Friday, April 3, 2015

Stay for Me by Megan Smith


Eli Sabatino, determined to make a name for himself amid Seaside, New Jersey’s nightlife, has laid out the perfect plan for success. But that plan didn’t include Layla, the hopeful bartender who walked in for an interview. He knows, as an employee, this blonde bombshell is off-limits but he can’t fight the undeniable force of attraction that pulls him toward her.

Layla Del Duca has the weight of the world on her shoulders. With a full course load, a boyfriend, a sister to take care of, and an alcoholic mother, she needs to regain control of her life. Her job at Fierce is priority number one. But a complication she didn’t expect looms behind the eyes of Eli, her handsome new boss.

Emotions collide full force and they can no longer turn a blind eye to what their hearts are telling them.

But, can their passion survive when Eli can no longer promise the one thing Layla asks of him? Will everything change? Will he stay?



Layla smiles. “It’s nice to see them back together.”
“It is, makes my life a hell of a lot easier.”
“Why’s that?”
I glance over at her. Her eyes are glassy, cheeks are flushed but she’s relaxed and it’s not a sight I get to see often. “One less thing for me to watch over.”
Layla who was sitting across from me on the booth that’s out on the deck lies down, crosses her ankles and places her hands on her stomach.
I laugh. “What are you doing?”
She points up to the sky. “Looking at all the stars.”
I toss back the rest of my beer and follow suit lying down where we are head to head. Neither of us talks for what seems like forever. It’s not an awkward silence but a comfortable one.
“Tell me something about yourself that no one knows, Layla.”
She’s quiet and I almost think she’s fallen asleep when she starts, “I’ve always wanted a tree house.”
“A tree house?” I ask just to confirm I’ve heard her. It’s so random.
“Yeah, and not one that’s on the ground, I wanted a real tree house high up in the trees.” She sighs. “When I was little I used to watch from my bedroom window while the dad from the house behind ours built the Foster sister’s one. For two weeks he worked on it for them.” She turns on her stomach and rests her chin on her hands. “He put it way up high, nailed pieces of wood on the tree for steps. He brought up these big pieces of wood that he used for the floor. Then a few days later the house was framed out. He even made them a little porch that he put railing around. By the end of the second weekend I saw him hoisting up a huge triangle piece that he used for the roof. Mr. and Mrs. Foster brought the girls up so that they could see it. The looks on their faces was priceless.”
I turn around and face Layla on the bench. Her eyes are even glassier now than they were before.
“They painted the little house that was big enough for the four of them to sit in. Mrs. Foster made them little curtains for the windows and planted little flowers in the flower boxes that hung off of the railing of the porch.” Her smile grows. “I watched the little girls bring their baby dolls up in a little box that they would pull up, like their dad used for the roof. Mrs. Foster even made them a picnic basket at dinner time, too.”
A little tear escapes the corner of her eye and I watch as it runs down her cheek. She doesn’t even bother trying to wipe it away. Being this close I notice the freckles sprinkled across her nose and I suddenly want to kiss each and every one of them.
“Hmm,” she mummers.
“I’m sorry you never got your tree house.”
She smiles a sad smile. “Me too.”

It sounds like Layla didn’t have a great childhood, maybe she didn’t have a dad like me or maybe she did and he just couldn’t be bothered with her. I don’t want to ask because it’s a personal question and Layla doesn’t give away much about her life. So for now I’ll take what she’s willing to give me and vow that if I ever have a little girl, I will build with my own two hands the best damn tree house ever seen.


USA TODAY bestselling author Megan Smith is a New Jersey native managing purchasing for an award-winning business IT and software development firm - and by night creating the memorable characters her fans have grown to adore. Smith's The Love Series introduces readers to MacKenzie Cahill - a hopeful young woman who experiences adversity, challenges and the bittersweet triumph of true, authentic love.

Smith is a wife and mother, who makes time for her family, professional life and the creation of the Cahill's world. Fans of The Love Series - Trying Not To Love You, Easy To Love You, Hard To Love You - are captivated by relationships, special bonds and family ties pervasive in Smith's emotional, energized and engaging work. Smith is also the author of the 2014 releases, Let Me Love You - continuations of The Love Series, Finding Us (Finding Series) and a few top secret projects.


Twitter @AuthorMSmith

The barista hands me my coffee. I stuff the receipt in my pocket walking out but stopping short when I get a better look at the dad and his daughter.
It’s Eli.
Eli and his daughter.
Eli. Has. A. Kid.
I duck back into the coffee shop trying to figure out a way to get around him without being seen. I take a seat at an empty table that gives me a little view of Eli. My heart is beating so fast and I’m shaking. Holy shit, I can’t believe he has a kid. How did he not tell me this? Did I miss the pictures of her in his office? How come she’s never come in for a visit before opening?
All of these questions are swirling around in my head when I see a tall, beautiful brunette walk out of Victoria’s Secret and right over to where Eli is with his daughter. I stop breathing and my vision blurs as she places a hand on Eli’s shoulder and leans in to kiss the little girl’s cheek.
A chair slides across the tile floor startling me. I grab my coffee, stand up and look around trying to figure out which way is the fastest to get outside, to get away from this train wreck. I realize there are no exits nearby, only a bathroom so that’s where I head.
I take a sip of my coffee and toss the rest in the trash…not even drinking that will help ward off the headache now.
Stepping out of the coffee shop I keep my head down until I turn the corner where I’m safe, only I’m not.
Oomph. Firm hands grasping my upper arms keep me steady. My cheek rests against a hard toned chest. The aroma of a crisp sea breeze with a hint of woodsy essence invades my senses and makes my world tilt.
My heart rate picks up a beat and I try to quickly recover by taking a few steps back. “I’m sorry.” I say before looking up.
The guy chuckles and it’s like a bucket of cold water that washes over me. I know that sound and it’s the last person I wanted to run into right now. It’s the person I was running from.
“What are you doing?” He asks.
I roll my eyes while adjusting the strap on my purse. “Shopping, what else do you do at a mall, Eli?”
“By yourself?”
I huff annoyed that he would think I can’t shop by myself. “Yeah.”
“Where’s Brian?” When his name rolls off his tongue I cringe.
“Where’s your girlfriend?” Yeah, jerk, I saw her and your daughter.
Eli smirks and I want to punch him in the face. “I don’t have one.”
“Then who’s that?” I say nodding towards the pretty girl with her daughter who looks to be about Fallon’s age.
I glare, getting more and more pissed off that he’s not claiming them. “Nope.”
“Then why does it matter who that is?”
“It doesn’t.”
He smiles a cocky smile. “I’ll tell you on one condition.”
“What’s that?”
He takes a small step towards me and leans down to whisper in my ear. “Go out to dinner with me again tonight.”
I push on his hard stomach. “No.”
Eli laughs. “Why not? It’s just friends having dinner.”
“Because.” I can’t think of a reason to say no but I know that I should.
Eli takes a step closer and I take a step back. “There has to be a reason, Layla.” He takes another step towards me and my back hits the wall. He’s got me cornered and his girlfriend and daughter are right there. This is so fucked up. “Are you afraid of what might happen?”
I swallow hard. “No.”
He brings his mouth right to my ear and whispers, “Are you afraid of me or what will happen when you’re with me?”
A shiver racks my body as his warm breath hits my ear. He’s so cocky but in a sexy sort of way.
Eli kisses the lobe of my ear. “Which is it, Layla?”
I can’t speak. I can barely hold myself up against the wall. He bites down on my ear and I whimper. Breathing is optional at this point.
Why is he doing this? He just kissed my fucking ear, in the mall, in broad daylight, and I’m like a deer caught in headlights right now.
“I’ll pick you up at seven. Wear something nice.”
And then he’s gone leaving me speechless and utterly breathless.
What the hell just happened?


4.5 Stars

My heart aches, my throat burns and I don't even no where to begin.
((Taking in a deep calming breath))
Okay here I go...
First...I finished this book in one sitting, it was a must, because I couldn't put it down without knowing where it would lead. It was an emotional-heart wrenching-crazy ride.
One that left me staring at the last page thinking, damn!

Eli that man was all kinds of wonderful wrapped up in one hell of a yummy package. 
He was sweet, kind and loving. He had a heart of gold and even though he may have come across as a play-boy, he was so much more than that.

Layla's life was anything but easy and she hid that from everyone, for the fear of embarrassment. She didn't want pity, she wasn't a charity case. sometimes in life you had to suffer through things you hated to protect the ones you love. Layla did just that.

I loved the appearances of the other characters that we have all grown to love throughout the previous series. 
I just now have an emptiness inside that I need to fill with something light and airy. After this read you will need to have a funny little story on stand-by. Or sit around with a huge emotional lump in your throat, which is where I am right now.

Without any spoilers I want to leave you on this note. Have tissues, you will need them in the end.

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