The Summer Lake contemporary romance series follows a group of friends from a small lakeside town in the California hills. They have kept in touch over the years and now, in their early thirties, their lives are drawing them back to Summer Lake and to each other. Love Like You've Never Been Hurt (Summer Lake # 1) Emma Douglas came to Summer Lake as an orphan twenty three years ago. After losing her parents so young and later suffering a disastrous marriage, she believes that love only ever leads to pain and loss. When she meets Jack Benson, the business partner of her childhood friend Pete, she sees everything she used to long for in a man; tall, dark, and drop dead gorgeous! Despite their undeniable attraction, Emma is too scared to risk her heart, especially on a man so much like her ex - sexy, smart, funny, successful and no doubt the same kind of cheat! When events lead them both to Summer Lake for the summer, will Jack be able to persuade her that he's nothing like her ex in all the ways that really matter? That the love she used to dream of isn't a little girl's fantasy, but a reality they can share if she can get past her fear and learn to trust? I'm SJ. A coffee addict, lover of chocolate and drinker of good wines. I'm a lost soul and a hopeless romantic. Reading and writing are necessary parts of who I am. Though perhaps not as necessary as coffee! I can drink coffee without writing, but I can't write without drinking coffee. I grew up loving romance novels, my first boyfriends were book boyfriends, but life intervened, as it tends to do, and I wandered the paths of non fiction for a couple of decades. My life changed completely a couple of years ago and I returned to Romance to find my escape. I write 'Sweet N Steamy' stories because to me the 'feel-good-factor', both emotional and physical, is what makes Romance so appealing. If you want to know more, or to tell me what you think of my books (love 'em or hate 'em) you can always email me at sj @ sjmccoy . com
“Don’t push me away, Emma, please?” She looked up, surprised by his tone. He was llooking at her with longing in his eyes.
“I’m sorry. I know I shouldn’t have kissed you, but I couldn’t resist you.” She stared at him. “Please say something?”
“I didn’t stop you,” she stammered.
“See!” he smiled, his confidence returning. “You didn’t stop me because you wanted to kiss me too, and don’t say you didn’t enjoy it.”
Emma was quickly regaining her senses. She shook her head. “But we’re just friends,” she insisted.
Jack’s hands fell to his sides. “You kiss me like that and then say we’re only going to be friends?” His victorious smile was fading fast.
“Jack, I already told you, you can keep trying all you like, but… we’re just friends.”
“OK, how about friends with kisses?” He was trying to make her laugh again. Despite herself she had to smile at him. She began walking again to her apartment which wasn’t far now. He walked backwards in front of her.
“Friends who kiss sometimes?” he held his hands out hopefully. She couldn’t help but laugh.
“Friends who kissed once.”
“And who enjoyed it?” he raised his eyebrows.
She shook her head, amused by his playful determination.
“Is that a shake of the head for no?” he asked, stopping dead in front of her so that she walked right into him. His arms closed around her once more. She stepped back, not daring to stay that close to him.
“I was shaking my head at you, not in disagreement with you.” She kept on walking.
“OK, then,” he smiled. “Friends who kissed once and enjoyed it. Do I have it right now?”
She gave a small nod, grateful that they were almost to her building. She needed to escape from him now, because she badly wanted to kiss him again and that wasn’t how this was supposed to be working.
“How about friends who kissed once and enjoyed it so much they will kiss each other again, deeply and often?”
He was nothing if not persistent and he certainly knew how to make her laugh. She stopped abruptly in front of her building and looked up at him.
“Friends who must say goodnight now and who will see each other with their other friends out at the lake,” she smiled.
“Friends who are going to have coffee before they say good night?” he asked.
She shook her head. “I’ll see you at Pete’s this weekend.”
He gave her a rueful smile. “Thanks for tonight, Emma. This was good.”
“It was good. I enjoyed it so much, Jack. But, it really is best for us to be friends.”
He nodded and wrapped her in a hug. He tipped her chin with his thumb and, holding her eyes, slowly placed a chaste kiss on her lips. He stepped back and smiled.
“Friends who kiss goodnight.” With that he turned and was gone.
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