Praise for Samantha Chase’s Exclusive and A Touch of Heaven … “A fun, flirty, sweet story filled with romance and character growth and a perfect happily ever after.”—CARLY PHILLIPS, New York Times bestselling author for I’ll Be There
When little-known writer Taylor Scott is granted two weeks to interview a famous reclusive author, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. So is the chance to rekindle her friendship with Mike Greene…
A Touch of Heaven
As Regan Amerson makes the emotional decision to sell their family home, her mother wins a home makeover from a reality TV show. Regan is furious, and jaded host Sawyer Bennett isn’t thrilled either. That is, until he meets Regan…
When little-known writer Taylor Scott is granted two weeks to interview a famous reclusive author, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. So is the chance to rekindle her friendship with Mike Greene, who happens to be the author’s assistant. But as feelings deepen and time winds down, Taylor will have to choose between the story that could launch her career and an unexpected chance at love.
A Touch of Heaven
As Regan Amerson makes the emotional decision to sell their family home, her mother wins a home makeover from a reality TV show. Regan is furious, and jaded host Sawyer Bennett isn’t thrilled either. That is, until he meets Regan—and finds himself enamored by the fiercely independent beauty. She may want nothing to do with him, but Sawyer isn’t one to give up easily…
The flight was uneventful and Taylor’s pleasure was prolonged by the fact that the car rental agency did, indeed, have a car waiting for her and she was checked in efficiently. Taking the keys from the rental agent with a smile, she was thrilled to see the sporty white SUV waiting for her.
“Thank you, Newslink,” she said to herself as she climbed into the brand-new vehicle.
“Mmm…new car smell and everything!” She was positively giddy. There was no other way to describe it. Starting the car—and it started on the first try!—she took a quick look around to get her bearings. She punched the farm’s address into the GPS system and once it was ready, plugged in her iPod so she could finish listening to the conclusion of Enveloping Darkness, then pulled away from the parking lot.
The drive was beautiful and the sound of the masculine voice coming from the stereo kept her in a state of pure relaxation. If the man Jonathan Wade picked to read his books looked as good as he sounded, Taylor knew she would have found her perfect man.
Some authors did do their own readings, so for a minute, she allowed herself to imagine it was Jonathan Wade’s voice coming through the speakers. If it was, talking with him for a week would certainly be no hardship! She’d resort to asking his favorite color and what he liked for breakfast if it meant keeping the conversation going.
The voice was deep and mesmerizing, almost like a caress, like he was speaking only to her. The voice didn’t sound old, but then again, there was no guarantee Jonathan Wade actually was old. She slammed her hand on the steering wheel out of frustration and cursed—again—the fact that she had no bio to go on for this interview. If only she had a little more information in her pocket, she’d feel more prepared and at ease! How could a person be so popular in modern culture and yet have so little known about him? It was even more frustrating and intimidating to know that she was going to be responsible for presenting this mystery of a person to the world.
What if he didn’t live up to what everyone was expecting? Or, more to the point, what if he didn’t live up to what Taylor herself was expecting? Taylor scolded herself to relax already, and listened intently to the end of the book.
The sun was rising over the clear blue water. Marcus knew his time on the island was over. Had last night been a dream? Had he truly awakened in the night to the feel of skin so soft against his that it felt like silk? Were those her lips that kissed him with the kind of tenderness he’d only ever felt with one person?
Remembering her touch, how her breath felt on his heated skin, had him aching to feel her again. Why was life so cruel as to keep taking this woman from the arms that wanted nothing more than to hold and protect her forever? She had been full of heat and life in those arms last night.
There was no evidence of her now. One day, however, there would be no questions. His answer would be standing in his embrace.
Sighing, Taylor thought this particular voice was definitely one she would love to stir her awake in the night. If the man in question lived up to that sexy voice, there would be no way she’d sneak off in the night. Hell, he’d have to pry her off with a crowbar!
Feeling suddenly hot, she flipped on the AC, laughing at herself because it was October, in Maine, and the temperature outside the vehicle did not demand air-conditioning. It was her own wildly vivid imagination—and sexual dry spell—that was heating her up. Lord help her, she needed to gain her composure and be professional at all costs during this entire process in order for this piece to be a success. What on earth would she do if the man was attractive? If just his voice could make her this hot and bothered, she’d be a babbling idiot by the time the two weeks were up.
Shaking her head to break that train of thought and looking at the GPS to see how much farther she had to go, she was surprised to see she was just minutes from her destination. Feeling nervous and self-conscious, she did some deep-breathing exercises and practiced using her “professional” voice.
As if on cue, her cell phone rang and made her jump. Putting it on speaker, she said, “Hello?”
“Everything going okay?” It was Victoria.
Taylor couldn’t help but smile. If she wasn’t mistaken, her boss’s voice sounded almost as nervous as her own. “Yes, boss, all is well. I’m driving a wonderful little SUV, the sun is shining, I’m only minutes away from the farm, and I feel ready to conquer the world!” Liar, liar, liar!
“You are going to conquer the world, my dear. You mark my words. Once this piece hits the stands, you are going to be the toast of the town and you can say I was the one who gave you your first big break.”
“I’ll remember that,” Taylor chuckled.
“Good luck, Taylor. I’ll expect to hear from you in a few days.” And then she was gone and Taylor felt a little bit lighter than she had just moments ago. She could do this. There were people who had confidence in her and she owed it to them to have confidence in herself.
Feeling revived, she pressed down on the accelerator. What she had been dreading, she was now ready for: to reach Jonathan Wade’s farm and to face her journalistic destiny.
She rolled her eyes. “Geez, dramatic much?”
She very nearly missed the entrance to the farm while she was laughing at herself. It was poorly marked by an undistinguished simple white mailbox. Then again, what was she expecting, a neon sign flashing Home of Jonathan Wade? Slamming the brakes hard, she put the vehicle in reverse and then pulled into the long dirt driveway that wound through a quarter mile of dense forest. When at last she was through the trees, she stopped the car.
The house was large, yet so simple and beautiful that it took her breath away. In all her life, if Taylor could pick one house to live in, she knew this would be it. It was like something out of a magazine and yet like nothing she had ever seen before. All white with black trim, it was two stories, but she wouldn’t be surprised to find out there was a finished lower level for extra living space. If she had to define the style, she’d say it was a Victorian country farmhouse. If such a thing even existed.
There was a large wraparound porch with hanging plants and flower baskets lining it, and she could imagine sitting outside on a warm summer night just watching the sunset—it was that perfect. Although she couldn’t see from where she was parked, she just knew there would be seating areas and a porch swing up there waiting for someone to use them.
Off to the right of the house was a barn. Traditional in style but painted to complement the main house, it came off as an extension of the house rather than a utility building. Maybe it was in the landscaping, but to Taylor’s mind, it all seemed too pretty, too perfect, to be what she normally considered a barn. Even though the house boasted a three-car garage on the side, to the left of it there was a detached two-story, two-car garage—also matching the house—and just beyond that was a large expanse of open land.
Taylor could only stare. All her life she’d lived in a big city or high-population suburbs. That was where all the action was, all the jobs, everything a person could need. The older she got, however, the more she found herself longing for peace and a little solitude. Wouldn’t it be lovely to come out and sit on the porch swing after dinner and hear nothing except the sounds of nature?
A quick smack on the head brought her back to reality. “Get a grip!” she yelled at herself. “You’re barely on the man’s property for two minutes and you’re fancying yourself living here and enjoying peaceful nights on the porch!”
Pulling up in front of the detached garage, she parked and emerged from the vehicle. Closing the door, Taylor stopped, stretched, and took in a breath of what had to be the most magnificent air she had ever inhaled. So this is what nature’s like? she thought to herself. Upon closer inspection of the property, Taylor found the green of the trees looked brighter than she had ever seen; the changing colors of the leaves almost looked too perfect to be real. If she stood still long enough, she could hear the distinct sounds of different species of birds. At home, all she ever heard was the constant hum of traffic. But here, on this particular piece of land, Taylor felt as though she would be able to hear a leaf fall.
She could commune with nature later. She tried to decide if she should introduce herself before she unloaded her car or after. Stepping around to the rear of the SUV, she came up short when she noticed a man walking toward her. Taking a steadying breath, she pasted a wide smile on her face.
This is it.
He was a young man, maybe a few years older than she was. His brown hair looked sun-kissed and although it was a bit unkempt, it seemed to suit him. He was dressed for work on a farm—blue jeans, thermal Henley, down vest, and boots. He was taking off his work gloves as he approached, and Taylor couldn’t help but notice how large those hands were, and when she looked up, she was greeted with eyes so dark blue they were almost black. When he stopped in front of her, he gave her the most endearing smile ever bestowed upon her.
She couldn’t help but smile back as she held out a hand to him. “Hi, I’m Taylor. Taylor Scott.” He didn’t say a word, but once he wrapped one of his large hands around hers and held it, her heart just about beat right out of her chest. It was big and warm and just rough enough against her softer skin that all kinds of erotic images began to play in her head. There was something oddly familiar about him, and Taylor figured she’d better find out exactly who he was before she did anything to embarrass herself. “Are you…Mr. Wade?” she asked casually.
He laughed, but rather than taking offense to his response, Taylor almost immediately relaxed. “Not hardly,” he said. His eyes met hers and he knew the instant recognition hit Taylor.
“Oh my God!” she gasped. “Mike? You’re—” She stopped as realization hit her. Michael James Greene Jr. She had been right! “I can’t believe it’s you!”
“Hey, Taylor,” he said, his own posture relaxing a bit. “How are you?”
“I’m good. Wow! I can’t believe it’s you! It’s been a long time.”
“Ten years,” he said easily.
She nodded her head. “Wow, I didn’t realize it had been that long. How have you been? What are you doing here? Wait! Are you…did you…” she cleared her throat and tried to calm her nerves. “Are you the reason I got this interview?”
Placing his other hand over the one he was already holding, he leaned in a little closer. “That’s a lot of questions,” he teased. “And we’ll get to all of them—after we get you inside and settled into your room. Lunch is ready, and I figured we could talk and get caught up then if that’s all right with you.”
Taylor sent a silent prayer heavenward for her good fortune. At least with a familiar face around for the next two weeks she’d feel a little less overwhelmed and outnumbered. True, it had been ten years since they’d last seen one another, but for a short period of time, he had been a very important part of her life. It was going to be great not only to get this interview, but to get caught up on what Mike was doing with his life.
Other than working on Jonathan Wade’s farm.
What People Are Saying about Samantha Chase:
“Encourages readers to sit down, put their feet up, and enjoy.”—Publishers Weekly for Until There Was Us
“Chase just gets better and better.”—Booklist
“Classic, thoughtful, and as lyrical as the stars.”—Kirkus Reviews for A Sky Full of Stars