“A heartbreaking tale of letting go and learning to love again. A jaw-dropping debut novel you have to read.” – Helena Newbury, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author.
How do you start over when you gave everything to one life, one plan, and lost it all?
Althea refuses to allow herself to love again. Imprisoned in grief at twenty-four after her husband’s sudden death, she’s convinced her heart died along with him. She spends her days honoring his memory by clinging to the legal career he helped her to build and to the remaining pieces linking them together.
Griffen’s been running from his past. Despite success as an author and investigative journalist, he’s been traveling through life on autopilot. For a decade, he’s chosen perilous adventures and meaningless sex over the danger of any attachments. When he finally returns home to Pittsburgh, he’s slammed by the awakened memories and regret he’s spent years trying to escape.
A chance encounter brings them together. Their instant desire for each other – and the bond they discover between them – shocks them both. Despite her best efforts, Althea can’t resist Griffen’s charm or his intriguing proposition – if she agrees to a no-strings affair with him for the two weeks he’s in town, he swears he’ll walk away when their time is up. Assured she can test the waters of a new life while keeping her vow never to betray her husband’s memory by opening her heart to another, Althea throws herself into the escape Griffen provides her.
Their perfect plans go awry when the intensity of their connection overwhelms them. Will they risk it all on the chance of something great together…or will the power of their secrets and guilt tear them apart?
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Three Rivers SOUNDTRACK
River — Joni Mitchell
La Vie En Rose — Madeleine Peyroux
All I Want — Kodaline
Little Talks — Of Monsters and Men
Ol’ Man River — Ray Charles
Change The Sheets — Kathleen Edwards
SexyBack — Justin Timberlake
Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) — Katy Perry
Blurred Lines — Robin Thicke
Let Go — Frou Frou
Sex On Fire — Kings Of Leon
Fallen (Live) — Sarah McLachlan
Sail Away — David Gray
People Gonna Talk — James Hunter
Love Is Blindness — Jack White
Into Dust — Mazzy Star
Live Like a Warrior — Matisyahu
Over the Love — Florence + The Machine
Things Will Change — Treetop Flyers
Many Rivers to Cross — Jimmy Cliff
Try — P!nk
Agape — Bear’s Den
Stronger — Kanye West
Althea — Grateful Dead
No One’s Gonna Love You — Band of Horses
Safe and Sound — Capital Cities
Reservoir — Hem
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Griffen stroked her cheek and Althea thought how truly sorry she was to have woken him, especially because what she didn’t tell him was that tonight it wasn’t her deceased husband Jack’s face in her nightmare that turned to dust and disappeared. It was Griffen’s.
“Althea…” Griffen whispered.
“Shh. No,” she said softly as she reached up and caressed his face gently in return. “Will you just…will you please make love to me, Griffen?”
But it won’t be anytime anymore, Althea thought. He will turn to dust and I will be all alone. Again.
And she knew it had to be that way, because this emptiness in her heart was the penance she would always have to pay for failing Jack.
Griffen led her to the bed and they made love. It was the most tender and gentle experience of their time together. Griffen touched her everywhere, stroked her hair, kissed her face and soothed away each tear. He ran his lips down her chest and she gasped as he sucked her nipple into his mouth reverently. He somehow managed to put on a condom despite touching every part of her constantly and slid gently inside of her. She was grateful because she didn’t want any lead-in this time. She just needed him inside her, while her hands were full of his hair and his warm, giving flesh. She moaned and lifted his head from her breast to look at him.
“Baby,” he said, kissing her eyelids and finally claiming her mouth. She wrapped her legs around his, even curling her feet around his calves, desperately trying to make every inch of her body touch his.
She was so preoccupied with how full and complete she felt that her climax surprised her. This had not been about an orgasm, it was about closeness and human contact. Running off the demons of loss and fear, if only for a moment.
But Griffen didn’t know how to leave her unsatisfied. He couldn’t touch her without making her body go off like a sparkler in the backyard on the fourth of July, and even now, with his gentle lovemaking, it was no different. He groaned in her ear and came right along with her, spurring more spasms and electric shocks through her body.
“Oh Griffen, yes, Griffen,” she responded.
He leaned up and looked into her eyes, brushing her hair back from her face. His face looked so tormented.
“Oh Althea,” he said sadly over and over again, almost like a prayer, until he rolled over and held her until she finally fell into a blessedly dreamless sleep.
Althea leaned back and forced a smile and laugh as she looked around. Her brazen pretense was tossing kerosene on Griffen’s fiery emotions.
With each nervous dart of her eyes, Griffen’s heart pounded with more anger. He leaned closer and whispered hotly in her ear, “Is that better? Am I making you uncomfortable? God forbid someone thinks you aren’t a perfect widow pining away alone after all these years. That you’re still living an adult life,” he growled. “Maybe I should ignore your rules and touch you anyway. I know you like it when I do.”
“Stop it, please.” She breathed slowly, calming herself. “We can touch. Just not here.”
“Fine. I get it.” Griffen couldn’t stop how angry he felt.
The irony wasn’t lost on him. Most women he’d been with begged him to be serious with them and tell the world they were together. That had never appealed to him, until now. Yet here was this beautiful, desirable woman that he wanted to express affection to and she couldn’t bear to let anyone know they were together. He hadn’t even realized how furious it made him until he found his heart was racing and he was feeling hot with anger.
Althea must’ve sensed it because she leaned over and whispered, “No. You don’t get it, and you shouldn’t have to. This is my thing. My issue.” She looked around to see if anyone was staring at them and looked into his eyes. “I do want to touch you. I want you to touch me.” She swallowed and lowered her voice even more. “Very much.”
“Fine,” he gritted out. When he looked down at her, with her eyes turned up so full of concern while her lips parted and she panted just a little from the desire that coursed through them every time they were near each other, his heart pounded for a different reason. “I need to touch you, too…everywhere.”
“Yes, please,” she whispered.
Chloe is a contemporary romance novelist and practicing attorney living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband and their sweet puppy. She is a native Washingtonian that graduated Duke University with a degree in English and Chinese language. She met her husband at Duke and he brought her to Pittsburgh over a decade ago, which she has loved ever since and made her adopted hometown. She also attended the University of Pittsburgh Law School where she continued to be a book-loving nerd.
Chloe has always loved writing and although she does do it professionally as a lawyer, she cherishes the opportunity to craft her fictional novels and share them with the world.
When Chloe isn’t writing, she spends her time exploring Pittsburgh with her husband and friends. She also enjoys yoga, jogging, and all Pittsburgh sports, as well as her Duke Blue Devils. She is an avid reader and wrote her debut novel Three Rivers in her spare time. She continues her tireless legal style of research in her fiction work as well. For example, in an effort to bring authenticity to Three River’s treatment of grief and loss, she consulted with a psychologist and grief counselor during its preparation.
Connect with Chloe
Newsletter and Blog: http://chloetbarlow.com/newsletter/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Chloe-T.-Barlow/e/B00IXAHC64
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