Harlequin Presents Extra author Mira Lyn Kelly shares a little about THE S BEFORE EX and why reunion stories are so much fun…
I love reunion stories. Love, love, love them. LOVE!
But what is it about throwing two people who couldn’t get it right the first time back together that’s so appealing?
Sure, there’s a shared history to build from. A bond to play with. But really, for whatever reason, this couple has decided to go their separate ways and move on with their lives…maybe they even think they already have.
Only this is romance, and these two are special. Which means they get a second chance. Whether they want one or not. And if they don’t happen to see it coming…all the better!
"Oh, my God, isn't that your husband?"
Claire Brady stiffened at the urgent whisper. An instant before, she'd been basking in the afterglow of a deal that, now struck, concluded her business for the next week—mostly. The gallery was too much a part of who she was to ever truly be put aside, even for a single day. But in that moment, her phone had been quiet, her mind at peace, her senses drifting with the gentle breeze as she'd absorbed the bustle and beauty of Rome's Piazza Navona while light circles, courtesy of a dishy Italian seated to her right, stroked over her palm.
It felt good. She felt good. And she'd wondered if maybe this time…
Well, so much for that.
She shook her head apologetically at Paulo, the dishy Italian under consideration, and then shot Sally, her best friend, assistant and perpetual alarmist, an emphatic no.
She'd known sharing the secret of her ex would come back to bite her, but balanced against the isolation of holding herself apart for so many years, Sally's occasional false alarm was a price she'd been more than willing to pay. Still, this was the third "Ryan sighting" this month alone.
"The man lives in California. The United States. Besides, if he were traveling abroad, we'd already know it," she promised with a nod toward the newsstand at the corner of the piazza.
When all else failed, fell short or slipped away, there was one thing in her marriage to Ryan Brady that Claire could count on. And that was the media keeping her abreast of every sordid detail of his liaisons, financial conquests and daily adventures. No waiting by the door with a cocktail at five for her. She had the world news to tell her how his day had been and with whom he'd spent the night. And in this case, she had it on reliable authority that as of fifteen hours ago, Ryan Brady had been meeting with his lawyer in downtown L.A.
The thing about reunion stories is, no matter the time or distance that’s separated the hero and heroine, the connection that stretches between then can’t be severed.
Claire cast a quick glance over her shoulder toward Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi where its Egyptian obelisk needled the washed-blue sky above—not so much looking for Ryan in the crush of milling tourists, as perhaps hoping to catch a glimpse of this stranger who resembled him. Though as quickly as the thought processed, she pushed it back.
Seated in the shadow of the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone, amid the splendor of baroque Roman sculpture and architecture, the last thing she should have been looking for was a man who reminded her of her estranged husband. It wasn't a healthy pastime. In fact, it fell only one rung below "looking for men who resembled Ryan and were toting babies with them" on the ladder of exceptionally bad and self-destructive ideas.
She'd moved on. Long ago. Really.
And yet she couldn't resist one last sweeping glance across the piazza. Chalk it up to morbid curiosity, but she wanted a look.
Her gaze tripped from one lacking male physique to another without need to stop—not one of them could even remotely pass for Ryan.
Of course it’s never as easy as just throwing our people back into the same space. Because regardless of the chemistry that sizzles between them… they both know just how badly loss hurts. How long it takes to heal. That this time around the stakes will be higher.
But even knowing all that, they still can’t resist.
"Hey, kitten. Remember me?"
Oh, God. Sally hadn't been wrong at all.
The air leaked from her chest in a groan, pushing the name poised at her lips free. "Ryan."
"Try to contain your excitement. You're making me blush." His gruff laugh, deep and darkly confident, sounded at her ear an instant before his lips brushed the tender skin beneath.
Claire jolted at the affront—definitely not from the tingling sensation skirting her skin—and instinctively grabbed for Paulo's hand as her defenses slapped up around her.
Where did he get off?
Twisting around in her chair—too uncertain of her legs' ability to support her to risk standing, she gasped, "What are you doing here?"
"I'm not letting you blow me off like you've been doing for the past nine years."
THE S BEFORE EX is available in eBook format from eHarlequin now, and will be available in print next month.
Follow me on TWITTER or Facebook