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An eXtasy Books Editor’s Choice Award
A single woman battles to keep her foster child from his newly-paroled father—a dangerous man she used to love.
Bridget Matawapit is an Indigenous activist, daughter of a Catholic deacon, and foster mother to Kyle, the son of an Ojibway father—the ex-fiancé she kicked to the curb after he chose alcohol over her love. With Adam out on parole and back in Thunder Bay, she is determined to stop him from obtaining custody of Kyle.
Adam Guimond is a recovering alcoholic and ex-gangbanger newly-paroled. Through counseling, reconnecting with his Ojibway culture and twelve-step meetings while in prison, Adam now understands he’s worthy of the love that frightened him enough to pick up the bottle he’d previously corked. He can’t escape the damage he caused so many others, but he longs to rise like a true warrior in the pursuit of forgiveness and a second chance. There’s nothing he isn’t willing to do to win back his son–and Bridget.
When an old cell mate’s daughter dies under mysterious circumstances in foster care, Adam begs Bridget to help him uncover the truth. Bound to the plight of the Indigenous children in care, Bridget agrees. But putting herself in contact with Adam threatens to resurrect her long-buried feelings for him, and even worse, she risks losing care of Kyle, by falling for a man who might destroy her faith in love completely this time.
Genre(s): Multicultural, contemporary romance, adult, inspirational.
Heat Rating: Level 3
Publication Date: April 19, 2019
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Bridget was just about to pick at her braid. She stopped her shaking hand in midair and forced her traitorous limb to settle on her quivering knee.
The cruel, straight line of Adam’s lips tugged at the corners. Even his cold eyes unfrosted to black silk. “It’s nice out here.” A loon bobbed in the small waves he pointed at. “Darryl told me to give this spot a try.”
Bridget shifted on the rock and sat taller. “Emery and Darryl discovered this place when they were kids. They cleared it and came here after Mass.”
“Darryl went to church?” Adam plopped down on the opposite rock. “Thought he was traditional.”
“He attended for Emery’s sake, I believe. They were extremely close.”
“Yeah, kinda thought so. They’re gay.”
“What do you mean?” The question snapped from Bridget.
“Easy, kwe. I’m only saying what I see. I don’t go no problem with your brother and his ol’ man. I’m bunking at their crib, ain’t I?”
“I didn’t mean to jump down your throat.” She smoothed her pants. “I get very defensive when it comes to Emery.”
“If you wanna jump down my throat, go ahead. At least you’re jumping on something…on me.” Adam’s low rumbling laugh could have shaken the rocks.
His double meaning hushed the annoyance in Bridget’s chest. A giggle edged up her throat. When she swallowed, the laughter refused to go down and escaped from her mouth.
“At least I got you laughing, instead of killing me with your eyes.” Adam’s lips remained a smidgen turned up.
Bridget ran her fingers along the exposed part of her calves.
“Those are nice. You always got interesting clothes.” He pointed at Bridget’s flower-patterned, wide-leg crops.
“I ignored the Labor Day rule.”
“The what?” Adam squinted.
“You’re not supposed to wear summer clothes after Labor Day. But it’s still hot out.”
“Wear whatever you want. They look good on you. Hell, anything looks good on you.”
The compliment scooted up Bridget’s legs, caressing her skin.
“Don’t worry about it. I’m feeling the same way.” His smile vanished, and his gaze hardened to his familiar almost-a-scowl.
Bridget rubbed her bare arms. She should have worn more than a tank top. The flat, open-toed sandals exposed her feet. Goodness, she was exposed. Heart ready to bust through her ribs. An ocean of water in her throat.
“How’s your boyfriend?”
The fever vanished. The pricks and shivers disappeared. “Who?”
“He’s not my boyfriend. I already have a man in my life.”
Adam’s black brow flickered. “Oh? Who?”
“Yeah? Then why’d you go out for dinner with him?” Adam didn’t scowl. His voice wasn’t accusing, either.
A slight breeze rustling through the trees was the only sound present.
“I simply wanted to go out for dinner. It’s been a long time.”
“I coulda took you out for dinner. I can’t afford a fancy restaurant, but I can take you somewhere decent.”
The dreaded fever reappeared, and Bridget glanced away.
“Kwe, look at me.” His command was gentle enough to smooth Bridget’s hair the way he used to run his strong fingers through each strand, coaxing her to relax and trust him.
Bridget placed her trembling hands on her knees.
His eyes softened at the corners. “I’m gonna kiss you.” Each word Adam spoke was husky, as if he’d cupped her face with his big hands.
The air in Bridget’s lungs collapsed for a moment. She gripped the rock.
Adam leaned in. The familiar aroma of the water swirled around Bridget. His eyes were half closed, lips slightly parted. The slickness of his dark-brown skin and thickness of his black lashes was a temptation that tugged at Bridget’s limbs. She tried to recoil, but her body refused to listen to her brain.
His hand cupped her chin. Reassurance filled his sleepy eyes. He guided her lips to his.
Helplessness engulfed Bridget’s shaking body, tangling her in its stiff web.
He was bearing down, his masculine scent invading her space. When his lips swept against her mouth, she edged in, slightly. His moist flesh moving in rhythm with hers tangled Bridget in a layer of velvet. For a big, strong man, his kiss was tender.
Adam eased his tongue between Bridget’s lips. His saliva melted along her tongue, his scent tasty and balmy with a hint of tobacco. A moan skittered up her throat. The kiss wrapped Bridget in a ball of confusion, coaxing her to surrender to the desire massaging the ache inside her panties.
She stroked his cheekbone, and he groaned.
When Adam’s strong arms encircled Bridget’s waist, she was guided off the rock and settled on his brawny thighs.
“Adam,” she whispered.
“Easy.” His voice mirrored a lullaby, enticing Bridget to let the fevered heat guide her back into the kiss.
She accepted Adam’s gentle assault on her mouth. His palm rubbed the small of her back. His other hand brushed her outer thigh, his strokes mirroring his past reassuring caresses.
Bridget ran her nails along his shoulders. Adam’s grunt of pleasure said he still enjoyed when she lightly scratched him, or dug hard into his flesh, bold enough to break the skin stretching across his muscles.
His tongue became an invading force, robbing Bridget of her breath, demanding she succumb to his assault. She melted to his forceful attack of claiming licks.
Adam’s palm stroking her outer thigh inched to her buttock. Bridget tensed but kept sampling the silk of his mouth. The heat of his skin rested beneath her ass, hot enough to penetrate the cotton pants and sear his imprint through the satin panties.
She curled her fingers around his thick waves and pushed off the cowboy hat. His other hand skimmed Bridget’s bare arm. For a moment, her heart seemed to shrivel and hide because this meant he planned on working his way to her breast.
His hand was below Bridget’s ribcage, easing upward. His demanding kiss didn’t allow her a second of air that her aching lungs needed.