After an accident in the line of duty, firefighter Roberto DeRosa
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.59(d)|
Read an Excerpt
By Delancey Stewart, Heidi Shoham
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2017 Delancey Stewart
All rights reserved.
The club was packed. Saturday night, guess I shouldn't be surprised. I liked it that way. Though crowds weren't really my thing, if there were enough people focused on their own crap, not too many of them even noticed me. I was part of the scenery, just a voice and a guitar in the corner. Normally, no one bothered me. I could drink and play for a couple of hours, head back home, and feel better in the morning. Some nights, women would lurk around, trying to get me to notice them, but something about my attitude usually put them off before they managed to speak.
I didn't generally even bother to look up. I didn't need the crowd, didn't want the money — though Trent always paid me the standard night rate and the crowd usually dropped tips onto the stage. But the anonymity and the hum of voices helped me lose myself, lose the chaotic spin inside my head. And that was something I did need.
But tonight, something was different.
It started like always. Trent called to let me know the place was busy and the stage was open. He had bands come in, or singer-songwriter types. But if nothing was planned, or someone bailed, Trent would let me know.
Trent stayed behind the bar on the nights he was there, smiling, chatting, flirting. I watched him sometimes, remembering what it was like to fit in, to interact with other people without a second thought.
Didn't matter, though. That wasn't me. Not anymore.
Tonight, I set up and started playing, my Jack and Coke on the small table by my side. I tried a few chords, tuned my axe, and started to play. As soon as my fingers connected with the strings, the crowd would fade away. I sang, too, which is funny if you think about it, since I don't talk much anymore. But when the words are connected to my fingers, to the music, well, that's different. And that's why I come.
To hear the sound of my own voice without hating myself for it.
To feel the words come naturally, without each one being a fucking struggle.
To feel human again.
I rarely even look up when I play. The crowd, the people, they don't really matter. I need them there, but they're just a backdrop. I don't see them as anything more than color and movement around me, like a warm, close shell. But tonight, something shifted for just a second. A little temblor, maybe just a jolt? We get those sometimes. San Diego sits on the Rose Canyon Fault, and earthquakes aren't uncommon. I looked up to see if anyone else had felt it.
But when I glanced up, nothing was different. Except that the table to the right of the stage near the bar now held two girls. And one of them might as well have had a neon sign over her head. My attention was that drawn to her. My fingers froze for a second on the strings and I stumbled over the lyrics as I got myself back together.
What the fuck was that?
Since the accident, people really didn't have much of an effect on me. I avoided them, they avoided me. It worked out pretty well that way.
But the girl with the wavy gold hair and curvy little body had my attention, whether I liked it or not.
They stayed a while, the two girls. And I managed to watch them without being too obvious and without screwing up again or calling attention to myself. I stuck with the covers I knew well, letting my brain and fingers connect and flow, giving my voice a chance to stretch.
The girls seemed close, sisters maybe. They laughed and smiled a lot, and the smaller one practically glowed. Her hair was wild, and she talked with her hands, waving them around, touching the other girl on the arm. She bounced on her stool and looked completely at ease in the mass of people around her.
She shone with clarity. She was happiness and light.
A little voice inside me told me she looked like hope.
I told it to go fuck itself and leave me alone.
I tried to figure out if I'd seen her before. If the jolt I'd felt when she walked in was my fucked-up brain trying to remind me of something I'd forgotten. But the more I watched her, the more I was certain I'd never have forgotten her. I didn't think I'd be able to forget her now, though a big part of me wished her gone. I already knew what would happen.
I'd pack up. I'd go home. And after I took Sampson out for a run on the beach, I'd end up lying in bed staring at the ceiling, my dick in my hand. And now I knew exactly what I'd be thinking about.
Because I sure as hell couldn't talk to her.
At one point near the end of my last set, I glanced up and our eyes met.
I wanted to play off that she'd caught me staring at her, to look away. But I didn't. For a few seconds, our gazes locked.
I don't know how I kept playing, because the world tilted wildly, like something had broken loose. My heart picked up some crazy staccato rhythm and my cock jumped to attention, throbbing painfully against the seam of my jeans. From zero to hard in one second flat. That was celibacy for you.
Her eyes were blue. She had a dusting of freckles across her nose and over her bare shoulders. She was wild-looking and gorgeous, like some kind of imaginary woodland nymph.
And whatever she is, she's the last thing I need right now.
I didn't look at her again. But I could feel her eyes on me as I finished playing. I needed another drink. And then I needed to get the fuck out of here.
I caught Trent's attention at the bar, putting my back to the girl and focusing on getting my heart to slow down, letting my blood cool.
And just when I'd gotten control of myself again, she was right fucking next to me, and my mind went blank. Or most parts of my mind, at least. The parts in charge of caveman stuff — the parts that screamed at me to pick her up, throw her over my shoulder, and find a wall to fuck her against — those parts were working fine.
"Hi," she said.
Shit. Shit, shit, shit.
I stared at her. I was blank. I reached for a word to give her and my mind was empty. Even the one word she'd said would have been fine. I could have parroted it back to her. But it had fluttered up into the noise and light inside the bar and evaporated. Even that one simple word was out of my reach.
I watched her expression change. She'd said "hi" like she was extending a bridge, a thin filament I might just be able to risk stepping onto. But as she waited for me to return her greeting, to say fucking anything at all, the bridge dissolved. And her face closed up. The sparkle in her bright eyes faded, and her energy pulled back inside her, leaving me cold again.
A mixture of fear and surprise replaced the glow on her face, and I felt both guilty and monstrous as I watched what it did to her. She let other words fall between us. Nonsense, really. I'd made her uncomfortable, unhappy. And I already knew she was a girl I never wanted to see unhappy.
Finally, she turned around and went back to her table, pulled the other girl toward the door, and disappeared into the night beyond.
And the strange light that had filled the club was extinguished.
"Doing okay, man?" Trent was in front of me, his dark eyes concerned.
I nodded. "Done now," I managed, hating the sound of my voice as I struggled to be heard.
His easy grin appeared, and he nodded. "Sure, dude. I'll see you back at home. You slayed it. You always do, man."
Trent and I had been friends for years. We'd played soccer together at school, been recruits together when we'd both joined the fire department, and we'd been in the same company at the station. He was the reason I was a firefighter, and the one who'd been there when I'd had the accident. I owed him my life. And he seemed determined to keep saving me, day after day. I'd never be able to pay him back, and my debt to him just kept getting bigger. But in a lot of ways, Trent was my lifeline. And I was just hanging on.
* * *
The condo in Ocean Beach was Trent's. I'd lived there before the accident, too, so it felt like home. The difference now was that I didn't pay rent. You needed a job to make rent. Or most people did, anyway. Trent would have been fine — trust funds work that way, I guess.
But I wasn't a trust-fund baby. I used to be a firefighter. Now, I was just another unemployed jerk freeloading in San Diego. And something needed to change.
I unlocked the front door and Sampson bounded down the stairs, flying at me as I stepped inside. One-hundred-and-thirty pounds of fur, paws, and tongue greeted me at the bottom of the stairs, nearly knocking me over.
"Okay," I whispered, squatting to wrap my arms around the big dog and bury my face in the soft ruff around his neck. "Okay, boy." His paws were still on my shoulders and he whined softly into my ear.
He dropped back down to all fours and danced around as I stood, his tongue lolling out one side of his mouth. He nosed the leash just inside the door, and I pulled it down and clipped it to his collar.
"Let's go," I said, opening the door again.
Once he was on the leash, Sampson was usually fine, but he was excited tonight and amped up. He pulled at the leash, and I followed him out, barely able to lock the door behind me before he was galloping toward the beach. I hadn't changed into running shoes, figuring we'd forget the run and just take a leisurely moonlight stroll. But that wasn't what my dog had in mind.
We hit the beach at a run, and Sampson moved straight for the water's edge, finally slowing as his big paws sank into the wet sand. The moon lit the water, making the beach glow where the ocean soaked it. The Pacific looked dark in comparison, almost black as it heaved out toward the horizon.
No one was around except a few homeless people huddled around a fire down the beach, so I took Sampson off his leash and let him wander and sniff. He circled my legs a few times, then put his nose to the ground and followed the tide out until it disappeared beneath a crashing wave that sent him running back in to jump at my feet again. I couldn't help but laugh, despite the heaviness that rolled around inside me. He was pure energy and emotion — most of it joy. My dog was so much of what I couldn't be anymore. I envied him, though I knew I'd be hot as hell living in that fur coat.
I'd found Sampson as a puppy cowering in the basement of a building where we'd had a call. The place had been gutted by the blaze, and the dog was lucky to survive. No one had stepped forward to claim him, so I'd kept him. He looked like a purebred German Shepherd, but he clearly had Sasquatch genes, because by the time he was two, he was twice the size of most Shepherds I'd seen.
Once he'd relieved himself and finished stalking the roiling tide, we wandered slowly back to the house.
Inside, Sampson nosed at my palm until I sat beside him and gave him a good rub. He grunted and chuffed under my hands, his big liquid eyes finding mine often. When I refilled his water and turned to go upstairs, he followed me up. He didn't always sleep in my room, but it was like he could tell when something was different. And he never let me get too far from him if he thought I needed him.
Tonight, he dropped in a mountain of fur right beside my bed. I let my hand dangle down as I stared at the ceiling, and he licked it a few times before his quiet snores filled the room.CHAPTER 2
I was up with the sun the morning after our night out, bopping around the house, humming something that had somehow gotten lodged in my head. I had no clue what it was, but the tune was weirdly addictive. I was doing my best to be quiet, but I was too excited. I had that problem a lot. It drove my sister nuts. But today, there was no way she could expect me to be any less than completely excited.
"Holy shit. Shut. Up." Amy stood in the doorway to her room like something out of a horror movie — long strands of hair sticking up and swirled around like something had bedded down in it for the night, eyes swollen and red and oh, so angry, and her mouth like a jagged line across her puffy, swollen face. And even still, she was gorgeous.
"Oops, sorry." I shrugged and thought about giving her a hug, but she smelled like a combination of booze and grumpy old man. I probably wasn't a lot better, but I was going out for a run before my day got started, and there was no point cleaning up before I got sweaty.
Amy stumbled from her doorway, eyes full of murder. "Coffee." She sleepwalked to the kitchen and grabbed at the pot I'd brewed. Once the mug was in her hand, she turned back to me as she took a long draw.
"Isn't that hot?" How the hell did she not burn her tongue?
"The pain is nothing compared to the sound of you singing Miami Sound Machine at the effing ass crack of dawn."
"That song. It's from like 1985. 'Turn the Beat Around.'" She leaned against the kitchen counter and looked utterly disappointed about my choice in music.
"Pretty catchy, though." I picked up my own cup and bumped my shoulder into hers.
Amy glared at me, though I could see her heart was no longer behind the anger. She wasn't a morning person, but it made her less stabby quicker if I ignored her early morning ire. She shuffled over to sit on the long forest-green couch against the wall and tried to make her hair lay flat like it usually did. "Nan used to listen to that stuff, I think."
I nodded as an image — a memory — came back to me. I was standing on a chair in Nan's kitchen — this kitchen, stirring something with a wooden spoon. The flowered curtains over the sink fluttered in the breeze, and Nan stood next to me, bouncing to the beat of Gloria Estefan. Now that I thought of it, I could see the huge black boom box on the table in the corner, I could remember her dragging us to the music store to feed her need for peppy baking tunes. She was not a digital grandmother, and she'd clung to CDs until the end of her life. The memory was sweet, but thinking of Nan again sent a bone-deep sadness through me.
She would have wanted to see today. To see me open my own shop. To see me use so much of what she'd given me to push my life forward.
I forced a smile. "Nan had terrible taste in music," I quipped, playing off the painful memory of the sweet, sarcastic smile, the deep-set blue eyes that never let us get away with a damned thing.
"I miss her, too," Amy said. She and Nan always had that no-bullshit thing in common. "She'd be proud of you today."
I was not going to cry. I nodded and gritted my teeth to keep my traitorous eyes from welling up.
"Going for a run?" Amy changed the subject. She knew I was capable of waterworks that would give Niagara Falls a run for its money, and she was smart to stave them off with distraction.
I nodded. "Wanna come?"
"Depends," Amy sipped her coffee. "What will be chasing you?" I made a face and stuck out my tongue. "Unwanted poundage. And stress. You should try it, sis."
"I have no stress." She stuck her feet out and propped them up on the coffee table, grabbed the remote and turned on the TV. "But I do have episodes of Arrow to catch up on." She had no unwanted poundage, either. Somehow, Amy was long and thin while I was little and curvy. Damned genes. "Hey," Amy said as I paused by the front door.
"Find it yet?" She grinned at me.
Excitement filled me. "No, but I will." This was an old game we played. Nan used to drop little gifts into our pockets, or tuck secret notes into our lunchboxes to be discovered later. Nan was good at biding her time, waiting weeks sometimes for her secret treasures to be found. I'd discovered a ring in my winter coat's inside pocket almost a year after she'd died, and it had brought me to tears. Nan was all about simple gestures — anything to turn a regular day special. Amy and I had learned a lot from her, including that. What we hadn't learned was how to remain patient until our gifts were found. We had fallen into the bad habit of prompting each other, unable to contain our own excitement.
I began rifling through drawers in the kitchen, glancing at Amy to see if her face might tell me I was close. I stepped into the bathroom, stuck my head in the shower, and then did a quick sweep of my room.
"Where?" I asked, stepping back in front of her.
"You're terrible at this."
"Well, you're not supposed to tell me anyway," I reminded her.
"Maybe I should just let you find it." She waggled her eyebrows.
"No," I whined, pulling the pillows off the couch next to her to check under them.
"So close now," she said, grinning. "Other pillows ..." I wrinkled my nose, thinking, and then ran to my room and ripped the pillows from my bed. There, under the pillow I'd slept on all night, was a simple silver charm bracelet I'd been coveting during a recent windowshopping trip in La Jolla. I squealed loudly as I snatched it up and ran back to the living room.
"I love it! I can't believe you got this." I remembered the price. Too much.
"It's a congratulations gift. I was sure you'd find it last night or this morning. It's to commemorate the shop. See?" She pointed to the two charms hanging from it. "A book. And a wine bottle."
Excerpted from Without Words by Delancey Stewart, Heidi Shoham. Copyright © 2017 Delancey Stewart. 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I loved everything about this book. From the interactions between Rob and his friends to Dani and her sister, not to mention the beautiful connection between Dani and Rob, this story is golden. The vulnerability of Rob will pull at your heartstrings, while the determination from Dani will make you cheer her on. Together they just fit and make the other feel whole, while giving me a smooth, calm, touching story as I read. I cannot wait for Trent and Amy's story. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher through Netgalley.
I was hooked almost from the first page. I enjoyed the story and learning how Rob and Dani came to be the people they are and who they become together. I liked the point of view coming from the two main characters. Looking forward to the next book in the series.
Such a cute love story really enjoyed this book. L.M.A.
Received an ARC for my fair review for netgalley. Another emotional read, and I have to say that I need a break, from them, I need a book, just to laugh now. So there were times, that I wanted to reach inside and just knock them out, and sometimes just hug them. We had frustration, sweetness, tissue moments. Dani and Rob, were both good people, and they both went thru so much, it was heartbreaking, no one, no one should have to go thru what they, ( and no I am not giving you a clue, you have to read it, to know), just know that they have to overcome some deep situations, and because of it build a wall to protect themselves. I did like them, however at times I wanted to slap them, understandably so, so even though it took them a while, to figure stuff out, they did get there. Anyway, it was good, but it was a back and forth, and I could not give it more, but I could not give it less, and I did like secondary characters, and I am sure you will enjoy it, this is my take, you might have something else..
Dani is working on her business and needs a handyman. Roberto is a former firefighter who was hurt when a beam fell on him. He is slow to talk but is good with carpentry. Dani hires him to help build shelves and other things. They're is an attraction between them but both are afraid of a relationship. This was a very interesting love story. good read. My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read.
Without Words By: Delancey Stewart ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Star Review by Kristie K A sweet and sensual romance with a long lasting, slow burn…this one pulls at the heartstrings… Without Words takes you on an emotional journey with a former firefighter recovering from an injury, and a beautiful young woman on the brink of making her dreams come true. Roberto deRosa is a gorgeous man, with a beautiful soul, and a full heart…but is haunted by the after effects of a tragic accident that left him feeling like less than capable. Dani Hodge is a light in the darkness, a beautiful woman that emanates a light and beauty like no-one Rob has ever met before. Their connection is immediate, and explosive…but their pasts, fears, and insecurities create obstacles they must overcome to be together. The question is, are they willing to fight for the chance at love? Fight for one another? Delancey Stewart has written a wonderful story with a slow build, a lot of heart, a bit of heartbreak, and a steamy slow burn. I truly loved the characters in this story. Both Rob and Dani spoke to me, pulled at my heartstrings, and made me love them. They were genuine, real, and relatable. Their challenges were unique, but no less impactful. The storyline and plot were captivating, somewhat unique in their situations, and colored with pain and redemption. With a gorgeous cover, and well written blurb, this book is the whole package. In some circles, this book may be too slow of a build, or linger too long on certain scenes, but the characters themselves and the love they find is worth it. A great read, and a wonderful new author for me to add to my list. Kristie K
Rob is definitely the strong, silent type. Although it’s not his choice (at least the silent part), it fits him. Due to an accident, he’s had to learn to express himself using other means, mainly music. He is able to speak, but the words are slow, and his brain has a tendency to churn beyond his control. It’s not PTSD, but he does have his issues. However, none of them take away from his good-nature. Although he’s still struggling with the “new” him, he pushes forward, and the bubbly Dani is the motivation he needed. Dani’s had her rough times, too. Her and her sister Amy were raised by their grandmother (after her father blew himself up in his meth lab and their mother died in prison). They’re all each other has in the world, and their bond is strong. While out one night at the bar where Rob sings (his own brand of therapy) she’s immediately taken by him. However, when she approaches him, he’s unable to speak (that happens when he gets overly excited, which is what he felt since he was intensely attracted to her). Having grown up thinking no man would stick around, she took his silence as rejection and went on her way. But when he approaches her while she’s trying to renovate and prepare for the grand opening of her wine tasting-and-book store, she understands his situation. Dani is very open with her emotions. Rob is hesitant for a second because he doesn’t believe she’d really want to be with someone who has nothing to offer her; but Dani sees past his disability. She sees the warm, caring, thoughtful man he is and she can’t help but to be drawn to him. The feelings are mutual and thus the great love begins. I found the premise to be wonderfully unique. There’s nothing cliché about the plot or the characters. I admired Rob for being willing to take a chance. For a chapter or two, Dani had me a little exasperated. I understood her hesitancy, but I was not ok with her sleeping with him and then backing away. If a man had done that…well, off with his head. I tsk tsked a time or two, but I wanted to like her, so I did. She just needed to come around, and thankfully she didn’t take too long. Although their conversations had few words (at least on Rob’s part. Dani was a whirlwind of words), they were meaningful. Rob let his actions speak for him most of the time, but don’t misunderstand. He was able to speak to her, and he did share a lot about his life – just a fulfilling condensed version. I adored him. This is a sweet, tenderhearted story with a little heat and a lot of love. It’s well worth a read.
Every now and then you read a story that is so beautiful it leaves you in the state of awe for a long while after. Without Words is one of those stories. It is heart-shattering with its pain, torment, and agony, it is raw with life-like emotions and deep feelings, yet it heals all the wounds with the devotion and tenderness, the pure joy of life shining through. Roberto DeRosa and Dani Hodge have a nearly magical connection, the energy around them sizzling in the air with heat and yearning. It is like their broken souls recognize the need for comfort in each other - like they are the two half's of a whole finally coming together. Both Rob and Dani had issues from the past, from their childhood, that comes to the surface mudding the waters and churning the emotions. With Dani's trust issues and fear of abandonment Rob's problems to communicate might seem like the worst match, but they have to learn to connect on a deeper lever to get over the hurdles and interact in a way that is suitable for both. The process of healing, learning and growing as a human being is a delicate and fragile development for both Dani and Rob, however with the support of their loved ones, and with each other, they find the safe haven, the place of trust, faith, and hope where this kind of flourishing is possible. Without Words amazed me with its beauty and depth. The dual first person point of view gave the insights to Rob's mind that was needed with his challenge to communicate and brought alive the intensity of those two bruised souls seeking for each other. It made me want to believe in love at the first sight and in soulmates, in the one true match. It captivated my mind and charmed my heart, it filled me with joy, left my smiling and believing in serendipity. What an alluring story of love and life! ~ Five Spoons
This may be right up there with the best books I've read this year. It's touching, emotional and yet romantic all the while looking at a life lived with a TBI (traumatic brain injury). I absolutely loved this book. It opens with Rob playing guitar at his friend Trent's bar when he spots two girls come in. There is something about her that calls to him, and when they lock eyes, he misses a chord or two. Afterward she comes up to him and says "Hi." Here we meet Dani. Rob's speech is at times slow and he doesn't respond back. Dani isn't sure quite how to take that, she and her sister leave Trent's and head home. Dani is getting ready to open her own business and her new space needs work from the floor to the ceiling. Dani is a bubbling ball of energy, at times she's over the top. Her sister Amy is her tether. Dani was semi-burned in a past relationship which makes her a little gun shy with Rob, having said that because of Rob's inability to express emotion at times, issues become confusing. Somehow she ropes Rob into helping, returning back to Trent's again. Rob and Trent live together, both San Diego Firefighters. Rob was injured in a horrendous fire, it's Trent who pulls him out. Rob's recovery is slow and arduous and frustrating. Rob has a dog Samson, and we get to see plenty of Samson in the story, he's a constant by Rob's side. Rob hasn't really worked since the accident which his stepfather repeatedly reminds him of. (Ugh, what a jackhat that guy was) and his mother remains silent. Then we have Rob's father and brothers who are still in Mexico and own a vineyard there. There's a whole different dynamic going on there from the story of he and Dani. Dani and Amy have their own stories as well. Delancey balanced these stories so very well and managed to loop them so beautifully together. This book just did it all for me. About 20 pages in I knew it was a winner and that there was a great story in here. Turned out there were a couple. The storyline is unique, has some nice steam, very real emotional issues dealing with relationships and the unknowns of dealing with TBI's. I think she captured that extremely well. Especially listening to Rob's inner dialogue. I hope we see more of the characters from this story. I'd love to see Amy and Trent... hint, hint. Fantastic book Delancey!! Absolutely off the charts. I'd give it 10 stars. **arc from NetGalley and Entangled in exchange for a fair review**
Light, sweet and sexy. Almost a year after his accident, ex-firefighter Rob DeRosa is still trying to figure out what to do with his life while playing the guitar at his friend’s bar at nights and walking his dog under the San Diego sun during the day. He can never be a fireman again, he had to relearn how to walk and talk and there’s really not much that interests him. Until he literally feels the Earth move when he stares straight into bright blue eyes that instantly seem to calm everything in him. Can he gather the courage to talk to her? If only Do-It-Yourself were that simple Dani Hodge wouldn’t have be cursing at the dreaded tile saw where anyone and everyone could hear. Fortunately for her, the man who comes to her rescue is none other than the silent guitar player who ignored her at a bar. Even though her brain short-circuits just by looking at him, she can’t refuse his offer to help otherwise her dream of opening a wine/book store will turn into a nightmare. But can she open up her heart to believe he’s not just temporary? Without Words is my first book by author Delancey Steward and hopefully it won’t be the last. I found it to be touching, sweet and sexy with endearing characters, including Dani’s sister and Rob’s BFF Trent who will hopefully get their own book, and who can resist a supportive, sweet, understand sidekick of the four legged variety? Sampson, Rob’s dog was adorable! Oh and Trent and Rob’s firemen friends... The pacing was good. Being from San Diego myself, I really enjoyed the vivid imagery of a place I’m so familiar with, it made me want to visit walk around OB, go to Balboa and see everything from the author’s perspective. The plot was interesting on Rob’s side, although the family dynamic on his father’s side also hit home and didn’t ring true with me because my father’s family is from Ensenada too and I’ve heard of the traditions mentioned in the story that would create such conflict. Rob is such an interesting character. He’s the strong and silent type with hidden vulnerability, I only wish Steward would have delved more into his characterization. I feel as though their story had the potential to be deeply moving. Dani was bubbly and likeable, but a bit too guarded and at one point insensitive to Rob’s condition. Their chemistry was undeniable though and I loved every sweet, sexy moment they spent together. Without Words is a standalone contemporary romance by Delancey Steward. It is told from both points of view and has a happy ending. Fans of sweet and sexy romance will enjoy it.
when dani hodge first approaches roberto derosa in without words, she's convinced he's giving her the brush off. what she doesn't know is that roberto is recovering from a traumatic brain injury he suffered in the line of duty as a fireman. and one of the more difficult aspects of his new normal is that words don't come easily to him. other than his aphasia you wouldn't be able to tell he suffered any trauma, physically, he's as strong as ever. but he's also depressed and moody. his injury ended his career in fire-fighting. now that he's able to get on with his life, what is he supposed to do with it? dani is a girl with dreams. and with the recent passing of her grandmother, she now has the means make her dreams a reality. she wants to open a bookshop/café/wine bar. she has the perfect space for it. she just needs help renovating it. when roberto comes upon her while she is attempting to complete a project, he realizes she needs help. and he knows something of construction and decides to help her. he'd only rebuffed her earlier because he didn't know what to say. but remodeling work will not require that much talking. and he has the time to help her. the more dani understands roberto's situation the more impressed by him she is. she'd always found him incredibly attractive, but his strength and resilience makes him even sexier in her book. i mean, he is pretty dreamy. it's always so interesting to read books where the characters have difficulty communicating with the world around them, because as a reader you know their thoughts and feelings so intimately. most problems in romance novels are solved with a little effort at communication, so when commuincation is difficult for other reasons, it almost means more to see how the characters work things out. **without words will publish on may 22, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (select contemporary) in exchange for my honest review.
"This was insane. I'd never been on a knife's edge like this, never wanted so badly for a man to just. Touch. Me." Yes, Delancey Stewart builds up some major chemistry and heat in her new book! Our hero, Rob deRosa, may have been injured, but he definitely has the smoldering and hot hero requirement. Rob has suffered an traumatic brain injury while on the job as a firefighter. The subject is handled so well and makes the character vulnerable in ways that I really enjoyed. Make no mistake, Rob is still our alpha hero! I enjoyed getting insight of his thought process. Dani, our heroine, is instantly attracted to him as he sings on stage at a club. When he appears again out of the blue and begins to help renovate her store, the attraction can't be denied. Dani is fiercely independent and has to find a way to let Rob into her life. The story that leads up to their "happily ever after" has some twists and turns. I really enjoyed the story that gets us there. Great story and wonderful characters!
A wonderful book that sparks love at first sight to a full blown lust and desire. I loved how both Dani and Rob had many scars from previous relationships. This made the story more fun since they were so attracted to each other but were so worried of how either one would leave. Rob was a character with many flaws who has a huge heart. I loved that Dani though scarred from her past family history was able to succeed and had a clear mine of what she wanted in life. This was a wonderful romance filled with love, hope and determination. I assure you that wine and chocolates truly makes this the book extra enjoyable