Love in a Small Town Re-Read: The Last One

In 2013, I wrote my first adult contemporary romance. It was called The Posse, and it was set in a small Florida beach town. I assumed it would be a single, stand-alone title, and that would be it. Then I’d go back to my YA/NA paranormal romance books.

WRONG! First of all, there were more books in Crystal Cove. Second, there was just something about Jude’s daughter Meghan that drew me. I knew she had a story. And when that story began to unfurl, I realized that it was taking me to an entirely new small town.

So I decided that in the summer of 2014 I would write that story. What I didn’t realize was that both the book and the summer would be a turning point.

At that time, I had written seven books–and most were paranormal romance. Four were young adult. I fully expected to go back to paranormal romance as my main genre.

And my family was living in Sanford, Florida. If that sounds familiar, it should: some of the more notorious Florida cases in recent years have either happened there or been tried there. It wasn’t our first choice of homes, but through a series of circumstances, we’d ended up moving there in 2012. By 2014, I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

At the start of that summer of 2014, we’d decided it was time to move. My husband, at the time a hospice chaplain, was working about an hour away. We had the option to move to the east coast of the state to be closer to his work. But there was also a chance that he was going to be offered a position in parish ministry on the west coast of the state. We weren’t sure what was going to happen, we couldn’t make any move until we knew . . . so we were in limbo. We were packing boxes, but we didn’t know where we would land.

And in the midst of that, I wrote a book.

Meghan is also in a time of flux. Her father has died. Her mother fell in love with and married a man who had been a long-time family friend. Her younger brother learned that he was a father and also got married, and then came home to help run their family’s restaurant.

She has just finished her third year of college and embarked on a summer gig to teach art to an underserved community. She isn’t entirely sure what she wants: romance? Probably not. True love? Definitely not. She talks about reinventing herself in a new place. Getting away. Is there some part of Meghan that wanted to escape herself? Most definitely!

Sam, on the other hand, has his feet firmly on the ground. He’s serious and focused on keeping the family farm above water. When he meets Meghan the first time (after her night at the Road Block) he makes some really big judgments that might not be based on her actions as much as they are on his own feelings.

The Last One is about two people falling in love, when doing that is the last thing either of them wanted or expected. But it’s also about life in a small town, about healing after loss and about being courageous enough to take a chance.

We’re going to discuss all of the Love in a Small Town books in my reader groups, both on Facebook (the Temptresses) and on the forum attached to this site (Tawdra’s Inside Squad). Come join us there to chat!

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.

More to LOVE in a small town!!

 

Welcome to Burton, a small town just west of Savannah where the men are sexy, the women are sassy and happily-ever-afters are a speciality of the house. 

Meghan Hawthorne is restless and ready for a change. As she begins her final summer of college, Meghan’s looking for excitement and maybe a little romance. Nothing serious; this girl just wants to have fun.

Sam Reynolds doesn’t need excitement, and he doesn’t want romance. Fun is out of the question. He’s been the steady, responsible one since his parents died, and serious is his way of life.

When Sam rescues Meghan alongside a dark Georgia backroad, she falls hard for his deep brown eyes and slow drawl. But making him see a future beyond their summer fling feels downright impossible.

Sam’s tempted by the fiery young artist, even as he realizes that giving into his feelings will mean radical change . . . maybe more than he can handle. But Meghan makes him want to believe in crazy things like forever and happy endings.

He may be the last one she should want. She may be the last one he should need. But no one ever said love was easy.

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Be sure to read all the books in the

Love in a Small Town series

Including TWO New Releases!

Love Me Home and The Meant To Be Girl

are now available everywhere!

 

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 new adult and adult contemporary romance; under the pen name Tamara Kendall, she writes paranormal romance, and under the pen name Tessa Kent, she writes erotic romance. Tawdra lives in central Florida with her husband, two sweet pups and too many cats. Assorted grown children and a perfect granddaughter live nearby. 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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THE LOVE SONG GIRL is LIVE!

Welcome to Burton, Georgia, a small town just west of Savannah. In this farm community, the women are sassy, the men are sexy and happily-ever-afters are a specialty of the house. 

Who doesn’t love a love song? Especially a love song that’s crooned by Hunter Jaymes, the hottest new star in country music?

Tori Westin doesn’t have time for love songs. Now that she’s finally moved off her parents’ farm and ditched her cheating, lying boyfriend, she’s ready to start life on her own terms. Those terms definitely do not include falling in love with the sexy and irresistible Hunter. Yes, he’s the kind of guy who makes her laugh, takes her breath away with a single touch and tempts her to imagine what could be . . . but he’s also not planning to stick around Burton.

When Hunter looks at Tori, he sees the possibility of forever. The road is his life, and she feels like the home he craves. Convincing Tori to give love a chance will take more than a romantic ballad, but Hunter knows they belong together.

Now he just has to convince her.

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Enjoy a little sneak peek from THE LOVE SONG GIRL:

I trailed him up the wide staircase, our footsteps muffled by soft carpet. At the top, Hunter paused, his fingers fidgeting with the strap of the bag he carried.
“So . . . I have a housekeeper.” He said it as though it were confession of sin, and I couldn’t help giggling.

“That’s okay, Hunter. It’s perfectly acceptable for you to have someone helping you here. Hell, if I could afford one, I’d have one, too. I promise, I don’t think any less of you. No judgement here.”

He rolled his eyes. “That’s not what I mean, smartass. What I was going to say, if you’d let me finish, is that I asked my housekeeper—her name is Betsy, and she’s great—I asked Betsy to get one of the guest rooms ready for you. You know, change the sheets, vacuum, whatever might be involved with that.”

I nodded. “All right.”

“But the thing is, if I’m being honest like I promised, I don’t want you to stay in that guest room. I want you to stay in my room. Sleep in my bed, even if all we do there is sleep. I don’t want to be that far away from you when you’re only here for three days. If that makes you uncomfortable, I understand. We didn’t discuss expectations for your visit here, not the way we did when we were in Burton.”

I smirked. “You mean when I was crystal clear about no sex over those two weeks?”

“Yeah, exactly that.” He regarded me steadily. “I didn’t ask the question, because I was afraid to hear an answer I didn’t want to hear. But I should be more like you, I guess. I should have asked.”

I dropped my purse onto the floor, where it fell with a thud onto the polished hardwood of the hallway, and I took a step toward Hunter. “Ask me now.”

The tip of his tongue darted out to swipe across his lips. “Tori, will you sleep with me in my bedroom? No.” He shook his head, correcting himself. “What I mean is, will you do more than just sleep with me there—will you let me make love to you in my bed, the way I’ve been fantasizing about doing from the minute I came back home from Georgia?”

I held his gaze. We were both serious now, both intent and focused on the words between us. “Back in Burton, my rule made sense, because we didn’t know each other. We knew more by the time you left. And now, we know even more.” I eased forward. “I still like everything about you, Hunter Jaymes. I flew on that plane all the way here to be with you, not for any other reason. All I’ve been thinking about is being with you. So if you don’t plan to take me into your bedroom, right now, and drive me out of my ever-lovin’ mind the way you did over the phone the other night, I might just burn up from the inside out. And it’d be a shame to leave a scorch mark here on your lovely wood floor.”

Read ALL the Love in a Small Town books here! 

 

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!

If you enjoy Tawdra’s books, join the Naughty Temptresses!

Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest/Spotify/

BookBub/Books2Read