Sunday, June 16, 2024

Return to You Blitz

Return to You
Bella Rivers
(Emerald Creek Series, #3)
Publication date: June 12th 2024
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Two broken hearts. Ten years apart. Can one small town bring them back together?

Ten years in the military might have changed me, but it didn’t change the reasons I left Emerald Creek. Back for a short visit to my family after a decade away, I’ll do everything to keep my stay painless.
It will be short.
There will be no trips down memory lane.
There will be little to no reconnecting with locals.
One thing is certain: I won’t run into the girl who broke my heart. She’s long gone, married away.
Or so I thought.
All it takes is a pulled muscle, a massage tent at the town fair, and some not-so-subtle interventions from my friends for me to suddenly be alone with her—with me flat on my back on the massage table and her kneading me like I’m a stranger. Like what we had back then meant nothing to her.
She won’t even talk to me? Fine. I’m ready to bolt anyway.
But when the townies engineer another close encounter and I find out what she’s trying to hide from me, it’s Operation Get Her Back.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

It’s dark inside the tent, and my eyes strain to adjust. A sweet and relaxing scent fills the atmosphere. Oriental-type carpets cover the ground, giving the space a sense of being elsewhere. There’s a chair next to the entrance and a massage table in the center.

To the back, there’s the silhouette of a woman busying herself at a small console with lotions. My heart ba-booms at the shape of her shoulders, the tilt of her head. Jesus fucking Christ, she’s thousands of miles away. Not here. And even if she was here, what does it matter? Shake it off, man.

But her dark, curly hair stirs something deep inside me, and I hold my breath.

Am I hallucinating? It can’t be her, dammit.

It’s a trick of my imagination.

Shit.

It’s been so long.

But then she turns around, and my heart hammers in my chest.

The last time I saw this woman, she didn’t even have one word for me.

After everything we’d shared. After everything she’d told me.

She was walking down the aisle, holding some idiot’s arm, a stiff smile fooling only herself, her gaze glazing over me.

And she didn’t have one word for me.

Not one explanation.

Didn’t even bother trying to be my friend.

It was like I’d never existed.

I’d been on leave, decided four years without coming back to my hometown was enough. I had one week off, and god played a trick on me. It was the weekend she was marrying someone else.

She was supposed to be mine.

Always was.

She said so herself. So many times.

But after her wedding, didn’t she move to Texas? She’s not supposed to be here.

She does a double take. Her eyes round, her mouth gapes, her breath catches.

“Why are you here?” I ask right as she says, “What brings you here?”

I clear my throat. “I’m—I’m just visiting.” I should add something generic and half-assed polite, like It’s nice to see you, or How have you been, but the words stay stuck in my throat.

She’s supposed to be in fucking Texas.

She blinks several times, takes a small breath, shows me a list of services calligraphed on an elegant paper and framed in gold. “I mean, what type of massage would you like?”

Oh, really? Not even Hey, Ethan. Not even Wow, it’s been a while.

Granted, I’m not good at small talk either.

But really? “I dunno. My back is tight. It hurts down to my leg.”

I can’t believe we’re talking like we’re two fucking strangers.

I glance at the tent opening. I never should have come here. I should just go. It’s only gonna get weirder and weirder.

Her voice is melodious with a touch of coldness. Professional. “Strip down to your underwear and get under the sheet. Face down.” She turns around. “Let me know when you’re ready.”

Yeah, that’s not gonna work out. “I-I… maybe I should just go.”

She whips around. Her eyes are shiny, her bottom lip trembles until she pulls herself together and snaps her mouth in a fine line. Her voice catches when she says, “Yeah, maybe you should.”

What the hell? I don’t think so. I pull my T-shirt off my back. Her eyes narrow on my torso, slide down to my abs, and even in the dimness of the tent I can see her cheeks turning a deep red. She catches herself and turns her back to me just as I unbuckle my jeans.

I fold my clothes neatly and place them on a stool. My hands don’t shake. My heartbeat doesn’t rattle the tent. Nothing betrays the anger boiling inside me. Then I slide under the cool sheet.

Face down. I turn on my belly. I wish I could look at her. Make her squirm under my gaze. Ask her to her face what the hell happened to her.

To us.

“Ready,” I grunt.

Author Bio:

Bella Rivers writes steamy small town romances with a guaranteed happily ever after, and themes of found family and forgiveness. Expect hot scenes, fierce love, and strong language!

A hopeless romantic, Bella is living her own second chance romance in the rolling hills of Vermont. When she’s not telling the stories of the characters populating her dreams, you can find her baking, hiking, skiing, or just hanging around her small town to soak in the happiness.

Her newsletter is where Bella shares progress on her writing as well as sneak peeks into upcoming books, the occasional recipe from her characters, and books from other writers she thinks her readers might like. Subscribe from her website.

You can also connect with Bella on TikTok, Instagram, or Facebook, all @bellariversauthor, or through the contact form on her website.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / TikTok / Newsletter


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