A Small Town Southern Romance
“Is this bench taken?”
Corinne jolted at the sound of Tucker’s voice. She hadn’t heard him follow her up.
He didn’t wait for an invitation before wedging himself beside her on the bench and sliding an arm around her shoulders.
“We busted our asses for tonight and it paid off. You were dynamite out there, and you look goddamned amazing. Don’t let the words of one bitter, angry woman ruin everything we’ve worked for.”
Of course he’d heard. Her cheeks heated and she dropped her gaze to her lap, ashamed, though of what, exactly, she wasn’t sure.
Tucker cupped her cheek, forced her to face him. His usually jovial face was serious. “Stop letting the opinions of assholes be your truth. You are a talented, beautiful, hardworking woman. It’s time you started believing that.”READ MORE
Corinne stared at him, this lovely, kind man, who couldn’t possibly be more different from Lance. He took the time to build her up instead of tearing her down. Had she ever truly had someone like that in her life?
“You’re sweet, Tucker.” He’d made her feel better, and she hadn’t expected that. She tipped her face up and brushed her lips lightly over his in gratitude.
But as she pulled back, his hand slid deeper into her hair, trapping her. She had time for one, brief pulse of surprise and awareness before his mouth covered hers. And her mind simply emptied. Sweet? She’d thought him sweet? His kiss rocketed from zero to explosive in less than a second, sparking something inside her long since dormant. She leaned into him, wanting more, sliding her hand into the short strands of his hair, holding him to her. His tongue traced the seam of her lips and she opened to him, enjoying his taste as it seeped into her. Someone groaned. Him? Her? She didn’t know. But he gentled the kiss, stroking his hands lightly up and down her spine before easing back.
They sat on the stone bench in the pretty garden, surrounded by the scents of honeysuckle and jasmine, breathing hard and staring at each other.
Corinne’s brain was struggling to come back online and failing. “That was...I...” What did a girl say when she’d just had her mind blown by an unexpected kiss?
“I’d apologize, but I’d be lying. I’ve been wanting to do that for nearly fifteen years.”
Surprised pleasure slid through her, almost as seductive as the taste of his lips. “Seriously?” She couldn’t even imagine.
Tucker took a deep breath and offered a self deprecatory smile. “Confession time: I had the biggest crush on you in high school.”
“Why? I was horrible. And I kept throwing myself at your best friend.” As soon as the words were out of her mouth, she wished she could take them back.
“Everybody’s allowed at least one crush to make a fool of themselves over.”
“And who was yours?”
“Remember all those notes in your locker senior year?”
For months after homecoming, she’d had daily notes and the occasional tiny gifts left in her locker. Flowers. Candy. Never anything extravagant. The gifts had been nice, but it was the regular messages reminding her she was someone special that had touched her. She’d cherished those notes. They’d gotten her through some dark days. And she’d never known who left them.
“That was you?” she whispered. Even as he gave a sheepish shrug, she knew it had been. Because he was still the guy who made an effort to build her up.
“Because sometimes the cheerleader needs cheerleading.”
Corinne gave a half laugh. “Maybe that’s why she did it.”
“Why who did what?”
“Mama Pearl faked her sprained ankle. She said I needed a little fun in my life. Evidently you’re the poster boy.” She looked up at him as a sinking sort of suspicion wormed its way into her brain. “Were you in on it? Is this whole thing about living out some kind of…I don’t know, latent high school fantasy?”
“No. I wasn’t in on Mama Pearl’s plan, though I figured it out quickly enough. This isn’t about a high school fantasy. Or at least, not entirely.” He skimmed a thumb over her cheek and she shivered. “I know you’re not the same girl. I liked the girl. But I’m a helluva lot more attracted to the woman. Have been since you walked back into town.”
He’d made her speechless again. She wanted so desperately to see herself as he saw her. What did that even look like? Was she willing to risk testing the waters here for the chance to find out?COLLAPSE
Turn My World Around is one of the BEST books I've read all summer! Corrine's journey to rid her "Mean Girl" reputation is such an emotional roller coaster ride with Tucker in the front seat all the way. He is the backbone of her climb out of self-hatred and abuse, giving her the strength to help in pulling her former friend out of that same abysmal situation. You've got to take the time to read their story. If I could rate this higher than 5 stars I would. I was given this book as an ARC for an honest review, but would have given it a glowing one, regardless. Finally a book of substance with just the right amount of romance to get to the HEA ending!