Strong Enough The Masonville Series Book 4 by Jana Richards Genre: Small Town Contemporary Romance
Love can make you stronger, if you let it.
Charlotte Saunders has a full life—a rewarding career as a nurse, meaningful volunteer work at a dog shelter, and family, friends and pets she adores. But no matter how hard she tries, she can’t forget the horrible event that’s haunted her for ten years.
A survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Damon Greyson now helps others who have suffered trauma. His experience and intuition alert him to trouble in Charlotte’s past, and he wants to help her, if only she’d let him.
As they work together to help veterans suffering from PTSD and neglected dogs needing loving homes, their feelings for each other deepen. But when the trauma from Charlotte’s past roars back to life, both are forced to confront their painful histories—or die trying.
Damon woke early, with sunshine streaming in through the window. He’d slept so soundly he was momentarily disoriented and couldn’t remember where he was. As he glanced around the small bedroom, he remembered he was in Charlotte’s house. And Charlotte was down the hall. In her bed.
Damon rolled over and groaned into his pillow. He’d underestimated how tortuous living with Charlotte would be. In each of the four nights he’d lain in this bed, he imagined Charlotte in hers. Did she sleep in t-shirts and cotton boxer shorts, or in silk nighties? He wanted the silk. He imagined running his hands over the soft material, and then her bare skin, unable to tell where the fabric ended and the silk of her skin began. His body burned with wanting her, burned with wanting to sink inside her, to love her.
But it wasn’t what Charlotte wanted. Or needed. Damon groaned into his pillow one last time before pushing himself to a seated position. Time for another cold shower.
He threw on a pair of sweatpants, grabbed his bag of toiletries and opened his door. Charlotte emerged from the bathroom at the same moment, a fluffy white towel covering her from just above her breasts to the top of her thighs. Her wet hair clung to her bare shoulders, and little rivulets of water disappeared beneath the towel. She was like an exotic mermaid rising from the sea. Damon stared transfixed at the streams of water flowing over her skin before lifting his gaze to her face. Her eyes were wide, her mouth partially open in an expression of surprise. She clutched the top of the towel with one hand, hiking it higher up her thighs.
She was so damn beautiful she rendered him speechless. Hell, he could barely breathe.
“Sorry.” Charlotte’s cheeks flushed pink. “I forgot my robe. I’m used to being on my own.”
Damon cleared his throat and tested his voice. “I…I’m the one who should apologize. I just woke up. I didn’t hear the shower.”
She nodded and bit her bottom lip. Damon watched her mouth, his body on fire despite the awkwardness of the moment.
“I should go,” she whispered.
“Yeah, me too. I need to shower.”
For a second, neither of them moved. Then Daisy approached and barked once, then twice more. Charlotte blinked as if waking from a deep sleep. She tightened her hold on the towel.
“I have to go.”
With that, she hurried to her room and closed the door. Damon stood immobile, staring after her. It took all his self-control not to go after her. The only thing stopping him was the knowledge that she didn’t want him.
Someone had forced himself on her in the past, he was sure of it. If he and Charlotte ever made love it would be because she initiated it.
Damon entered the bathroom. He stepped under the shower and turned the water as cold as he could stand.
Unexpected The Masonville Series Book 3
Single dad Ben Greyson wants only to retain custody of his two stepdaughters. A dysfunctional childhood has made family the most important thing in his life. When his late wife's parents sue for custody, a desperate Ben is left with two choices – run away with his girls or marry his next-door neighbor.
Jamie Garven wants to be a mother. She's intrigued by her handsome new neighbor and falls in love with his little girls. Then Ben is faced with losing his children, and Jamie agrees to marry him for a chance at motherhood. They're determined to show the world, and the girls' grandparents, two loving parents.
Their marriage of convenience turns into unexpected love. But Ben interprets Jamie's efforts to save their family as betrayal—they could lose everything, including each other.
Jamie didn’t sleep the rest of the night. The logical part of her brain told her if Ben lost custody it wasn’t her fault. Circumstances beyond her control, and Ben’s, had conspired against them. But guilt and worry wouldn’t let her rest.
The crazy thing was she could see the four of them together as a family. And she could see herself with Ben. She’d been fighting her feelings for him since the day they met. Learning he was a recovering alcoholic was a shock, but she knew he was much more than that. He was kind and funny, and a loving father.
But he didn’t love her.
She remembered what it was like to watch, day by day, as Carson fell a little more out of love with her. Every day another piece of her soul withered. To the outside world they probably still looked like a happy couple. But she could feel Carson pull away bit by bit, like water trickling out of a broken vase. It was in the awkward silences between them, the unexplained absences, the times he didn’t reach for her in the night.
Eventually the slow trickle turned into a torrent and he was gone. It had nearly destroyed her.
Could she live with a man who didn’t love her for a second time? Could she willingly step into a relationship, knowing it would likely end the same way her relationship to Carson ended?
Thoughts and emotions whirled in her brain, making her dizzy.
At four a.m. she gave up all pretence of sleep. She went to the kitchen for a drink of water and as she ran the tap, she saw the lights were on in Ben’s house. He probably couldn’t sleep either.
What must he be going through? She couldn’t imagine losing a child.
The old longing ache she’d worked so hard to dispel pressed on her heart. This is your chance, her heart whispered. Maybe your only chance to have children.
Jamie groaned out load. She couldn’t say no. Ben and the girls needed her.
Yet how could she say yes and expose herself to almost certain heartbreak?
Maybe some things were more important. Maybe it was enough to be a mother to the girls and create a family with them. She couldn’t expect Ben to love her as well. It was asking too much.
She couldn’t let him lose the girls. And she couldn’t let her one chance to be a mother slip away.
To Heal a Heart The Masonville Series Book 2
Two souls in pain, two hearts in need of rescue.
Garrett Saunders' world changed two years ago on a road in Afghanistan. Back home, he feels like a stranger. As he struggles to find his place in the world, he meets a horse destined for the slaughterhouse and a woman bent on rescuing the strays of the world, including him.
Blair Greyson moves to Masonville to look after her ailing grandfather and give her rescue horses a home. Right away she butts heads with a surly former Marine. Despite a rocky start, they come to an agreement: Blair will board Garrett's rescue horse and he'll help with repairs around her farm.
Garrett finds purpose working with Blair—and falls in love with her. But she's hiding a secret. Can she forgive herself and accept Garrett's love, or will she let guilt and regret continue to rule her life?
She pulled into the Saunders’ farmyard and parked near the house. After killing the engine, she hopped out of the driver’s side door and hurried to help Garrett get out of her truck. He leaned on her as they walked to the house, and she staggered a little under his weight.
“Home to mommy and daddy. Pretty pathetic, isn’t it? A grown man living with his parents.”
She could practically taste his frustration. “I guess we’re two of a kind. I’m a grown woman living with my grandfather. Does that make me pathetic, too?”
She helped him up the front steps to the porch, and they stood in front of the door. She kept a steadying hand on his arm, worried he’d lose his balance.
“Hardly. You’re looking after him. I only cause my parents worry. “
Once more she saw the bleakness in his eyes, and she desperately wanted to ask him what had happened at Lauren’s house. But that wasn’t what he needed. She put a light tone in her voice.
“I don’t know about that. Granddad worries about me, too. Mostly he worries that I’m more interested in horses than in men.”
“Do I what?”
“Like horses better than men?”
“Yeah, sometimes I do.”
Garrett let out an unexpected bark of laughter. “I like you Blair Greyson, even if you did steal Everett’s farm out from under me.”
“I did not steal—”
His mouth descended on hers, and for the second time that evening, he stole her breath away.
She had so not expected this, was totally unprepared for the way her body heated at his touch. His tongue swept into her mouth, stroking her tongue over and over until her knees turned to water and she had to grip his biceps to stay upright. He tasted hot, and a little desperate. Desperate for her. Her body arched toward him as he ran his hands over her buttocks, and up her sides, his thumbs grazing her breasts and leaving a trail of fire in their wake.
He stopped kissing her and she wanted to whimper in protest, to beg him not to stop. He leaned his forehead against hers, breathing heavily as his hands gripped her hips.
“Don’t go.” His voice was a rough whisper. “Stay with me tonight.”
She was far more tempted than she should have been. He’d had way too much to drink tonight, maybe even had a problem with alcohol. Though she recognized all the dangers, to her shame her biggest fear was that in the morning he’d regret sleeping with her.
She shook her head. What was she thinking? A short time ago she’d been afraid he was going to rape her. Where was her sense of self-preservation?
“I think your mother might be shocked to find me at her breakfast table in the morning.”
He pulled her closer, letting her feel how much he wanted her. “Then let’s go to your place.”
Blair trembled in his arms. She had a bad habit of taking in strays with lots of problems and Garrett Saunders was her biggest find yet. She instinctively understood he had the power to crush her.
“I think my grandfather might be as surprised as your mother.” She lightly kissed his cheek. “Besides, I’m not that kind of girl.”
“Sleep well, Garrett.”
She pulled away and he dropped his hands. Blair hurried down the steps and ran to her truck before she could change her mind.
Child of Mine The Masonville Series Book 1
Is Lauren’s love for Cole stronger than her fear of scandal in her hometown?
Lauren didn't intend to sleep with her brother-in-law Cole on the day of her husband's funeral. But now that she is pregnant, she's not sorry. Cole's given her a baby, a long-wished-for miracle. He's been her friend forever, though she never told him or anyone else how unhappy her marriage to his cheating brother was. And she's afraid to tell the small town that considered her husband a hero that the baby isn't his.
Cole's been in love with Lauren since he was sixteen. It kills him that everyone believes the baby is his dead brother's. All he wants is to claim the baby, and Lauren, as his own. Though she marries him, will Lauren's heart ever be his?
Lauren must tell the truth or risk losing Cole. Is her newly-discovered love for him greater than her fear of scandal in her hometown?
Images rushed through her mind as she closed her eyes. Cole undressing her, touching her with gentle hands, caressing her. The look in his eyes, so fierce, yet so loving--
“Here you go. One cup of instant hot chocolate, minus the mini marshmallows.”
Lauren sat up with a start, blinking open her eyes. Cole stood over her, a steaming mug in his hand. He frowned, two vertical lines forming between his brows.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you. Did you fall asleep?”
“No, I’m fine. I mean, I wasn’t asleep.” Her blush heated her face. There was no way she could tell him what she’d been daydreaming about. “I was resting my eyes, that’s all.”
He handed her the mug and sat next to her. His eyes filled with concern as he tucked a wayward curl behind her ear. “You’re tired. It’s been a long day. You should get some rest.”
“I’m fine, really.” She attempted a smile. “Especially now that I have chocolate.”
A grin quirked his lips before being replaced by the look of concern once more. “Drink your chocolate and then go to bed.”
Lauren averted her gaze and sipped the hot liquid. “Aren’t you coming to bed too?”
Silence greeted her question, and she was too afraid to look into his face. Had she only imagined passion in his kiss? Maybe she’d fooled herself into believing Cole’s feelings for her extended beyond obligation.
Finally, she heard his sigh. “You should get some sleep. I’ll sleep in the spare room.”
“Your suitcases are in the master bedroom. Garrett brought them over this afternoon. I’ve made room for your things in the closet.”
Disappointment swamped her.He doesn’t want me.She still couldn’t look at him. “Thank you.”
“There’s a new mattress on the bed. It’s very comfortable.”
Then why won’t you share it with me?She squeezed her eyes shut. “That’s good. Thanks.”
“Lauren? Are you okay?”
She forced herself to open her eyes and turn to him with a smile. If he didn’t want to sleep with her, she wouldn’t make him feel guilty about it.
When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist.
In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Winnipeg, Canada. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.janarichards.com