Yours, Unexpectedlyby Susan Fox
Merilee Fallon has been planning her wedding to Matt Townsend since she was seven, and now the big day is only two days away. But suddenly she has an unexpectedly serious case of cold feet. So she shocks both Matt and herself--and calls off the wedding.
They may not get their happily ever/b>
The wedding may be off, but the honeymoon is on. . .
Merilee Fallon has been planning her wedding to Matt Townsend since she was seven, and now the big day is only two days away. But suddenly she has an unexpectedly serious case of cold feet. So she shocks both Matt and herself--and calls off the wedding.
They may not get their happily ever after, but both Merilee and Matt agree they shouldn't let their non-refundable honeymoon go to waste. So they take the Mexican Riviera cruise--as friends. It's Merilee's chance to be adventurous, and maybe even put her newfound freedom to the test. But she's about to discover that sometimes there's nothing more arousing than first love--especially on a cruise ship where there are no rules and anything goes. . .
Praise for Susan Fox's His, Unexpectedly
"A contemporary love story sure to make readers go weak in the knees. Well-crafted story lines and richly observed characters bolster a strong erotic element in this delightful, memorable romance." –Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A skillful combination of sexy and smart." --All About Romance Reviews
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By SUSAN FOX
BRAVA BOOKSCopyright © 2011 Susan Lyons
All right reserved.
Chapter OneAbsorbed in the slide show of images of me and my fiancé, Matt, in the digital photo frame on my desk, I took a moment to register the growl of a throaty car engine outside my open bedroom window. One glance and—"Oh my God!" I leaped to my feet. The yellow MGB convertible cruising to a stop was my sister Jenna's. Which meant that the hottie with windblown brown hair in the driver's seat was her man, come to make things right with her.
I flew out of my room and almost crashed into Jenna in the hall. My sister, now twenty-nine, had always been the gorgeous one in the family—in a totally natural way she took for granted. Nothing, not even the male-driven angst she'd been through in the past couple of days, could change that. Her blue sundress was perfect with her tanned skin, her hair tumbled in sunny curls over her shoulders, and even the shadows around her eyes brought out their dramatic greenish-blue.
"Jenna! That's your car!" And in it, fingers crossed, the cure for those mauve shadows. I'd always loved her—even despite her gorgeousness, her flakiness, and my issues with my sisters in general—but in the past days we'd grown closer and I really, really wanted things to work out for her.
"What?" She shook her head, frowning in puzzlement. "No, my car's in California. What are you talking about, Merilee?"
When her old MGB had broken down last week just as she'd started her journey home from Santa Cruz to Vancouver, she'd left it at a repair shop and hitched a ride with the man who'd turned her life upside down. And yes, the car outside was definitely hers, which meant this had to be the guy—the stranger she'd fallen for, broken up with, and been angsting over. "Look!" I grabbed her hand and dragged her over to the window.
Her ocean-colored eyes went wide, wider, and wider still as she stared out. "What?" She sounded utterly stunned.
"It's Mark, it's Mark! It is, isn't it?" He hadn't flown to Indonesia to start his marine biology project; he'd gone down to California to pick up her car. He'd come for her—a windblown knight in a butter-yellow MGB—and he was going to make everything all right. It was like the happy, tear-jerker ending of every romantic movie.
Finally, emotion flooded her face: hope, and a joy so powerful that ... that I felt the sour tang of jealousy in my mouth. I was the one getting married in two days. I was the one who was supposed to feel on top of the world.
Ack! What was wrong with me these days?
Jenna dashed out my bedroom door and I ran after her, shoving aside my stupid, petty, irrational doubts and recapturing my excitement for her. In the hall, I yelled, "Theresa, Kat!"
Theresa opened her bedroom door. My oldest sister looked all fresh and pretty in shorts and an avocado-colored top that made green flecks dance in her hazel eyes. Frowning, she held up her cell phone. "What is it? I'm talking to Damien."
At least she'd only been talking to her boyfriend, who was on a book tour in the States, and not having phone sex, which from what she said occupied an awful lot of their time. I still couldn't get over the change in my uptight professor sister since she'd hooked up with Damien. She'd always intimidated the hell out of me, but now she'd softened and was easier to relate to. Love had worked magic. Love and phone sex.
"Jenna's Mark is here," I answered, loud enough for Kat to hear, too, in her bedroom where she'd holed up with her hottie from Montreal. Ms. Sociability, the girl who had a million friends but the worst luck when it came to love, had finally found herself a winner.
Theresa's face lit up. "Seriously?" Into the phone she said, "Have to go, talk to you later, love you." She tossed the phone onto her bed, then faced me again, brow pinching. "That man better not hurt Jenna again."
Kat's bedroom door opened a crack and she stuck her head out, reddish-brown curls in disarray. "Mark's here? Really?"
"Outside, in Jenna's MGB." I turned to Theresa. "He won't hurt her." I crossed my fingers, hoping it was true. Yeah, maybe I was a teeny bit envious, but my sister—all my sisters—deserved happiness. "He's come to apologize. I'm sure of it."
Theresa's frown slid into a smile. "It is our summer for happy endings, isn't it? All of us Fallon girls."
Her, with her new love, Damien, the thriller writer she'd met on the plane from Sydney. Kat, with the sexy photographer who'd won her heart on the train ride from Montreal. And me of course, marrying the boy I'd loved forever. Which was exciting. Of course, it was. Along with kind of scary. And confusing. Which it shouldn't have been....
This wasn't the time to worry about it. Mark had come for Jenna, and I didn't want to miss a moment.
Kat said, "Gotta pull some clothes on."
So that's why she'd only opened the door a crack. "Ew! TMI." It was squirmy enough to hear her gush and rave about Kama Sutra sex with the fabulous Naveen, much less know exactly when and where—like right now, across the hall—it was going on.
"Don't let anything happen without me," she called as she slammed the door.
Theresa and I darted down the hall and pounded down the staircase, then raced out the open front door of the family home. Halfway between the MGB and the steps, Jenna stood with her guy. His arms were around her shoulders and hers around his waist.
As Theresa and I went over, Kat and Nav hurried up behind us. Mom's Mercedes pulled up and she climbed out and walked briskly toward us in her business suit. For once, my lawyer mom who had to control the world didn't jump in with questions. She was so smart she'd have sized up the situation in a nanosecond.
As we all moved closer to Jenna, I figured Mark had to know we were serving notice that if he messed with her, he'd have us to answer to. Within the family, we might snipe and nag and bitch, but when it came to outsiders, we protected our own.
I sized the guy up: a rangy, well-muscled bod shown off by cargo shorts and a black tank, angular features, a tan that made his sky-blue eyes even more dramatic. Even rumpled and windblown, he was a total hottie. Was I disloyal to Matt, to think that? Of course, my fiancé was handsome, but he didn't have Mark's intense, utterly masculine vibe.
Mark's piercing blue eyes took in our presence. Then he gazed down at Jenna and, oh yeah, I was watching a romantic movie. He shut us out as if we didn't exist, and focused entirely on her with a passionate intensity that gave me shivers. What would it be like to have a man look at me that way? My guy was loving and considerate, but ...
I brushed the thought away and listened.
Mark told Jenna he'd postponed his trip to Indonesia where he was scheduled to head a coral reef restoration project and had instead taken a red-eye down to California so he could bring her much-loved car back to her—because to her, that car symbolized freedom.
I nodded. Yeah, Jenna'd always been all about freedom.
Then he said, "I was wrong. I shouldn't have asked you to change. I fell in love with you just the way you are. You're a wonderful person."
A silent "Aw" rose in my throat. He was romancing her so absolutely perfectly. Again, I wondered what that would be like. My Matt and I had been together since we were seven. He'd never had to romance me, never had to do something grand and dramatic to win me, because love had always been there.
I'd always thought words like radiant and glowing belonged in ads, not real life. My sister's face proved me wrong.
Vaguely, I was aware of Dad driving up and coming over to join us, but I was utterly caught up in what Jenna was telling her lover. When she said she'd just asked a travel agent to book her a flight to Bali for right after my wedding, I barely suppressed a gasp. She said she had been afraid of commitment, but now she was ready to build a future with Mark.
It was her own grand, romantic gesture. Did he have any idea how huge this was for her?
Maybe so. The way he touched her cheek was so tender it brought tears to my eyes. "You mean you'd give up all the variety for one man, one cause?" he asked huskily.
"We'll create our own variety. Side by side, as partners. That'll be all the excitement I can handle."
"And it'll be more excitement and more joy than I'd ever hoped for."
"You and me both."
Excitement. Joy. Yes, I saw those emotions on their faces, along with tenderness and passion. I'd seen the same feelings shared by Theresa and her Damien, and Kat and Nav. Intense, sexy, and romantic.
When was the last time Matt and I had looked at each other that way? Or had we ever? Tenderness, yes, but passion? Excitement? Pure, blazing joy? All week, seeing my sisters come home one by one from all over the world, bursting with the excitement of new, passionate love affairs, I'd felt ... what?
Kind of flat. Maybe even unhappy, a little depressed. Off. In the week before my own wedding, the wedding I'd dreamed of since I was a little girl, when I should have been brimming with excitement, I'd felt empty. Left out. Like everyone else was having all the fun.
That was childish. In this family, I should know I'd never be the center of attention, and just stop wanting it.
Except ... was that really all it was? Or did it go deeper? Was it about Matt and me? Though I was eleven years younger than Theresa, eight years younger than Jenna, I felt—okay, I felt settled. Settled into a comfortable relationship that never ignited the kind of sparks I now saw flying between Jenna and Mark as they kissed like they were merging their souls.
Well, shit. Comfortable, rather than exciting. Settled, at the ripe old age of twenty-one. This was bad. Definitely bad. For fourteen years I'd told myself I was the Fallon sister who'd found her soul mate, the perfect love, and now ...
Pre-wedding jitters. Everyone has them.
Then why was my heart racing and why, even as I joined my family in clapping and cheering for Jenna and Mark, did I feel left out and envious? I was the one getting married, and rather than looking forward to my beautiful white wedding, I was wanting what my sisters had.
My heart lodged in my throat, beating so hard it threatened to choke me. I tried to swallow as Jenna and her guy eased an inch or two apart. "We belong together," he said with absolute conviction.
"We do. I've been falling for you since ... oh, probably since the moment you ordered strawberry pie."
"I've been falling for you since I first looked into your eyes."
It was one of those aw, isn't that sweet? moments, but instead of enjoying it, my brain was spinning. That was how it had been for Matt and me, recognizing from the beginning that we were soul mates: M&M. Except we'd been seven. Children, not adults. We'd grown up together. He'd been at our house so often, Mom and Dad said it was almost like having a son. I'd never dated anyone but him. We'd fumbled through learning about sex together. And the sex was great. Tender and affectionate and really ... comfortable.
I put a hand to my chest, over my racing heart, and pressed down, trying to calm it. What a bitch I was, being disloyal to Matt, my best friend, the one person in the world who'd always been there for me. Always put me first.
But ... why did he never look at me with passionate intensity? Why did I never feel sparks flying, like he couldn't wait to be alone with me and strip my clothes off? Did he really, really love me or was it just comfortable being with me?
Oh, shit, I couldn't seem to draw air into my lungs. Was I going to pass out?
As per usual, no one was paying me the slightest notice. Things with my family had improved in the past week, but I would never be the center of attention in a family where everyone else was, in their own way, larger than life.
I could have fainted dead away and no one would have noticed. They were all, "You'll stay for dinner"; "I've been on the road for the last two days without a shower or change of clothes"; "I'm sure Jenna will help you find the shower." Blah, blah, and they'd be having sex in that shower, too, and everyone knew it.
Hot sex. Steamy hot sex. Not comfortable sex. Matt and I had been lovers for five years now, and never once had we made out in the shower. What did that mean?
Yesterday, I'd visited Gran. I'd always loved her so much, and it broke my heart that now she had Alzheimer's and mostly was pretty out of it. Still, somehow that had freed me to pour out all the stupid, toxic shit I'd been feeling since my sisters arrived home: the crazy jealousy, the uncertainty, the fear that my future wasn't going to be the blissful one I'd always dreamed of.
She had stared out the window the whole time I talked, not saying a word. When I kissed her and said I had to go, she caught my hand and said, "Every woman deserves passion. Have you found yours?"
Did she even know it was me? Was this one of her lucid moments, or was she just rambling?
I'd told myself that Matt, marriage to Matt, was my passion. But now ... why was I almost hyperventilating? What did this all mean? Ack! I was supposed to be getting married!
I managed to take a shallow breath and said, with certainty, "I have to see Matt." I didn't have a clue to what I was going to say, but I could tell him anything, couldn't I? We'd figure this out together, like we sorted out every other problem in our lives. Surely, he'd know why I had this strange ache in my chest.
Jenna, who was leading Mark inside, showed no sign of having heard. Mom and Dad had their heads together discussing Mark, and so did Kat and Nav. Theresa glanced at her watch, probably wondering if she could catch Damien again. Nope, I might as well not have been there.
I went to grab my keys, not bothering to change out of my old shorts and tee.
Not a soul was in sight when I started up the hand-me-down Toyota Dad had passed on to me when I was sixteen. The car almost steered itself toward Matt's house, a route I'd used to bike when I was younger. "The beaten path," his mom called it. And that reminded me, Adele would be there. A nurse, she worked some pretty weird shifts, but she and Matt had agreed to spend one mom-son night at home in the busy week before the wedding. She was great, a loving, hardworking single mom, but right now I couldn't face her.
I pulled over to dial Matt on my cell. The phone rang, then rang again. "Damn it, Matt, where are you? I need you." It rang again, then once more, and finally he answered. "You're there." I exhaled in relief. "Are you with your mom?"
"Hey, M. No, she just got home from work. She's having a shower, then we'll get dinner going."
"I'm on my way over. Need to talk to you. Meet me at your place?" When Matt and I were eighteen, we'd helped his mom convert their two-car garage into a tiny apartment for him.
"Sure. What's up?"
"Uh ... Jenna's guy, the one she met hitchhiking from California, showed up."
"Hey, that's cool. And so ..."
"I need to talk to you."
"Are you okay? You've been acting kind of strange the past few days."
He'd noticed. I shouldn't be surprised; it went with that soul mate thing. "Just meet me, okay?"
Ten minutes later, when I drove down the back alley, I saw a car in the Townsend driveway—a sporty black convertible that definitely didn't belong to Matt or Adele. The top was up, drops of water glistened on the black paint, and a guy in shorts, flip-flops, and nothing else was leaning over it, rubbing the car's body with a cloth.
A hot guy. Momentarily distracted from my worries, I appreciated the view: great butt, muscles flexing under the lightly tanned skin of a buff back, water drops glistening on strong arms and legs. Wow. If this was a car commercial, women would sure be buying.
Curious to find out who he was, I pulled up behind the Miata.
The guy turned, smiled, grabbed a gray T-shirt, and pulled it over his head, and I realized it was Matt.
My Matt. The center of my life for the last fourteen years.
I blinked. That image of the hot car-commercial guy had been weird, almost like a hallucination. This was the old familiar Matt coming toward me as I stepped out of my car— casual in baggy cargo shorts and a loose, faded University of British Columbia tee, his dirty-blond hair showing a few summer-gold streaks. My girlfriends said he was hot, that he looked like a younger, lighter-haired Bradley Cooper. Sure, he was good looking, but to me he wasn't movie star handsome; he was just good old Matt, the boy I'd grown up with.
Excerpted from Yours, Unexpectedly by SUSAN FOX Copyright © 2011 by Susan Lyons. Excerpted by permission of BRAVA BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
Susan Fox, Savanna Fox, and Susan Lyons are all pen names for one award-winning author. She writes "emotionally compelling, sexy contemporary romance" (Publishers Weekly) and is published by Kensington, Berkley, and Harlequin Spice Briefs. A resident of both Vancouver and Victoria, B.C., Susan has degrees in law and psychology but would far rather be writing fiction than living in the real world. Visit her website at www.susanlyons.ca for excerpts, behind-the-scenes notes, discussion guides, recipes, articles, newsletter sign-up, contests, and give-aways. She is also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SusanLyonsFox.
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Reviewed By~Marissa Review Copy Provided By~Paperback from Publisher Let me start by telling you that I cried through most of this book. I had the misfortune to be in a similar (if different) situation at the same time I was reading Yours, Unexpectedly and I kept feeling Marilee’s pain. That feeling you get way down in your gut that flips your stomach and sends it crashing down, as if you are experiencing the pain first-hand. I also felt her desire to want someone who wants her so badly he’d drive across the continent for her, fight for her and their relationship, and just take her in his arms and kiss all the air out of her. As a result, I identified completely with the characters and found them to be heartbreakingly genuine. The story itself was well written and, while I’ve never been on a cruise, I could sense that the ship and its activities (right down to singles on the make for a “cruise relationship”) were spot on, as were the descriptions of Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. The story was wonderfully written from two points of view – Merilee in a first-person narrative, and Matt in a second-person description. I do wonder why the author did not have both characters speaking in first-person or using the typical “he” and “she” voice-overs. It seemed strange to keep going from one to the other. All in all, it was a very nice read. This is more of your typical romance story (big on emotions) with less sex than I think most of us have gotten used to reading. There are a couple of sex scenes, and they are fairly hot as Merilee and Matt try to spice up their vanilla lives, but this book is all about the passion of romance and love. And why we shouldn’t just settle for what we have rather than what we want.
Not my regular genre, this book was just ok for me. I have not read the prior three novels in the series and therefore I may have been behind before I started, but this is a romance story that is interesting but somewhat consumed with the "sappy" and to me it was one of the reasons I don't read romance, too much sex that doesn't apply to the story and to much predictable fantasy that mirrors nothing close to real life. However, that being said, there is a plot, there is a storyline and I believe if read in order there is probably some interest that would consume the reader to know what happens next. If I was a romance reader I would start over from book one and give it a whirl, certainly not a 1 star book, but to me nowhere close to a 5 star.
Yours, Unexpectedly By Susan Fox M&M were always together. Besides being next door neighbors growing up they liked each other. She's got 3 older sisters and parents. Matt only has his mom now and she's overbearing. Merilee has all her family around her for her wedding weekend. Problem is she sees how her other sisters and their dates are acting and she does NOT feel the spark so she calls off the wedding. They are able to either cancel or rearrange the day for one of her other sisters to go ahead with their marriage. The cruise can not be canceled so he decides he'll just get away from it all. She also can use the time to recoup and discover who she really is. They come to an agreement to both stay in the cabin just not be together. As they go on outings from the cruise ship they find themselves really finding out about the new person. She's gone and changed not only her hair but things she never would've done otherwise. He's also changed his hair and dress and they can now listen to what the other is saying. Both of them accept drinks from others, dance with others and do things out of their comfort zone, very adventurous. And they discover a new kind of sex. He had brought her to the doctors in the past cuz of her extreme pain. They found out she needed some surgery and chances are she'd never be able to conceive. Merilee is staying in touch with her sisters to gain confidence and ask their opinions about how to discover her new self and Matt. Everything that is happening can be explained by the chaos theory. I love where they have been on the cruise-to places I'll never get to visit. Great details on what they find. Everything has changed, they no longer think they want to be just teachers anymore but something they've dreamed of forever when they were very young. Now a health problem, could that mean more problems for them getting back together? I didn't realize this was a book with others associated with it. At the back of this book are excerpts of several other that go along with the series. Now I just have to go get them, the series is not going to disappoint by any means.
Mileti had me hooked from the first page! The rebuilding of life, love, and career was overpowering. I laughed and cried along with Mira. I groaned when Mira was acting foolish. I beat my head with the book, saying ¿NO! Not again!¿ When a reader has such great emotions from simply reading, you know you have an excellent author! Mira had the perfect life. She had a gorgeous and smart chef husband, a darling infant, the lucrative restaurant of her dreams, yet it shatters like a mirror hitting cement when Mira finds her husband in the throes of passion with one of their employees. Mira explodes, causing many legal battles to come about. She looses her husband, her business, her self-esteem . . . she is alone with an infant and has to rebuild her life. Regretfully, she returns to her hometown of Pittsburg where she slowly, and stubbornly, rebuilds her life, from herself up to her career. It takes a lot for Mira to do, but she succeeds! Not only does she succeed, but she does it well! Her friends and family are there for her throughout the story. She not only finds herself, but she finds love along the way ¿ and peace! Mileti has tapped into a foodies dream! The use of the five courses was an excellent way to divide the chapters in Mira¿s life! The knowledge of food, cooking, baking, cuisine, etc. that Mileti has included leaves no doubt that she has done the research, and done it well! I have fallen in love with Mileti¿s writing and truly look forward to another piece! Yours, Unexpectedly Yours, Unexpectedly is the forth novel in The Wild Ride series by Susan Fox. It is an emotionally packed novel that makes you fall in love all over again. I had myself wondering about my own marriage while reading this novel. Although I have not read the other three novels in this series, one does not need the storylines from those novels to follow Matt and Miri and their roller coaster ride during what was to be their honeymoon cruise. Miri has always loved Matt, from the first time she met him at a tender age of 7. They are soul mates, each completes the other half of M & M. Yet, just hours before their wedding, Miri begins to doubt the love that Matt truly has for her. She wonders if they are ¿settled¿ in their ways already, when she witnesses her sisters and the love affairs they currently are having. She calls off their wedding. . . crushing both hearts at once. . . However, they both, unbeknownst to each other, decide to take the cruise that was to be their honeymoon. . . and unexpectedly fall in love all over again, yet in a different manner. They are more open, more willing to try new things, and willing to give and take with each other. I loved watching this love story unfold. I loved being able to see the two realize what was missing in their relationship and how they fixed it. It wasn¿t an easy cruise, but in the end, they worked out their differences and fell back in love, more powerful than before! Fox has done an magnificent job portraying this story! When I can feel a powerful emotion for the characters, wanting to be there and hold their hand, I know I have an awesome author on my hands! Fox has done just this!