Also by this author: Searching for Mine (Searching For, #4.5)
All Roads Lead to You (Stay, #3) by Jennifer Probst
Series: Stay #3
Published by Montlake Romance on July 23, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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All bets are off in this heartfelt romance by New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst.
Happily single, Harper Bishop trusts in only one passion—her rescue farm and healing her thoroughbred, Phoenix. Her dream is to lead him to the Triple Crown. But how unreachable is it without experience or help? A handsome new guest at her family’s B&B has what it takes to make it come true. And with his irresistible brogue, warm smile, and soothing touch, he’s a major distraction.
After a bitter betrayal, horse trainer Aidan O’Connor has fled Ireland for a vacation in New York’s Hudson Valley. When he sees the horse with the fighting spirit, he’s inspired with a new goal: to train Phoenix to win. He’s also facing an unexpected new challenge: his feelings for Harper.
How can she dare to open her heart to a man who’ll be there only long enough to break it?
So Harper and Aidan agree: try to keep it professional, and focus only on Phoenix and the finish line. But along the way, they could also learn a few lessons in love, trust, and taking chances. And, as painful as it promises to be, saying goodbye.
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Ignoring her tingling nipples and flip-flopping belly, she threw back her shoulders and rose to full height. “I clearly remember having this same conversation a few weeks ago,” she said, trying not to let her voice wobble. “We agreed to keep it strictly business.”
“We did. But it’s getting harder for me not to touch you.”
Her heart galloped in her chest. Sweat pricked her skin. She remained silent, tangled between her head and her heart.
A rough laugh escaped his lips. “This would be easier on my ego if you’d admit you’re having the same problem.”
She shook her head and pressed her fisted hands against her eyes. “You sure don’t know the art of subtlety, do you?”
He shrugged. “No time for that shit. Well?”
She let out a half laugh, half groan. “I think this is the strangest conversation I’ve had with a man.”
“Are you hot for me, Harper?” His voice was all grit and gravel and sexy as hell.
Lust speared through her, raw and hungry and demanding. “Yeah.”
“Good. I’m obsessed with kissing you. So I have a proposal.”
“Of course you do.”
“One kiss. Let’s try it out. Maybe it’ll bomb once we give ourselves permission,” he said.
“I’m swooning from your romantic intentions.”
His lips kicked up in a grin. She wanted to trace her finger over his mouth to see if it was as soft as it looked. “Sorry. What do you think?”
“I think I’ve stepped into a new dimension. Tell me this, Irish. Do we want the kiss to bomb?”
He nodded. Eased closer. “I think it would be for the best. Neither of us wants a complication in our solid business partnership. We have a long road ahead of us. Sex makes things messy.”
Her brow shot up. Oh, he was good. Pretending to be all rational and cool while he stalked her like a graceful panther. Her blood grew thick and heavy, and the throbbing between her thighs raged. The real problem revolved around one simple, plain fact.
She was dying to kiss Aidan O’Connor.
The tiny voice inside her flared to life and whispered a warning.: One kiss will never be enough. Not from this man. Not with the way you already feel about him.
God, she didn’t want to listen to reason right now.
Harper tilted her head. “True. If the kiss fails, we can get back to work without all this bullshit. Move on and focus on the real relationship here.”
“Phoenix,” he said.
“Exactly. Can you promise one thing?”
He took a few more steps. His scent wrapped around her like a silken cloud, spicy and clean and addicting. The leashed heat from his body practically ripped a purr from her throat. She curled her fingers, digging her nails into her palms to try and hold back from jumping into his arms.
“What do you need me to promise, love?”
A shiver worked down her spine. She imagined that lilting brogue whispering dirty commands in her ear while he thrust deep inside her. “If the kiss sucks, no hurt feelings. We move on and don’t talk about it. I can’t take any weirdness between us.”
“Agreed. I hate weird.”
He was right there, face close, inches from her body. The last time he was this close, he was angry. This time, his eyes crackled with hunger. His powerful thighs braced hers, and when he leaned in, his hard erection pressed against the seam of his jeans so she felt every glorious inch of promise. She licked her lips in anticipation, and slowly raised her arms to hook around his shoulders.
“Just once,” she whispered in warning.
He cupped her cheeks with rough, calloused palms. His amber gaze locked on hers. “Yes.”
“We’ll get it out of our system and move on.”
His mouth closed over hers.
I have really enjoyed this series so far. Each book was a prime example of Jennifer’s writing ability and the way she is skilled at writing swoon worthy romance.
It pains me to say that this one (to me) doesn’t live up to the rest of the series. It read really slow for me. I liked the premise of the book but the horse training, shows, etc took away from the romance and relationship. I think, with all of that, it was why the chemistry didn’t show till maybe the last part of the book. I need it from the beginning to get invested in the main characters relationship.
I liked Aiden and Harper but together I had trouble getting behind them. Harper was a little harder and angry/bitter than her siblings. They were stubborn but still had a lot of heart. She never seemed to have the same heart as they did. She needed to loosen up a bit. I like my women strong in my romance books but she was too strong to a point that it kinda killed the chemistry.
Besides this one being probably more of a “me not you thing.” I can see people enjoying this one but it just didn’t click for me. I love Jennifer’s work. Her Marriage To A Billion series. I reread that one maybe once a year. The first one in that series, The Marriage Bargain, is one I consider the gold standard for my favorite trope (Arranged Marriage/Fake Relationship). I look forward to her next book, this one just was a miss for me.