Title: In Your Arms
Author: Shannyn Schroeder
Publication Date: Dec. 27, 2016
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A KNIGHT IN SHINING LEATHER…
Sean O'Malley has never tried to hide who he is. He shows it in the motorcycle thrumming between the legs of his tight jeans…the shaggy hair that falls in his gorgeous eyes…the wicked gleam in his smile when he asks Emma out for a drink. Sean is a rebel, a bad boy, and a ton of fun: exactly the kind of guy she's sworn off forever.
Emma isn't just the prim kindergarten teacher she appears to be. And somehow Sean can tell. As soon as he pulls up to her overheated car he knows that a fast bike and a cold beer will fix her rotten day better than compliments or a bubble bath. Her straitlaced exterior and her wild heart light him up. But Emma wants to escape her past and settle down—and if her desk jockey dates don't understand where she comes from, at least she doesn't worry about them bringing her back.
One weekend of intense connection can't change the paths Sean and Emma have chosen. But with a little space to be themselves together, maybe the rest of the world can wait...
Shannyn Schroeder is the author of the O’Leary series, contemporary romances centered around a large Irish-American family in Chicago and the Hot & Nerdy series about 3 nerdy friends finding love. Her new series (For Your Love) will release this summer with the first title Under Your Skin. When she’s not wrangling her three kids or writing, she watches a ton of TV and loves to bake cookies.
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Meet the Hero (In Your Arms)...
I love the O’Malleys. From the first moment I wrote about them in my O’Learys series, I fell for them. And Sean is one of my favorites. Everyone describes him as a live-and-let-live kind of guy who happens to be quick with his fists. And that really sums up who he is.
Sean is all about enjoying life. He works as a mechanic because he likes working on cars. It’s not a stepping-stone to some other career. He plays hockey every chance he gets and rides his motorcycle until the weather prohibits it. He does whatever he wants, pretty much no matter what. When he has a chance to enjoy a long motorcycle ride due to some unexpected awesome weather, he goes, even though it costs him his job. He knows he won’t have a problem getting a new one.
Sean loves his family and likes having them around. It’s part of why he continues to live at home. He can afford to live in his own place, but he chooses not to. He’s very protective of everyone he cares about, and that’s the reason he’s usually so quick to use his fists.
Part of why Sean refuses to be more than an “overgrown boy” is because he grew up watching his older brother Jimmy take care of everyone. Jimmy is ultra-responsible and Sean doesn’t want to live with that kind of burden.
When he meets Emma, he starts to want a relationship with her and doesn’t understand how he could fall for a woman who is a female version of Jimmy. She expects him to be something he can’t be, but for her he’s willing to try.
The blast of air-conditioning hit them as the automatic door swung open. Emma paused, looked up and around, and turned toward the bakery. Sean followed. She kept walking, and he stopped by the coffee cakes. A chocolate-chip cake sounded good.
“What about this?” He held up the plastic container.
“Uh-uh. It needs to be birthday cake.”
Sean held on to the coffee cake but followed her to the refrigerated section. She looked at the display for a minute before choosing one. As great as Emma seemed, she sure had some weird quirks. She picked out a round cake with Happy Birthday written in blue handwriting. Red, yellow, and blue icing balloons decorated the edge.
Emma said nothing. With the cake in hand, she turned toward the register. Although she quickly offered answers to his questions, she wasn’t like other girls he knew, who would fill silence with any kind of pointless chatter.
“You okay?” he asked when they got to the self-checkout.
“I will be.” She scanned her cake, and he jumped in to scan his too before she could finish the transaction. Then he swiped his card to pay.
“You didn’t have to buy my cake.”
“I know I didn’t have to, but if I have a crappy day and someone buys me a beer, that beer tastes even better going down.”
His answer got the reaction he’d hoped for. A smile. Emboldened by her smile, he pushed on. “So why does it have to be birthday cake?”
She sighed and he thought she might not answer. “Birthday cake was the one thing my mom got right when I was a kid.”
He waited, hoping she’d explain, because how could anyone mess up store-bought birthday cake? They walked through the automatic door, and the heat of the afternoon swamped him.
“You met her. Even with that brief encounter, you can probably tell Brandi is far from a stellar mom. A lot of things were uncertain when I was little. But birthday cake was something we could always count on. It didn’t matter where we were living or even if she had a job, Mom made sure we had birthday cake on our birthdays.”
“It’s weird now that you mention it. I guess I always took birthday cake for granted. In my family, we’re all adults and we still make a trip to Blackstone’s to get a birthday cake.”
“For me, birthday cake is comfort.” She leaned over and bumped his shoulder as they walked. “I keep some in my freezer because you never know when you’re going to have a bad day.”
“Well, it’s not like I buy a cake and eat it all by myself in one sitting. It would be a waste to throw it out, so I cut it into pieces and freeze it.”
The walk back to his house was too quick. Sean liked Emma talking about herself. He didn’t know how he’d even managed not to realize how much he missed having a girlfriend. Then he remembered that every girl at some point pushed for something more than he wanted to give. He wasn’t about to put a ring on anyone’s finger. That kind of commitment would ruin his easygoing lifestyle.
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