Title: Read Between the Stars
Author: Natalie Parker
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Design: Lori Jackson Designs
Photo: Lindee Robinson Photography
Models: AC Parker & Shannon Lorraine
Release Date: October 14, 2021
They say love can happen again after loss.
I’ve seen it, and I’ve heard of it, yet it still seems like a myth to me.
Maybe because I’ve never opened myself to it
But now after a friend has pulled me out of the dark void, I’m seeing signs and feelings I thought were long dead are awakening.
And I’m feeling them for Kasey.
So many things about her set her far apart from all the rest but it’s her strength I love most about her. That and her little girl, Luna.
She deals with her own struggles like a champ but do I want to add the complication of loving a widower to her life?
While I’m skeptical at first, with each passing day, the more I believe that there’s nothing she can’t do.
Men sure have a way of making me regret trusting them.
Besides, I have enough to deal with being a single mother while battling my own demons.
So it’s just me and my daughter. It’s better that way. She’s my best buddy and she’s enough.
Would I like her to have a father and maybe even someone to love me too?
So I go on dates, hoping one will lead to someday meeting my daughter, but none of them have proven themselves worth the risk of shaking the foundation of the stable lifestyle I’ve built for her.
But I’m faced with an unexpected challenge when I start to fall for a guy that’s already been introduced to her. A great guy, with a past of his own.
Can he rebuild his broken soul and see me and Luna as his future?
I want to believe he can.
We lie on our backs, staring up at the ceiling, Kasey’s head using my arm as a pillow while my fingers lightly tickle the skin of her shoulder. After coming inside her, I waited for that urge to bolt to come, and sure enough, it didn’t. Instead, I planted kisses all over her face and pulled her close to me. Even totally sated, I still wanted as much of her skin touching mine as possible; to breathe her in and bask in our own little world.
“Can I ask you a question?” she murmurs, her voice low and content.
“You just did,” I tease, and she lets out a scoff. “Okay, go ahead,” I say, surprised at myself. For several years, the last thing I wanted was for anyone to ask me anything about myself. I wanted to be left alone, to blend into the background. After making love with Kasey, some heavy darkness lifted off of me and I realize I want her to know me.
“Why five years?”
I roll my head to the side to look at her.
“I mean, was that intentional?” she clarifies.
I shake my head gently before answering.
“No. No it wasn’t intentional. I just… I knew it would be a while – a long while. And I figured when I was ready I would know it, and that would be it. I just didn’t expect it to take that long. I got so used to my own company that I stopped waiting.”
“How did you know tonight?” she asks, eyes still on the ceiling, avoiding making contact with mine. I turn on my side to face her, cuing her to look at me, her eyes searching; hoping.
“I felt it,” I whisper down at her. “I’ve been feeling it with you for weeks Kasey, and tonight when we kissed, I just knew. Everything inside of me wanted you, to be close to you, and I couldn’t stand the idea of not making love with you.”
She doesn’t answer with words, but rather with a soft, loving look as her hand comes up to cup my cheek. “Your turn,” I smile down at her and she lifts a shoulder in a shrug, clearly uncomfortable.
“I don’t know, I… I hardly ever make it past a second date with anybody.”
“How come?” I ask as I trace a finger around the skin of her bare chest.
“I don’t let any of them meet Luna unless I’m sure there’s a future, and unfortunately, so far all of them haven’t been patient or understanding enough.”
So she’s gone without intimacy for so long because she puts her child’s needs above her own wants.
“You’re one hell of a mom, you know that?” I say, and she lets out a sigh.
Natalie Parker resides in the Seattle area with her husband and two rugrats, but is originally a Michigan girl.
She always enjoyed writing and noticed she had a knack for it while earning her Psychology degree and has always been an avid reader, but never thought of becoming an author until one day there seemed to be a story to tell.
In her spare time, she enjoys reading, reading, reading to her kids, drinking coffee, reading, occasional yardwork, reading, listening to music, reading and writing.
Stay tuned for more to come for your favorite characters of the Turn it Up series!