Now that she’s committed to leaving Hope Springs, she’s falling for the wrong man… but he just might give her all the right reasons to stay.
Two years after her husband’s death, kindergarten teacher Brooklyn Harvey is leaving Hope Springs for her in-laws’ vineyard in Italy—with no plans of coming back. That is, until she meets a disarmingly sexy biker-turned-chocolatier. He might be the man of her dreams, but he’s also the father of one of her students; as such, he’s strictly off-limits.
Callum Drake knows a good thing when he sees one, and he doesn’t want to let Brooklyn get away, even if his rival for her affection is the ghost of her dead husband. He’ll do whatever it takes to win her over, including making chocolates concocted just for her—chocolates that evoke memories of their time together. But can he create a second love bright enough to pull her, and her heart, out of living in the past?
“Bliss and the Art of Forever is probably one of the deepest layered stories I have read in a long time. Reading this romance goes beyond the simple act of reading. It is an immersion into the lives of three people, how [each] fell in love, when they knew to let go of the past, and where their shared future would take them.” — Marsha S., Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
Inked script at his nape. Colored sleeves beneath his rolled cuffs. Elaborate artwork in his oxford’s open collar. Her imagination wandered to his back and his chest, to his shoulders. His biceps. His abs. The tattoos were symbolic, not simply cosmetic, and part of the biker culture, leaving her to wonder how important to his life the club had been before he’d walked away.
Tats intrigued her—the creativity, the significance, the commitment—even when the man wearing the ink was her student’s father, and off-limits. This particular man also wore, not a beard, but an unkempt scruff framing a devilish smile. His hair was long, pulled back in a disheveled sort of knot. It had her thinking of Heathcliff, tortured and haunted and wild on the moors.
Had her, too, wanting to rescue him.
Hands curled over the edge of her desk at her hips, Brooklyn Harvey looked out at her class of kindergartners. The fifteen five- and six-year-olds sat on the floor in a semicircle, their rapt attention on Callum Drake. Rather than using the full-size chair she’d offered him, he’d lowered his six-foot-plus frame into one of those from the pint-sized collage table. Watching him fold himself to sit had been as breathtaking as watching him walk through the door.
She’d met Adrianne Drake’s grandparents, Shirley and Vaughn, at orientation before school started, and visited with them again at parents’ night, and at the Halloween costume party, and when they’d eaten lunch with the girl on Grandparents’ Day, and at Christmas. But today, over halfway into the school year, was the first time she’d seen Adrianne’s father for herself.
After months of his daughter’s chatter, and details dropped by the older Drakes about their son, Brooklyn had found herself wanting to know more about him. But the man who’d arrived right on time for story hour left her speechless, because none of the photos she’d seen—the success of his business put him in the local spotlight on a regular basis—had him looking like he’d walked out of a foggy Irish landscape, green-eyed and larger than life, with a touch of ginger tinting his dark brown hair.
When she’d read his name on the sign-up sheet for herDads Love Books, Too! reading program, she’d been surprised. And a little bit apprehensive. Involving the parents in their children’s learning experience was an important part of her curriculum.
But was exposing her students to a member of a biker gang—okay, an ex-member of a biker gang—a smart thing to do? Would other parents object should they get wind of a man with his background, celebrity or not, upstanding citizen or not, interacting with their children in her classroom?
And then she’d thought about Adrianne Drake. The girl was one of the most well-adjusted children Brooklyn had ever taught. She was bright, giving serious thought to her questions and her answers. She was kind to her classmates, and responsive when Brooklyn asked for help. Yes, the girl’s grandparents were an influential and hands-on part of her life, but she lived full-time with her father. She adored her father. She rarely stopped talking about her father.
In the end, that had been the deciding factor in Brooklyn’s emailing Callum the details to confirm the date. She’d needed to meet the man who, as a single parent burdened with the baggage of a sketchy past, was rearing such a precious, and precocious, little girl.