JUST A KISS
She's unforgettable... and that's exactly what got him into trouble the first time.
The Bradfords, Book 5
As a paramedic in the busiest ER in the city, Kevin Campbell knows there's no such thing as a typical night-but this one definitely has them all beat.
His dad's been stabbed with a fork, his mom's been in a fight, and it's all because of a younger half-brother he never knew existed. And if that's not enough, everyone seems to agree that Kevin should take the boy in for the six months during his mom's rehab. Oh, and the annulment he thought he got fourteen years ago? Never went through.
It's really too bad he gave up drinking and swearing.
Eve Donnelly is shocked to see Kevin again, but not surprised they're still married. After all, she was the one who refused to sign the annulment papers. Now that she's got Kevin back in her life, nothing else matters. Not even her past fourteen less-than-virtuous years. In fact, the truth about her life without Kevin isn't even worth bringing up. She hopes.
When Eve offers to help Kevin with his younger brother, a sweet, devout preacher's daughter seems like an answered prayer. Besides, things can't get more complicated. Can they?
Warning: Contains a bad boy gone good, a good girl who knows all about being bad, and lots of hot, sweet, so-this-is-how-married-couples-do-it sex.
© copyright Erin Nicholas, 2012
"Hi, I'm Eve. Welcome to Sherry's." She set water down in front of the two guys facing the door first, then turned toward the other two. She got one glass down before she looked at them. The other glass was only halfway to the table when the fourth guy slid out and stretched to his feet. As her eyes followed him up, the water glass in her fingers wobbled, water splashing on the table top.
"Whoa, there." Someone grabbed the glass from her hand before it did more damage.
She didn't care as she looked up at Kevin Campbell.
The Kevin Campbell. Her Kevin Campbell.
She remembered his voice perfectly. She'd imagined it, dreamed it even, so many times that she wasn't sure it was real for a moment.
But then he smiled.
That smile. The smile that had made her heart pound from the church choir loft, the smile that had made her say yes to that first secret meeting-which had led to so many more- the smile that had made her say yes to that first kiss, that first taste of liquor, that first time skinny dipping. The smile that had made her say yes to marrying him.
There had been a lot of yes-es in their past.
Her mind spun as she thought of them all and she couldn't find one that she regretted.
She'd expected that being up close and personal with him again would make her feel flustered or even sad thinking of all the things they'd missed, the ways she'd messed things up.
And she did feel jittery and hot and excited, but not tongue-tied or awkward. She definitely wasn't sad.
Kevin was here. Right in front of her. Smiling that smile.
"Wow," she said softly.
"Ditto," he said with the half grin still in place.
"I didn't expect that to be quite so strong."
His pupils seemed to dilate as he watched her. "You didn't expect what to be so strong?"
"The impulse to kiss you."
His pupils definitely dilated then. It felt like he leaned closer. "You have the urge to kiss me? Now? Just like that?"
She lifted a shoulder. She should probably be embarrassed by that. Or her pride should dictate that she not admit it. Or perhaps her pride should make it so it wasn't true. He'd walked away. Less than twenty-four hours after professing in front of God and witnesses that he would love, honor and protect her until death parted them, to be exact.
But it was true.
"It doesn't feel sudden," she said.
"We're just now seeing each other again after fourteen years apart. That seems sudden." His voice was soft and a little hoarse.
"It doesn't feel sudden because it never stopped being true." She gave him a smile. "I just didn't expect it to be so strong."
"Damn," came a muttered response from one of his friends.
She didn't bother looking at who. But Kevin did. It pulled his attention from her to them and broke the spell.
"I, um, need to talk to you," he said.
She sighed. Damn again. When they'd first broken up she would have done anything to get him to talk to her. She would have called, camped out on his porch, dressed slutty and shown up at his work place, begged... anything.
But he'd served her with annulment papers and left town. She knew he'd gone to Lincoln, but wasn't sure how to find him. She hadn't gotten to know his parents well enough to ask them. His friends weren't talking. He'd just been gone.
And now he was back and wanting to talk to her. Terrific.
It had to be something big. Something like being Drew Dawson's father.
Nothing she wanted to hear.
"Can we just pretend that you came in for coffee and breakfast?" she asked. "I'll take
your order and fill your cup, like nothing's weird or awkward, okay?" But she would still have to sell the restaurant and move to Siberia so she didn't have to watch Kevin raise his son with another woman.
One corner of his mouth curled up, but he shook his head. "I need to tell you something."
"You really don't." It was one thing for him to be with another woman, even have a kid, but for it to be in her own backyard-that just wasn't fair. But if he didn't say it, she could try to ignore it, try to fake it, tell herself that everything was normal and fine.
"I really do," he said firmly. "It's important."
"Nothing's been this important in fourteen years," she said, trying to sound flippant. "I'm sure you'll realize that this is the same-"
"We're still married."
She stared at him.
He knew. Okay. No wonder he wanted to talk.
Which meant he was getting married. That was the only reason the annulment-or lack thereof-could have come up. In Nebraska, they wouldn't give a marriage license to someone who already had one. Well, in most states probably.
Eve tried to ignore the fact that her heart was trying to turn inside out at the idea of him marrying someone else.
Talking was exactly what she'd been going for when she'd refused to sign the annulment. She'd wanted him to come to her and ask her why. She'd wanted a chance to change his mind. She'd wanted him to have to face her before he gave his heart and life to someone else. Someone who would never love him the way she did, someone who had no right to the man she was supposed to be with.
"Did you hear me?" he asked.
Eve swallowed hard and nodded.
"The annulment was never official," he clarified.
"Yeah. I um... I really thought this would come up before now." She realized too late how that sounded.
Kevin's eyebrows drew together. "You knew?"
Did she confess? Did she lie? Did she fake a heart attack?
"Yeah, I knew. Know."
"How long have you known?" he demanded.
She hadn't signed because she didn't want the annulment and she'd hoped he'd find out and come to her about it. Well, she was getting her wish. "All along."
His eyes flashed. "You've known all along that we were still married?"
"Maybe we should leave you two alone..." one of the guys in the booth said.
"Not necessary," Kevin said. He grabbed Eve's wrist and started for the kitchen door.
I’ve waited not so patiently to read book five in the Bradford Series, and once again Erin Nicholas does not disappoint. Just a Kiss was the perfect ending to a series that I definitely can’t praise highly enough. But now that the stories are through, and I realize that I have to say goodbye to some of my favorite fictional characters ever, I honestly can’t help but shed a tear or two, because these books are just that wonderful! - Sizzling Hot Books
4.75 stars, Purest Delight
I’ll admit I was really nervous about reading and reviewing this book. Not because I thought it would be bad but I really, really, really loved the last book in this series (Just For Fun) so I worried if I’d like this one as much and also because I wondered how Erin was going to deal with Kevin’s faith and still write the hot and steamy sex scenes we’ve all come to expect and enjoy. Let me state flat out, that she delivered big time on both counts.
I often wonder how some authors manage to get it right time and time again, but Erin Nicholas has done it once again. Just A Kiss contains characters both old and new blending together seamlessly to create an outstanding cast, superior dialog that is both witty and at times heart breaking, and a message that no matter what your faith; living it day in and day out will make the world a better place. How can anyone not want to try and live that message? - Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
What can I say about Just a Kiss?
First I can say that I am a total Erin Nicholas fan girl. Complete with squee and stuff! She is one of my auto buy authors – regardless of subject matter and I have read her entire back list. She is one of those writers that superbly craft character relationships, complete with their ups and downs and that keeps me coming back for more.
Second I can say that I do not want The Bradford series to end. *sob*
I found every aspect of this story to be plausible – from Kevin’s conversion, Eve’s falling away from the faith, their difficulties with each other and their expectations of one another and their eventual HEA.
Another win for Erin Nicholas as I wait for her next release!
5 stars! Auto-buy! Freeking Awesome! - Scraps Of Me
I have been a fan of this series ever since the first book, and Kevin has been a character I have always wanted to know more about. Can I just say that his book was very much worth the wait.
Oh the sparks between these two are hot enough to set your e-reader on fire. Add in the complicated past between the two of them, and where they both are in their lives and we have a story that keeps you plugged in. - The Book Reading Gals