Title: Twice In a Lifetime
Author: Ruthie Henrick
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Expected Release Date: January 24, 2014
Cover Designer: Mae I Design and Photography
Hosted by: Love Between the Sheets Promotions
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Is it possible to find your one true love…twice? Blind date. When Allie and Ben are thrown together to help their friends out of a bind, they find the unexpected – and unwanted - spark of attraction difficult to ignore. Surrendering to it, they marry and live their happyish-ever-after – until Ben’s death reveals a betrayal that rocks Allie’s world. The sidelines. Where Jake has hovered for the past fifteen years, business partners with his best friend, in love with his best friend’s wife. He’s shocked by his friend’s duplicity, overcome by the guilt of a deathbed promise. But he’s waited half a lifetime for a chance to love Allie, and it’s time to make his move. Marriage. Allie might be ready to take the slow slide from friend to lover, but a lifetime is a leap she won’t agree to. She can’t deprive Jake of the family he’s never had but longs for – the family she can no longer give him. How can she refuse him, though, when he sets out to prove the only family he needs – has ever wanted – is her
“I’m in love with you, Allie. I’ve always loved you.”
Allie gasped and jerked her hands from around his, slapping her fists to her chest like it would protect her. “No. Jake, no. You can’t. I can’t.” Frantic now, her eyes were wide with alarm, her breaths coming in short gasps. “I promised I’d take care of you, too. I…can’t.”
The corners of his lips lowered until his smile was but a flimsy substitute. He’d come so far already. He’d taken the first halting step, he couldn’t let her shut him down. To see this through he had to leap.
“I learned—a long time ago—to be your friend, Allie. It was the only way I could be a part of your life.” A lifetime of yearning clotted his throat as the words, full of emotion, spilled from his mouth like floodwaters breaching a dam. “But now, now Ben’s been gone a long time and we’ve both done a lot of healing.” He reached for her hands again, lifted them from where they’d drifted to her lap.
“You’re an amazing woman, resilient and strong. I want to be your friend, but I love you. I want more.” Amazingly enough, the words he was unable to rehearse earlier came instinctively now. He brushed his lips across her knuckles.
“I need you, Allie. I need to be with you. I need to come home to you at the end of the day. To share my life with you, and to share yours. To sleep with you at night, and wake with you in the morning. And I think you need me too.”
There it was. His heart - laid on the line for her to cherish or destroy. It cost him, but the past three years had cost Allie as well. Cost more than the time spent taking back her independence, but the reward was ineffable – Allie as a strong, resilient woman. Could he ever make her understand how proud he was of her?
A large gray moth fluttered against the screen of the open glass door. The antique Regulator clock ticked against the far wall. He sat, facing her, searching her eyes, searching her heart, waiting for a sign, scared to death.
Allie lifted her chin, determined steel gray eyes connecting with his, her fingers tightened around his, her face impassive.
“No, Jake. I don’t need you.
“Thank you for last night, Jake.”
He drew his eyebrows together in confusion, tightened his fingers around hers and drew her to a halt. “You waiting for me to say you’re welcome, Allie? Because thank you doesn’t begin to cover how I feel about last night.”