Title: The Beauty of Grace
Series: She’s Beautiful Series #1
Author: Nicole Richard
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Released: November 5, 2015
At age eighteen, Grace Bowman’s life crumbled right in front of her. The man who held her heart—her forever—was gone, and her family ties were in tatters. As a result, she forged a steel wall round her heart and vowed never to let anyone get close again.
Now, six years later, she has been given a chance to start fresh in Savannah, Georgia. A chance to leave the struggle of day-to-day life behind, find a career, and give Drew, her five year old son, a shot at normal.
A balloon and a flat tire had her crossing paths with AJ Watson, and she realized normal probably wasn’t in her cards.
AJ was handsome, thoughtful, and fiercely loyal to his family. Yet, behind his baby-blue eyes and Southern boy charm, he was just as broken as she was. She told herself to stay away from him, and she tried, but the lines between friendship and lover are blurred.
When Grace realizes history may be repeating itself, will she be able to let go of the past, or will she walk away from her future?
“I thought you and Drew were watching television?” I asked, looking up over my shoulder.
“Yeah, but the little guy fell asleep, so I put him in his bed.” That was when we looked at each other, and I saw a flash of panic in his eyes. “I hope that was okay?”
Swallowing the imaginary lump in my throat, I wasn’t sure what to say to that. Are friends usually this nice and helpful? “Thank you. That was kind of you.” I went back to washing the remaining dishes.
“That was really kind of you teaching Drew how to be a gentleman, too,” I mentioned as I scrubbed the rim from Drew’s favorite cup. Again looking up, I felt the weight of my next words. “Drew’s never had a male figure present in his life before.”
“What about his daddy?” He questioned, carefully tangling the dishtowel in his hands.
Not ready to hash old wounds just yet, I shrugged, trying to play it off.
Not being able to look at him again, I dropped the dish into the soapy water in front of me. A frantic feeling set in, looking the other way in search of a towel to dry my hands with, a lone tear rolled down the side of my face. I rubbed my cheek against my shoulder, and AJ softly grabbed the top of my arm turning me toward him.
I kept my face down, and he wrapped me up in his arms, kissing the top of my head before resting his chin there, and whispering, “I’m sorry, Grace.”
As he held me, I enjoyed the comfort his arms offered and pressed my cheek to his warm muscular chest.
“Hey.” He touched my arm. “I’m here for you, anything you need. We’re friends, Grace, that’s what friends do.” He offered gently. Laying both my palms flat on his chest, I pushed back a little so I could look into his eyes and gulped.
“Friends, right.” I turned away intending to finish the job I had set out to do. Maybe busy hands would help lessen the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I didn’t know why AJ’s words made me feel that way, but they did.
The tension in the air sparked, I didn’t know what to say in fear I’d say something I shouldn’t, or worse, would regret. Instead, I grabbed a bottle of wine from the fridge and raised it up in silent offering. His lips pursed into a straight line and his eyes narrowed for a second, before he shook his head declining.
AJ stepped closer to me, closing in the distance and my heart rate sped up. My eyes locked on his mouth as his tongue darted out wetting his lips. A twinkle flashed in his eyes. He held my chin between his thumb and index finger, bringing it up just a bit before he dipped his head and kissed my lips. AJ’s soft tongue licked my bottom lip, but surprisingly he didn’t take it any further. Taking a step back, he slid his hands into his front pockets and his shoulders slightly hunched over.
“Well . . . thank you for dinner, but it’s getting late. I should head out.”
Stunned, I glanced up at him. “Okay, let me walk you out.” I knew I said the words, but the only thing I could focus on was the ghost of heat he left on my lips.
Nicole was born and raised in Hawaii, where she currently resides with her husband and teenage daughter and son.
At an adolescent age, she took a strong liking to reading and even had a pipe dream of writing her own book. Life and growing up had put reading on the far end back burner and recently came alive again.
A hopeless romantic, she has a love for romance novels, which she credits her late mother passing on to her and now an even stronger love to write her own stories.
When Nicole, isn’t working, writing or reading, she enjoys her chocolate frozen yogurt with mini Reese’s pieces addiction, Starbucks in moderation and a once-a-year (if she’s lucky) trip to visit her best friend in Vegas.