Today on my site author Anastasia McKellan is here with her newest release, Shore Leave. This is a steamy read and you can find out more about by reading below along with visiting the other blogs hosting this tour. You also have the chance to win a copy by filling out the form below.
Eighteen months ago, Navy pilot Greg Marsters was banished from Wyndham Shores, Massachusetts after his marriage fell apart. Now he’s returned to spend his shore leave restoring antique schooners for his old mentor so that he can buy a boat of his own. After making the biggest mistake of his life, Greg has vowed to steer clear of romantic entanglements, but he soon finds himself drawn to an old friend from high school.
Melanie Grantham is the only person in town interested in hearing Greg’s side of the story, and despite his promise to sail away alone the first second he can, Greg takes her up on her offer for the sexual healing they’re both in desperate need of. Their hot nights throw him for a loop, and the sex is out of this world. But Greg can’t forgive himself for the mistakes of his past. Will he leave Melanie behind again before he realizes he’s been given another chance for true love?
Melanie leaned toward him. Greg moved closer but hesitated, as if unsure whether he should bring his mouth to hers. She pressed her lips to his, testing him out, seeing if he’d respond. He did. They kissed, their mouths melding into one another. She parted her lips and felt his mouth open against hers in response. Then he sank his tongue into her mouth and shifted closer to her.
He deepened the kiss further. She felt a twinge between her thighs and moaned softly in her throat when his tongue rubbed against hers. Then he pulled away.
“Mel, what’s going on here?” he asked.
“Kissing. Do you like it?”
He looked at her. “Yeah. I like it a lot.”
“Me, too. No one would guess you’re out of practice.”
He laughed quietly.
She grew serious, her smile fading. “I’ve always wondered what it would be like to kiss you.”
“You’ve exceeded my expectations.”
He smiled. “Is that right?”
She nodded. Melanie leaned in and kissed him some more, and Greg placed one hand on her hip and explored the curve of her. His other hand went to her breast, touching her lightly through her T-shirt.
She slid her lips over his throat, exploring the rough texture where the stubble was beginning to come in. Even after their long day he smelled like aftershave. It mixed with his unique masculine scent and she couldn’t get enough. She licked the five-o’clock shadow on his neck and explored the texture of the softer skin below. She ran her hand down his chest, feeling the hard muscles draw in beneath her hands.
Then she placed her hand over the bulge in his crotch, rubbing lightly while they kissed. She felt him harden through his jeans.
Greg touched her hand. “What’s happening here, Mel?”
She licked her lips, her breath coming fast, her heart pounding. “I want you. But you’re not feeling it.”
“I’m feeling it, but I haven’t even taken you out on a real date.”
“I’d like you to take me out,” she said.
“Tomorrow night. Eight o’clock.”
“Mel, whether we go out or not, I can’t give you what you need,” Greg said. “A meaningful relationship is the last thing I’m after right now.”
“Who said anything about a meaningful relationship?”
“What are you saying?” Greg asked.
“I’m saying we could have this for now. If you’ll let me.”
“I’ve got nothing to give you.”
“I have nothing to give you, either.” She kissed him again. “Take off your shirt,” she murmured in his ear.
He did. She slowly kissed her way down his bare chest, then his stomach, as she went. Then she slid to her knees on the carpet and reached for the zipper of his jeans.
BUY LINKS: Amazon | ARe | BN
MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS STORY:
Shore Leave is a novella that has a hefty dose of character guilt permeating the story, along with numerous sexy and steamy scenes. It's a story of redemption, going for your dreams, and forgiveness and is therefore intensely emotional at times.
Greg Marsters has returned home to spend time helping an old friend for a few weeks before being shipped out. As the man who broke the hearts of the town's golden girl and her sister he's not met with open arms. People still hold him responsible for the end of his marriage and he has a few run-ins, which result in a few bruises to himself, to prove it. It's no more than he thinks he deserves though as he heaps a lot of guilt upon himself. He takes all the blame actually and his self-loathing gets a bit overwhelming at times. He thinks he doesn't deserve happiness after his lone indiscretion all those years ago and has kept himself away from forming a relationship or anything having to do with sex. At least that's his plan until he's reunited with Melanie, who he recalls only slightly from high school. Upon seeing her he feels the first stirrings of happiness that he's been denying himself since the divorce. He fights those positive feelings as they war with his unrelenting guilt and self-loathing. He tries to push her away even as she gets closer, all the while telling her how unworthy he is. His feelings put a damper on their burgeoning relationship and left me constantly frustrated. His unrelenting guilt made him sound like a whiner and put a damper on all their scenes together.
Melanie has loved Greg since high school but didn't run in the same circles as him, so her affections were from afar. There were many instances that made her love him even more though and therefore she doesn't want to waste the chance she now has to be with him. She too has had a divorce and is left with constant doubts too. She knows love exists and throws herself wholeheartedly into every relationship, which leads to her being alone again and again. As much as she knows she should go slow with Greg she still jumps him the first chance she gets. She knows that he's leaving soon but can't help falling even further in love and expecting more from him too. Melanie was a kindhearted person who was always going to get hurt because she throws herself out there so completely. Whereas Greg keeps his heart guarded, she wears hers on her sleeve. She longs for adventure but her husband beat her soul down so she's been holding herself back from making a future beyond the city limits. No matter what comes of her time with Greg it definitely changes her. She's a different woman by the end of the story, a stronger woman who goes after the future she wants.
Their time together shows two people hurt by their pasts finding redemption through each other. Their relationship is full of numerous hot and heavy sexual encounters as well as moments of protectiveness. Greg's constant self-hatred got a bit old after awhile, along with feeling a bit heavy-handed, but his final act of redemption towards Melanie made for an immensely satisfying HEA. This was an enjoyable story that I wish had had a stronger hero but still has me wanting to read more of Ms. McKellan's works.
My rating for this is a B-/C+.
*I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.
Anastasia McKellan has always loved losing herself between the pages of a book, and she enjoys writing stories about redemption and love that lasts forever. Her hobbies include taking long walks, studying film history, and hanging out with her two dogs. She currently resides in Washington, D.C.Wherever she is, she’d rather be by the sea. For more information about Anastasia and her books, feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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