6.12.2024 | Wednesday

Return to You Blitz

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Return to You Blitz

Author: Bella Rivers
Series: Emerald Creek Series, #3
Publication date: June 12th 2024
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Two broken hearts. Ten years apart. Can one small town bring them back together?

Ten years in the military might have changed me, but it didn’t change the reasons I left Emerald Creek. Back for a short visit to my family after a decade away, I’ll do everything to keep my stay painless.
It will be short.
There will be no trips down memory lane.
There will be little to no reconnecting with locals.
One thing is certain: I won’t run into the girl who broke my heart. She’s long gone, married away.
Or so I thought.
All it takes is a pulled muscle, a massage tent at the town fair, and some not-so-subtle interventions from my friends for me to suddenly be alone with her—with me flat on my back on the massage table and her kneading me like I’m a stranger. Like what we had back then meant nothing to her.
She won’t even talk to me? Fine. I’m ready to bolt anyway.
But when the townies engineer another close encounter and I find out what she’s trying to hide from me, it’s Operation Get Her Back.

an excerpt

I unwrap her gift clumsily, letting it fall on my lap. It’s a mumble jumble of little things hooked together.

The outline of the state of Vermont.

A heart.

The name Grace.

A key.

And a ring to hold it all together.

Her key.

She gave me her key.

“Grace,” I start, speechless. It’s the most thoughtful gift she could have gotten me.

“It’s kinda girlish, I’m sorry. But it’s not like you’re going to be using it when you’re in Brussels. Matter of fact, you should just tuck it in your travel bag and leave it there, so you have it when you come back. So you don’t lose it.”

“I’m not gonna lose it.” My eyes water. “You gave me your key.”

She sets her coffee on the floor and turns to face me. “I didn’t give you my key. I gave you your key.”

I wrap her in my arms and kiss her softly, then deeper.

She straddles me, then breaks the kiss, her puffy lips and hooded eyelids making me re-consider my plans for the day. “Aren’t we going to the farm in a few minutes?”

“Yeah…” I drawl as she wiggles off me and snatches her coffee from the floor.

I look at the key nestled in the palm of my hand. “No one ever got me a keychain. It’ll be in my pocket all the time.”

“But it’s… goofy.”

“No it’s not. It’s sweet. And caring. And loving. It’s everything you.” I turn the name Grace in my fingers, running my thumb over each block letter in a soft pink. Sweet like her lips, her kiss, her love.

Then the heart. It’s black. Like death and mourning. Surely they had red hearts. Why did she choose black? Reading my thoughts, she says, “I thought that’d be less girly, but you know what…” She huffs. “You can just… You don’t have to… I’m sorry.”

The outline of the state is a predictable green, but it’s also the color of our town, and it means something to me, now.

“What are you sorry about?”

“It seemed like a good idea. It seemed funny. It’s really nothing. I don’t know why you keep looking at it like that. It’s really nothing.”

“It’s everything to me.”

“Ugh!” she pretends to mock moan. “I should have gotten you something nicer.”

“Come here,” I say, pulling her back into me. “It’s the nicest thing you could have gotten me. Seriously. You gave me the key to your house.”

“I didn’t give you the key to my house, Ethan.”

“Oh.” Now I’m embarrassed. “Sorry,” I chuckle awkwardly. “I just—I assumed…” It does look like her front door key, though. “So…?”

“I gave you the key to your home.”

My heart stops beating as I crush her against me. I’m so overwhelmed, words refuse to form in my brain. I’m just a mess of feelings right now. This is all I ever wanted. Just because it didn’t happen the way I planned or wanted or hoped for, doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

We’re happening, and that’s all that counts.

about the author

Author Bio:

Bella Rivers writes steamy small town romances with a guaranteed happily ever after, and themes of found family and forgiveness. Expect hot scenes, fierce love, and strong language!

A hopeless romantic, Bella is living her own second chance romance in the rolling hills of Vermont. When she’s not telling the stories of the characters populating her dreams, you can find her baking, hiking, skiing, or just hanging around her small town to soak in the happiness.

Her newsletter is where Bella shares progress on her writing as well as sneak peeks into upcoming books, the occasional recipe from her characters, and books from other writers she thinks her readers might like. Subscribe from her website.

You can also connect with Bella on TikTok, Instagram, or Facebook, all @bellariversauthor, or through the contact form on her website.

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