Hello readers! It's officially less than ONE MONTH until Autumn Allure releases, and I'm thrilled that early reviewers are saying this about it:
"A great summer read...a sweet romance between a perpetual party boy and the local librarian who bond over his four year old daughter."
"Great book! I fell in love with it and couldn't put it down until the very end!"
"I really loved this book, it was heartwarming and sexy."
Today, I'm sharing an excerpt, and then you'll find the giveaway question below. This scene is from early in the book, when Maxine has just moved into Nate's house to help take care of his 4-year-old daughter, Autumn, until Autumn's aunt returns from a missionary trip. Hope you enjoy it!
Max walked inside on her tiptoes and then wondered why she was bothering to be quiet. Autumn would see her in a moment. She stopped inside the kitchen of the farmhouse, taking stock. It was bigger than the one at her mother’s. Actually, the whole house was bigger, probably by almost half, but it was also older, with crooked walls and creaky floors and a front door that didn’t close securely. The kitchen itself looked out onto the front lawn and Pine Point Lake. Wallpaper with fruits and vegetables covered every inch.
The living room stretched almost the entire length of the first floor, with a small half-bath to the right, stairs to the second floor, and French doors that she guessed opened into the guest room and bathroom, where Nate said he slept.
A funny feeling washed over her. She’d be sleeping upstairs, just above Nate. She wouldn’t see him, of course, but he’d be there. Did he sleep in the nude? She usually did, although for the next two months it would be pajamas all the way. She flushed at the thought and then put it out of her head. We’re roommates, that’s all. It was practically a business arrangement. Which meant in no way should she be thinking about Nate Hunter sleeping in the nude.
Even if he did have a pretty good body and a smile that lit up the room.
She shook the thoughts from her head and walked over to the only other room on the first floor. Autumn sat inside, her back to the doorway. Her tiny voice recited a story Max had read at story time the other day.
She remembers almost all of it, Max thought with surprise. She knocked on the open door. “Autumn?”
The little girl turned. Her mouth fell open, and she dropped the book. “Miss Max!” She scrambled to her feet and wrapped her arms around Max’s legs.
“I guess that’s hello?” Nate said from behind them.
“I guess so.” She hugged Autumn back and sank to her knees.
“What are you doing here?” The girl looked from Max to Nate and back again.
“Well,” Max said as she crossed her legs, your dad and I—Did Autumn call Nate Dad yet? She had no idea. “I’m going to be staying here in the house for a little while,” she said instead. She’d worked out a reason in her head on the drive here, an explanation that a child would understand, but now the words tied her tongue. “Do you think that would be alright?”
Autumn nodded, her eyes wide. “Do you think you could read to me sometimes? Like at the library?”
She smiled. “I’m sure I could.” She waited, but there were no other questions about sleeping arrangements or how long Max would be staying. She supposed to a four-year-old, those details didn’t matter...
“Rachael bought a bunch of groceries yesterday.” Nate broke into her thoughts. “We can come up with something for dinner.”
“What do you like?” The question sounded heavy with sexual innuendo, and Max felt herself blush. Get a grip on yourself. “Or maybe I should ask what Autumn likes? Four-year-olds tend to be pickier.” She looked over her shoulder. Autumn stood in the spare room with her teddy bear held tight to her chest.
Max walked into the kitchen and opened a cabinet. “Where do you keep the pots and pans?”
“Uh, the other one. To your right. But I don’t think she’ll eat it if it’s warm. She seems to have an issue with that.”
“I can give it a try.” Max squatted and opened the other cabinet. She found one frying pan and one medium-sized pot. Neither had a lid. “Do you have anything else to cook in?”
“I think there might be a baking sheet. Somewhere.”
She looked up. Nate leaned against the refrigerator with a sheepish expression. “Your parents still come up here, don’t they? I’m surprised your mom didn’t keep this place fully equipped.”
“She did. I, uh, kind of threw a few things away.”
“Like pots and pans?”
“And maybe a few plastic containers. And a couple of plates.”
Max stood and started unwrapping a loaf of bread. “Why on earth are you throwing things away?”
He shrugged. “I didn’t feel like washing them.”
She didn’t know whether to laugh or run for the hills. Instead she bit her lip and tried not to smile as she took the package of cheese and carton of milk he handed her from the fridge. “I see. Well, I don’t mind washing dishes, so maybe I’ll pick up a few things next week to restock.”
“You don’t have to.”
“No. But it’ll make things a tad easier.”
“You think I’m an idiot.”
“I don’t.” At that, she did laugh. “I think you’re a bachelor who’s used to living by himself and whose sister or mother took care of the household chores for most of your life.”
He smiled. “That’s about right.”
She glanced over her shoulder at Autumn. “What do you say we change that up a little? It’d be good for her to see her father using a little elbow grease in the kitchen.”
He tugged at the bill of his baseball cap. “I guess I could try. If you’ll help me.”
“Deal. I’ll help you learn your way around a kitchen, and you convince my mother I’m not a lost cause when it comes to men.”
At that, his smile disappeared. His gaze moved from her face to her hips, lingering for longer than a second on her breasts. “I won’t have any trouble doing that,” he said, and a squiggly feeling moved through her.
Is he flirting with me?
No. He was being nice, the way he probably was to people at the bar, the same way she was being nice by moving in and helping out with Autumn. Silly to think it could be—would be—anything more. She found some paper plates in a cabinet and proceeded to make them each a cold cheese sandwich. Nate opened a bag of corn chips that weren’t too stale, Max sliced an apple, and the three of them ate outside as the sun went down.
This book will release on September 15, but it's also available for pre-order now, if you just can't wait!
And now for today's giveaway question: What is one of your earliest memories from when you met your significant other? Do you remember where you were or what you were doing? Did you think, when you first met him/her, that you'd end up falling in love? Share your story, and I'll choose one winner randomly from everyone who comments to win a $5 Amazon gift card. Can't wait to hear!