Release Date: January 21, 2014
Publisher: Random House Loveswept
Series: The Burnside Series (no. 1)
Length: 352 pp.
ISBN: epub 9780804178211
The Burnside Series kicks off with a story of love found unexpectedly.
If there’s an upside to unemployment, Destiny Burnside may have found it. Job searching at her local library in Lakefield, Ohio, gives her plenty of time to ogle the hottest man she has ever laid eyes on: the sexy wood-carver who’s restoring the building. But as the rejection letters pile up, Destiny finds an unexpected shoulder to cry on. With his rich Welsh accent, Hefin Thomas stirs Destiny so completely that, even though he’s leaving soon, she lets herself believe the memory of his scorching kisses will be enough.
Hefin can’t help but notice the slender, confident woman with ginger hair who returns each day, so hopeful and determined. So when the tears start to fall, his silence—penance for a failed marriage—finally cracks. Once he’s touched her, what Hefin wants is to take her back to Wales and hold her forever. But Destiny’s roots run too deep. What they both need is each other—to learn how to live and love again.
Sizzling, sweet, and superbly written, Live is a marvelous love story.
—New York Times bestselling author Grace Burrowes
A beautiful, aching exploration of love, family, and loss—highly recommended!
—New York Times bestselling author Ruthie Knox
Such an elegantly layered story.
The romance in this book is super hot. . . . Such care is taken to craft the characters’ lives. . . . Just when things get really heavy there is naughtiness in a batting cage and sex in a limo. And Hefin, with his stubble and curls about his ears make things very steamy and put a smile on my face. He is such a good guy, and just what Des needed.
Live blooms with the freshness of thoughtful storytelling carefully tended by beautiful prose. . . . Rivers is actively staking new, lyrical ground in a genre often sidelined as a guilty pleasure. There’s no need to choose between heat and good writing. From this author, readers get a two-for-one deal.
—New York Journal of Books
Mary Ann Rivers’s debut full-length, Live, will make you curl up with your box of tissues and cry until you’re not even sure whether they count as happy or sad tears. Rivers’s world and characters feel so real, their emotions so raw, that I need the almost poetic beauty of the words to bear so much truth.
—Heroes and Heartbreakers
This is a rich, tender story, not at all the usual contemporary family series fare. I’m looking forward to seeing where life takes the Burnside siblings next.
—Karen Knows Best
Rivers has written a remarkable romance novel: beautifully . . . written; tormented as only youth can be; serious as only the un-ironic are.
—Miss Bates Reads Romance
Emotionally enthralling . . . intense, complicated, lyrical, passionate.
—Straight Shootin’ Book Reviews
A stellar start to a new series that is so compelling and emotional, the characters won’t soon be forgotten.
—The Window Seat on a Rainy Day
Privately, she called him The Woodcarver.
Which, very strictly, he was. Or at least, she had actually seen him carving wood, and talking to other people about carved wood, specifically the carved-wood panels and decorations that were under restoration in the atrium of the library.
Even more painful—if pain was a sweet ache that felt good when you worried and pressed at it—she walked by his work site every single day.
As close as she dared without his noticing.
She loved beautiful men, had known this since high school when she started watching a certain lacrosse captain lope around campus, the sun glinting off his golden arm hair like he was, well, made of gold. Warm gold. Gold that got gold-er and more liquid the more she watched him move. She particularly remembered the way he shoved his shaggy bangs away from his eyes, impatient, with a little bend in his knuckles as he raked his fingers through the sun-streaky mess of it.
Des had spun many fantasies about that lacrosse captain. Some that surprised her with their new and delicious accuracy. She could never work out how to go to a game and explain to her sister and brothers a reason for her sudden interest in lacrosse, but her best friend, Lacey, would lean against the chain-link fence surrounding the practice field with her, after school, and help her break down his attributes in increasing detail. The trouble came when her history teacher, Mrs. Logan, paired her with him on a presentation project.
It started well, Des thought, though perhaps her rapid chattering about the executive branch of the government had been a little manic. But who knew that this close up he would smell so good?
“So, are you like a genius or something?” he had said, propping his beautiful head on his hand.
Des was flattered, overjoyed that her extemporaneous political speech had so impressed him. “No, not a genius.” She laughed.
“But you’re, like, twelve? Right?”
“Why did you think I was twelve?”
And then his eyes had drifted down, to where Des had her arms crossed over her, well, chest, while he answered, “No reason.”
Des crossed her arms over her chest, reflexively, just remembering the gut-sink of it.
The Woodcarver was a very, very good-looking man, and had the additional kryptonite of having some kind of accent that curled all up in her ears, which always seemed busy trying to overhear him. Des didn’t know what kind of accent, it sounded sort of British, but there was a long and muffled drawl in his vowels and a short burr to all of his r’s.
Not that he had ever said anything to her, specifically, but the printing carrel where she had to work was adjacent to the circulation desk, which was across from the big marble-and-oak atrium where he’d worked for the last two months with a small crew. At first, she didn’t notice him at all because the whole crew wore coveralls and face masks as they disassembled the panels from the walls. And there were often tarps and plastic sheeting protecting the area.
Once all the panels were down, though, tables were set up, and The Woodcarver and his crew worked almost silently, with hand tools. She remembered the morning she had walked past the crew when the tarps and plastic had been taken down and they were in their street clothes, and she saw him, for the first time.
He had been in profile, marking a piece of bright, new wood with a pencil.
He didn’t even look over when one of his crew had to come help her pick up everything that had fallen out of her bag when she tripped on the trailing ends of her sudden lust.
Every day, he wore jeans and heavy shoes, and sometimes a dirty canvas apron over his long-sleeved T-shirts. Des had heard him talk to other patrons and his coworkers and the restoration tour groups. She’s heard him talk enough that she had imagined his lips moving over those long vowels and gruff r’s as he impatiently pushed his shirtsleeves back up over his black-haired forearms.
The printing carrel was situated so that her back was to the atrium, which was why Des could stand it at all. Watching him while he talked would be too much, she was certain.
But listening to him, imagining him, his dark eyebrows pulled into a V over his Roman nose, his teeth sunk into his bottom lip, his corded arm bracing his project over his little bench while he worked his chisel—that was just a way to get through her morning.
Her fantasies, she figured, were not unlike a worry stone in her pocket, something used to soothe her lower brain with repetitive pleasure while her higher brain did its necessary dirty work.