Toni Blake’s new heartfelt Coral Cove series brings Blake’s incredible talent of creating a story that’s filled with hope and love. ALL I WANT IS YOU starts off the series with the story of Christy Knight, a character who appeared in her Destiny series. Readers will remember Christy from her encounter with Anna Romo, the heroine of Hall Moon Hill (a 2014 RITA Award Finalist), the last installment in the Destiny series. Christy’s life changed when a horrible fire claimed the lives of her mother and father; she’s left to deal with the aftermath of financial troubles on her own. Christy grew up in the small, cozy town Destiny, Ohio, but she feels her future lies elsewhere. In hopes of figuring out what’s next, she’s decided to move to the city.
Christy and her roommate Bethany are struggling to make ends meet. The beautiful jewelry she creates doesn’t pay the bills. To top it off, Christy’s just found out about her Grandpa Charlie’s own financial troubles and that he may be asked to leave his assisted living home. As his only living relative left, Christy feels it’s up to her to help but she can barely help herself. Bethany thinks it’s time for Christy to grow up and find a guy who’s smart, sexy, and solvent. Though Christy’s hesitant about the plan—she’s a romantic at heart after all—faced with few options she’s willing to give it a shot.
The search spells disaster from day one. Her first date fails before it even starts! She did, however, meet her sexy neighbor Jack DuVall. He’s not quite the man she needs at the moment—if only his blue eyes weren’t so mesmerizing. It seems the rugged handyman fits the first two categories (smart and sexy), but he’s all wrong for her. As Jack helps Christy with small patch-up jobs around the apartment, they develop a friendship. Jack hasn’t been entirely forthcoming, he’s not really just a handyman and he’s nowhere near broke. Wary of trusting others because of a painful past he doesn’t want to revisit, he thinks it’s best to wait before sharing too much information about himself.
Meanwhile, Grandpa Charlie thinks it’s time for Christy to take a break from her day-to-day stresses and get some much needed R&R by visiting him in sunny Coral Cove. Knowing she’s short on funds, Jack wants to help Christy make the trip happen, but how can he without exposing that he’s actually loaded? He joins her under the pretext of needing a vacation as well, splitting the expenses. As the long hot days turn into sizzling nights together, Jack can’t deny his reasons for going along are far from noble.
The Coral Cove charm captivates Christy and Jack, and a passionate, loving relationship blossoms. Jack finds he had it all wrong—Christy’s not only gorgeous, but feisty and completely irresistible; after so much heartbreak and let downs Christy feels she finally has someone she can trust. But, when Jack shares secrets he’s been holding back, the relationship is compromised. As they both struggle to find their way back to each other, the quirky seaside town of Coral Cove could prove the perfect place to find a red-hot destiny of their own.
ALL I WANT IS YOU is a brilliant start to a heartwarming and sexy series, filled with Blake’s relatable blend of inspiring, passionate stories of hope and new beginnings. Readers will fall in love with the seaside town of Coral Cove and its quirky characters over and over again.
Christy stood before him frozen in horror. Of so many kinds. Frustration that bordered on agony. Embarrassment that – oh God – he was really turning her down again. And hurt. There was no other way to describe that part of it – it simply hurt, so unbelievably much that she wondered how she would survive it.
As her lower lip began to tremble, she bit down on it, trying not to let him see. Not that that was enough to help this situation even one iota. She wanted desperately to rehook her bra, but she couldn't do it from this angle and could only hold it helplessly in place over her breasts. She'd never felt so rejected in her life.
Trying to swallow back her pain, a spark of anger erupted from her. "Why did you have to start kissing me? Why did you even start this at all?" She could no longer meet his gaze – what had become easy and effortless had now grown impossible again. At some point her eyes had become stuck on his chest because, hot and masculine though it was, it still seemed a safer place to look.
"I'm so sorry, honey," he said. "I ... didn't mean to exactly. I didn't plan it. It's just that you're ... really beautiful when you're passionate about something, that's all."
She pulled in her breath, both flattered and bewildered – and Anna's words came back to her. About going for it. About never knowing how things would have gone if you didn't. So even now, even as reckless as it seemed, she didn't hold back. "I'm passionate about you, Jack."
He let out a heavy breath. And her heart beat so hard it hurt.
"I'm passionate about you, too, Christy,” he said. “Believe me, I am. I just ..."
"What?" she demanded.
Now it was he who looked away, dropping his gaze to the flowered print of her skirt. "Maybe I'm just worried about … attachment.”
“Attachment?” she asked.
He spoke more directly this time. “Maybe I'm worried that I'll get attached to you, or you'll get attached to me."
I'm already attached to you. But this time she held the words in. Since putting it on the line didn't seem to be working in this case. Who'd have thought getting lucrative consignment deals for her jewelry would be so much easier than giving herself to a man – and getting him to take her.
Somehow Anna's simple story had made Christy believe that if she put her heart out there for him to see, she'd find out he loved her, too. Anna had made it sound ... hard, and yet at the same time so very simple. Like the happy ending would just come if you willed it to. So where was her happy ending? And why had she been so foolish to believe it could be that easy?
Instead of saying any of that, though – instead of forcing out any more honesty and openness – now she found herself trying to deal in logic. "I thought you said we'd come to Florida and see what happened. That we'd let things take their course, go with the flow. You're stopping the flow."
He looked so pained for her now that she knew her own pain was written all over her face. It didn't matter what she said – she'd already made herself as vulnerable as a person could be. And the thing about vulnerability was – once it was out there, you couldn't take it back. She couldn't take it back. Anymore than she could rehook her bra.
"That seemed like a good idea at the time,” Jack said, eyes still fraught with distress. “But I'm not sure it's that simple now. I mean, it's like I said – I'm afraid ... one of us will get attached."
"Don't you think,” she began desperately albeit still logically, “that most sex attaches people? In some way? Even if they pretend it doesn't?" Oh crap, what was she doing? Spilling her heart out onto the floor some more, that was all. And maybe saying things she didn't even really know she felt until this very moment. "And the truth is – I wouldn't want to have sex with anyone I might not get attached to. It's a connection. It's supposed to mean something. Even if the whole world has tried to make it into nothing more than a recreational activity." She stopped, sighed, let her gaze drop – because she realized she'd met his eyes again in the course of spewing out all this stupid honesty. And she felt all the more naked, but it had nothing to do with her state of undress.
When she next spoke, her voice went softer. "Or that's how it feels to me anyway. So if getting attached sounds so horrible to you, then I guess it's just as well you stopped."
About the Author: USA Today bestselling author Toni Blake’s love of writing began when she won an essay contest in the fifth grade. Soon after, she penned her first novel - nineteen notebook pages long. Since then, Toni has become a RITA-nominated author of more than twenty contemporary romance novels including her recent 2014 RITA nomination for Half Moon Hill the last installment in her popular Destiny series. Her books have received the National Readers Choice Award and the Bookseller’s Best Award, and her work has been excerpted in Cosmo. Toni lives in the Midwest and enjoys traveling, crafts, and spending time outdoors. Learn more about Toni and her books at www.toniblake.com.
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