Take Me (Southern Nights, Book 3)
by Ella Sheridan
A nightmare coming to an end…
Peyton Harrison came to Claywater to bring her kidnapped son home. The last thing she expects is to run into Gabe Harrison, the man who abandoned her before her son was born. Her body might want to take up where they left off, but her heart remembers Gabe’s betrayal all too well—and everything she’d risk for momentary pleasure.
A past catching up to them…
Gabe always knew he’d share the love of his life with his twin brother, Sam, except he’d found that love far too young. He did the honorable thing and walked away, but now an adult Peyton is in his hometown and keeping secrets behind her world-weary eyes.
Sam is knee-deep in a drug investigation threatening the town he loves. Peyton’s arrival is a distraction he doesn’t need; still, he can’t deny her pull. He and Gabe have always stood together, but now the one woman they both want may be the one thing that divides them.
A future threatened…
When violence shatters their world, the past and present intertwine in ways none of them expected. Anticipating their enemy’s next move is the only way to keep their son safe, but what about their hearts?
Time to man up.
The creak of the stairs echoed his uneasiness as he climbed to the second floor. As open as the first, it would easily transform into a secondary dining room or banquet area. At the moment, however, it was serving as storage. He could hear Peyton rummaging through something around the corner from a huge cabinet that blocked his view. Stealing himself against the chaos racing through his brain, he stepped into the room.
And stood there, dumbfounded all over again, barely resisting the urge to glare down at his crotch with a what the fuck are you thinking? It seemed nothing had changed—if he was in Peyton’s presence, he was hard and hurting; that’s all there was to it.
“You look just the way I remember you,” he finally said.
Peyton muttered something that sounded like “At least you remember,” but he couldn’t be sure. When the silence threatened to crack his teeth, he was gritting them so hard, he tried again. “Looks like the place needs work. When you planning to open?”
Stiff spine, no more muttering, but the box she was kneeling beside was getting a cavity search like nobody’s business. Gabe switched to his don’t-fuck-with-me cop tone. “What are you doing here, Peyton?”
Peyton didn’t even flinch. This was definitely not the girl he’d known in Memphis. “That much should be obvious,” she said. Metal clinked a sharp accompaniment to her words.
“In Claywater?” He stepped forward carefully, fighting the instinct to pick her up and shake her. She always had ripped his control to tiny fucking shreds. “Why here? Why now? You’re a long way from Memphis, baby.”
Now that got a reaction. Peyton shot up and around, her expression and her tone both dripping venom. “Don’t you ever call me that again.” She sucked in a deep breath, and he could almost hear the rattle of emotion in her chest. What was it? Anger, certainly, but then what—pain, like him? Disgust? At him or herself? Because unless he missed his guess, there was hunger in the mix, a hunger that matched his own.
“I don’t have to explain anything to you, Gabe. You lost that right a long time ago, if you ever had it to begin with, so don’t bother questioning me. I have as much right to be here as anyone else.”
“Stalking me, baby?” This time he used the word deliberately. The need in his gut felt like a bomb just waiting for the fuse to burn down. He had to find out why she was here and then get out before it was too late.
The raspberry Peyton blew filled the air between them with her scorn. “Sure, I’m following you. Right. Like I knew where you lived after you walked out on me without so much as a good-bye note.” Her body tightened, her face going blank of all emotion, all reaction, and her control—such a sharp contrast to the way he felt right now—shook him to the core. She jerked her head in a terse negative. “No, Gabe. This is my place. It’s time for you to leave.” A tiny smile curled the corner of her mouth. “Again.”
Too late had been reached. His body responded to her challenge without thought, without restraint. He stalked her, silent and deadly, his muscles readying for battle—and looking forward to every minute of it, if his erection was any indication. Each step had Peyton backing away in equal measure, although she didn’t give him the satisfaction of fear. Or words. Only the movement of her body spoke.
★✩★✩★ 5 – Unconventional Second Chance Romance – Stars ★✩★✩★
~this review may contain minor spoilers~
Just a quick, easy lay, that was her. Forgettable. Replaceable. She didn't have to wonder about that anymore. What she did have to wonder was how the hell her first lover and her son had ended up in the same rural Texas town. Had Gabe been involved all along?
Breaking down this book WITHOUT giving away any plot surprises is damn near impossible, at least for me – the one who generally can't stop talking, so I'm not even gonna try. Instead, let me just say this – I FREAKIN LOVED THIS BOOK!!! For so many reasons I don't even know where to begin. There is chemistry so thick and heavy it will choke you, heartbreak so intense it will gut you, fear so severe it will take you to your knees. I can't even begin to imagine going through what Peyton has been through in her young life, but she doesn't let it destroy her – damage her, yes. And understandably so. But she keeps going, keeps strong – for her son. She will do whatever it takes to get her son back, risk anything, and for so long she has done it all on her own. Her anger towards Gabe was easy to feel, and I totally got where she was coming from. He pulled the douche move of the century when they first met all those years ago, and while I kinda got why he left seventeen year old Peyton behind, even if it killed him, he sooo could have done things waaayyy differently. Sam was easily the man who completely and totally stole my heart. While I loved both men in their own way, Sam owned my soul. He was just so damn sweet, caring and passionate – he had a vulnerability to him that was hard to deny but it didn't make him any less Alpha Badass. From the beginning he felt the same pull towards Peyton that Gabe always felt, but due to circumstances beyond his control he often felt like a second choice, a third wheel so to speak instead of an equal among the three, and it often caused him to pull away, even if just a little bit. I got it, I really did, it's hard to compete with the fact that the other two shared a son for crying out loud. But what killed me was they let him pull away, especially towards the end, instead of going out of their way to make sure he understood how much he was needed, how much he meant. It broke my damn heart and frankly pissed me off. Everything worked out in my heart in the end, but I sorta felt like at least Peyton should have done more to reassure him and his brother damn sure should have – especially considering their twin link, he HAD TO FEEL what Sam was going through. See, I'm rambling. I could talk about this book all day I loved it that much. Aside from the emotional strain that comes with their situation and the inevitable drama that ensues from Peyton's abandonment issues and fear of opening her heart again, there is also the suspense and edge of your seat fear where their son was concerned. What Ms. Ella did a little differently here, and I personally thought it was a brilliant move, was she never tried to hide who the real villain was from the reader. WE know who it is, but NO ONE ELSE does. It added a certain level of tension every time anyone came into contact with that individual that damn near stops your heart. Now before I go off again and possibly give away too much of the story, which I hope I haven't already, I'm gonna leave you with this – READ THIS BOOK!! You won't regret it.
Gabe was her rock, and sometimes his head was as hard as one. Sam balanced him out – tender, not afraid of emotion. He was the light to Gabe's dark, and God help her she needed them both.
Teach Me (Southern Nights, Book 1)
Trust Me (Southern Nights, Book 2)
Writing has been my passion since childhood, but like many writers, life got in the way. After earning a BA in English Literature, I married and started a family. But the worlds and characters that swirled through my mind just wouldn’t go away, and at a particularly difficult time in my life, I picked up pen and paper (or laptop) and tried to release some of that difficulty onto the page. I’ve been writing ever since. Now I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, run an accountability blog to help writers reach their goals, and am pursuing publication with the same passion I feel for writing.
Nothing pleases me more than sharing the stories of my heart with you, the reader, and I hope, in some small way, these stories will touch your heart too.