Lovers Restored

Lovers Restored

by Kelsie Leverich
Lovers Restored

Lovers Restored

by Kelsie Leverich



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It's been exactly ten years since Halle Morgan last set foot in her tiny hometown. Now she's back, but only long enough to honor the memory of her best friend and try to leave the past behind her. But with one look at Cooper Bale, Halle knows there is no escape from the past—or from the man she wants like no other.

Cooper can't let go of his painful memories, or the guilt that tore him and Halle apart. And try as he might, he can't forget the bittersweet night they once shared. Even now, longing sizzles between them, potent and insatiable. Though blissful nights spent in Halle's arms heal the bitterness in Cooper's heart, they know they have no future…until they let go of the past that brought them together.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633750869
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 11/17/2014
Series: Lovers Redeemed
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: eBook
Pages: 200
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author, Kelsie Leverich, grew up in the small town of St. Joseph, Illinois before getting married and following her husband from one Army post to another. After eight years, they finally settled down in Avon, Indiana with two adorable monsters who are better known as their kids. Her life revolves around her family (to include three dogs and a cat) and most of the time, actually all of the time, it's a crazy mess--but that's the way she loves it. Kelsie is a lipstick junkie, nail polish hoarder, and lover of words. She is most definitely not a morning person, has a soft spot for animals, loves musicals, hates seafood, and thinks laundry is the source of all evil. Whether she is reading it or writing it, Kelsie is a sucker for romance. Add some toe-curling passion and she is done for.

Read an Excerpt

Lovers Restored

A Lovers Redeemed Novel

By Kelsie Leverich, Nikki Rae, Stephen Morgan

Entangled Publishing, LLC

Copyright © 2014 Kelsie Leverich
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-63375-086-9


Halle Morgan parked beneath the old sign hanging in front of Gina's Diner and cut the engine. It'd been ten years since she'd stepped foot in Glenley, Indiana, and why she found herself in front of the diner of all places she wasn't sure. For the ice cream? She would've laughed if she wasn't so freaked out.

If she left now, she could be back in Columbus before midnight. No harm done. The idea settled around her like a security blanket.

No. She couldn't leave. Not yet. She had to fulfill the pact she'd made with her best friend ten years ago.

Then she was out of here.

With an encouraging breath, she left the solace of her car and stepped onto the sidewalk in front of the diner. The windows were covered with green and white paint, congratulating the graduating senior class and boasting their Gator pride. There was a moment in time when she'd loved this town. After all, she'd grown up here. Glenley was one of those small, stagnant towns where football was life, and gossip spread as fast as the word of God.

She could only imagine the whispers if anyone realized she was back.

It felt like a lifetime ago that she walked through the high school with her best friend Peyton at her side, both of them wearing their caps and gowns. Nothing to worry about other than what to wear, what graduation party to attend first, and who was going to drive to the next town over and use a fake ID to get beer for the weekend.

They'd thought they were invincible. Turned out they'd been wrong.

She shook the thought from her mind and walked inside the diner. The pleasant aroma of juicy burgers and hand cut French fries filled her nose, the smell drifting her attention back to the present. She hadn't realized how hungry she was until then.

She glanced around. Everything looked just as she recalled. Cracked vinyl booths atop green linoleum floors were surrounded by the occasional table for two. And though it was dated, she was glad to see it hadn't changed.

She moved to the counter at the deep end of the diner and sat down. "Hi."

"Hi," the teenage girl behind the counter said, handing her a menu. "Can I get you anything to drink while you decide what you'd like?"

Using the foot ledge beneath the counter for balance, she shifted on her barstool and tried to balance her purse on her lap. The barstools were just as uncomfortable as they were ten years ago. Yet, somehow, that in and of itself was comforting.

She skimmed the menu, as familiar as her dad's famous S'more building instructions. Graham cracker, peanut butter, burnt marshmallow, Twix candy bar, graham cracker. Then dipped in honey.

A smiled eased across her face. "You know what? I'll take a large bowl of vanilla ice cream. But can you crumble pretzels on top and load it with hot fudge and pineapple?"

She hadn't had her favorite concoction in years. No matter how many times she'd tried to duplicate it, she'd never quite gotten it right. Nothing compared to Gina's homemade ice cream, and she'd kill for the recipe.

The young girl's brows knitted together, and she gave Halle an amused smile. "Um, sure."

"Oh," Halle blurted as the waitress started to turn away. "And can you bring me a side of fries for dipping?"

The girl laughed. "You got it."

Halle began digging in her purse for her phone. It wasn't particularly like her to check up on her employees, but then again, she'd never had to. Ever since she'd opened Pink Pepper Catering with her friend, Courtney, a few years back, she'd always been there for every event. Graduation season was second to wedding season, so needless to say, they were swamped.

Considering how much she hated being included in group texts, she felt a little guilty as she pressed the send button.

Halle: Hi guys. How are preparations for Friday's events going?

It didn't take long for the first few responses to pop up.

Tessa: Not so good. We lost the order for the Frick graduation party.

Brian: The main oven died. Down to the back up.

Lauren: I quit.

Halle rolled her eyes and smiled. Perfect example of why she hated group texts. But she loved her team. She should've known they'd give her a hard time.

Halle: Funny. Let me guess, Courtney put you up to it?

Radio silence.

She was just about to send another message when a single text from Courtney came in.

Courtney: You make it?

Halle: Yep. Just got here, actually. Please tell me my oven didn't really die.

Courtney: Your oven is fine. Now stop worrying about us. I've got everything covered.

Halle sighed. She wasn't worried, not about the events at least. But thinking about work was a lot safer than thinking about him. Who, quite frankly, she hadn't been able to stop thinking about since her tires rolled through town. No. That wasn't entirely true. If she was being completely honest with herself, she hadn't stopped thinking about him in ten years.

The phone buzzed in her hand, and she glanced back at the screen, grateful for the distraction.

Courtney: You okay?

She didn't know whether to tell her the truth or lie. Knowing Courtney, she was bound to get an earful either way she went.

"Here ya go," the waitress said, setting a heaping bowl in front of her. "Vanilla ice cream with pretzels, hot fudge, pineapple, and a side of fries. Would you like whip cream?" she asked, holding up a can of Reddi-wip.

Halle: I'm getting ready to dig in to a bowl of ice cream. Couldn't be better.

She dropped her phone back in her purse, hoping her texts appeased Courtney ... for now.

"Whip cream? No way, that'll ruin it."

"Okay, let me know if I can get you anything else." Halle watched as the young girl went googly-eyed as she glanced past Halle's shoulder before retreating to the kitchen.

Halle overflowed her spoon with yummy goodness and took a bite. "Mmm." Just like she remembered.

"Halle?" a voice said from behind her. It was gruff and deep, and it caused her insides to somersault.

Her hand stilled in front of her mouth, his words switching on the proverbial light bulb in her head. That voice?

No way. Not possible. No, no, no, no, no.

Karma wasn't that big of a bitch, was she?

Halle recited a silent prayer, hoping this wasn't who she thought it was. Please don't let it be him ... please ...

But according to the flutters in her chest, and her heated skin, Karma was laughing right now.

Slowly, she swiveled to face him and was met by a set of blue eyes she couldn't forget even if she tried.

Cooper Bale. Peyton's older brother.

She swore the air thickened between them. What was that saying? You never forget your first love? Though seeing him now, she almost wished she could.

The moment he sucked in a tight breath, she knew he recognized her. Her body was having its own mini meltdown as he stared at her; her pulse began to race, and the nerves she'd always felt around him returned with vengeance.

"Halle," he said, and there was no mistaking the shock and disappointment in his voice.

She tried to swallow the venom that had accumulated in her mouth. "Cooper."

Five minutes in this town and her worst fear had materialized in front of her. He was the last person she wanted to see. He was the reason she'd left Glenley in the first place. And looking at him now, it was obvious he still hated her.

She understood the why behind his anger. After all, she was the reason his little sister was dead. But no matter how hard she tried, the broken parts inside her couldn't see past the things he'd said to her all those years ago.

Shoving his hands in the front pockets of his jeans, he looked every bit as pained as she felt. He was broader, jaw chiseled and scruffy, his sandy hair longer. But up close, she could see exhaustion creasing his eyes. She hated the impulse that overcame her to throw her arms around his waist and soothe the ache that was etched into his once easy features.

Suddenly, she felt like she was eighteen again, lusting over her best friend's older brother—the man who encompassed the heart-shattering memory of the single night they'd shared together—shy and vulnerable and insecure in his presence.

But she wasn't that eighteen-year-old girl anymore; she was a grown woman now. She could handle this.

"What are you doing here?" he asked.

Deep breath, Halle, deep breath.

She gestured toward her bowl. "Gina's has the best ice cream," she said, dodging the real question.

He didn't blink. Didn't flinch. Didn't move. He just stood there, still and hard, his gaze fixed on her as his frustration grew. "Why are you back in town?"

She could ask him the same question. Last she knew, he was pre-med at Notre Dame on a full ride football scholarship, following his dreams to get out of this town. But she couldn't ask him, and she couldn't answer him. Telling him she was here to dig up the keepsake box that she and Peyton had buried in her backyard the morning of their graduation, the day Peyton had died, didn't seem like something she should mention.

"Halle," he warned when she didn't say anything, then he took a single step toward her. She wanted to retreat, but she was frozen. The mere sight of him reminded her how easily he consumed her. The way his body had felt wrapped around hers. How he'd worshiped her with his hands and mouth and ... oh God.

Finally, her mind sent the signal to her limbs, and she managed to stand and back away. Only, it didn't make a bit of difference. He invaded any semblance of space she created. They were so close now. If she wanted to, she could reach out and touch him.

"Why did you come back?" he asked again.

She was vaguely aware of the handful of people in the diner. He'd always had that blinding effect on her. But she wasn't about to get into this here. That was the last thing she needed.

When she still didn't answer him, a hauntingly deep sound ripped from his throat, and he shouldered past her.

There was only a moment's hesitation as she watched him leave the diner before her courage gave her a swift kick in the butt and she rushed out after him. He was outside by his motorcycle, reaching for his helmet and looking every shade of furious. She knew just how he felt. Even the breeze from the approaching spring storm couldn't do anything to cool her suddenly heated skin.

"Is this how it's going to be? Picking right back up where we left off?" She could understand his anger, but just walking away from her? Hadn't anything changed since they'd last seen each other?

"Fuck, Halle." He spun around to face her, and she gasped, the malice in his eyes framed by a deep rooted pain—a pain she'd created—knocking the air from her lungs. "I haven't seen you in ten goddamn years. And the last time I looked at you was when you were standing over my baby sister's casket for fuck's sake. The casket you helped put her in."

His words sliced her open. They took her barely mended wound and shredded the scar keeping her together.

"I know," was all she could say.

He shook his head. "You shouldn't have come back here."

Well, she guessed she had her answer then. Apparently, nothing had changed. They were still biting out hateful, hurtful words to each other.

But he was right. She should have never come back.

* * *

Cooper's body felt like it was two seconds from exploding.

Fucking hell.

Halle Morgan.

That face, that perfect face that had been haunting him, filling his nightmares, was staring back at him. Even now, he still wanted her. And that only made it worse.

Looking at her was like looking at his past playing out in real time. Memories of a scrawny, freckle-faced kid singing and dancing around his house with his baby sister, sleeping over and listening to that god awful boy band music.

Without realizing it, he rubbed the heel of his palm over his heart. It fucking hurt. Almost every good memory he had of his baby sister included the woman in front of him. He couldn't look at her without seeing Peyton, and he couldn't see Peyton without picturing the image of her broken body lying lifeless in the middle of the road.

Even when he tried to replay the last day he'd spent with Peyton—the morning of her graduation ... fuck ... the day she'd died—he couldn't, because Halle was a part of that memory, too.

He'd caught Peyton stealing one of his Notre Dame football T-shirts that morning, stuffing it in a tin box. She'd made some sort of pact with Halle about burying things they loved and writing down their dreams for the future. Then in ten years, they would dig it up to see what came true.

That's why Halle was here.

He yanked the helmet off his bike. He had to go—he needed to get away from her.

He could hear the click of her heels rushing toward him. "Cooper, wait."

He spun around, the hurt in her eyes piercing him like daggers. He couldn't stand that look. The one that told him everything he already knew—he'd failed her. Failed his sister. Failed Halle.

"You're back here for that box, aren't you?" he said.

She looked surprised that he knew, but she didn't say anything.

That was answer enough.

He heaved a sigh, dragging his hand through his hair as he tilted his face toward the storm clouds.

"I promised her, Coop," she said, but he refused to look at her. "Do you want it? You can have it if you—"

"No," he said, harsher than he'd intended. But how could she think he'd want to see it? Whatever Peyton had put in that box represented the hope for a future that never even had a chance. They were just memories. Everything was a goddam memory.

He heard her mutter a strangled, "I'm sorry," yet he couldn't bring himself to look at her.

But then he did ...

Her full, pink lips quivered as she suppressed the sob raking through her body, and he saw the glossiness of her unshed tears obscuring her green eyes.


She'd been as much a part of his life as his sister had. Now, here she was, standing an arm's breadth away from him, splintering into fragments he couldn't recognize. And it eroded away another goddamn layer of his heart.

Apparently, she could see the walls he'd carefully erected collapsing, because she sucked in a sharp breath. He'd spent the last ten years burying that shit until it was indistinguishable to him and everyone else. It was just easier that way. But mere minutes in her presence and she saw right through him. As if hell wasn't bad enough, she'd opened the window into his personal purgatory.

Her fingers fluttered to her collarbone. "I'm so sorry," she said, shuffling backward.

Time seemingly slowed as he watched her stumble.

He didn't think, just moved. His helmet dropped to the ground, and his boots smacked against the concrete as he reached for her, his arm encircling her waist. Whether or not she needed him didn't matter. Catching her was instinct. Something he thought would've deteriorated by now. Then again, he should've known himself better than that. He'd always been the one to catch her ...

Except the time I walked away.

With a groan, he purged the thought from his mind and instead absorbed the sight of her in his arms. She was fucking beautiful. No memory could do her justice. Her copper hair was longer, curls tumbling to her waist. And her soft body, nothing but sexy, womanly curves, had him starving to see what she looked like beneath her dress.

He knew he shouldn't want to pull her body against his just to feel her arms wind around him again. Just like he knew he shouldn't want to breathe her in and taste her lips.

But he did.

And before he could stop himself, he severed the little space between them and pressed his mouth to hers.

There it was, heaven and hell, all in one kiss. Because the second his lips brushed against her sweet, heart-shaped mouth, his entire body came back to life for the first time in ten years.

She was stiff in his arms for only a heartbeat, then she melted against him, and satisfaction thundered through him as her body molded to his.

It'd never been like this. Never before her and not since her. Her lips on his, her deft fingers curling around his neck, her pillowed curves beneath his grip—it was like her body was created for his.


Excerpted from Lovers Restored by Kelsie Leverich, Nikki Rae, Stephen Morgan. Copyright © 2014 Kelsie Leverich. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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.

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