Meghan and Sam . . . The Last One (Six Years Later!)

{Sam and Meghan’s story begins in The Last One, where they find their happily-ever-after. It continues through The First One, The Only One, The Always One, The Hard One and The Forever One  . . . and the pair are even mentioned a few times in some Crystal Cove Romances, too! But wait, there’s more! I have two previously shared extra epilogues . . . and now a new update on the pair right here.You might want to read the other two first. Enjoy!}

–Meghan and Sam at the Beach

–Fourth of July . . . Small Town Style

The peaceful quiet of my late-afternoon was pierced by a wail coming through the baby monitor that perched on the kitchen table, next to the bowl of green beans I was in the middle of popping for dinner. I grimaced, waiting for the inevitable, and I wasn’t disappointed: a second voice joined the first complaints.

I groaned and rested my forehead against my hand. It wasn’t that I didn’t love my sweet babies–I did, so much. But this time of day was tough for all of us. My mother had sympathetically called it the witching hour when I’d described how between the end of their last nap and the beginning of dinner,  nothing seemed to make the little ones happy.

The misery was compounded this time of year, too, because Sam was so busy, he didn’t get in from the fields until much later. During the winter, I loved that he was at the house so much. I’d gotten positively spoiled by having a second parent around to help me corral the kidlets. But right now, he was up to his neck in onions, tomatoes, and peaches.

The noise level from upstairs rose another decibel, and I pushed back my chair to comfort the twins before things got worse.

***

Twenty minutes later, we were all back in the kitchen. Daniella, my chestnut-haired daughter, was busy on the floor with a metal pot and a wooden spoon, while her red-haired brother Justin was in the high chair finishing his second banana. I’d learned from hard experience that not letting their hunger get ahead of me was key to survival.

I’d just settled back at the table with my beans when I heard a knock on the kitchen door, which was followed in short order by the knob turning as my sister-in-law’s face appeared.

“Yoohoo! Anyone home?”

Both of the twins stopped what they were doing, their attention arrested, and then in unison, they broke into squeals of delight. Aunt Ali was a favorite among my little brood. Happily for all of us, she and her husband, Flynn, along with their two children, had just moved back to Burton to live here full-time after years of dividing their time between New York City and the little house they’d built here on the farm. Ali had told me privately that she was sick of big-city living, but their official reason for making the move was that they were expecting their third baby and wanted to be closer to family.

I watched with a smile as Ali scooped up Daniella and loved on her before turning to Justin to blow raspberries in his neck. When she’d pulled out a chair and plunked down with Dani in her lap, I cocked an eyebrow.

“Were you in the neighborhood, or are you just here to check on my sanity?”

Ali laughed. “Both. I just left the stand in the capable hands of Matt Westin. He’s doing a terrific job over there, which is awesome because I don’t feel like waddling around this fall when I’m huge.” She patted the tiny bump behind my daughter. “But I’m here for a reason. I’m kidnapping your babies.”

I frowned. “What? Why?”

“Because I know what it’s like to have a toddler, and I can only imagine that two is double the . . . fun.” She winked.

“Did your brother put you up to this?” I narrowed my eyes.

“He told me that you’ve been worn out, and he was worried because he feels like he can’t be in two places at once. So . . . I offered to come take these little cherubs home with me for the night.”

“Are you sure?” I was dubious. “It’s not like you don’t have your own hands full.”

“Ah, but the difference is that I have Bridget. Never underestimate the value of a fourteeen-year-old girl who loves babies.”

That was true. My niece was wonderful with the twins.

“So go get the kids’ stuff . . . and then take a nap before my brother gets home.”

I suddenly had a burst of energy at the prospect of an evening alone with my sexy husband. “Just give me five minutes!”

I heard Ali giggling, but I was too busy taking the steps two at a time to care.

***

An hour and a half later, I was a new woman. I’d taken a long and leisurely bath, taking the time to shave all the interesting parts of my body that had been recently neglected. Over my smooth and sleek skin, I’d pulled on a floaty sundress . . . and nothing else.

Back down in the kitchen, I cleaned up Dani’s pots and spoons and Justin’s messy high chair. I was just rinsing my hands when I glanced out the window at a very arresting sight.

My husband stood in his usual position at the outside sink in the shed. He’d shucked off his T-shirt and was letting the water run over his hands, splashing it onto his sculpted chest.

With a wide grin, I dashed out the kitchen door and danced across the grass, slipping behind him to wrap my arms around his middle and press my cheek into his muscled back.

I was fairly certain that he hadn’t heard me, but he wasn’t surprised by my touch. His hands, still wet, covered mine.

“Who could this be?” His voice, teasing and low, rumbled against my ear. “Careful, my wife might be around somewhere.”

“Ah, don’t worry about your wife. She’s a mess. I’m much more fun. I’m the hot college student who’s just here for the summer. The one who’s been teasing you and flirting with you for weeks. The one who keeps you up at night, making you wonder what she’s wearing under her dresses.”

“Oh, really?” Sam turned in my arms, drawing me against him. His eyes, hot and wanting, bore into mine. “And have you been watching me out here?”

“Every. Single. Day.” I punctuated the words with open-mouthed kisses to his chest.

“Hmmmm.” He threaded his fingers into my hair. “You smell damn good, too. Good enough for me to scoop up and carry upstairs to my bedroom . . . where I fully intend to do dirty things to you all night long.”

I shivered in delight and hooked my arms around his neck. “I hope that’s a promise.”

“It is.” Angling his head, Sam lowered his mouth to mine, his lips and tongues giving me a tantalizing preview of exactly what to expect.

When he came up for air, he pressed his forehead to mine. “By the way . . . even though it was that sexy, teasing college girl I fell in love with, it’s my much sexier and even hotter wife who keeps me in love.” His hand framed my face.

I sighed, kissing his jaw. “Sometimes I forget that.”

Sam’s lips curved into a smile that was brimming with love and promise. “Then let me spend tonight reminding you, darlin’.”

And let me tell you . . . he did.

The Career Soldier Collection Goes Wide!

 

These are the men of the 94th ID. They fight with honor, they defend their nation and their brothers fiercely, and when they love, they do it with single-minded passion.

Maximum Force

Max Remington has never been anything but a soldier. The oldest son in a family that served our nation for generations, he’d never considered any other path. The army is his life, his home and his one true love.

Until he meets Samantha Crewe.

Temporary Duty

Kade Braggs grew up wild and free, surfing on a California beach without much ambition, until an impulsive decision led him into joining the Army. What started out as a joke turned into a career, and now he’s a company commander, leading several platoons of soldiers. Still, Kade does it all on his own terms; he plays as hard as he works, and having a good time is non-negotiable.

Until he meets Leah Samson.

Hitting the Silk

Once upon a time, Delia Rollins was an Army wife, until the unthinkable happened. Now as a young widow and school teacher, she’s vigilant about protecting her heart. Her number one rule for the future? No more military men in her life. She can’t handle the risk.

Until she meets Shaw Kincaid.

Zone of Action

Jake Robinson is the most easy-going soldier in his battalion. For the last few months, he’s been watching his friends find love, commitment and even babies . . . but he knows that path isn’t for him. Been there, done that and got the scars to prove it.

Until he meets Harper Drummond.

Damage Assessment

When a freak accident seriously injures Derek McTavis, he’s afraid that his Army career might be over. Even after he returns to Fort Lee, he has a hard time recovering and returning to his old lifestyle, despite the encouragement and support of his friends.

And then he meets Tasha O’Hare.

Scheme of Maneuver

Owen Hughes is an enigma among his friends. He’s a man of few words, and although he enjoys his share of fun with women, he’s never found anyone worth making an effort to pursue. With all of his friends now married or in committed relationships, Owen feels like a lone wolf, the last man standing. He’s not sure if that makes him a hero or a loser.

And then he meets Jacey.

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Why You MUST Read This Book

Seven reasons why you must read this book!

  1. FOOTBALL. This book is set against the backdrop of professional football, and Tate is a running back who played in high school, at Carolina and now for Philadelphia. He loves the game . . . he’s committed to being strong and playing hard. After spending his first year in the pros mostly on the sidelines, Tate is eager to do everything he can to make sure he gets playing time now that he’s back with his hometown team. If you want to get a look at just how H O T football players can be, check out my Pinterest board here.

2. GIA. She’s one of the most complicated and tortured characters I’ve ever written, and that is saying something. Gia’s upbringing and family are at direct contrast to Tate’s: she’s the fifth and youngest daughter in

her well-to-do family, but her parents split up when she was young. Sassy and tough, Gia has a take-no-prisoners attitude . . . until she fell for Matt Lampert. He turned her inside out for four years, his self-destructive bent nearly killing her before he took his own life. When Tate finds her again, she’s not sure she wants to be rescued, and she fights him at first. But in this guy–who is a sort of anti-Matt–Gia’s met her match.

 

3. PUMPKIN PIE: There is a scene in this book that will make you look at the traditional Thanksgiving/holiday dessert in an entirely new way. Let’s just say that Tate has a unique way of enjoying his leftovers. So when you’re enjoying your pie and whipped cream today, let this drift through your mind . . . and use your imagination. Tate does.

4. MUSIC: All of my books are influenced by music, but none quite so much as this one. The play list is varied and rich–and it actually could have been longer. The songs on this list got me through some tough parts of the story, and when I wasn’t sure how to go on with it, I’d just play it again . . .

A few highlights: Goodbye to You was for Matt and Gia. It was what Gia was trying to say to Matt when she left him that last time.  Missing You was how Gia’s friends thought about her after Matt’s death. Use Me was Tate’s anthem to Gia after he found her in the grocery store. Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough is Gia talking to Tate at the end of Part One. Head Over Feet is Gia talking to Tate . . . later. And Hearts Don’t Break Around Here and Not Broken Anymore are both the happy ending.

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5. ROMANCE: Yes, this book gutted me. But it’s also one of the hands-down most romantic stories I’ve ever written, because . . . Tate. This man–he loves Gia with a single-minded devotion, a patience that is beyond anything else and a steadfast hope and trust in the future. He treats her with deference and humor. Nothing else comes ahead of Gia. Not one thing. If Tate’s guilty of anything, it’s of not wanting to see the pain that was still tormenting Gia, even when she wanted to love him.

One of my favorites snippets:

I laughed a little. “You know, dude, if you were any other man, when I asked why you were here, you would’ve just fed me the friends-only line. I might not have bought it, but it would have given us both plausible deniability.”
Tate rested his chin on his hand and smiled serenely at me. “I’m not any other man.”
For a solid moment, I felt electricity crackle between us, and I couldn’t breathe. This was new, this hyper-awareness of another person, and I didn’t know quite what to do with it. I stared at Tate as my brain scrambled to figure out what to say or do next.

 

6. SEXY TIME: Any time you have a love story that involves a super-hot football player and a woman whose sexuality is vital and strong, expect fireworks of the very steamiest type.  What Tate might lack in experience, he makes up for in single-minded devotion and attention to detail. And although Gia isn’t sure at first that she’s ready for another relationship, when she makes her move, it’ll take your breath away.

7. TATE: So . . . yeah. Oh. My. Tate. I’ve written strong and sexy male leads before. Sam Reynolds, Cooper Davis, Rafe Brooks–all of them are insanely hot. So what it is about Tate that made fall totally and completely gaga in love? So. Many. Things. First of all, he’s a talented football player. Then he’s also a devoted grandson who isn’t ashamed of being proud of his Pops. He’s a good and loyal friend to Leo. He is steady and strong. He can cook. (And EAT!!) But mostly, Tate is incredible because once he found Gia, she was it for him. He waited for her, and he did whatever he had to do to win her trust and her heart.

Tate is the kind of guy you might think is too good to be true. But I know for a fact that he’s not. So much of Tate came from my own amazing husband, who has been, for thirty-three years, my biggest fan, my greatest supporter, the one who’s only seen me, no matter what.

When we began dating, I hadn’t gone through anything near what Gia has, but I was slightly jaded, a bit cynical (at the ripe age of 17!) and tired of being treated badly by previous boyfriends. The man who would become my husband wooed me by taking things slow, winning my heart with humor and food and careful attention. Yes, there’s a reason Tate is so special to me.

So now it’s up to you–are you ready for some incredible reading? Are you ready to laugh and cry and swoon? Go grab your own copy of NOT BROKEN ANYMORE . . . and be ready to fall in love.

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WHEN WE WERE US

Football is everything, but love is the only game that matters.

Leo, Quinn and Nate . . . They’ve been best friends forever, but life is about to take them in different directions. Decisions about love and friendship could change their paths forever.

Nate: He’s been in love with Quinn since junior high. She’s always been his fierce protector, the one person who looks beyond his physical challenges to see who he really is. But Nate knows the hard truth. Leo holds Quinn’s heart. He’s the one she loves.

Quinn: She’s tired of waiting for Leo to realize that he loves her. But when he finally admits his feelings for her, can they be together without destroying their friendship–and each other?

Leo: He’s the football star, the guy all the girls in school want. But the one girl he secretly needs–Quinn–is the one he’s afraid to want. He knows she’s too good for him, but he can’t seem to resist loving her anyway. 

Amid the joys and heartache of first love, crushing loss and unthinkable decisions, Leo, Quinn and Nate struggle to find their way forward without losing each other.

HANGING BY A MOMENT

Football is everything, but love is the only game that matters.

Leo Taylor, the most promising–and maybe the hottest–tight-end in college football today, is my boyfriend.

Sounds perfect, doesn’t? Dating a football star at one of the nation’s top colleges is living the dream. But our long-distance relationship isn’t easy, and I find myself wondering if the timing is ever going to be right for Leo and me. It’s not always easy to play second-fiddle to football.

One thing I do know is that my friend Nate puts me first all the time. There’s no doubt in my mind that he loves me. I just can’t feel the same way.

These four years were supposed to be the most exciting time of my life. Instead, they turn into a rollercoaster of uncertainty, complete with breathtaking highs and lows that threaten to break my heart.

Faced with a decision that means either denying one friend his last wish or losing the only man I’ll ever love, I realize that in this game, for me, winning isn’t an option.

DAYS OF YOU AND ME

Football is everything, but love is the only game that matters.

Once upon a time, not that long ago, I had just about everything I ever wanted. I was a star football player at one of the best colleges in the country, and I had the girl I’d always loved by my side. The promise of a future most guys can only dream about was close enough to touch.

But if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that life is unpredictable. One twist can change it all, and suddenly, I’m alone. Even football, the one constant in all the insanity, somehow isn’t enough anymore, because without her, everything else is empty. Meaningless.

I’ve got one shot left. One more chance to win her heart. We’re not kids now, and I know that being good enough for Quinn isn’t some game I can fake my way through. She’s more than the prize; she’s my reason for living. The world only makes sense when we’re together.

And this time, I’m going to do whatever it takes to give us our happy ending.

And this, my friends, is not a cliffhanger. This is the happily after forever you’ve wanted.

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Tawdra Kandle writes romance, in just about all its forms. She loves unlikely pairings, strong women, sexy guys, hot love scenes and just enough conflict to make it interesting. Her books include young adult and new adult paranormal romance, new adult and adult contemporary romance and adult paramystery romance. She lives in central Florida with a husband, kids, sweet pup and too many cats. And yeah, she rocks purple hair.

You can follow Tawdra on Amazon to receive updates on her releases. You can also visit her website for more information, and subscribe to her newsletter  for sales announcement, special exclusive content and promotions!

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Start to SCORE–for Free!

Thanks to a Featured Deal from the awesome BookBub, WHEN WE WERE US is FREE right now for a very limited time.

If you haven’t begun this friends-to-lovers, love-triangle, coming-of-age football romance yet, now is the perfect time to grab it up.

Football is everything, but love is the only game that matters.

Leo, Quinn and Nate . . . They’ve been best friends forever, but life is about to take them in different directions. Decisions about love and friendship could change their paths forever.

Nate: He’s been in love with Quinn since junior high. She’s always been his fierce protector, the one person who looks beyond his physical challenges to see who he really is. But Nate knows the hard truth. Leo holds Quinn’s heart. He’s the one she loves.

Quinn: She’s tired of waiting for Leo to realize that he loves her. But when he finally admits his feelings for her, can they be together without destroying their friendship–and each other?

Leo: He’s the football star, the guy all the girls in school want. But the one girl he secretly needs–Quinn–is the one he’s afraid to want. He knows she’s too good for him, but he can’t seem to resist loving her anyway. 

Amid the joys and heartache of first love, crushing loss and unthinkable decisions, Leo, Quinn and Nate struggle to find their way forward without losing each other.

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