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About the author:
USA Today Bestselling Author Stephanie Morris enjoys creating a story that combines a sensual energy with a captivating storyline. Sometimes her heroines have an edgier persona to them and sometimes they are of a softer essence. But all the time, her heroines are like real women, just trying to make a living and keep on going no matter what challenges life brings them. In Stephanie's opinion, there is nothing like curling up with a good book that you can't put down, and she is addicted to writing them.
What inspired you to write your book?
It was a challenge to myself. Could I write a book about an illicit meeting between two individuals and make it work?
Here is a short sample from the book:
Leia Taylor pulled up in front of the lake home that had been in her family for generations. While it was mainly used as a vacation home, for the next three months she was going to do her best to unwind from the disaster that had become her life. She needed to come up with a plan of how to start over and move forward.
After a contentious eight months of divorce proceedings from her ex-husband, it was finally over. She was free to reevaluate her life and figure out where she was going to go from there.
Releasing a pent-up breath, she removed the key from the ignition and climbed out of her SUV. The bite of the cold winter air caused her to haunch her shoulders as she slowly made her way up the walkway to the house.
Winter was still in full swing and several inches of fresh snow covered the ground. Fortunately spring wasn’t too far away. Then again, living in Maine, meant snow and cold weather were something you quickly became acclimated to, or you had to find somewhere to live.
She’d been born and raised in Portland, Maine, but most of her fondest memories came from the summers and Christmas holiday’s she’d spent at Eagle Lake. It was the reason she’d decided to spend time at the lake home while she came up with a plan for the future. She’d have the ability to think without distractions and clear her mind. She could deal with cold weather and snow while she did it.
Leia stomped her feet and she made her way up the steps. Fortunately the porch wasn’t too treacherous. If she didn’t know any better she would say it’d recently been cleared off. The light layer of snow that covered the surface was from what had recently fallen.
She opened the front door with a shiver. The inside was barely warmer than the outside. She walked over and turned the furnace on. Hopefully the house would be warm by the time she brought all of her things inside.
She entered the kitchen and grabbed the garage opener out of the drawer. When she only spotted one she paused, then shook her head. Her brother must have forgotten to take the other one out of his vehicle after he’d used the house for Christmas. She made a mental note to call him later. If he wanted to ship it back while she was there, he had plenty of time.
Leia continued toward the door that led to the garage. She flipped the switch on the wall and waited until the garage door was halfway up before heading out. She made her way back to her SUV and climbed in. A few minutes later, she pulled into the garage then hit the button to let the door back down.
It didn’t take her long to unload her SUV or unpack most of the things she’d brought with her. Having the three-bedroom home to herself was going to be wonderful.
At the age of thirty-seven, she’d never thought she’d be forced to move back in with her parents. Then again, she never thought she’d be getting divorced either. Her marriage had lasted five years before things started to get shaky. In year six, they’d completely fallen apart, and she’d walked away, heartbroken and exhausted.
When she’d married Paul she’d never thought that things would end the way that they had. The chemistry between them had seemed never ending. At first, she’d blamed herself, but over time and with some counseling, she’d come to realize that she wasn’t the one at fault. Her ex-husband just hadn’t been the one for her and clearly, she hadn’t been it for him.
Her stomach chose that moment to grumble. She hoped there was something in the cabinet that was edible. Otherwise she’d have to go to the store earlier than planned.
She made her way to the kitchen. A quick search revealed a can of soup and crackers that were still fresh. It was enough to sate her hunger until she could make a list and get to the store.
A short time later, she was full. She put away the leftover soup and made her way back to the master bedroom. The home had been updated since it’d first been built. The intimate lake house boasted of three bedrooms, two full bathrooms and one-half bathroom. It was a contemporary ranch style home but gave off a cottage feel. It didn’t have a lot of square footage, but what it lacked in size, it made up for in style.
There was side deck that led out from the family room, a large porch and a small dock that led out to the lake in the back. In other words, it was the perfect place to be to get herself together.
She honestly didn’t know what she was going to do. Her life had been so intertwined with Paul’s she’d lost a little of herself. They’d been in business together. A few months after they’d gotten married, they’d started a transportation company. She’d managed the office and kept things running smoothly.
Unfortunately, that was a part of the reason why their divorce had been so contentious. A lot of their assets had been tied into each other. Even though Paul had been the one that had ruined their marriage, she hadn’t wanted to destroy him. She’d just wanted to cut ties with him. The only thing she’d wanted was their home.
They’d had it built from the ground up and she’d almost had it modeled after the family’s lake house only it was a lot more spacious. In return, he could have her half of the business, as long as he’d paid her for her loss wages of having to leave the company. He hadn’t wanted to do that. Instead he’d fought her at every turn. She hadn’t realized how selfish her ex-husband was until the divorce proceedings had begun.
He’d truly thought that she would continue to take him back after the numerous times he’d shown he couldn’t be faithful. His last affair had been the one that’d pushed her over the edge. Unlike the prior two times, he hadn’t even tried to hide the fact that he was cheating on her. He’d practically moved out of their home to live with his mistress.
In response, Leia had changed the locks and filed for divorce. As the divorce proceedings were almost over, she realized she was going to have to give up the house. Since he was contesting everything, they would have to split everything financially evenly. She’d never been happier at the fact that everything they had, they’d obtained together. It meant he wouldn’t be able to leave her penniless out of spite as he’d hoped.
But that had meant she had to swallow her pride and moved back in with her parents. With all of her financial assets tied up, she’d had no choice. Now she was free to move back out and move on. At first she’d been apprehensive, now she looked forward to a new beginning.
Leia placed the empty suitcases inside of each other and slid them into the corner. She’d put them in one of the spare bedroom later. Fatigue had started to set in and she didn’t have the energy to do much more. A nap was in order, but she wanted to watch a little television.
Now that she was warm, she changed out of her sweater and into a comfortable T-shirt. The relaxed fleece pants were fine. They were a part of her typical wardrobe so she’d brought several pairs of them. After switching out her socks for a pair of comfortable fuzzy ones, she was content.
She made her way to the living room and checked the fireplace. Thankfully, her brother had cleaned it properly before he left. Several moments later, she had a nice fire going. She placed the protection screen in front of the burning wood then settled onto the couch. She took the blanket laying on the back of the sofa and snuggled up under it.
Leia turned on the television and flipped through the channels before settling on a show about ancient history. She yawned as she settled in to watch. It wasn’t long before she’d drifted off, the exhaustion that she’d tried to hide for months, finally taking over.