HOPE SPRINGS ON MAIN STREET by Olivia Miles (October 27, 2015; Forever Mass Market; The Briar Creek Series #3)
Sometimes love is where you least expect it . . .
What do you do when your cheating husband proposes to the “other woman”? For Jane Madison, it means you keep calm, carry on, and sneak candy bars and wine for dinner. Jane’s grateful for her adorable little girl, yet she yearns for the love that was missing from her marriage. Only one man ever really “got” Jane-and she’s stunned when he returns to Briar Creek. But a single mom can’t date her ex’s best friend . . . can she?
Jane’s still kind, beautiful-and far too good for the buddy Henry Birch tried to stop her from marrying years ago. Laying eyes on her now is like a much-needed ray of sunshine. Back in town to sell his family’s old house, Henry wants to close a bad chapter in his life and move on. But time with Jane and her sweet daughter has him flirting with the idea of happily ever after-if he can convince her to take a second chance on love . . .
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“We’ll work on the box step first, so if everyone could just take their partner…” She set her arm on Henry’s shoulder, feeling the warmth of his body through his cotton shirt. Her breath caught as his hand went to her waist, and not gingerly. Nope, no hesitation there. Henry knew how to hold a woman, how to make her feel with just one touch that he was exactly where he wanted to be. Slowly, she lifted her other hand, and he took it in his, holding it firmly. A wave of exhilaration shot through her as she looked up to meet his gaze. It bored through hers, but there was a hint of a smile on his lips.
Right. Time to demonstrate. She swallowed hard and tore her gaze from his, looking at Grace, so she wouldn’t be tempted to indulge in further masochism by glaring at the man who was single-handedly trying to ruin her life, or meeting Henry’s sharp blue eyes and daring to imagine how it might feel if his hand dropped a little lower.
“One, two, three, four.” Jane counted out the steps, over and over, and soon all the couples in the room were stepping within their own self-created boxes, many already laughing or whispering to each other.
“We haven’t done this in a long time.” There was a hint of a smile in Henry’s voice.
Jane looked up to find his gaze trained steady on hers, his lips parted in half smile. Her heart skipped a beat, and she looked down, watching their feet move in perfect unison.
“You’ve been practicing,” she observed now, trying to steer the conversation back to something more professional, but it was no use, not when his eyes were sharp, hooked with hers, refusing to let her go.
Was it just her or did he press himself a little closer?
Her heart flipped with pleasure, and she fought the instinct to pull back, to not let herself get too close. His body felt warm and safe next to hers, and she closed her eyes, listening to the beat of the music, letting herself forget that there was anyone else in the room other than the two of them. His hand slid down her back, looping around her waist, his fingers tracing a pattern on her hip.
The music suddenly stopped and, red-faced, Jane pulled back. For God’s sake, she was teaching a class, not enjoying some moonlit waltz!
She marched across the room to the CD player, fumbling to remember the correct buttons to press as her mind spun with emotions. Too much was going on at once, and she couldn’t even think straight.
She wondered if Rosemary was still in the building. She’d claim she wasn’t feeling well, let her boss stand in her place…
She glanced at Henry, her pulse kicking a notch. He was waiting in the center of the room, and he wasn’t waiting for Rosemary, or just anyone. He was waiting, she realized, with a sudden smile, for her.
The music started from the top and the couples began again, improving on their basic steps. Jane averted her gaze from the corner of the room where Adam and Kristy stood, but for some reason she didn’t even care in that moment that they were here.
She had her dance partner. And maybe, just maybe, for more than just tonight.
About the author:
Olivia Miles is a Chicago-based romance writer. Having grown up in New England, Olivia attended McGill University in Montreal, Quebec before settling in Chicago where she lives with her husband, their daughter, and two ridiculously pampered pups.
When she is not chasing after her little ones, she is hard at work creating feisty heroines and alpha heroes with a heart. A city girl with a fondness for small-town charm, Olivia enjoys highlighting both ways of life in her stories.