hair—the nieces, not the sisters. The oldest one, all of twelve, wielded an eyeliner pencil better than Rey with a light saber. “Was Hayden bothering you,” Evangeline asks as we take a break from smiling. I like him bothering me. “We were just talking.” Her blue eyes flicker over me. “He didn’t want to just talk.”
As a teenager, Seth O’Connor went to jail for a crime he had nothing to do with. He took the fall to protect the girl he loved, but the cruel realities of prison hardened him. After doing his time, Seth shuts her out and enlists in the Marines—until his grandmother’s funeral forces him to come home and face Rowan Simmons once again. The woman she’s become puts all his high-school memories to shame, and Seth wants her more than ever. Can he be honest about why he denied her for so long?
After Seth pushed her away, Rowan swore that no man would ever hurt her again. But the boy who broke her heart has become a sexy Marine, capable of fulfilling her every desire—and now that he’s back in town, old feelings are simmering to a boil. Rowan wants to stay strong, even as her body surrenders to his expert touch. She only hopes that by taking him back, she can finally help heal the wounds that drove them apart.
The last time Piper Ross saw her best friend’s sexy older brother, Jase Simmons, he was being taken away in handcuffs. Seven years later, two things haven’t changed: Piper is still head-over-heels in love with him . . . and Forrestville’s chief of police—Piper’s dad—still hates his guts. So when Piper sees a chance to get close to Jase, she makes her move—literally. As his new roommate, and as the office manager of his tattoo shop, Piper won’t be satisfied until Jase knows that she wants to be his.
The quintessential good girl, Piper is pure temptation for Jase. The only reason he’s always kept his distance is because she’s the last person he’d ever want to hurt. But once he realizes that Piper is ready to take the leap, everything just makes sense. Suddenly Jase feels like a new man—until nasty rumors start swirling and Piper’s heartless father stirs up even more trouble. Now Jase must convince Piper that she wasn’t wrong about him . . . because falling in love never felt so right.
A tough cop with an even tougher past, Hunter Sloan has never let anyone stop him from getting what he wants—and he wants Evangeline Ambrose bad. With her gentle curves and raw vulnerability, Hunter’s beautiful, mysterious new neighbor awakens his protective side. Determined to do right by a woman who’s gone through hell and back, Hunter could be the one to take away the pain—so long as his own secrets don’t sink their relationship before it begins.
Having escaped an abusive marriage, Evangeline simply wants to start over in the small, quiet town of Forrestville. She’s also avoiding all contact with the opposite sex, because she just can’t trust her instincts when it comes to men—not even with the sinfully sexy cop next door. So why can’t she stop thinking about him? Hunter has darkness in his soul, and yet no one ever made her feel so safe. For all her best laid plans, Evangeline didn’t count on choices this hard—or temptation this hot.
About the author:
Marquita Valentine is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of contemporary romance.
Since first taking the plunge in July of 2012, Marquita has appeared on the Top 100 Bestselling Ebooks Lists on iBooks, Amazon Kindle, and Barnes&Noble. She's been called "one of the best new voices in romance" (Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews) and her books have been accused of being "a sexy, fun, and slightly addicting contemporary read" (The Book Queen).
When she's not writing sexy heroes who adore their sassy heroines, she enjoys shopping, reading, and spending time with her family and friends. Married to her high school sweetheart, Marquita lives in a seriously small town in the south with her husband, two kids, and a dog.