By Samantha Chase
Publication date: 1/29/19
Love is a sanctuary
Christian Montgomery is burnt out—the family business might be his entire world, but his father’s judgment means Christian never stops working. His only respite is gazing at the beach and the carefree surfers riding the waves…especially the curvy redhead who’s caught his attention.
Sophia Bennington has just fled from her small Kansas town to California, where she’s trying her best to embrace her new beginning. Soon Christian and Sophia find one another, and it feels like sanctuary. But when their difficult pasts catch up to them, will they run away from each other?
Praise for Samantha Chase:
“Chase’s three-dimensional characters leap off the page…”—Publishers Weekly for Until There Was Us
“A sweet romance: classic, thoughtful, and as lyrical as the stars.”—Kirkus Reviews for A Sky Full of Stars
“Chase just gets better and better.”—Booklist
It wasn’t the taste of the ocean on her lips, like he’d fantasized about so many times.
It was better.
And far more addictive.
Christian’s arms banded around Sophie as he pulled her closer and groaned with pleasure at the feel of her soft curves pressing against his bare chest.
Yeah, he’d gone out for a jog earlier and should have pulled a shirt on before answering his door, but he hadn’t. And now he was glad for that decision, because seeing how Sophie had been watching him—all but staring at him—had made his decision to be bold and kiss her easier.
It was good to know this wasn’t a one-sided attraction.
Her soft moan as she wrapped her arms around him was a highly erotic sound. Christian took the kiss deeper—thrilled and more turned on than he thought possible as her tongue touched his. It had been a long time since he’d felt this strongly about a woman and he couldn’t remember a time when he’d been this aroused by a simple kiss.
Okay, so it wasn’t quite so simple. It was hot and wet and sexy, and he shifted them so he could sit on the sofa and cradle her in his lap. Sophie moved with him and when they were in their new position, she hummed with approval.
They were in his home. It was completely private. And some primitive part of him wanted to take this further. Christian felt like he’d been waiting forever for her, even though he hadn’t known her for even a week.
It was crazy and impulsive, but he couldn’t stop this feeling no matter how hard he tried.
Which, to be honest, wasn’t much. He was too wrapped up in all the sensations—how soft her lips were, how sexy she sounded, how incredibly responsive she was to him.
With his hands gently skimming up and down her spine, he had to focus so he wouldn’t lose the thin grip he had on his control. The halter top left most of her back bare and the softness of her skin was driving him crazy.
And for a man who thrived on always being in control, it was an odd feeling.
One hand reached up to anchor into her hair—which felt just as silky as he’d imagined—and slowed them both down. He sipped at her lips, angled his head, and trailed kisses down her cheek and then back again. When he finally lifted his head, they were both breathless. Sophie rested her head on his shoulder, and for the life of him, he didn’t know what that meant or what he should say.
Technically, he had stated his intentions and she could have said no.
But she seemed as into it as he was, so hopefully she wasn’t upset.
“We shouldn’t have done that,” she said, her voice barely a whisper.
Those five little words hit him hard. Tucking a finger under her chin, he gently forced her to look at him. His eyes scanned her face and it took every ounce of strength he had not to dive in for another kiss—no matter what she said. Her lips were so red and wet, her cheeks were flushed, and she was still breathing a little hard.
She was sexy as hell and he could feel himself trembling with the need to stay in control.
“Why?” he whispered.
Sophie swallowed hard. “We’re going to be working together, Christian. This isn’t appropriate, and…” She scrambled off his lap and sat beside him. “It shouldn’t have happened.”
He felt completely gobsmacked and had no idea how to respond to what she was saying.
“You have to understand,” she said. “It would look really bad for me to be messing around with you as soon as I start this job. People will look at me like that was how I got the position.”
Raking a hand through his hair, Christian let out a frustrated breath. “Sophie, no one is going to think that. And what happened here had nothing whatsoever to do with work or your job or…any of that.” There was no way not to say what came next. “The truth is, I’ve sort of been…aware of you for a while now.”
Putting a little more space between them, she looked at him nervously. “Um, what?”
“I’ve seen you out surfing,” he clarified.
“You mean—that night when you thought I was drowning,” she stated slowly.
But Christian shook his head. “Before that.” Sighing loudly, he stood. “Every morning I have a cup of coffee out on my deck. I started doing it a while ago and I found it was a nice way to start my day.” He looked straight at her. “It wasn’t like I was purposely looking for you, but…you kind of stand out.”
Carefully, he touched a strand of her fiery hair. “A redhead in a sea of blonds,” he said, almost mesmerized by the feel of her. “Every morning, if you were out there in the ocean, I saw you. I didn’t stay out there the entire time and it wasn’t like seeing you was the only reason I was out there,” he quickly explained. “But it was normally while I finished my coffee. So many times I tried to convince myself to go down to the beach and introduce myself.”
“Then why didn’t you?” she asked, her voice softer and a little less nervous now.
He shrugged. “Cowardice, I guess. There never seemed to be the right time to go about doing it.”
“Until you thought I was drowning?” she asked with amusement, and Christian saw the first hint of a smile playing at her lips.
He smiled back and felt his cheeks heat. “Um, yeah. Like I said, cowardice.”
Sophie reached up and captured the hand the was still playing with her hair and squeezed it. “I don’t think it’s cowardice at all. I think in the same position I would have felt the same way.”
“This move has forced me out of my comfort zone. Back in Kansas, I knew everyone in town, so I never experienced the awkwardness of meeting someone new. Even when I went to college, it was local, and I knew so many of my classmates that even when I met someone new, we had friends in common.” She paused. “Moving here sight-unseen meant everyone was a stranger. I had to get over my insecurities and break out of my comfort zone and force myself to talk to people.”
“It’s the opposite for me. I’ve always been at ease meeting new people, and I’ve never hesitated to introduce myself to a beautiful woman,” he said with a lopsided grin. “You were the first woman who made me pause.”
New York Times and USA Today Bestseller/contemporary romance writer Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan’s Return, in November 2011. Although she waited until she was in her 40’s to publish for the first time, writing has been a lifelong passion. Her motivation to take that step was her students: teaching creative writing to elementary age students all the way up through high school and encouraging those students to follow their writing dreams gave Samantha the confidence to take that step as well.
When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading contemporary romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.
Author website: https://www.chasing-