The Long Way Home

The One Series

Book 1
Jasinda Wilder
7
Free sample

 I need you, Ava.


I am desperate. For you. For touch. For a kiss. For the scrape of your hand down my stomach. For the slide of your lips across my hipbone. The sweep of your thigh against mine in the dulcet, drowning darkness. For the warm huff of your breath on my skin and the wet suck of your mouth around me and the building pressure of need reaching release...I am mad with need.


Wild with it.


I cannot have you. I have lost you, as I have lost myself. 


And so I go in search. Of myself, and thus the man who might return to you, and take you in his arms.


I loathe each of the thousands of miles between us, but I cannot wish them away, for I hope at the end of my journey I shall find you. Or rather, find myself, and thus…you. Myself, and thus us.  


I am taking the long way home, Ava. 


*   *   *


Christian,


I’m losing my mind, and I don’t know how to stop it. I shouldn’t be writing to you, but I am. I’m friendless, loveless, and lifeless. You’re out there somewhere, and still you’re all I really have. I hate my reliance and dependence on you, emotionally and otherwise, and that reliance is something I’m coming to recognize. I hate that I can’t hate you as much as I want to. I hate that I still love you so much. 


I hate that there’s no clear solution to our conundrum. Even if we could forgive each other, what then? 


I hate you, Christian. I really do.


But most of all, I don’t. 


It’s complicated. 


Complicatedly (still) yours,


Ava

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It started with a window that was jammed shut. Pretty simple, right? All I wanted was to open the windows while I tidied the house. I’d been after my no-good husband to do it for months, but he never did. And then he shacked up with his secretary, leaving me with a pile of bills, husband-free for the first time in ten years, and with a house that was falling apart. 


The ad popped up on the side of my social media feed—a local contracting agency willing to do pretty much anything. Since I don’t really know a screwdriver from a ratchet, I gave them a call. 


And let me tell you, the ad was NOT lying. Jesse O’Neill can do it ALL…and looks amazing doing it. 


He fixed my window, so I called him back to fix the sagging, splintery front steps. Which led to him fixing my kitchen sink. And then he recarpeted my stairs. And then fixed the squeak in my bed. 


He was supposed to fix my house, not my rusty, sputtering libido. And certainly not my broken heart.

I’m Harlow Grace, the newest, hottest face of Hollywood sex appeal, the woman every man wants and every woman wants to be... and I’m running away. I need an escape. I need to get away from the pressure, find somewhere I won’t be hounded at every step—an impossible thing to ask when I’m on billboards everywhere, from LA to Laos, Japan to Jakarta, Sydney to Siberia. So, I buy a yacht and hide out in the most obscure, remote, and unexpected place I can think of: Ketchikan, Alaska. 


Instead of a peaceful vacation, however, what I find in Ketchikan is trouble. The kind of trouble that’s six-plus feet of nerdy hotness I can't resist. I mean, who could? He's a genius with no idea how attractive he is, an enigma of contradictions: awkward yet confident, fascinating and flirtatious, yet aloof and evasive of physical touch. 


He's utterly and deliciously sexy in every way—and oh, so innocent.


*   *   *


I can recite all of The Iliad and The Odyssey in the original Greek. I can do advanced mathematics in my head and memorize entire books with ease. By the time I graduated high school I had been scouted by several international soccer teams and recruited by think tanks, the NSA, and the CIA.


All of which is totally useless when a woman like Harlow Grace is standing in front of me, trying to talk to me, flirting with me, touching me. She’s Helen of Troy—a woman with a face that could launch a thousand ships, a woman wars are fought over. 


It turns out she’s not just beautiful—she’s famous. A Hollywood sex symbol. A superstar known all over the world… 


And yet somehow she’s interested in me?

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Additional Information

Publisher
Jasinda Wilder
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Published on
Jun 30, 2017
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Pages
350
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ISBN
9781941098882
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Romance / Contemporary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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See entire series

shouldn’t be in love, but baby I am

I know it’s crazy, but I don’t give a damn

shouldn’t want you near me

but you’re inside me, can you hear me

I’m praying you need me, baby say you do

I’m laying in bed, dreaming of you

cuz I remember you moving, gliding

can’t get over you, baby I’m trying

why can’t I have you, why’s it have to be so complicated

the love I feel hasn’t faded


I wrote those lyrics for Jonny after he walked away. 


It was never meant to be between us; I knew it, he knew it, we talked about it. 


The trouble is, love never listens to logic. And for two people who have never really had a home or known love, logic is all that keeps us going: be smart, survive, do what has to be done. And, in my case, take care of my son. Forget my dreams, forget love…nothing matters but making it day by day. 


But then I met Jonny, and everything changed.


*   *   *


I’m a vagabond. I’ve lived my whole life out on the ocean, surviving by my wits and my knowledge of the sea. I’ve never needed anyone, never stayed in one place long enough to let something like that happen. 


Christian, the only person I’ve ever really cared about, goes missing and gives me a box of letters and makes me promise to take it to his wife, Ava. Problem is, when I get to her, Ava is missing too, and their condo is ruined by the same hurricane that claimed Christian. And then I meet Delta, Ava’s sister, Christian’s sister-in-law, and she changes everything. 


It wasn’t supposed to be anything. Nothing was supposed to happen. We helped dig out survivors of the hurricane together, and that was it. Only…that wasn’t it. Something happened. And now I can’t get her out of my head, or out of my heart. 


Even when I walk away, I can’t escape her. Especially when I hear her voice on the radio, singing a song meant for me:


You walked into my life, with your dark skin and brown eyes

I tried to resist you, tried not to kiss you

you speak soft and you move slow

you’ve got strong hands and few words

but I hear it anyway, everything you don’t say

I tried to resist you, tried not to kiss you

but god, your lips, the way you moved your hips

the way you said my name

and said you felt the same

the way you took my hand

Dad Bod Contracting—for ALL your domestic contracting needs. Have a leaky faucet or clogged disposal? Need a new patio with intricate brickpaving designs? Want your garage transformed into a yoga studio? Dad Bod Contracting has you COVERED. Our clean, well-mannered, and friendly professionals pride themselves on attention to detail. Every job comes with a 100% customer SATISFACTION  guarantee. No job is too small. Hand us your “honey-do” list and we’ll get it done, and we’ll look good doing it! A good job well done is one phone call away, so call Dad Bod Contracting today!


It started with a window that was jammed shut. Pretty simple, right? All I wanted was to open the windows while I tidied the house. I’d been after my no-good husband to do it for months, but he never did. And then he shacked up with his secretary, leaving me with a pile of bills, husband-free for the first time in ten years, and with a house that was falling apart. 


The ad popped up on the side of my social media feed—a local contracting agency willing to do pretty much anything. Since I don’t really know a screwdriver from a ratchet, I gave them a call. 


And let me tell you, the ad was NOT lying. Jesse O’Neill can do it ALL…and looks amazing doing it. 


He fixed my window, so I called him back to fix the sagging, splintery front steps. Which led to him fixing my kitchen sink. And then he recarpeted my stairs. And then fixed the squeak in my bed. 


He was supposed to fix my house, not my rusty, sputtering libido. And certainly not my broken heart.

 I see us in a million montages—you and me, Ava, in a million vignettes. Visions of us. 

You are beneath me. You stare up at me. You gaze, lovingly, into my eyes, and you do not look away as you come apart. I see this moment, over and over and over again…


You whisper something, as the shudders wrack you, yet the words you whisper are lost to me. I want those words—they mean everything. 

What is it you whisper in the moment of our most intimate completion? 


My name, surely.


What is it you whisper, Ava?


Please, tell me. Whisper those sounds to me again, even just once, I beg you. 


Come to me, and come for me, and come with me: I will hear those sweet, dulcet syllables blooming from your lips and I will know myself, and I will know I am home.



*   *   *


Memory is a harsh mistress: she embellishes the beautiful and serene, yet she also sharpens the edges of pain.


All I have left of my husband, Christian, is memory. Everything else is gone. Our son, Henry, conceived and cherished and born and grown in the fertile soil of our love…he is dead. He molders six feet under the black loam of a Florida cemetery. The home we created for ourselves, in Ft. Lauderdale, is a pile of rubble, demolished by a hurricane. That home, and everything in it, is utterly gone. Even the rubble, by now, is likely cleared away.


And all I know is, right now…I’m scared of letting myself grieve for Henry. 


I’m scared I’ll never find Christian. And if I never find Christian, what will I do? 


Who will I be? 

Romancing Wisconsin Volume III contains books 9-11 in the USA Today bestselling series from NY Times bestselling author, Stacey Joy Netzel. (All books in the series are standalone.)

SPRING FLING, book 9: Trevor refuses to ever open his heart again, but a week of uncomplicated fun with beautiful bridesmaid Tessa who is as opposed to love as he is? That’s an arrangement he can work with. Unfortunately, no-strings fun is never that simple when someone breaks the rules and falls in love.

SPRING SERENDIPITY, book 10: Sometimes love happens when you least expect it...  SWAT Officer Shane Parker was happy as a carefree bachelor, until one night with beautiful widow, Lora Howell. The more time he spends with her and her two young boys, the more determined he is to convince her he’s ready to settle down—but an unexpected bombshell from the past threatens everything.

SPRING DREAMS, book 11: Ex-con Alex Riley has a chip on his shoulder bigger than the Grand Canyon. Former social worker Emma Winston is used to dealing with surly teenagers in a composed, encouraging manner, yet her first encounters with Alex make her want to smack the man. His first day at her construction site, she’s distressed to realize she also wants to kiss him—even with his obnoxious attitude. She knows better than to fall for a bad boy who’s made no secret he can’t wait to leave the town where, for the first time in her life, she’s planting deep roots. But the more she glimpses a good heart beneath his gruff exterior, the harder it is to remember they don’t share the same dream.  

**Book 12 is a bonus short story available for individual purchase, or download the story as a "Thank You" for joining Stacey's newsletter at her website. 

Love is always in season...

Starting with Christmas/Winter, then moving on to the rest of the seasons, check out this bestselling, heartwarming series set in small town Wisconsin, where hope springs eternal for each happily ever after. Sexy military heroes, runaway brides, surprise babies, single parents—meet the Rileys, the Walshes, the Sullivan sisters, and friends. Best of all is Butch...a.k.a. Santa Butch. The mischievous matchmaker makes a cameo in each story—adding a touch of magic to the lives of everyone he loves, and even those he’s just met.

Check out the whole Romancing Wisconsin Series:
Mistletoe Mischief
Mistletoe Magic
Mistletoe Match-Up
Mistletoe Rules – short story
Autumn Wish
Autumn Bliss
Autumn Kiss
Autumn Glimmer – short story
Spring Fling
Spring Serendipity
Spring Dreams
Spring Spark – short story
Summer Scandal

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