RT Book Reviews on ALWAYS AND FOREVER
Yours Forever (Harlequin Kimani Romance Series #369)by Farrah Rochon
Can the sins of the past
Louisiana powerhouse attorney Matthew Gauthier has spent a lifetime safeguarding his prominent family's scandalous history. So when Tamryn West makes it her mission to dig up the past, Matthew must do everything in his power to stop her. But his plan to distract the alluring history professor begins to send/p>/b>/em>
Can the sins of the past
Louisiana powerhouse attorney Matthew Gauthier has spent a lifetime safeguarding his prominent family's scandalous history. So when Tamryn West makes it her mission to dig up the past, Matthew must do everything in his power to stop her. But his plan to distract the alluring history professor begins to send his own passions raging out of control.
become the hope of the future?
Tamryn came to the town of Gauthier to find the diary that could be the missing link to her grandmother and her enduring legacy. In the process, she stumbles onto the secrets of another familysecrets Matt will protect at any cost. As his sensual touch awakens Tamryn's deepest desires, will a revelation that could make her career cost Matt his political dreamsand their future together?
RT Book Reviews on ALWAYS AND FOREVER
Read an Excerpt
How did I end up here?"
Tamryn West stumbled over a clump of dried mud as she walked along the dirt-and-gravel road. She did her best Statue of Liberty impersonation as she pointed her cell phone skyward and tried to find a signal. Shielding her eyes against the sun's rays, she spun in a slow circle, hoping to spot something other than the trees and high weeds that seemed to stretch for miles all around her.
"How in the hell did I end up here?"
And who would she have to murder at the car-rental company for renting her a car with a busted radiator? She was no automobile expert, but after eight years in Boston she'd refilled the antifreeze enough times to know how a radiator should look, and it should definitely not have steam blowing out of it like a pot of boiling pasta.
She held the phone up to the sky again, but got the same result. Zero bars. Was it really a surprise that the Middle of Nowhere, Louisiana, wouldn't have cellphone service?
Tamryn peered down the road she'd been traveling, trying to recall the last house she'd passed. It had been at least five miles back. Possibly more.
She was not walking for miles in these heels. She'd probably have better luck if she continued traveling east instead of backtracking. According to her cell phone's GPS-back when it was working and before it started recalculating over and over again-she had been only fifteen miles from the town of Gauthier.
That meant she should only have about five miles or so to go, right?
Of course, that was before her ill-advised detour onto this dirt road.
"No use beating yourself up over it," Tamryn told herself, blowing out a weary breath.
The best thing she could do right now was get moving. She'd been out here for nearly an hour already, and not a single car had passed. She would have to walk until she found some sign of life, or at least enough bars on her cell phone to send an SOS text message.
Tamryn started back for the rental car to retrieve her laptop, because even though there had been no sign of life on this road, she would not chance having her laptop stolen. All of her important files were backed up on several flash drives, but that didn't matter. She wouldn't be able to make it a day without her computer.
The rumble of an engine broke into the stillness that had surrounded her for the past hour. Tamryn surveyed the area ahead and spotted a cloud of red dust mushrooming in the distance. A shiny motorcycle appeared, emerging from the cloud like a ghost come to life. Her heart rate escalated.
This could be a good thing, or it could be a very, very bad thing.
She was a woman alone on a back road in an unfamiliar town. She had no cell-phone service, and even in a pair of Nikes she could only manage a comfortable jog. If she had to outrun some unsavory character on a motorcycle while wearing these heels, she'd just as well give up right now.
"Enough with the dramatics," Tamryn said. Maybe Motorcycle Guy was a perfectly safe gentleman taking a leisurely Sunday-afternoon bike ride around the countryside. For all she knew, he could be a seventy-year-old retiree trying to recapture his youth.
Motorcycle Guy started to let off the gas about ten yards ahead of her, so that by the time he reached the tail end of her rental car, his bike kicked up only a smattering of dust.
He stopped and steadied his legs on the ground, and one thing became immediately clear: this was no seventy-year-old retiree, not with the way his solid black T-shirt hugged his leanly muscled biceps, shoulders and chest. It was obvious his jeans had seen better days, but the way the worn fabric molded to his legs literally made her mouth water. He wore dark sunglasses, nearly as black as his gleaming motorcycle helmet.
Well, if she had to play the damsel in distress, at least her knight in shining armor was smoking-hot.
"Car trouble?" he asked in a deep, smooth voice.
Tamryn nodded. "It's the radiator."
"That's never good." He dropped the kickstand into place and climbed off the massive black-and-chrome motorcycle, removing his helmet and hanging it on the handlebar. Tamryn studied his easy gait as he made his way to the front where she'd left the hood up. He braced his hands against the compact car's frame and leaned over, studying the engine.
She thought the jeans had molded magnificently to his legs, but that was nothing compared to how the denim cupped his ass. Sheer perfection.
"It doesn't look good," he said, backing from underneath the hood. He dusted his hands off on his backside. "You'll need to call a tow truck."
Tamryn held her phone up to him. "That would be a lot easier if there was cell-phone service."
A corner of his mouth curled up, and her heart did a two-step. Who would have thought such a small smile could do that much for a man's face.
"Are you heading to Gauthier?" he asked.
"Yes, I'm staying at a bed-and-breakfast called Belle Mansion."
"Belle Maison," he corrected her.
"Ah, yes. Forgive my rusty French," she said. "I forgot for a minute that I was in Louisiana."
And there was that smile again. The man had dimples. Extremely cute, extremely sexy dimples.
"You're only a few miles from Belle Maison." He gestured toward his bike. "Hop on. I'll give you a ride into town and send a tow truck out to get the car." He held his hand out to her. "I'm Matt, by the way."
"Tamryn," she answered, shaking his hand, which was much smoother than she'd anticipated. It went against his rough-and-tough biker image. Although, as she got a closer look at him, she acknowledged that he didn't seem all that rough. His light brown skin was practically flawless, his haircut close and trimmed with precision. Tamryn glanced at his hands. The nails were neat, without a speck of dirt underneath them.
Her eyes returned to his face and she noticed there was something extremely familiar about him.
"Do you want a ride?" he asked.
"Uh what?" She shook her head to clear it.
He pulled his sunshades down and peered at her over the rim. His brows lifted, and he hooked a thumb toward the bike. "A ride? To Belle Maison?"
Tamryn reared back with a start.
It was him. Matthew Gauthier. The man who had been avoiding every effort she'd made to contact him over the past six months.
Dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, he looked nothing like the impeccably attired attorney she'd spotted in the few photos she'd been able to find of him during her numerous Google searches.
"You can wait with the car, but I don't recommend it," he continued. "Once that sun starts setting it won't be long before it's pitch-black out here. I'd much rather take you with me."
There was something about the way his voice dropped on that last statement that made her spine tingle with all sorts of.interesting sensations.
No. No, no, no. This was a spine-tingling-free trip. She was in Louisiana for a specific purpose, and it had nothing to do with indulging in tingles of any kind, especially those brought on by cute dimples and well-fitting jeans.
She'd allowed herself to be distracted from completing her research before and, courtesy of her best friend and colleague, Victoria Brown, had an I Played the Fool T-shirt to prove it. She'd even brought the T-shirt down here with her as a reminder of what she would not be doing again.
The unwelcome reminder of her previous lapse in judgment quickly squelched the stubborn remaining tingles and brought her focus back to her current predicament and the need to find a way out of it.
Tamryn peered toward the western sky. It was already melting into a mixture of orange and pink as the sun was gradually swallowed up by the horizon. Which should she fear more, getting on that bike with Mr. Sexy Dimples or getting eaten by some swamp creature? She'd already determined that she was over those tingles, so the choice was simple.
"I'll take you up on your ride," Tamryn said. She immediately cringed. Was she hearing sexual innuendo even where there was none?
A faint smile lifted the corners of his lips. "Smart choice," he said.
That remained to be seen. If her too-often-ignored libido decided to come out and play, Tamryn was sure she would regret not trying her luck with the swamp creatures.
"I'll need to take my laptop," she told him.
"You don't have to worry about anyone stealing it. This road doesn't get much traffic."
She tossed a look over her shoulder. "You're on it."
His grin edged up just a bit more. "Touché."
It occurred to her that he obviously had no idea who she was. Tamryn wasn't sure how she felt about that. It was probably a good thing, seeing as the man had made an Olympic sport out of avoiding her, but there was a teeny, tiny portion of her ego that was just a teeny, tiny bit ticked off. Seriously, they'd played phone tag and exchanged emails since last fall. Was a little recognition too much to ask for?
Although it was quite possible that he hadn't taken the time to scour the internet for information about her. She, on the other hand, had spent the better part of the past semester trying to learn all she could about Matthew Gauthier's family and the sleepy little town along the Louisiana bayou that one of his ancestors founded nearly two centuries ago. To say she had become a bit obsessed would occupy the top spot of the Understatement of the Century list.
Tamryn opened the car and grabbed hold of her purse and the messenger bag that doubled as her laptop case.
Before she even had the chance to close the door, Matthew had already plucked the bag from her fingers and pulled the strap over his head and across his chest. Then he walked over to the bike and climbed on.
His hands gripping the handlebars, he gestured her over with his head. "Hop on."
Tamryn peered down at her sage-green silk shell, gray pencil skirt and heels.
Well, this will be interesting.
She walked the remaining couple of feet to the huge motorcycle. With a deep breath, she hitched her skirt up about an inch and tried to climb onto the bike. She was barely able to part her legs. She drew her skirt a bit higher, but it was still way too snug.
Matt peered over his shoulder. "You need some help?"
"No," Tamryn quickly assured him. "I've got it."
Pushing back a tidal wave of self-consciousness, she hiked her skirt up to the very tops of her thighs and, capturing the hand he held out to her, climbed onto the massive machine. She latched on to the sides of the seat, steadying herself.
Was the tremble quaking throughout her stomach due to this being her first time on a motorcycle or because of her proximity to the bike's other occupant?
Matt unhooked the helmet from the handlebar and handed it to her. "It's too big for you, but it's better than nothing."
"Thanks," Tamryn said. She donned the helmet, cringing at how ridiculous she must look dressed in her best Professor Tamryn West, Ph.D., attire and wearing a motorcycle helmet. It was a good thing she wasn't vain.
"You'll need to hold on to me," he said. Her eyes fell shut. She'd just known that was coming.
Matt reached back with his left hand and captured her wrist, wrapping her arm around him. Tamryn brought her right arm in front and linked her hands together around his waist. She could feel the solid muscles of his abdomen underneath the soft cotton T-shirt, branding her palms.
Down, libido, she silently admonished. They were just abs, for goodness' sake. Very nice, very ripped abs, but still just abs.
He started the bike and the engine reverberated, rolling like thunder underneath them and adding to the quake in her belly.
"Don't go too fast," Tamryn called over his shoulder.
She could feel his low rumble of laughter against her hands, but he heeded her request, setting out on a leisurely ride. Despite their sedate pace, bits of rock and dust still kicked up from the tires, pelting her bare skin. By the time Matt turned off the dirt road and onto smooth asphalt, her legs were burning. She knew she'd have a few nicks and scratches.
They rode for several miles, driving past quaint clapboard houses. Some had large wraparound porches, and just about all of them had huge front yards.
A few minutes later, they turned onto a driveway, which led up to the magnificent yellow Victorian home Tamryn had fallen in love with when she'd booked her stay online. It had white trim, a conical turret and a classic pitched roof.
Just as they pulled up to the front porch, the door opened and a woman who looked to be about Tamryn's age walked out.
"Hey, there, Matt," she called with a wave.
"How's it going, Phil? I found one of your guests stranded on the road that leads to Ponderosa Pond."
"Uh-oh. What happened?" the woman asked as she hurried down the steps.
At the moment, Tamryn's main concern was getting off the bike without flashing her goodies to the world. She hiked her skirt up and quickly slipped off, pushing her skirt down as soon as her feet touched the ground.
"A busted radiator on my rental car," she answered. She pulled off the helmet and handed it to Matt. "Thank you."
"You're welcome," he answered. The sudden lower pitch to his voice was not helping in her quest to keep the tingles at bay.
"Sorry about the car trouble," the other woman said. "Not a good way to start your vacation." She held her hand out. "I'm Phylicia, by the way. We talked on the phone the other day."
"Oh, yes. I'm Tamryn," she said, shaking the woman's outstretched hand.
"I figured. All of our other guests have already checked in. Let's get you inside. I just made a pitcher of lemonade. Matt, you want any?"
They both looked back at Matt, who was still on the motorcycle. Tamryn was momentarily stunned by the power he exuded, his firm thighs braced apart as he steadied himself on the bike.
Instead of getting off, he put on the helmet Tamryn had just handed him and secured the chin strap. "I'll go back and get her bags," he said.
"That's really not necessary," she told him. "I can drive back to get them once the rental company brings me a replacement car."
"Or I can send Jamal," Phylicia suggested. "He's at his office in New Orleans, but should be getting home soon."
"I already know where the car is," Matt said. He held his hand out to her. "Keys?"
"Are you sure?" Tamryn asked him.
"Very sure," he answered. "Let me have your keys."
His eyes were the only part of his face visible from behind the helmet and lower face shield, but she could tell by the way they crinkled at the corners that he was smiling.
Meet the Author
Farrah Rochon hails from a small town just west of New Orleans. She has garnered much acclaim for her New York Sabers football series for Harlequin's Kimani Romance imprint. Farrah has been nominated for the prestigious RITA Award from Romance Writers of America and the RT BOOKReviews Reviewer's Choice Award. She can usually be found on Twitter or at a Broadway show.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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As usual Ms. Rochon, the author, did a great job in the writing of this story. I loved the interaction between Tamryn and Matt. A great story! LA-TXN
“Yours Forever” by Farrah Rochon has been nominated by the Romance Writers of America as a RITA finalist – meaning that romance writers have judged her book to represent excellence in romance writing. Matthew Gauthier of Gauthier, Louisiana was born into a legacy of family secrets. While he does everything for the town of Gauthier (including running for state government) he is haunted by the ghosts of his ancestors. Matthew is such a wonderful hero and I love how he’s conflicted by wanting to do right for his town and his family. Dr. Tamryn West is a history professor using her summer vacation to research her own family past to help her tenuous faculty position back east. She’s been trying to contact Matthew for months to get permission to do research on their family, but takes matters into her own hands. Tamryn is my type of heroine; smart, ambitious, and loves teaching. Ms. Rochon leaves no doubt why she was nominated for a RITA – her characters are believable, strong (with room to grow), and she weaves in Louisiana (and its history) into the story until you swear it’s another character. The pacing was fast and I couldn’t put the book down because I wasn’t sure how it was going to end. Whew, it was a nail biter! My favorite scenes are when Tamryn enters the basement room for the first time. Her reactions to the sense of history and meaning of the room gave me shivers. I loved Rochon’s description of the small town of Gauthier and its citizens. I definitely wouldn’t mind visiting again!
She waited. (Leader's orders)
Walks in wearing jeans and an airy blouse. I look around for you.