Can’t Let Go
Can’t Let Go
Love in the Balance, book 1.5
Can’t Let Go is a novella that happens during the course of Tempting the Billionaire and before Hard to Handle.
Cliffhanger warning! ⚠️This novella is best read with Hard to Handle to follow immediately.
Featuring Aiden Downey & Sadie Howard
An Instant Spark
Sadie Howard would never admit there’s such a thing as love at first sight, but she can’t deny the connection between her and sexy Adonis Aiden Downey. She also can’t deny she loves to kiss him-his mouth might be his most precious asset. Despite every promise to herself not to get involved any deeper than a first date, she can’t keep from seeing more of Aiden . . . in more ways than one.
Aiden Downey had no idea the hot blonde from the club would trigger his protective, gentle nature, but the moment she drops her guard and he sees the real Sadie Howard, he’s a goner. When a family crisis puts the brakes on their budding romance, can Aiden find a way to hold on to her? Or will he lose the best thing in his life just as quickly as he found her?
Aiden shifted, turning his head on the pillow and blinking sleepy eyes at her. “Hello, beautiful.” His voice was craggy and oddly deep, and so sexy it made the soles of her feet tingle.
She flattened her hand on his back. “I didn’t mean to wake you. I just wanted to feel it.”
“Feel what?” He turned his head and saw her arm, then, with a small smile, dropped his head back on the pillow. “Oh, that. I can’t feel it, anyway.”
She frowned. “You can’t feel my fingers here?”
“Kind of. Most of the scar is numb. Noticed it whenever I go to scratch my back. I can feel it here or there, but sections of it are dead.”
She pressed where the line started just under his shoulder blade. “Can you feel this?”
She dragged her fingertips lower, to the middle of his back. “This?”
Using all four of her fingers, she touched him almost at the waistband of his briefs. “This?”
Aiden gave her an impish smile. “A little lower.”
She drew back and swatted his ass. It was a completely improvised reaction and she was sure the look on her face mirrored the surprise on his.
“Oh really?” he asked rhetorically, grabbing onto her and hauling her against him. In one swift motion, she was beneath him, his firm length pressing into one of her thighs. “Ignore that,” he said, swallowing her laughter in a sweet, soft morning kiss.
Sadie’s palm curled around his biceps as she looked into his eyes. A thick fan of golden lashes ringed his oceanic eyes and his hair fell forward, tickling the side of her face. She moved a piece of it behind his ear, unable to resist running her fingers through it.
“I don’t know where to draw the line with you,” she whispered.
“I know what you mean.”
It wasn’t what she expected him to say. And she was beginning to realize Aiden never did or said what she expected. Including what he said next.
“Do you want to get a shower?”
Visions of naked Aiden in the shower, soap sliding down his muscled body, her hands following the path of the suds, assaulted her imagination. “Um…”
“You can even use my toothbrush. Which is kind of gross, but for some reason I don’t care.” He grinned down at her before pressing a hard kiss to her mouth. Then he crawled over her and off the bed and pulled on his jeans. “I’ll go get breakfast.”
Sadie was still reeling from the vision of Aiden in the shower when he pulled on a fresh T-shirt. So…he wasn’t offering to shower with her?
He grabbed a white ball cap off his dresser and put it on backward. “Chop-chop, lady. You have ten minutes.” He flashed her a grin, and that damn dimple again. “You don’t want your food to get cold.”
Sadie was still blinking in disbelief when she heard the front door open and close behind him.
When my editor suggested a prequel novella to slide between books one and two of the Love in the Balance series, my muse sat up and begged! I love Aiden in a pure, honest way, and since he and Sadie were so intwined in Tempting the Billionaire…
(their get-together-through-breakup was chronicled in that book)
…I wanted to dive in and write just what happened between those two. How did Aiden go from head-over-heels to on the outs? How did Sadie go from unsure about him to almost in love to borderline hate? WHAT HAPPENED?
I sat down to write the novella, and then discovered I’d blocked myself in left and right. The timeline, you guys. *le horror* I made a calendar of every scene in Tempting and had to make sure that Aiden wasn’t with Sadie in Can’t Let Go at the same time he was hanging out with Shane having a beer in Tempting the Billionaire.
In hindsight, Can’t Let Go is less a prequel and more a series of “deleted scenes” from book one.
Somehow, I was able to construct the plot and the arrival of Aiden’s horrible family news about his mom, and weave in enough heartbreak to make you reach for the tissues. Bonus, though, it’s the first time you lay eyes on Evan and Landon, Aiden’s brothers, AND you get to hate-love his ex-wife, Harmony.
Come to think of it, I packed a lot into this book… and better yet, you don’t have to wait to pick up Hard to Handle and resolve the devastating cliffhanger at the end. It’s worth it though. Like putting in a movie you know will make you cry…
If you missed this series, I recommend reading in order: starting with Tempting the Billionaire, moving to Can’t Let Go and Hard to Handle, and then finishing up with The Millionaire Affair. And by then you’ll have met Gloria and got to hang out with Evan and Lyon, and oh friends, that’ll bring you into Evergreen Cove and Second Chance series.
I never dreamed this world would spiral the way it has, but I’m thrilled that I had the chance to build and grow right along with these characters.