GRAB THE TISSUES and keep reading for an excerpt from Healed: Stone & Pepper by Tess Thompson!
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#Healed #StoneAndPepper #CliffsideBay
It’s Cliffside Bay and beyond in this heartwarming enemies-to-lovers romantic adventure from USA Today bestselling author Tess Thompson.
Stone Hickman is the last of a dying breed. The former Marine believes in integrity, service to his country, a hard day’s work, and taking care of his loved ones. When he meets the clever Pepper Griffin, their obvious attraction has him ready to count the stunning beauty among the people that he cares for. But Pepper doesn’t share the instant connection. In fact, she wants nothing to do with him. And for honest, straightforward Stone, not knowing why only makes the rejection worse.
Pepper Griffin is the epitome of scrappy. For years she’s struggled to make acting her career without any help at all from her famous father. While she’s still accepting meager roles with little screen time, her best friend has steadily risen to the height of fame. To make matters worse, that very same friend is happily in love, newly engaged, and wants poor Pepper, whose love life is as sad and pathetic as her last film role, to serve as her maid-of-honor while Pepper’s enemy, Stone Hickman, is sure to be the groom’s best man.
Though Pepper despises the best man, she loves the bride-to-be more. To keep the peace, Pepper willingly includes Stone in the wedding planning process. When the unlikely pair find themselves stranded in a snowstorm while searching for the perfect venue, they’ll have to work together to survive the chill even if that means thawing Pepper’s heart.
CHECK OUT THIS SWEET EXCERPT:
He couldn’t speak and even if he’d been able to open his mouth and form words, what would he say? No words could describe the intense joy that flooded him.
“So, I’ve come home to throw myself at your feet.” She flashed him the same nervous smile from earlier. Just the tips of her white teeth showed. Her wide eyes watched him intensely, as if the code to the meaning of life was written on his forehead.
“No throwing necessary.” His words came out strangled from the force of his effort to not cry like a baby in front of the woman he loved more than his own life. “You know I love you. Every second without you has been physically painful.”
She dropped to the floor onto her knees and took both his hands in hers. “Stone Hickman, you’re everything in a man I’ve ever wanted and more. When I’m with you it’s like I’m the confident and calm woman I’m supposed to be. Seeing myself through your eyes makes me feel like the person I always wanted to be. I want to be your wife and make a home and a family with you.”
She laughed as she brought his large, calloused hand to her soft mouth. “The meaning of my life is right here.” She tapped the rough skin on the palm of his hand with her finger. “Everything I want and need is in these hands that build things and caress my anxiousness away and will someday hold our newborn baby. I’ve been looking for purpose from my work when all along its been right in front of me. My parents and Lisa and Maggie. And now you. My calling and purpose is to love you. Lisa and Maggie reminded me of something. The kind of work we do—art—can only be fed through our human connections. Through love. When I thought of it that way, I knew exactly what I had to do. I had to come home and be with you. The rest of it means nothing without you.”
Her face blurred in front of him from the tears that swam in his eyes. What a sight he must be. A giant crying in front of a princess.
Pepper reached into the pocket of her dress and held up a thick, silver band. “Stone Hickman, will you marry me and build a life and a family with me?”
His mouth fell open before he started to laugh. “You’re proposing to me?”
“Yes, I am. Do you have a problem with that?”
“No ma’am, I do not. Nope. Not me. I’m an enlightened man at the mercy of a badass woman.”
Tess Thompson is a USA Today bestselling author of small-town romance and historical fiction, with nearly 20 titles across multiple series that focus on heartwarming journeys of triumph and humanity for colorful characters you’d love to be friends with in real life.
Tess holds a degree in theater from the University of Southern California (go Trojans!), and can be found most days at her desk in suburban Seattle, where she also makes her home with the hero of her own love story and their blended family of two sons, two daughters, and five cats.
Tess loves music, dancing, books, bubble baths, cooking, wine, movies, snuggling, Seahawks football, and hearing from her readers. Drop her a line at email@example.com.
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