Destination Desire # 3
By Crystal Jordan
Releasing September 2, 2014
Karen Patton’s life is falling apart. She signed divorce papers, quit her job, and moved back to her hometown into an apartment that couldn’t feel less like home. With two weeks of free time before she starts work at the Half Moon Bay Public Library, she’s crawling the walls, trying desperately not to miss the man who chose his career over her.
When an old college friend invites her to Italy for an impromptu wedding, she jumps at the chance to focus on something other than her own misery.
Tate Patton is doing his best to ignore the divorce papers that just landed on his desk. A rational, reasonable man would sign and be done with it. Instead, he seizes upon a wedding invitation to do something completely impetuous—ignore the papers and fly to Rome.
When they lay eyes on each other, the sparks fly as hot as the first time they met. Maybe the more mature versions of themselves can fix what’s broken. Their love is too strong not to try…
She looked so damn beautiful, she took his breath away. Tate stood there and watched Karen exit the lobby, his gaze moving over every familiar curve of her figure. A searing, awful sensation opened in the pit of his stomach and he wanted to bend over and howl at the pain that shredded his insides. There went the ice that had encased his heart, shattered, until nothing but the agony remained. It rushed up to consume him.
His marriage was over. Because he’d turned into his father. Something he’d always promised himself he’d never do. He’d managed to lie to himself, to cling to some sense of denial until right this very second.
But like his father, he’d become a man so obsessed with his career that he never noticed—or maybe never cared—that his marriage had crumbled. Only his mother hadn’t left. No, she spent her afternoons with whatever tennis instructor or masseuse or pool boy had caught her eye. Why not enjoy herself when her husband so clearly didn’t want her for anything other than the occasional soiree to wine and dine clients? And Tate was damn sure his father was banging one of their first-year law associates. Just like he’d taken his pick of the litter last year and the year before.
Grasping the handrail on the stairs for balance, Tate sat down heavily on the third step. He swallowed hard. He’d told himself when he joined the family law firm—a firm started by his great-grandfather—that Karen and he wouldn’t end up like his parents. He’d never once considered touching another woman in all the years they were married, and Karen knew it. And he knew she wouldn’t stray either. But fidelity wasn’t enough, was it? He’d never heard his parents fight the way he had with Karen. Maybe because his mother didn’t fight to save her marriage the way Karen had.
He winced at the thought, but it was the painful truth.
Maybe his parents had started out faithful and loving, though he had difficulty picturing it. They’d been distant strangers living in the same house for as far back as his memory would stretch. All he’d known was that he didn’t want that.
But he’d come so fucking close to turning his marriage into that, hadn’t he? If Karen hadn’t walked away, if she’d stayed another five or ten years, would they have turned into indifferent acquaintances who happened to be married?
“Tate.” Giovanni’s voice pulled him back to the present. “What are you doing sitting here? Are you all right?”
The other man crouched before Tate, a concerned expression on his face. Tate’s jaw worked, his hands balling into fists on his thighs. When he spoke, his tone was low and controlled. “I could kill you.”
Gio leaned back a little. “Ah. So you’ve seen Karen.”
“Ran into her. Literally.”
“And it knocked you on your ass?” A knowing smirk curled his lips.
“You know we’re divorcing. You had no right to do this to her. Or me.” Tate could feel a muscle twitch in his cheek. “We deserved the courtesy of a warning so we could decide if we didn’t want to come if our ex-spouse was here.”
“Not ex yet.” Gio pushed to his feet and crossed his arms over his chest. “You are still married.”
“A technicality. She left me. And she was right to do it.” Tate swallowed hard, looked his friend in the eye and admitted what he’d refused to ever acknowledge during all the arguments with Karen. “I fucked up our marriage. I made everything except her a priority because I assumed she’d always be there when I needed her. But I wasn’t there when she needed me. I took her for granted and so I lost her. It’s my fault. It’s all my fault.”
The Italian shrugged. “So fix it.”
A laugh strangled out of Tate, and he felt the humiliating burn of moisture at the back of his eyes. “You can’t undo eight years of stupidity and neglect overnight, Gio. And if she has any sense of self-preservation at all—which she does, trust me—she wouldn’t even consider giving me a second chance.”
“Have you asked her?” Gio’s brow rose, daring Tate to give him an answer.
“I don’t deserve it,” he replied quietly. “And you shouldn’t have arranged for this meeting without consulting us.” He blew out a breath. “I probably shouldn’t stay.”
An utterly offended expression crossed his friend’s face. “You cannot leave now. You’d break Valentina’s heart. You’d make Karen have to answer questions from the whole family. And Italian women, they don’t let things go. Karen will have to spend the next week—no, ten days—talking about you. If you stay, she can ignore you or not as she chooses.”
“Yes, and there won’t be any questions then, I’m sure.” Tate arched an eyebrow. “That’s some backwards logic and you know it.”
“I want you here, my friend. Valentina wants Karen here. It is important to both of us that the people who brought us together celebrate our marriage.” Gio’s hands lifted and dropped. “Don’t leave.”
Tate rubbed his forehead. He shouldn’t stay. He wanted to. Damn, but he wanted to be anywhere Karen was. A sentiment that was far too little and far too late. He should leave her alone. She wouldn’t want to spend ten whole days with him around. And there was a certain irony in them both deciding to stay a few days past the wedding. They might even be on the same flight home. He sighed. “I’ll stay for the wedding, but no matchmaker stuff. No purposefully throwing us together.”
“The wedding preparations might—”
“You know what I mean, Gio. Promise me.”
Gio glanced away. “Don’t blame Valentina for this. She told me it was foolish to invite you after she’d invited Karen, but…” He clapped a hand over his chest. “I’m a romantic at heart, my friend. I couldn’t resist.”
“That wasn’t a promise.”
He gave him a look that was sly and guilty at the same time. “I promise. Nothing deliberate.” Gio leaned forward conspiratorially. “But if you’ll take some advice, you should use this opportunity to get down on your knees and beg Karen for another chance. You’ve always looked at her like I look at Valentina. That kind of love, it doesn’t die. Not ever.”
Tate had the unsettling feeling that his friend was right. No matter how messed up his priorities had been or how often they’d quarreled, he’d never stopped loving her.
Something in his expression must have given him away, because Gio’s lips quirked in a smug grin. “You can’t deny that you’re just a little bit thrilled to see her, can you?”
No, he couldn’t deny it, but he wasn’t going to admit that to a cocky Italian. There was as much pain as pleasure in seeing her. It was like a knife to the heart to run into her so unexpectedly, and here in Rome where it had all started. Memories had assaulted him from the moment he’d stepped off the plane. He remembered walking these streets with her while they held hands, sitting in a café sipping espresso and talking for hours. The excitement and thrill of new love and passion. It had all seemed so bright then, like nothing could ever break the bond they’d forged here.
A little over a decade later and he was up to his eyeballs in regret.
Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/07/roman-reunion-destination-desire-2-by.html
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22953334-roman-reunion
Crystal Jordan is originally from California, but has lived and worked all over the United States as a university librarian. An award winning author, Crystal has published contemporary, paranormal, futuristic, and erotic romance with Kensington Aphrodisia, Harlequin Spice Briefs, Ellora’s Cave, and Samhain Publishing.
$20 Amazon or Barnes Gift Card and 3 eBook copies of Vegas Vacation: Destination Desire # 1 by Crystal Jordana Rafflecopter giveaway