Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂
Michelle Hazen is a new-to-me author, but I’m crazy excited for Unbreak Me. The early reviews have been great and the blurb makes me think this is my kind of jam.Unbreak Me by Michelle Hazen
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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A contemporary romance about a New Orleans cowboy battling systemic racism post-Hurricane Katrina and a woman recovering from a public trial following a sexual assault.
What could two troubled souls from different walks of life have in common? Maybe everything.
Andra Lawler lives isolated at her family’s horse ranch, imprisoned by the memories of an assault in college. When she needs help training her foals, she hires a Haitian-Creole cowboy from New Orleans with a laugh as big as the Montana sky.
LJ Delisle can’t stand the idea that Andra might be lonely—or eating frozen TV dinners. He bakes his way into her kitchen with a lemon velvet cake, and offers her cooking lessons that set them on the road to romance. But even their love can’t escape the shadow of what they've been through. Despite their growing friendship and his gentle rapport with the horses, LJ is still an outsider facing small-town suspicions.
Before they can work through their issues, LJ is called home by a family emergency. In the centuries-old, raggedly rebuilt streets of New Orleans, he must confront memories of Hurricane Katrina and familiar discrimination. And Andra must decide if she’s brave enough to leave the shelter of the ranch for an uncertain future with LJ.
She leaned against the refrigerator where it stuck out from the counter, and closed her eyes. She was not imagining the double meaning to his every word. Nobody’s mind was lower in the gutter than LJ’s. He was flirting with her, had probably always been flirting with her, according to her father. It was just a different brand of flirting than she knew what to do with. All possibility, no pressure. And he was certainly doing it on purpose. The man missed nothing. Not the tiniest flick of a horse’s ears, not the morning he brought her coffee because her belt had missed one loop on her jeans and he figured that meant she’d been in a rush that day.
What bothered her was how easy it was. He’d invited himself into her kitchen and her life from virtually his first day on the ranch.
“You took this job for the horses, right?” Her voice came out a little faint, and she opened her eyes to see him frown at her.
“I certainly didn’t take it for the pension plan.”
She bit her lip, hesitating. Watching her, his expression changed.
“Ah.” He laughed. “Don’t flatter yourself, darlin’. You were something else, riding that fancy stallion like you both belonged in the Olympics. But it was Taz who ran away with my heart that first day. That and all this.” He nodded toward the window. “Big sky full of second chances.”
Her stomach twisted, uncertain whether she was relieved or offended he hadn’t taken the job because he wanted to pursue her. Then the second part of his statement caught her, and her eyes narrowed.
“Do you need a second chance?” she asked slowly.
“Doesn’t everybody?” He flicked off both burners and stepped close to her all in one smooth movement. One hand landed on the refrigerator, above her head; one on the counter, next to her hip. He was near enough to let her feel his body heat, but not caging her in. She could step out from under his arm easily, and with a surge of her pulse, she almost wished she couldn’t. LJ stood so close his body was her entire world. Cozy but thrilling. She wanted him pressed against her so she could drown in that bizarre reaction, breathe it in and glory in it.
He ducked his head, his drawl a lower pitch than usual. “What’s on your mind, beautiful?”
She could only blink, as if steam were effervescing out of the air between them and she couldn’t quite see.
“You keep asking all these questions.” He licked his bottom lip, a quick slick of tongue over that mouth of his. “Why don’t you ask me what you’re really wanting to know?”
“The cooking lessons.” Her mouth was so dry she had to swallow before she could continue. “Was that flirting? Is that why you offered in the first place?”
His hand dropped, the inside of his wrist warming her shoulder as he opened the fridge. Taking her other shoulder, he spun her around. “See that?”
She stared, puzzled. Milk, orange juice. Cheese and eggs and containers of leftovers and some lettuce that was starting to go off.
“That’s what a fridge is supposed to look like.” He let the door fall closed. “I like you.”
She didn’t move. He was right behind her, the closed fridge giving them no excuse to keep looking in its direction. They were too close for anything except hugging, her bottom so near the front of his jeans that she couldn’t even shift her weight without touching him. This was the point where she should pull away.
He tapped one finger against the fridge door. “I would have done that much even for somebody I didn’t like. As for the rest?” His knuckles skimmed down the back of her arm so lightly that the rough yarn of her sweater woke up her entire body, her skin rippling with goose bumps. “Now that might be flirting.”
“Might be?” she asked breathlessly.
His breath stirred her hair, as if he’d bent a little closer. “Depends on if you want it to be.”
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Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!