There is no future until he faces his past…
Nora, Cai, Ryan, Matisse, Apollo, and Seok have decided to forge their own path. Yes, their relationship is unusual, but it’s what they want.
They won’t hide it. It isn’t a secret.
Or is it?
Cai loves her, Nora is certain of it. But when the woman he left behind suddenly appears, the Cai she knows changes, and Nora begins to wonder, will he be brave enough to choose her and step into the light?
Or will he hide her away with the rest of his ghosts?
While this book centers on Cai and his relationship with Nora, the others are very involved as well.
This book opens with Cai getting a concussion from an altercation with Dr. Murray and a couple of his cronies. He woke up not remembering being transported to jail with Matisse all because of his frustration at not having access to Tyler. Although others are working on the problem Cai is practically obsessed with being sure Tyler is being treated properly.
There is much going on with all of them, but Cai’s issues come to the fore when his ‘wife’ shows up. Sarah isn’t legally his wife and never was. That marriage was the product of how they were raised in the cult where his father was the leader.
Nora is totally blindsided by Sarah’s call and then her appearance at the house. More so by Cai’s description of their relationship, roommate not girlfriend. A painful denial.
This is a favorite scene.
Cai knew. His friends would do anything for him. All he had to do was ask.
He fled upstairs before anyone could push him. If Apollo had been there, he would have pushed. And Matisse! He must have missed some kind of hand signal between Seok and Matisse, because that man didn’t know the meaning of subtle.
Upstairs, Cai hesitated at Nora’s door. His dinner with Sarah reminded him of what Nora gave him. She eased him, made him calm. He rapped on the door lightly, waiting for her voice.
“Come in,” she called. She didn’t look surprised to see him. “Hi.”
“I need to talk to you.”
Her gaze didn’t leave him as he strode toward her. She shifted, pushing herself to sit against the headboard.
He sat, met her gaze, and looked away. He’d have to be blind not to see the traces of her crying. Her nose was red, and her eyes were still bloodshot. “I’m sorry.”
She nodded, but she didn’t say anything for a moment. After taking a deep breath, she rubbed her eyes and asked, “What exactly are you sorry for?” Her voice trembled, but she pressed her lips together and went on. “For keeping me a secret? For not telling me you were married? For giving me snippets and then, on your anniversary, going out with your ex-wife? Who, I’ll add, refers to herself as your wife.” Instead of her voice lifting, she got quieter. The last two words she repeated so quietly, he barely made them out. “Your wife.”
“Nora,” he said. “There’s so much you don’t know, and so much I hate talking about. You don’t understand. And the only way to make you understand is to talk about it. Just beginning the story makes me want to punch the wall and vomit.”
“What are you afraid of?” she asked.
He laughed and shook his head, but nothing about the situation was funny. “Everything, Nora.”
“So talk to me!” She went to her knees and shuffled toward him. She gripped his arms, fingers digging into him. “Cai. I’m begging you. Tonight hurt.”
He heard what she didn’t say. He’d hurt her.
“I’m not there,” he said. He wanted to give her what she needed, but the idea of spilling his guts was too much. Reluctantly, he stood. The entire time, Nora watched him. Her brown eyes were big, and tears welled up in her eyes. Her entire face got splotchy, and she took in a shaky breath.
“Then you need to get there, Cai,” she said. Her shoulders went back as she stared at him. “Because I’m not okay with what happened tonight. And I’m not okay with it happening again.”
He wanted to promise her that. But how could he do that? He couldn’t see the future. Rather than speak aloud, and tell her something neither of them wanted to hear, he stayed silent and nodded. He wanted to take her in his arms. He wanted another moment with her like earlier when he’d held her and kissed her. Her breath had breezed across his naked chest and for the first time in years, he could take a deep breath.
But it felt wrong now. Holding her in his arms was a promise that she’d always be there, and in order for her to always be there, he knew he had to tell her everything. And he couldn’t.
Proserpina, Ripley. Finding Courage (The Searchers Book 4). Kindle Locarions (1279-1305). Kindle Edition.
As Nora and Cai’s relationship does some struggling, Apollo also comes to the realization that he wants, perhaps more, than Nora can give.
Then there’s more interference from Dr. Murray, a revelation from another Doctor who takes over Tyler’s care, the Thanksgiving invitation that can’t be ignored from Matisse’s Mom and Seok having some of his own fears surface.
There’s so much more that what I’ve mentioned. There is lots of heat, love, and emotion in this book. I couldn’t put it down.
I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.
5 Contented Purrs for Ripley!
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Ripley Proserpina spends her days huddled near a fire in the frozen northern wilds of Vermont. She lives with her family, two magnificent cats, and one dog who aspires to cat-hood. She is the author of the Reverse Harem series, The Searchers, Midnight’s Crown, and the young adult/fantasy duet, Wishes and Curses.