Never one to do things by the book, Micah Roman couldn’t just chalk it up to bridal jitters, or even quietly call off her wedding to her long-time fiancé. No, she has to high-tail it out of the church sporting a dress that cost more than her car, and jump on the back of a smoking-hot stranger’s motorcycle. Her knight in all-black is headed to a town called Charmed, so that’s where she’ll go and try to lay low. Except their appearance raises plenty of eyebrows . . . and a sudden, intense attraction she has no business exploring.
Who knew picking up a damsel in distress would lead to lust at first sight? Leo McKane headed to Charmed prepared to deal with some family secrets—including his status as long-lost brother. This runaway bride is an unexpected distraction his set agenda and loner lifestyle doesn’t include. She’s everywhere he turns, getting under his skin with her quirky, headstrong ways and eyes he can’t forget. But when Micah’s jilted ex comes looking for her and opens up his shady past, Leo knows he has a choice to make.
They both do.
Run to safer ground again? Or take a leap that their untrusting hearts are wary to take.
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Why the hell didn't I go with the flats?
That thought would kick my ass later.
Shoes? Really? At a moment like that, my heart pounding in my ears, sweating through fifteen miles of lace, silk, and guilt, and picturing everyone's appalled faces right about now — I was just wishing for good running shoes?
I was a selfish, horrible troll.
A troll who they'd be looking for any minute.
"Shit!" I huffed, weaving through the cars parked along the street, holding up a dress that cost more than my car — "My car!" I gasped, stopping short and spinning around. It was in the back of the church, waiting to take Jeremy and me to the reception ... but no, my keys were in Jeremy's pants pocket, on his body, at the altar, waiting on the selfish horrible troll. Don't think about that."Damn it!"
I whirled back around and jogged into the street on my four-inch heels to make better time, knowing that at any minute someone would figure it out. Jeremy, my brothers, my friends — no, Jeremy's friends. Someone would come to see why the big heavy music that shook the floor so hard I felt it in my hoo-hah didn't come accompanied with a girl in a big white dress. My window was narrow at best.
I just had to make it to the signal light at the corner. Then I could — what? Call a cab? In Cherrydale, Texas? Right. And on what, my special holographic phone? Unlike my actual one still back in the dressing room.
Breathe ... run ... breathe ... run ... I chanted in my head to the rhythm of my feet hitting the pavement. Hopping really, like I was on stilts. Breathe ... run ... At the light, I could duck into the old Smith's Drugstore, and pray that Mr. Dan, the pharmacist, would let me use his phone to call an Uber.
Breathlessly, I reached the drugstore door, the glass etched with time and dust and grimy fingers, and pulled. Nothing.
It was —
"It's two o'clock," I huffed. "Who closes at —" I shut my eyes, willing back the tears of panic I felt welling up in my eyes and throat. Mr. Dan was at the wedding, too. Of course he was. Because Jeremy's mother invited the whole damn town ...
Plan B — what the hell was plan B when there was never really a plan A? I glanced upward. Really to drive back the tears, but I'd take any help at that moment.
What are you doing, Micah?
The unmistakable rumble of a Harley preceded an all-black machine straddled by an equally unmistakable male in jeans stretched to love him and a black T-shirt, his head and face completely covered in a black helmet as he rolled up to the light and set boots on the ground to balance the bike.
He turned his head my way and goose bumps went down my back. I swear there was a question there. I couldn't see his face, but — no. No. That's not plan B, little voices said in my head. You're a responsible person now. You own — well, you sort of own a business. You have bills. Obligations.
You're a Roman.
Yeah. That one right there should have slapped me back down the street. But being a respectable Roman, always held to some invisible standard that only my oldest brother could pull off, wasn't working for me today.
Harley-guy's right hand reached up, sliding the mirrored visor open, revealing dark eyes that even from twenty feet away made my breath catch. In a good way.
Shit, double fuckwaffles! No! I didn't need breath-catching in any way. I just ran my dumb ass away from one man. But what the hell were my feet doing? I took two steps toward him, and I definitely saw the question that time. Curiosity. Puzzlement. Wariness? Yeah, Harley-guy should have that, because clearly I didn't have enough.
"You need help?" he called out over the idling rumble, his voice deep.
I caught a distorted reflection of myself in the dirty window. Hair falling out of the expensive ornate up-do, poking out in unruly frizzy corkscrews above the short veil. Black spreading under my eyes from sweat and tears. Standing on a steamy sidewalk in a mountain of blinding white. It was probably a logical question, but damn the guy had to have balls to jump off into that crazy.
All I could hear was my racing heart and my breathing, even over the motor.
No. This is lunacy. All of it is lunacy, but what you're thinking of doing here is the cherry on top of the —
I gasped so hard it made me cough, as I jerked in the direction I'd come from, toward the familiar voice I'd known since I was twenty-four. In eight years, I'd heard every possible inflection or emotion in Jeremy Blankenship's voice. I'd heard every range of happy, sad, and controlled anger, but I'd never heard this. Even from all the way down the road, I heard the timbre of mortification in his yell, maybe mixed with a little hurt and what-the-fuck. I'd give him that. He deserved the what-the- fuckedness of this situation.
He was standing in the church parking lot alone, until two other tuxedoed men appeared in the doorway behind him. Thatcher and Jackson. My eyes filled again as I turned away from them and stared back at Harley-guy. I couldn't face my brothers right now. I couldn't explain to them why —
"Micah!" Jeremy yelled again, this time in the tone I recognized. Not the one that told me he loved me last night. The one that said How dare you embarrass me. I glanced back to see him striding purposefully in my direction, and the panic seized my chest.
"Lady?" Harley-guy called out, yanking my attention back his way. "Light's green."
Fight or flight.
Fight or flight.
I looked into eyes I didn't know from Adam and felt the weirdest pull ever. My stilettoed feet made the decision for me, carrying me off the curb, into the street, hauling my weight in dress up to throw a leg over the seat and straddle his ass.
"You sure?" he said over his shoulder.
"Are you?" I felt a laugh rumble through his body as he shook his head. "Yeah, touché. You aren't gonna kill me, are you?"
"Because if I was, I'd tell you?" he said, revving the engine. "Put on that helmet behind you and hold on."
Oh, sweet Jesus, what am I doing?
That was my last thought as I tugged the veil off, bobby pins flying in all directions, shoved the helmet on, shut my eyes tight, and wrapped my arms around his middle the best I could with all that dress. Shut them against the reality of the world I'd just created. Against the sight of my veil lying in the street. Of Jeremy running down the street after me. My brothers running for Thatcher's truck.
All there was, was the bike moving under me and the man between my legs as we sped away, out of Cherrydale. Toward the highway. To God knows where.
"Where are we going?" I yelled over the din as we hit the highway going south.
"I'm going to Charmed," he yelled back, turning his head slightly so I could hear him. The I'm in that sentence was stressed to let me know in no uncertain terms that anything after that was on me. "It's about an hour."
I nodded, trying to calm my heart rate and breathe like a normal person. I knew Charmed, or I knew of it. My family's flower farm rented beehives from Bash Anderson, the owner of an apiary there. That was fine. That'd be good. Not so far away that I'd totally lost my mind. Just maybe a little. Give me a minute to pull my shit together before the cavalry came. Also, it was good that the stranger I was straddling had a destination. Higher odds that he wasn't going to rape and kill me and leave me in a ditch.
My decision-making abilities needed an overhaul.
"Probably less than that, actually," he continued, making my heart skip in my chest as he upped the speed. "They are going to come after you and I don't feel like fighting today."
"You don't have to fight for me," I yelled.
"I'm not," he said. Well, so much for chivalry. "But that guy's gonna need to hit something, and it won't be you."
There was that.
"What are you going to Charmed for?" I asked.
He paused. I wasn't sure if he'd heard me.
"Work," he finally tossed back.
"You work there?"
"I will shortly."
We sped along the road in silence for the rest of about forty-five minutes, me attempting to look over my shoulder with a giant ball on my head while maintaining my death grip on some really good abs. A few cars tapped their horns at us, probably thinking we'd just gotten married, but no little old Mustang of mine whipped up next to us with an angry Jeremy inside. No big four-wheel-drive truck loomed, either. Which surprised me, because while Jeremy might give up, my older brother, Thatcher, wouldn't. They must have assumed I'd gone home first or was hiding in Cherrydale somewhere.
That would have been the logical thing to do. Well — if bolting for the door microseconds before walking down the aisle was the relative comparison. In that case, a logical person would have maybe just gone outside to calm her frayed nerves. Maybe walked around the block even. If that person had gone so off the rails as to climb onto a stranger's motorcycle and speed away, smart thinking would surely kick in after a block or two at which point she'd ask him to bring her back to the church. Or to Jeremy's house where we'd lived together for the past two years, after sharing apartments for five before that, to get some things. Somewhere that made sense.
They were looking for that person. The Micah Roman who had put away her spontaneous fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants ways, along with her tendencies to ditch and run when things got too tough. The bar waitress-slash-sometimes artist-slash-whatever-made-money that had stepped out of those unstable shoes into business ownership with her brother, channeling her spirited creativity into the flower farming instead. The woman who packed up her beloved funky hats and shoes to finally adorn herself like a responsible businesswoman and worthy future wife to the heir of the Blankenship Resale empire.
Empire, my ass.
They ruled over Cherrydale Trade Days, mostly, which was several square miles of booth space for people to buy and sell their damn junk. That by itself was awesome. It's where I'd met Jeremy, while I was digging through a box of old retro hats and jewelry. The Trade Days was still relatively new at the time, since his family had relocated from farther south four years earlier. It was still growing, and the family roamed the grounds, interacting with customers. He'd stopped and teased me, and I'd found him deliciously adorable in that way a guy is when he's cutely making fun of your passion and you instantly think of fifteen ways you'll change him and you'll be picking out antique mosaic cabinet knobs together. Wearing matching plaid berets.
From that to now. In a ridiculous dress that was meant to say I do in, speeding down a highway with a nameless man to get as far away from Jeremy as I could — as quickly as possible.
So, it was just me and Harley-guy and speed. It was insane. I was insane! I could just hear my brothers now. Well, not Jackson. Jackson knew me. He knew my soul, my heart, my endless need for rebellion and nonconformity. He was my first shoplifting buddy when I went rebellious after our dad died, when I taught him how to pocket bubblegum from the corner store. He was the one who raised an eyebrow when I moved out of the house at eighteen into a friend's garage when I just couldn't live under my mother's roof anymore. And again when I put all my cherished old record albums and crazy prints into our mom's attic to move in with Jeremy and started wearing just one watch instead of four. Jackson got me. He probably saw this coming like a smoking volcano. He'd just give me a look and a hug and tell me he had my back. Thatcher — oh, man. He was going to get all puffed up, probably pace, and ask me, "What woman in her right mind did this?"
And he was right. I didn't know this dude I had my arms around. He could be twenty-one kinds of psycho, but oddly enough I felt nothing but safe with him. It vibrated off him, along with a primal intensity that was impossible not to feel. Okay, maybe that was the Harley's motor thrumming under my ass, but it felt like more than that.
Shit, yes, I was certifiable.
But the speed. It was awesome. It was like being out in the fields and the greenhouses with my hands in the dirt, textures and colors and aromas surrounding me, filling my senses. I loved being out there with the flowers, free, dirty, and reaching for the sun. This was close. When I closed my eyes, it was like flying, free and unchained. Unshackled from expectations and the limitations of boxes. Boring, cream-colored Blankenship boxes that had been trying to enclose me for almost a decade. I felt like something freeze-dried that had been dropped into water, or one of those vacuum-sealed packages that explode to three times their size when introduced to air. I wanted to cry from the joy of it, but I wasn't about to add hysterical female to what this guy probably already thought.
The exit for Charmed appeared, touting a big sign with bees and flowers on it saying Welcome to Charmed. Home of the World Famous Honey Festival. We slowed into the curve of the exit, and I was surprised as disappointment washed over me, a new anxiety prickling my skin.
Exploding from my vacuum seal was great, but the adventure was ending. My fantasy was easy while adulting was put on hold and no words were exchanged, but shit was about to get real.
Another sign loomed before the turn, advertising a theme park called the Lucky Charm. I'd heard about it and the Honey Festival, but Jeremy never wanted to check them out, thinking it silly to drive an hour to buy bad food and ride a ride. Well, I'd done it now. Go me.
Rolling through Charmed, I was suddenly very aware of my attire. I felt every eye on us. Granted, I probably wouldn't have to be wearing a giant wedding dress for that. If Charmed was anything like Cherrydale, we'd get that same stare just for being out-of-towners.
Still, as we pulled to a stop in front of an old diner with a funky retro sign that said Blue Banana Grille, all I could think about was getting this thing off. This place looked like white bread, bologna, and apple pie, like crazy didn't land here much, and I had crazy radiating off me. I could feel it. I needed normal, and I had a feeling that anything resembling it was back there with my cell phone and keys. And —
"Oh, shit," I said, waiting while he grounded us.
"What?" he asked, his voice sounding preoccupied.
He pulled off his helmet, raking a hand back through short dark hair, while those dark eyes I'd seen earlier focused in hard on the diner door. I had the feeling the novelty of me had played out, and my new friend was ready to move on with his day.
"Nothing," I said, pulling my helmet off as well and hooking it back behind me, the reality of my situation rushing in on me from every direction.
I took a deep breath, smiling at a lady riding by on a giant tricycle, who waved and didn't miss a beat. Then again, maybe I could blend.
He held a hand out, supposedly for me, and when I paused, he blew out a breath.
"Well, I don't want to kick you in the face, so you need to get off first," he said, shoving the hand toward me again.
I gave the back of his head a look, resisting the urge to thump it. It was a good head, as heads go, but the part running his mouth was kind of a douche. Although what did I expect from my Harley-riding savior? For him to hold me while I had a good cry? Hell no. I'd pluck my head bald first.
"You should write Hallmark cards," I muttered.
Huffing a little, I tugged my dress up to almost my waist — at least high enough to catch sight of the blue glittery garter ribbon on my left thigh. So did he, I noticed, as the good head tilted downward. I grabbed his hand, expecting it to be for balance, but found myself nearly vaulted off the seat within a microsecond. I even forgot to let go of my dress, standing there with my girlie goods just about on display.
"You good?" he asked, letting go of me, swinging his leg over.
"S — sure," I managed, getting my balance and my first real look at him.
From the worn jeans to the black T-shirt to the really good arms rippling as he tucked his helmet under his arm. A little scruff peppered the hard lines of his face and balanced the sexiest full lips I'd ever seen on a man. Not to mention those soft, dark, haunted-looking eyes I'd already seen. Dear God, if I had to completely muck up my life today, at least it ended in this visual. This guy was jaw-dropping.
His gaze was dropping, too, sliding right down my bare legs.
"You might want to let go of that," he said, with a jut of his chin.
I dropped the fabric like it burned my fingers, cursing under my breath. Shit, get it together, Micah.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Charmed at First Sight"
Copyright © 2018 Sharla Lovelace.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I absolutely loved this book and all of the quirky, friendly and oh-so-sexy small town characters that live in the imagination of this wonderful author. The heroine, Micah, is a hot mess when we meet her on her wedding day and from the moment she hops on the back of a stranger’s motorcycle her life takes a turn for the better. Leo is the perfect romantic foil for Micah because he’s a hot mess too, trying to redeem himself and get back in his younger brother’s graces so these two have a whole lot of things in common. Great writing, lots of humor, flirtation and a hot sparks of sexual awareness that when combined makes a very entertaining contemporary romance that you won’t soon forget. I read a complimentary copy of this book provided by Kensington Books through NetGalley and all opinions expressed in my voluntary review are completely my own.
Review: CHARMED AT FIRST SIGHT (Charmed in Texas) by Sharla Lovelace Publication Date: July 10, 2018 Genre: Contemporary Romance Reviewed by: Reading in Pajamas/ Donna Rated: 4 Stars This is a lovely little contemporary romance with some suspense thrown in for thrills. I connected with Micah right off and loved the panicked confusion driving her. Since it was told in Micah’s point of view, I had to guess at Leo’s motivations and thoughts. Because a lot of the suspense involved his past, it would have been nice to hear his thoughts as well – it would have made the pace of their relationship clearer also. I enjoyed the townspeople, the emotional undercurrent and the romance. It’s a fun summer read that will leave you with a smile. *Review copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Charmed at first sight
This is such a good story. I really liked it! So happy to be back in Charmed! I love this little town in Texas and these characters that Ms Lovelace has created for us. This story is about Micah Roman and Leo McKane and their very interesting and intense beginning and end and everything in between. How their love just grows like wildflowers until it can’t be ignored. Loved their initial meeting where he rides up like a prince and whisks her away from what could have been a huge mistake if she hadn’t come to her senses. Only this prince rides a Harley not a white horse. He is headed to Charmed for a job but he also hopes to find his brother who he has not seen in years, so Micah tags along and then decides to stay there for a bit. Little did she know how much this town and these people would change her life. This story took some turns that I certainly was not expecting but it just added to the likability of it. I like that by having Micah mix in and easily make friends and Leo bartending at a local hang out, we get a look at what some of the others in Charmed have been up to. This story has everything I love in a romance; great characters, chemistry, heat, humor, some trouble and most of all a HEA.
Runaway bride meets hot hero on a motorcycle! I LOVE Charmed, Texas!! Leo and Micah's story has angst, fun times and romance with a little touch of mystery to make it my favorite story so far in this series!! I was taken in from the very beginning and didn't want it to end!
To say I am charmed once again at being back in the quirky town of Charmed is more than an understatement. I never want to leave this wonderful town that Sharla Lovelace so lovingly created and our latest couple in Micah and Leo are the perfect addition to this well-written and touching series. The runaway bride and the brooding sex on a stick. Meeting under the most crazy of circumstances, who would have thought that just a week together would give both Micah and Leo the person that could rock their world so completely. Their banter right from the start had me laughing out loud as the sheer insanity of their initial pairing was right out of a movie. Micah's penchant for saying out loud the crazy notions in her head was brilliant and I think I loved her just as much as I did Leo. She is clearly a hot mess but the town of Charmed seems to attract that sort of person, as evidenced in the prior books. Micah definitely fits right in, more than she could have ever thought possible, after impulsively leaving her fiance at the altar and her short time in Charmed only proves that time and again. There are a few twists that add the right amount of angst and tension with Leo being Nick McCane's long lost brother and Micah's ex-fiance, Jeremy, showing his true colors as worlds shockingly collide. But it's the burgeoning romance between Leo and Micah that had me fiercely turning the pages, sighing often even while chuckling a bit, as they fall for each other day by day. Add to that the entire Charmed crew, met previously in the prior books from this series and you truly have the perfect summer read. I don't think I ever want to leave this enchanting town and its residents so bring on the next book, please! I truly adore the author's writing style and her gift at crafting a story that is wonderfully heartwarming and completely delightful. Charmed at First Sight is a true joy and I happily give it a solid 5 stars!
This was a fantastic story and it was so much fun to visit Charmed, TX once again. It's a pretty good place for a runaway bride to land. This is Micah and Leo's story. She's running away, he's coming home. Together they might find it all. If they're brave enough to give it a chance. The people of Charmed were happy to embrace them and hopefully they will find their HEA right there. I loved this story and the quaint little town of Charmed that Ms. Lovelace has created is one of my favorites. The books in this series have all been wonderful and this book is an exceptional addition to the series. I highly recommend this one to everyone. You don't want to miss this wild ride!
Micah thought she had everything she wanted. Until her wedding day and she realized she was nowhere to be found. That spirited and free girl with her own quirkiness had been replaced by a meek and quiet woman. How did this happen. In a split second decision she changes her fate forever. Leo McKane never expected to be a knight in shining armor. But here he was, flying down the road on his bike with a wild woman in a wedding dress wrapped around him. Heading to the only family he's got should be his priority. Making amends with his brother. But he couldn't just leave her there. And now he's entangled in something he shouldn't be. Something from his past that could be more dangerous than anything ever before. And who would have thought her ex groom to be would be the cause? Micah is finding her way. Making friends and discovering who she really is again. She never wants to be that lost. But her attraction to her rescuer is something she doesn't need. As truths come out about who Jeremy really is and what he's capable of, things escalate quickly. And her new found friends are put in serious danger. Can they prove facts and get him out of their lives for good or will someone have to pay the ultimate price for her escape? I enjoyed the flirty and self discovery in this book. The attraction between them is felt from the first look and just grows. Really good read!
Charmed at First Sight by Sharla Lovelace Charmed in Texas #4 This is a runaway bride story with Micah Roman, flower grower, getting cold feet just before walking down the aisle. Micah jumps on the back of a motorcycle with a man completely unknown but with whom she almost instantly feels comfortable with. Jeremy, a man she has spent almost a decade with, is the man left behind and a manipulating man like him who could hide his true colors for so long…questionable. Anyway, Micah ends up in Charmed with only what she is wearing and unsure what will happen next she is definitely front and center in the small town’s drama-gossip-fest that ensues shortly after her high heeled food hits the pavement. But she is also quickly taken in and given a helping hand and offered friendship by more than one who meets her. Leo McKane, motorcycle savior, is on his way to Charmed to try to mend fences with his brother, Nick (book one of the series). With bartending and land clearing and perhaps other means of income he does not hit it off with Nick immediately and some effort is needed before the brothers manage to begin mending fences. Leo and Micah have instant attraction and chemistry but there are also issues and secrets and people that might keep them apart. I liked Gabi and found out she will be starring in the next book of the series and her love interest will be one of Micah’s brothers. I am curious about both Tucker and Jackson, Micah’s brothers, and wonder about Gabi’s sister Drew. Charmed sounds like a “charming” place to live with that small town vibe and happily ever after endings for most. I enjoy this author and have enjoyed this series though this is probably not my very favorite book in the series…it was still very very enjoyable. Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington – Lyrical Shine for the ARC – This is my honest review. 3-4 Stars