Title: One Step Closer
Author: Kahlen Aymes
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Cover Designer: Rachel Mizer
Hosted by: Lady Amber's PR
He hated that f*cking word.
When their parents got married, the only thing Caleb Luxan had in common with Wren Brashill was that they both hated their parents. When he was sixteen, Caleb discovered Wren's closely guarded secret and vowed to protect her: from that day forward she became the reason for every decision he made.
Jealousy and long-suppressed desire overpowered Caleb's fierce protectiveness and they spent one forbidden and unforgettable night in each other arms, but the aftermath left Caleb panicked, Wren heartbroken, and their relationship in shambles. In the time since that fateful night, he’d only seen her once and had only managed to make the situation even worse.
The sudden death of his estranged father calls Caleb home and face-to-face with Wren for first time in years. He is presented with a choice that forces him to confront the painful memories of his youth and his many regrets with Wren.
Like it or not, his father's last, hard lesson, will demand Caleb deal with his long denied emotions for Wren, or let go of her forever.
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“Wren?” he called out softly.
A few seconds later a shadowing figure appeared in the doorway and the room was suddenly flooded with light as Macy threw the switch, and Caleb was momentarily blinded.
“Wren? What the hell, Caleb? What exactly is she to you and why are you expecting her to creep into your room?”
Even as he blinked at the sudden and unwelcome brightness, Caleb could feel heat rushing up his neck and into his face. Macy had effectively caught him thinking about Wren, and she knew it. He scowled at the woman standing over his bed.
Macy’s face wore an angry expression, her dark hair swinging around her shoulders as she walked around to the other side of the bed. She glared at him as she stood there in a slinky chemise.
Caleb scooted to the edge of the bed, stood up and brushed past her. “My relationship with Wren is none of your business.” When Macy opened her mouth to protest but he continued. “You and I are dating, Macy. That’s all. You have no right to make demands of me. Jesus Christ! My father just died! Wren was close to him and she’s hurting, too.”
“Yeah, I saw that earlier,” Macy retorted sarcastically. “Didn’t look like Edison was who she was close to.”
He walked into the other room, his intent to get a stiff drink from the bar in the entertainment room. He reached into the refrigerator situated behind the bar for a beer, when he heard her footsteps behind him. Macy followed him and stood there in awkward silence, watching his every move.
“I thought I made it clear that we weren’t going to share a room here.” He had serious doubts he’d ever share a room with her again, given his current state of antagonistic indifference toward her. What the hell did she think?
“I know, Caleb. I’m sorry.” Realizing her mistake, Macy’s voice turned low and pleading. Caleb could hear the slightest tremble in her words. “I just wanted to comfort you.”
Awesome, his mind reeled as he lifted the long neck bottle to his lips and took a long pull. That was just what he needed; to feel guilty on top of everything else. He turned to face her, but remained behind the bar. “I don’t need comfort, and I don’t want sex.”
“You certainly looked like you needed comfort from Wren earlier.”
Caleb’s head made an almost imperceptible shake, anger welling up inside him.
“We have a history. She’s the only person who understa—” He stopped and changed his words. There was no way he was going to spill such personal memories. “Look, I’ll deal with the estate and then see where we are.”
The light from his room filtered down through the hallway, and those from the deck and backyard shone in through the windows. His head hurt and he didn’t want to turn on more lights, but he didn’t want Macy to think he had any type of romantic intentions, either.
“Where are we, Caleb?” She shook her head and folded her arms across her chest. She wasn’t crying, but she wasn’t happy. Her face said it all, even in the dimness of the room.
“No clue,” he said without hesitation. “I might have to stay in Denver for a while. The start-up may have to take a backseat until I get my head around everything.” He took another drink, draining half the bottle.
“But, this inheritance is the answer, Caleb. You’ll sell everything then have more than enough money to start your firm. It solves everything. Right?”
Caleb was shirtless as he stood there, tall, cut, and unmoving until he set his empty bottle down and bent to get another beer from the fridge. Her words should have been expected, but he was still surprised. “Don’t you want to do your job, now?” he asked, unable to keep the slight tinge of sarcasm from his tone.
Macy walked toward him and leaned on the bar, her eyes dark and imploring. “That’s not what I meant. The design firm is your dream. Now you can have it without owing anyone. That’s all.”
He ran a hand through his mop of hair. It was short on the sides and the back, but the top was longer. “No, that’s not all. Not even close.”
Caleb backed up to lean on counter by the sink of the wet bar. He wanted to keep the Italian marble bar top, that Macy was almost sprawled across, between them. She shook her head and shrugged slightly. “Then, what?” she asked, until it dawned on her, incredulity showing on her pretty face. “You have to take care of your little sister? Is that it?”
Caleb huffed angrily. “Wren is not my sister. How many times do I have to f*cking say it?”
Kahlen is an award-winning author of sizzling hot, deeply moving contemporary romance. Her stories are filled with intense love, passion, angst and emotion that breathes life into her characters and leaves her readers captivated. She lives near Omaha, Nebraska with her daughter, Olivia and their three dogs. Creative by nature, she enjoys the arts, music and theater... But the love of her life is writing!
She has three finished series, (ten novels in all), and is currently working on two stand-alone angst-filled, super hot novels; One Step Closer, a Stepbrother romance, and ACHE, the story of a soccer player who leaves behind the love of his life to follow his dream of playing professionally, only to realize, maybe too late, what really matters.