This story takes place a year before the book A Woman’s Worth, which came out yesterday. Kim Holmes is best friends with Chantal, the main character in A Woman’s Worth. I’ve included info on A Woman’s Worth below, following this short! Remember to comment on this post to be entered in the Massive Giveaway, and thanks for reading!


 

“Chantal is getting divorced.”

Kim Holmes sank down next to her husband Jeff onto the cushions of the overstuffed couch in her living room and let out a long, tired sigh. The kids were finally asleep and even though it was only eight o’clock in the evening, she wanted go to bed, too. But she’d barely seen Jeff all week, and the news from Chantal today was overwhelming her.

“Chantal and Mike?” Jeff looked surprised. “Wow. I didn’t see that one coming.”

That wasn’t surprising, since Kim hadn’t told her husband everything Chantal had been sharing with her over the past couple of weeks. But even so, she had seen it coming and still…hearing from Chantal that she had started the wheels in motion—kicked Mike out and hired an attorney—had thrown Kim for a loop.

“He’s been cheating on her.” Saying it to her husband made it more sad, somehow, like a real and horrible thing that could happen to anyone…including them.

Jeff sank back against the couch and blew out a heavy breath. “Shit. Poor Chantal.”

She nodded in agreement. Chantal didn’t deserve this. Of course, Chantal had deserved better than Mike, to begin with—Kim had never been able to understand what her best friend saw in the guy—but the way it had happened felt exceptionally tragic.

Ten years, two kids, and a house. Gone. All because a man couldn’t keep his hands to his wife.

It scared the shit out of Kim.

“She doing okay?” Jeff asked.

Kim thought about the way Chantal had sounded on the phone, so hollow and almost mechanical. And at the same time, she knew how tough Chantal could be, and how much strength it had taken for her to file for divorce in the first place. “She’ll get through it. It’s hard right now but I’m pretty sure she’ll come out on top. She’s a fighter.”

“And Mike’s a dumbass,” snorted Jeff.

The fear only increased. Why was she feeling like this?

“Do you ever think about it?” The question was out of Kim’s mouth before she could stop it.

Jeff twisted to look at her. “About what? Cheating on you?”

She nodded, feeling wretched in her insecurity, but how could she not? She was thirty-four years old, with dark circles under her eyes from not sleeping, lank hair from not showering, and an increasing feeling of distance from her husband that the demands of young children had created and she felt powerless to bridge.

Jeff looked at her a moment longer, then reached out and took her hand, dipping his head to stare down at their intertwined fingers. He looked like he was deep in thought over something.

Or possibly contemplating a confession.

Oh, God.

She tried to push away the negativity and pull herself together, but his next words stopped her cold.

“Sometimes I think about cheating…”

What? Oh my God. No. I take back the question. I don’t want to know. Is it too late to not know?

She wanted to cry.

“…with you,” he finished.

With me?

But her brain was so flooded with adrenaline from what she’d thought he’d been saying that nothing was firing right. She couldn’t cry or speak. All she could do was gape at him.

He looked back up at her and his mouth turned up in a wry smile. She loved to complain about how much she hated that expression, since it usually meant he was exasperated and it was usually directed at her, but the truth was that she loved when he did it. It was familiar and sweet and a symbol of how many years they’d invested in one another.

Then he pulled her close until she was half sitting on his lap. She considered protesting that the baby weight she still carried after Nick’s birth eight months ago would crush her husband’s legs, but it felt so good to be held that she didn’t say anything. She was the one whose arms were constantly full of another person. It had been a long time since someone else had held her.

He kissed her hair and whispered in her ear, “I think about sneaking off while the kids are napping and having you fast and rough against a wall. I think about ducking into the closet and peeling off all your clothes and making you shudder against my mouth. I think about you and me, turning our back on this crazy setup and running off together for a wild weekend away. I think about cheating on our exhausting life.”

Something that had been coiled tight and deep inside Kim started to relax: the worry that she was the only one who felt like that sometimes. It reassured her that Jeff had similar thoughts.

“But they’re just fantasies,” he continued. “I wouldn’t do that to the kids, no matter how much I want you or how exhausted we both are or even if we had the opportunity to run away. But regardless, the fact remains that I want you. Not anyone else.”

It was the best thing she’d ever heard.

“So you wouldn’t even throw me over for someone on your list?” She referred to the list of famous or imaginary people she or Jeff would be allowed to sleep with if presented with the opportunity.

He laughed. “Well, Cameron Diaz isn’t exactly easy to resist—” He stopped abruptly, probably because he felt her stiffen against him. “ Kim. No. I’m teasing you. No one comes close to the way I feel about you. Even a celebrity. I love you.”

It was a sign of how tired she was—it had to be—that she felt tears pricking at the back of her eyes. “I love you, too.”

He pulled her closer and slowly, almost tentatively, pressed his lips to hers.

Eight years. Two kids. A condo in the city and a vacation cabin. But what it came down to—what held them together then, now, and into the future—was this. Love. Care. Respect.

She melted into the kiss, into the man she’d known for so long but whose touch she’d never tired of. They kissed like they had when they’d first started dating: hot but sweet, and languorously urgent.

His hands rubbed down her arms and back, stroking gently over her breasts through the sweatshirt she wore. She could feel her body responding, her arousal intensifying with every caress. But when his fingers dipped beneath the hem of her sweatshirt and started to push it up, she drew back, her breath coming fast.

“I’m a mess,” she protested, and he stopped moving, studying her face, instead.

“You’re beautiful.” He started to withdraw his hands from under her shirt. “But I understand if you don’t feel like it.”

There were a thousand reasons why she didn’t feel like it. But there was one reason she did. One reason that trumped all the arguments for why she should get up and just go to bed.

She wanted her husband.

She grabbed his hands and kept them from leaving her body. “I do want to. I want you.”

He gave her a wolfish grin. “Then what are we waiting for?” In one fluid move, yanked her sweatshirt off and tossed it to the floor. He kissed her again, and the last of Kim’s fears fell away as she showed her husband just how much she wanted him.


The next stop on the hop is author Kelly Maher! Remember to comment on each story to be eligible for the Massive Giveaway at the end. Thanks for joining us for #ValentinesRewind! ♥

Want to read Chantal’s story? See below for a blurb and buy links! Sign up for my newsletter for access to FREE books, exclusive content, and giveaways. You will also receive a special FREE serialized full-length novel starting March 1st. The serial will not be available anywhere else!

beautiful blonde woman wearing elegant dress

About A Woman’s Worth
Chantal Jones is going through a rough patch. A divorced single mother to two demanding boys, she’s constantly putting the needs of others before her own. She’s exhausted and the only thing that fuels her fantasies these days is her sexy, off-limits boss, Ronan Nakata.

Ronan has definitely noticed how attractive Chantal is, but he’s her employer and their relationship has to remain strictly professional. Besides, he isn’t looking for anything serious and the last thing he wants to do is get emotionally involved.

But when a chance encounter in the company elevator leaves them both strung tight and wanting, taking it to the next level is seemingly inevitable. In such close quarters, will they be able to get their attraction out of their systems without losing their hearts?

Buy links:
amazon-logoAmazonUK iBooks barnes__noble_logo kobo

With You

38 thoughts on “With You

  • February 10, 2016 at 11:44 am
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    I adore this. So, so real (and I know). The moment when he tells her that she’s the one he’d like to cheat with. Sigh.

    • February 10, 2016 at 11:49 am
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      The longer I’m married and the older I get, the more I love sweet moments in long-term marriages. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  • February 10, 2016 at 9:20 pm
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    Love. Love. This had me breathless with their emotion–so real. I cared about them very much, very fast. Can’t wait to read Chantal’s story!

  • February 10, 2016 at 10:34 pm
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    I just love this story.had me reaching for tissues. Love to see a couple this much in love.

  • February 10, 2016 at 10:46 pm
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    I think that was so sweet and very real.thank you.

  • February 10, 2016 at 10:55 pm
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    Awe. So sweet. I like that he takes her concerns and fears and reassures her. It’d be easy for him to blow her off, but he takes time to describe all the ways he wants to cheat with her. Romantic <3

    • February 10, 2016 at 10:59 pm
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      I do like my heroes romantic! 😀

  • February 11, 2016 at 1:21 am
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    This is such a real feeling of insecurity with women who are exhausted from caring for children and a home. The husband answered in a loving and romantic way, and it was exactly what she needed to hear. Thank you.

  • February 11, 2016 at 2:39 am
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    Loved this…Such a good story

  • February 11, 2016 at 3:08 am
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    was cute

  • February 11, 2016 at 3:45 am
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    Thanks Audra, that was lovely!

    • February 11, 2016 at 11:53 am
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      Thanks for stopping by, Christine!

  • February 11, 2016 at 4:18 am
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    How romantic to want to “cheat” on your wife with your wife! Sweet!

  • February 11, 2016 at 4:25 am
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    Thanks for the Valentine’s Rewind!

  • February 11, 2016 at 5:10 am
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    He is so romantic. Looking forward to more.

  • February 11, 2016 at 5:19 pm
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    This middle-aged (almost 20 years on your character) married person thanks you for a sweet, sexy, romantic snippet of happy if exhausted married life. I want more of them…but at the same time, I don’t want them to have the conflicts that would lead to their own book.

    • February 11, 2016 at 5:20 pm
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      LOL you’re welcome? Maybe? 🙂 Luckily, they stay happy and Kim is just a supporting actress in the book. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  • February 12, 2016 at 2:52 pm
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    Now I can’t wait to read A Woman’s Worth. And thanks for the reminder that love, true soul deep love, remains solid despite the sometimes overwhelming crush of the day to day responsibilities we all face!

    • February 12, 2016 at 3:44 pm
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      Thank you so much for reading! I love stories about love in marriage so I was excited for the chance to write this. 🙂

  • February 12, 2016 at 3:04 pm
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    Thank you for the sweet read

  • February 12, 2016 at 10:52 pm
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    Thanks so much for this Awesome Valentines Day Giveaway And Thanks for the chance to win

  • February 12, 2016 at 11:04 pm
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    Jeff is spot on
    Will read Chantel story soon I hope
    Thanks

  • February 13, 2016 at 5:13 am
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    what are you waiting for? post the next teaser! lol
    what a build up! definitely saving this one for later to check it out! its now on my tbr! 🙂 thank you! i love this hop! finding so many awesome books to add to my wishlist! 🙂

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