Book Title: Collide
Author: Melissa Toppen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
Book One in the Two Hearts Series.
Grace Morgan is just like any other new college graduate. Driven, head strong and full of life, or so that’s what she lets everyone think. But Grace is not the girl everyone believes her to be and she hasn’t been for years.
After losing her high school sweetheart in a tragic cliff diving accident her junior year of high school, Grace becomes a shadow of her former self. She hides behind her fake smile and her carefree attitude, not allowing even her closest friends and family to see the broken girl she has become. Crippled by loss and heartache, she doesn’t believe in love anymore, not in the way a normal twenty-two year old girl should.
But all of that is about to change…..
Zayne Evans is the one man that holds the power to bring Grace to her knees. Her older brother’s best friend, a successful entrepreneur and a known womanizer, Zayne may be beautiful and charming as hell, but he also has bad news written all over him. But that doesn’t stop Grace from wondering what it would be like to spend just one night with a man like Zayne. A man who is just as good as she is at hiding the real person beneath the mask.
What starts out as a rocky week vacation at her families Lake House, turns into the beginning of something neither of them is prepared for. After an intense week under the same roof, Grace is determined to walk away and never seen Zayne again. But fate has a different plan…..
Zayne is the one person that can see through Grace’s façade. Grace is the one woman who is not blinded by Zayne’s looks, money, or his untouchable persona. They challenge each other in a way that neither has been challenged before.
But what happens when the one person you know you need to resist is the only person that makes you feel alive? And what would you sacrifice to feel that way always?
Melissa is a lover of books and enjoys nothing more than losing herself in a good novel. She has a soft spot for Romance and focuses her writing in that direction but hopes to one day branch off and do something completely original. She loves music and is obsessed with the band Blue October! She has a rock star of a husband who gives it to her straight and two beautiful young children that show her what really matters in this life.
“You just gonna hide out here all day baby girl?” Alec’s smooth voice fills my ears just moments later, startling me. I shoot my head up and pin my eyes on my oldest brother. He smiles at me lovingly and takes a couple more steps down the dock until he is standing just feet from where I am laying.
“If it means avoiding Ian’s taunting for a few minutes longer, then yes.” I say, smiling widely at him. He nods, knowing full well what I mean and closes the distance between us. He sits down next to me, his long legs stretched out in front of him.
I pull my sunglasses down onto the bridge of my nose and peer up at him. While Ian made it out to my graduation with mom, I have not seen Alec in almost a year. Even still, time has not changed him. He looks almost exactly as I remembered him. Rumpled brown hair that hangs across his forehead, his large toned frame dressed in tan cargo shorts and a white t-shirt. He crosses his muscled arms in front of his broad chest and meets my gaze.
“How are you Grace?” He asks. “I mean really.” He adds, knowing full well that I will tell him everything is wonderful no matter what is going on with my life. Even with that knowledge, he still pushes for the truth. Unlike Ian, Alec has always had a way of reading me, even if he doesn’t admit it.
While Ian is my cute, playful, snowboard loving, free spirited, artist of a brother. Alec is the more serious one. While I like to think that I know him well, like me, I know that he never truly lets people in. But he is my protector. The one who stepped into my father’s shoes even though he was already away at college when dad passed. Being ten years older than me, he has always been very protective of me and that fact increased one hundred fold when he became the eldest man in the family.
“I’m good.” I finally answer, sighing loudly and resting my chin on hand. “How’s New York?” I ask. While the main reason I am moving there is for Emma, it doesn’t hurt that my oldest brother also resides there and will give me some sense of home in the craziness that is New York. “How’s the business?” I tack on, referring to the software development company that he started a few years back with his college roommate. While he doesn’t brag, I know that they have managed to be very successful. Creating and selling various apps for smart phones and other devices.
“It’s good.” He says, being completely modest by how well he has done for himself. I mean, I don’t know what kind of money a business like that brings in but from the way mom describes his downtown penthouse, I would say he makes more than he would ever need.
“Sorry I couldn’t make it out to see you graduate. Hell, I barely got away to come here for the week.” He shrugs. “We both know mom would have killed me.” I can only nod my head in agreement, knowing full well that my mother would have been heartbroken had he not been able to make the trip. None of us has missed a year yet.
“No worries. It wasn’t that big of a deal. Besides, my part lasted a whopping thirty seconds. The rest of the time you would have had to sit there and listen to them call out hundreds of names and I can only imagine how dreadfully boring that would have been for you.”
“It would have been worth it baby girl. You’re a college graduate now. That’s something to be very proud of.” He says, smiling down at me.
I shrug. “Yeah I guess. I’m just glad it’s over honestly. I mean, it was a great experience and all but I am ready to start living my life. College was just a necessary step. I need publishing houses to take me seriously, having an English major is the first step in achieving that.”
“Hey Alec.” A man’s voice I don’t recognize interrupts us. I twist my head to the side and instantly my mouth falls open. Holy hell. Zayne Evans. My brothers college roommate and best friend has always been a looker but I certainly was not prepared to lay my eyes upon the sex god that is now hovering just feet from where my inappropriately covered body is laying. “Your mom and Rob are here.” He says casually, his eyes finding mine for a fraction of a second before turning back to Alec.
“Thanks man.” Alec says, pushing himself to his feet. “Come on baby girl.” He says, holding his hands out to me. I push up on my knees, doing my best to make sure all areas are covered before taking his hands and letting him help me to my feet.
I turn, feeling ridiculously awkward and very self conscious, to face Zayne. The moment my eyes find him again, I have to mentally force myself not to drool. I haven’t seen him since he came home for Thanksgiving with Alec my senior year of high school. Even then he was something to admire but I was just a kid then. Now, words can’t even describe the man before me.
He’s tall, at least six feet or so. His shoulders are broad and his tight fitted gray t-shirt clings to every perfectly defined muscle across his chest and stomach. When my eyes finally make it to his face, I falter. Oh my god, this man is beyond gorgeous. How do I not remember him being so beautiful? Piercing blue eyes with lashes so thick that the shade is only that much more intense. His dark hair is short and messy and has what Emma would call ‘the just fucked look’. Instantly I am envisioning running my hands through his hair, pulling his body flush with mine and kissing him hard. I take a shaky inhale and try to gather my barrings. I have not thought about a man in that way since Kyle and the thought is more than a little unsettling.
“Zayne right?” The question sounds stupid but considering it’s been five years, it doesn’t seem completely ridiculous.
“Good to see you again Grace.” He nods, his smooth voice dripping with seduction. His eyes rake over my nearly naked torso and then back to my face before he quickly turns back to Alec. The action causing my insides to bubble.
“I’ll see you up there.” He says, quickly turning and making his way back up the steps, two at a time. I can’t help but watch him. The way his back flexes with each step, his massive calve muscles clenching with the movement.
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