Book Two in the Leaves Series. Adult Contemporary Romance
Cole Carlyle, successful hotelier, has lived his life on his own terms.
Burned by a gold digging ex-wife, he never expected to find his soul mate in Anika “Inky” Redding.
Anika Redding, talented artist, overcame her past to live her life free of shame.
Betrayed by people she thought she could trust, the last thing she expected was to find true love in Cole Carlyle.
Their love for each other has helped them overcome their demons before, but now faced with an unimaginable challenge, Cole must turn to the last person he wants involved in his life, and hope that those demons don’t once again try to swallow them whole.
Inky and Cole’s romance and passion ignite and in the sequel to “Inky” we follow their journey to overcome their pasts once and for all, while building their love into something everlasting.
“I love when we go out together and you look at me. I can’t hear anything else, just you. Nothing, nothing else exists when I’m with you, Cole.”
“Anika…” he drew in a quick breath and moved my legs slowly to part them. He took my left ankle and expertly looped what I assumed was a wide ribbon around it, making me wonder how many times he’d done this before and continued to do the same to the right. He took my hands, one at a time and secured them in the same fashion as my ankles. I was spread eagle, completely and totally helpless on the dining room table and I’d never felt sexier in my entire life.
When he spoke, he was near my feet. “You look so fucking beautiful; I’m not even sure where to begin.” But he began at my foot, gliding his fingers along my arch and slowly drawing them up the inside of my leg. I shuddered when he reached the top but didn’t go any closer to spot I desperately wanted him to go, the place I always thought of as “the destination.”
He made a circle around the table, brushing my skin with the tips of his fingers as he went: the underside of each breast, the sensitive skin over my ribs, my neck, my lips. He took his time but left nothing untouched except for my nipples and my sex. I was aching for him with a need that was making me crazy and delighted all at once.
“What do you want, baby?”
“You, please, I can’t take it anymore.”
“Do you know why I did this, Anika?” He said as his lips made a slow ascent up my inner thigh.
“Because…” he lifted my thigh and climbed onto the table above me. His knees resting between my legs, his arms on each side of me as his hair fell from his forehead to my face. I felt the immense heat from him, fiercely wanting him to lower his body to mine for the powerful connection we shared. “You’re completely vulnerable like this, but you trust me. You want me and I used the ribbon to show you, you are my gift. I was nothing before you, not even half a man, you made me whole again, Anika. I will spend the rest of my life making sure I never make you regret it.”
I am in Southern California today on my way to Cole Carlyle’s home near Crystal Cove. As I head up the Pacific Coast Highway with the water to one side of me and the cliffs to the other side, I am reminded of how much I miss California. The waves are calming and I understand why anyone would want to live near the ocean. It give a person a peace, serenity. As I drive up to the address that was given to me by Mr. Carlyle’s assistant, Anthony, the home doesn’t look like a home that a billionaire would live it. It’s a nice size but not presumptuous, almost homey. As I ring the doorbell, within a few seconds the front door swings open and I am greeted with a bright smile and a gorgeous man. “Hi you must be Becca?” he states. “Yes, Mr. Carlyle I assume?” “Yes, please come in. I’m glad you had no trouble finding the place. Sometimes with all the coves around here, it’s hard to find homes that are tucked away.” he says as he ushers me into the open spaced living area. The view is amazing, looking out through the wall of glass to the Pacific Ocean. It’s an overcast day, which the coast is known to have from time to time, but still breathtaking. “I thought we could sit out on the deck and enjoy the sounds of the waves as our backdrop.” I nod with a grin and follow him out to the back. Talking as we walk, “Well I lived not too far from here for about 7 years so, I am fairly familiar with the area. I have never been to any of the homes around here though. I don’t think I would have ever left if I lived here! This is paradise to me.” He gives me a smile that conveys he knows exactly how I feel. It’s probably the same reason he lives here to begin with. We settle at a table on one end of the deck and he offers me something to drink. After some small talk about my trip and family, we begin:
irst off, thank you Mr. Carlyle. This is just beautiful. I truly miss California, so it’s nice to be near the beach again. And thank you for opening up your home for the interview today. Please thank Anthony for me too. He is a dream to work with!
Thanks and I’ll be sure to let Anthony know.
A lot has happened in the past year. A year ago if I would have asked you what was on the horizon for you, would you have predicted this?
Absolutely not. It has certainly been…unpredictable. But, I am exactly where I want to be and who I want to be with.
What was it about Anika, do you think, made the two of you click? Why were you drawn to her?
When we met, she as a bartender . I was actually quite rude to her. I was coming out of a , uh, situation. I was such a jerk, I went back a few weeks later and happened to be in the right place at the right time when she had a situation of her own. But I knew there was something about her. She had a kind of pull on me.
I saw the painting that you bought from Anika as we were walking here to the deck. It is breathtaking! Can you tell me a little about the painting and why you have to have it?
It reminded me of a moment we shared together. That painting could never belong to anyone else. It’s ours, our story. Intense, I know, but there it is.
I want to ask you a little about Anika’s kidnapping. What were your first thoughts when you realized that she was missing?
I honestly couldn’t even keep my thoughts straight. That’s why I called my dad. I needed someone to do the thinking for me. I was so afraid of making the wrong decisions which may have compromised her safety. Honestly, even now, the entire experience was as if someone else was lived it. We’re so happy now, we’re expecting our first child in August, you know.
Yes, Congratulations! So what do you think you learned the most during the time of the kidnapping about yourself and those around you?
Actually, my dad and I weren’t really speaking prior to that night. There had been a rift between us when I was younger. That night, I learned that even though we weren’t close, he was there in a crisis and he was exactly what I needed and I never thought I’d say that. We’re closer now, all of us are now. I learned how deep love can go despite estrangement.
(Not sure about this one, tell me how you feel about it)
I hear that you’re an artist yourself. Are there any plans on displaying any of your work?
I’ve done a series of portraits, charcoals of Anika but she doesn’t want them displayed and neither do I. She’s the artist in the family. For me, it’s just a hobby.
Rumor is that you may be getting a little more involved with the local community. Care to make any comments about that?
I care about this city. It has an old tradition of artists and creative minds and I would like to see that continue. There’s been plenty of outward growth surrounding this town. I think I might be able to use my influence to keep land within the state parks free from development. If that influence leads me to, say, run for city council at some point…well, I leave it at that.
This series really makes me want to scream but in a good way! I adore each and every character in this book and think J.B. Hartnett is a genius! Cole is the continuation of Cole and Anika’s relationship – but in this book we learn more about Cole and the demons that he has in his past and why he has such a strong connection with Anika “Inky”.
Cole is just…sigh. His love for Anika is proven time and time again. Although there was tough subject matter in this book (along with Inky), you came away feeling compassion and empathy and understood the drive behind Cole and his need to protect Inky.
Cole kept me on the edge of my seat and I read this straight through. I just could not put it down. Although Cole and Inky’s story line is complete, I can’t wait to visit with them more in upcoming Leaves Series books! 5 Outstanding Stars for COLE.
Julie is a Southern California native, a fan of a really good story (preferably romance with a happily ever after), really good pie (preferably pumpkin) and copious amounts of coffee (preferably Folgers).
She has always enjoyed writing and at one time thought she could be a singer songwriter…the ‘writer’ part is the one that stuck.
Julie is obsessed with pi…the equation(and the food). She’s allergic to cats and cantaloupe and hates mushrooms…so if you ever want to give her a gift, those are out for sure. She currently lives with her own romance hero husband and two boys in Melbourne, Australia.