Wholehearted came out on December 9th from Dreamspinner Press. It is the second book in the Hope Cove series and picks up just after Brokenhearted left off. Oliver and Mack, the main characters from the first book, do play important roles in the second, but Declan and Lucas are the main focus this time around.
Declan is a deputy in the Hope Cove police department and is called one day to the docks to rouse a man sleeping there. When he arrives, however, he discovers that the man is not sleeping at all, but rather, has been beaten to the brink of death. Immediately, Declan feels a sense of protectiveness and compassion for the guy. When the medics arrive, Declan insists on going with them to the hospital to make sure Lucas is okay.
When Lucas wakes up, he is less than grateful for Declan’s help in saving him. He is snarly and surly and generally just a bit of an ass. Declan still feels a pull towards him though and wants to crack past the tough outer wall that Lucas has created around himself. When the doctors release him from the hospital, Declan convinces Lucas to come home with him to heal. As they spend more time together, Lucas begins to open up and to let Declan in.
It was wonderful to be able to return to Hope Cove and to revisit the people that live there. I really loved writing these two boys. They were very distinct in my head and I fell in love with both of them right away. Declan, of course, I knew from Brokenhearted, so it was nice to be able to tell his story. And Lucas, Lucas is so grumpy and broken that I couldn’t help but want to snuggle him. Of course I let Declan have all the actual cuddles, but you know what I mean.
Here is the official blurb:
Officer Declan Grant responds to a call at the Hope Cove docks to find Lucas Hale barely alive after being beaten and tossed off his fishing boat. The violent crime rocks this tranquil community where everyone knows each other and doors are rarely locked. Despite Declan being new to Hope Cove, he wants to keep his new home and Lucas safe. He starts by volunteering to care for Lucas after he’s released from the hospital.
Lucas just wants to put the whole incident behind him and move on, but the more he gets to know Declan, the harder he finds it to push Declan and his do-right attitude away. The investigation into the assault continues, but Declan will soon face a moral dilemma, a choice that may topple his tidy life and force him to choose between Lucas and the law.
Declan could feel Lucas beginning to withdraw again. If he wasn’t careful, he could destroy the progress that had been so difficult to make.
He stepped closer to Lucas who was staring intently at his own lap. “Lucas,” he said. He didn’t move; he just kept staring. Declan reached out and touched his face, stroking down his cheek and lifting his head with a gentle finger under his chin.
Lucas’s eyes were so expressive. Declan felt as though he could read every emotion, every fear and every desire in them. He leaned forward, gradually, giving Lucas time to back away if he wanted to. Lucas’s eyes widened, but he stayed put, waiting for Declan to close the last few inches of space between them.
Declan kissed him, slowly at first, reveling in the feeling of Lucas’s lips, so soft and pliant beneath his own. He slid his hand behind Lucas’s ear, encouraging him, giving him something else to feel, to ground them together. He kissed him long and slow. Lucas responded to him so easily, opening for him, melting into him.
He eased up; brushing his hands along Lucas’s cheek as he gently broke the kiss.
“Is this okay?” Lucas asked hesitantly.
“More than okay,” Declan reassured him, kissing him on the forehead. This was different for Declan, to see Lucas like this. Up until now Declan believed he only operated in two modes, asshole and completely withdrawn. This was something else. Declan liked it. A lot.
Declan kissed him deeper and gently guided him backward to lie down on the bed. Lucas moved with him, never breaking their kiss. Lucas whimpered into his mouth, and Declan pulled back abruptly.
“Oh God, did I hurt you?”
Lucas’s lips were swollen and wet. He looked like sex incarnate. He just shook his head, laced his fingers though the hair on the back of Declan’s head, and pulled him back down.
Lucas’s uninjured hand wasn’t idle then, running along Declan’s side, his fingertips brushing lightly against the skin just under the hem of his shirt. Lucas moaned low into Declan’s mouth as Declan touched and teased Lucas right back.
The noises were making Declan crazy, the moans and whimpers ratcheting up his arousal. The kisses were becoming deeper and more fevered. Declan needed to feel skin on skin. He dipped his hand to Lucas’s waist and tugged on the drawstring that held his pants right. Lucas’s eyes shot open, and he forcefully pushed Declan off him.
Cate Ashwood wrote her very first story in a hot pink binder when she was in the second grade and found her passion for writing. Her first successful foray into romance writing came five years later when she wrote her best friend, who was experiencing a case of unrequited love, her own happily ever after.
Cate’s life has taken a number of different and adventurous roads. She now lives a stone’s throw from the ocean, just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband and two cats. Her life is filled with family and friends, travel, and, of course, books.
Cate loves to hear from readers. You can find her at:
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