by P.C. Zick
Leah Bryant lives a quiet life helping others. When her future mother-in-law, Geraldine, threatens her causes, she’s left confused by the hypocrisy and befuddled by a stranger who roars into town on a Harley.Dean Davis never wanted to return to his hometown. But when his father dies, he knows he must return and faced his mother, Geraldine, and his ugly past. When Leah discovers the stranger is the brother of her fiancé that she’d been told was dead, she’s drawn to him and furious about the deception. Both are bowled over by an intense attraction to one another. The magnetic pull draws them into a passionate embrace within minutes of meeting.
Leah’s controlled life and Dean’s emotional barriers both shatter and force them to examine their lives. Leah must choose between her safe engagement to Dean’s estranged brother, Jacob, and a dangerously passionate affair with Dean. And Dean must confront the demon from his childhood, his mother. Dean’s fear of loving and Leah’s need for security pull them together, rather than apart.
But none of it will matter if they can’t stop Geraldine, an unhinged woman on a destructive course to abolish everyone who opposes her thirst for power. When Dean and Leah, along with Jacob, threaten her, she goes on a rampage to destroy them all.
Behind the Altar is the first novel in the Behind the Love contemporary romance series that features sizzling attractions, dramatic confrontations, and intertwined and complicated lives. Set in the fictional small town of Victory, Florida, friends fight and love and form families of their own choosing.
Dean turned and walked out the same door he’d entered a few minutes earlier when he’d captivated Leah so thoroughly. No wonder he looked familiar, Leah thought. He and Jacob were brothers. She ran to the door, ignoring her fiancé’s plea to stay there. She needed to know more about Dean.
She found him sitting on a motorcycle on the side lawn of the church used for Sunday morning parking overflow.
“Where are you going?” Leah asked as she approached the bike where he straddled the engine. He was sitting back with his arms crossed over his chest. He rolled his eyes at her approach.
“What do you care?” he asked. “You almost accepted my invitation for dinner back there. Why?”
“I don’t know. Maybe I was being tested.”
“For my love for Jacob. I wouldn’t have gone on a date with you.”
“But you wanted to go with me.”
“For a few seconds, yes, I did.”
She walked closer to him. He grabbed her arm and pulled her close until his knee rested on her hip. He placed one arm around her shoulders and put the other around her waist. He leaned so close to her, their lips almost touched as they stared into each other’s eyes. It happened so quickly that Leah didn’t have time to react. Now that they were touching, she couldn’t even think, let alone pull away from him.
“It won’t take you long to find out what I learned at a very early age,” he said softly, his breath caressing her lips. “When you do find out, you’ll come running to me for more of this.”
He leaned down until his lips touched hers, gently at first, but then he pushed with a hardness that made their teeth clink. Leah parted her lips further, allowing his tongue to enter. She put her arms on his chest and felt the hardness of his pecs. She started to push him away, but then she lost herself in the sensations of his touch.
Leah forgot everything, until the sound of a horn from the street only yards away startled her. It was enough to draw her back to reality. She pushed against his chest with the palms of her hand and pulled her head away from his.
“I have to go back inside,” she said. “I can’t do this. I don’t know what happened.”
“Have it your way,” Dean said. “I’m finished with those two, but you go back to them. If they lied to you about me, what else have they lied about?”
Susie Williams yearns for a romantic wedding with her boyfriend of five years. Reggie Barker runs from demands to marry any woman, including Susie. After the wedding of their best friends, Reggie resists Susie’s hints about marrying. He suggests they take a break. An angry and heartbroken Susie kicks him down the road and into the arms of the voluptuous Sally Jean. After Susie is mugged, she discovers Reggie’s gambling debt brought the thugs to Victory to scare him into paying. With her love for Reggie in doubt, she is tempted by a rich publisher and reconsiders her options. Meanwhile, Reggie starts to realize Susie means more to him than the tavern he owns, more than the gambling he’s hidden, and more than any other woman he knows.
But it all might be too late for Susie, who begins to unravel a mystery from a night long ago when Reggie and all the other characters played a pivotal role in her life. And before Reggie can commit to marriage, he must come to terms with a father who abandoned marriage many years earlier Both Reggie and Susie must learn to trust each other before love can ever survive a second chance.
Behind the Bar is the second novel in the Behind the Love contemporary romance series, but it is also a stand-alone romance. Once you read one novel in this series, you’ll want to learn more about the romances that feature sizzling attractions, dramatic confrontations, and intertwined and complicated lives. Set in the fictional small town of Victory, Florida, friends fight and love and form families of their own choosing.
SUSIE WILLIAMS WATCHED AS her best friend, Leah, exchanged wedding vows with Dean. She stood next to the bride, and on the other side of Dean, stood Reggie, her boyfriend of five years. Susie—while happy for her friends who had only met a few months before—couldn’t help but wonder when she and Reggie would stand next to one another and vow to love and cherish until death.
When she glanced around the couple, she tried to catch Reggie’s eyes. But he wasn’t paying attention to the ceremony. His body was turned toward Leah and Dean, but Reggie’s head was turned out to the guests. His eyes roved around the crowd. Despite her fervent prayer willing him to look at her as they witnessed the open expression of love between their best friends, Reggie never turned toward her.
Leah and Dean exchanged their rings. When the wind blew in the trees, a small branch fell behind the minister as he blessed their union. Susie wistfully watched them kiss.
She wanted to be the bride, not the maid of honor. Reggie and she had dated long enough for her to know he was the one she wanted to marry. But Reggie hadn’t asked, despite her hints. Worse, he made disparaging comments about the institution of marriage every time it came up to whomever would listen. He always treated his comments as a joke, but lately Susie had been worried that he really meant the things he said. The time had come to have a serious talk about their relationship. She’d hinted at what she wanted, and then she’d waited for him to suggest the rest.
She looked at Reggie again, but he still surveyed the small crowd gathered on the banks of the river for the wedding. Finally, she followed his gaze, and to her surprise, she saw her sister, Lisa, standing in the front row with the others who had come to witness the marriage of Dean Davis and Leah Bryant.
Why hadn’t Lisa called to tell her she was coming to the wedding? Typical of her sister, who did exactly what she wanted when she wanted to do it. But Susie was still happy to see her. Lisa had left years ago, but now she’d finally come back to Victory.
Lisa Williams has discovered a way to achieve her life-long goal of becoming a famous actress by bringing a reality television show to her hometown. Tommy Jackson despises the idea of exploiting the town and hates it even more when his editor assigns him to cover the show for a Tampa newspaper. Lisa and Tommy have known each other all their lives. Tommy even dated her baby sister, Susie back in high school. But he’s not her type, and her values disturb him. Besides, when she returns to town, she comes with her boyfriend, Jet, who will also star in the television show. When Sally Jean makes an appearance on the show, the producer falls in lust with her, and Lisa worries that Sally Jean will be made the star of the show. Tommy is disgusted by Lisa who seems intent on dragging her family and friends through painful memories in her pursuit of stardom.
When Tommy’s mom is diagnosed with cancer, Lisa shows a different side to her character. Sitting with Mrs. Jackson during her final days gives Lisa a perspective on her own life she’s never had before. Tommy and Lisa are drawn to one another through the real-life tragedy unfolding. But first they must deal with an out of control Jet and reality show producer who want to exploit the small town even more as they see the potential of showcasing some of the more famous of Victory’s citizens, such as the fallen football star, the criminal publisher, and a tattoo artist turned farmer. Mrs. Jackson and Lisa’s sister Susie share in the circle of life to bring this dramatic romance to a bittersweet end.
Behind the Curtain is the third novel in the Behind the Love contemporary romance series, but it is also a stand-alone romance. Once you read one novel in this series, you’ll want to learn more about the rest of the romances that feature sizzling attractions, dramatic confrontations, and intertwined and complicated lives. Set in the fictional small town of Victory, Florida, friends fight and love and form families of their own choosing.
LISA WATCHED AS HER baby sister, Susie, exchanged vows with Reggie on the front porch of their house. Standing next to her smiling new husband, Susie glowed. Reggie patted his new wife’s protruding belly, and the crowd of friends roared with laughter.
Lisa smiled. At least one of them had managed to find love.
Sally Jean greeted Lisa when she stepped off the front steps to mingle with the folks gathered in the front yard. Lisa had known most of the guests her entire life, even though she hadn’t spoken to many of them in a decade. But Sally Jean Compton had been one of her best friends since high school. The third member of their trio, Mable Cornish, had died years before. Her death had probably drawn Lisa and Sally Jean even closer, even though Lisa lived in New York City.
“She’s a beautiful bride,” Sally Jean said as she hugged Lisa. “I’m really happy for the two of them.”
“Not jealous?” Lisa asked. “I thought you had a thing for Reggie. At least, that’s what Susie thought at one time.”
“I know she did, and I love Reggie like a brother, but that’s all. You know as well as anyone Dean always had my heart. But that ship sailed when he met Leah.”
“But you’re over him, right?”
“I’m more envious that they found one another while I’m still searching for the right person.” Sally Jean frowned. “Dean’s still a hunk though.”
Lisa put her arm around her friend. A decade ago, Sally Jean dated Dean Davis and Lisa was set to marry Sam Rollings. They both thought back then that they’d found their forever princes. But princes turn to frogs. They were all so young. Both those relationships ended right after their high school graduation ten years earlier. She felt sorry for Sally Jean sometimes, but Lisa knew she was just as messed up when it came to relationships as her friend was. What right did Lisa have to judge her? The people in their small hometown of Victory, Florida, already did enough of that.
“I hope you don’t have any lingering thoughts about him. Leah has that man all wrapped up in her arms and legs.” Lisa felt compelled to address Sally Jean’s sometimes misplaced emotions. “Besides, did you know Leah is pregnant?”
Leah would be furious if Sally Jean still harbored feelings for Dean. Leah was Susie’s best friend, and by extension, a friend of Lisa’s as well. Sally Jean needed to face reality, and Lisa was the only person who would tell her.
“Pregnant?” Sally Jean turned pale under her heavy blush. “I’m really happy for them. Dean is probably over the moon. When he settled down, he did it with a big thud.”
“Are you okay? You look pale.” Lisa knew the news had the potential of upsetting her friend, but Sally Jean had to face the facts. “I thought you should know.”
“And I appreciate that. It’s better hearing from you than from the guys down at the Tavern. I like Leah, I really do. But if Dean asked me to be his girl again, I’d be hard pressed to say no.”
“I don’t think you’ll have to worry about that happening.” Lisa watched Sally Jean’s mouth turn down, and she immediately regretted her words. “I’m sorry, Sally Jean. I just meant, their relationship is pretty rock solid. And I want you to be realistic.”
“You’re right.” Sally Jean smiled. “My relationship with Dean ended ten years ago when he left town without saying a word to me.”
“That’s exactly what I did with Sam, and I did it because it was over. But both Dean and I owed you and Sam explanations.”
“That’s true. Dean had to leave because of Geraldine and her awful accusations, and you had to leave because of what Sam did. I understand all that now. And who cares what Sam thinks? He deserved it.”
“What a town,” Lisa said. “The Peyton Place of Florida.” They both laughed.
“We need to put that on the welcome sign at the city limits,” Sally Jean said. “Now let’s forget about the past and get some of that champagne they’re pouring. I want to forget everything but having a great time tonight.”
Just then a tall man with red hair approached them with two glasses of champagne.
“What are the two most beautiful women at this wedding doing over here in the corner without drinks in hand?” Tommy Jackson handed each of them a glass of champagne as if he’d heard Sally Jean’s suggestion.
Bestselling author P.C. Zick describes herself as a storyteller no matter what she writes. And she writes in a variety of genres, including romance, contemporary fiction, and nonfiction. She's won various awards for her essays, columns, editorials, articles, and fiction.
The three novels in her Florida Fiction Series contain stories of Florida and its people and environment, which she credits as giving her a rich base for her storytelling. "Florida's quirky and abundant wildlife—both human and animal—supply my fiction with tales almost too weird to be believable."
Her contemporary romances in the Behind the Love series are also set in Florida. The novels in her most recent series, Smoky Mountain Romances, are set in in Murphy, North Carolina. She is currently working on a new romance series, Rivals in Love. Join the Crandall family of Chicago as the siblings find love despite their focus on successful careers. All of her books are stand-alone reads, even if they appear in a series.
Her novels contain elements of romance with strong female characters, handsome heroes, and descriptive settings. She believes in living lightly upon this earth with love, laughter, and passion, and through her fiction, she imparts this philosophy in an entertaining manner with an obvious love for her characters, plot, and themes.
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