Enjoy this excerpt from Wild Love by Lauren Accardo! Wild Love is a small-town romance, the first book in the Forever Adirondacks series, and the debut novel of author Lauren Accardo. For more romance novel excerpts click here.
About the Book :
A down-on-her-luck city girl searches for new purpose among the shelves of a failing bookstore in the quaint town of Pine Ridge, New York–until a forbidden love tempts her to go off-book.
When life sets fire to your happily ever after, you ditch your cheating boyfriend, trade in the city life for the off-the-grid seclusion of your mother’s bookstore in the mountains…and try to resist your attraction to the brooding town mechanic you accidentally got into a fender bender with outside the local bar. Sydney Walsh might be falling head over heels for the romance novels she’s stocking up to rebuild The Loving Page, but she has no delusions about actually starring in one. That chapter has closed.
Beneath Sam Kirkland’s gruff mountain-man exterior lies a gentle heart and a burning desire for the woman he knows he can’t have. He’s made promises that anchor him to the past, making romance off-limits. And he accepted that–until Sydney came crashing into his life.
Sam can’t do a relationship right now. Sydney doesn’t have the wherewithal to believe in one. But when you meet the right person, the wrong circumstances don’t matter. Even when the world seems to be doing its best to keep them apart, their real, one-of-a-kind love is worth fighting for.
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“Are you alright?”
Sydney grimaced. Her rear bumper was crushed on the right side and the tail light dangled from its broken cover like the last shriveled grape on the vine. Meanwhile, Mountain Man’s filthy truck didn’t have a scratch.
“I’m fine,” she said. “Just feeling like an idiot.”
Sam adjusted his baseball cap and placed his hands on his hips, staring down at her busted bumper. “You pulled out of there like a bat out of hell. You late for something?”
“No, and I didn’t pull out like a bat out of hell. I pulled out like a normal human on her way to where she’s going. I just… didn’t check to make sure no one was coming. And the fact that there are precisely three cars in this parking lot made my lack of caution all the more understandable.”
He laughed, stroking his beard with long, powerful fingers. Even in the dim parking lot light she saw the calluses and scars on his knuckles and palms. Strong hands capable of tightening lug nuts, gripping tow chains, probing the curves of her hips until her legs lifted and opened…
She gulped. Where the hell did that come from?
“Come on,” he said. “I’ll give you a ride.”
Attractive or not, no way was she getting in the car with this stranger. Charles Manson was handsome, too. “It’s still drivable. Just a busted bumper.”
“You don’t know that. What if there was damage to the rear tire? Leave it here and I’ll take a look tomorrow morning when it’s light out.”
She was no damsel in distress and she certainly didn’t need a white knight to save her. She’d taken care of herself once, before Connor came along. Now she needed to do it again. Starting over, from scratch.
“Okay, first of all, I don’t even know you. So, there’s no way I’m getting in a car with you. Second of all, I’ll take the car to a mechanic. You don’t have to do anything for me.”
He laughed again and groaned, adjusting his cap.
“Jesus, you’re a trip. First of all, I know your mother. Everyone in this town knows your mother. If you disappeared or ended up dead, Karen Walsh would find out who did it and have their head on a stake in the town square before the sun came up. Personally, I like my head and I want to hold onto it for awhile. Second of all, I’m the mechanic in this town. So like it or not, you’re gonna have to let me take a look at your car. Otherwise you’ll be stuck riding Karen’s red Schwinn.”
Sydney swallowed down the lump in her throat, eyes darting around the dark parking lot. Not a human in sight. Probably no Uber up here. And she couldn’t see herself ambling along the two miles of country road to her mother’s house with only a dim phone flashlight to guide her.
Sam tucked his arms across his chest and dropped his chin.
“Fine,” she grumbled. “Let me get my sh!t.”
After pulling her car back into the parking space and cutting the engine, she grabbed her rapidly cooling dinner and climbed into the cab of Sam’s pickup. The scent of freshly cut pine overwhelmed her and she knew that authentic spiciness didn’t come from an air freshener.
“It smells good in here,” she said, almost to herself.
“That smells good.” He nodded toward the paper sack in her lap as he pulled out of the parking lot. “No offense, but you don’t really look like a girl who eats a lot of chili cheeseburgers.”
She shifted in her seat and clenched her teeth. “Oh, are we making snap judgments? Because I have a few about you if you’re interested.”
His perpetually-amused stare drifted over to the passenger seat. Her cheeks burned. With one hand draped over the steering wheel and the other casually tugging at his full, rosy lips, she wondered what his story was. Probably married to a former prom queen with eight babies waiting for him at home. But his left hand was bare. No ring. No ring tan line. And this definitely wasn’t the ideal mode of transportation for someone with babies.
“No thanks,” he said. “I can probably guess.”
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