One of our absolute favorite contemporary authors is Shannon Stacey. She writes about this awesome family in Maine and I personally can’t get enough of them. The latest book in her Kowalski series All He Ever Dreamed comes out this month and I for one have been anxiously awaiting it. She has very graciously shared with us a snippet of this much anticipated release.
He watched her walk out of the room and then he sagged against the wall. He would have flopped onto the bed, but he’d have to remake it, so he settled for just taking a couple minutes to get control of himself.
It wasn’t working. Now that his body was having some kind of delayed reaction to Katie’s, his dick didn’t seem to understand why it wasn’t getting what it wanted. When a woman was into him, Josh wasn’t in the habit of denying himself.
The trouble was, he couldn’t tell if Katie was into him. She seemed the same as she always did. It was him that had changed, and he was afraid if he made a move, he’d just embarrass them both.
Time to split some more wood. He went outside and set the first log on the stump before picking up the splitting maul. Whack. The log fell into two pieces. It was satisfying as hell.
After only five minutes or so, he shed his coat and tossed it on the pile. Maybe fifteen minutes after that, he heard a vehicle coming up the driveway. It sounded like Paige’s car and, if he remembered correctly, Mitch was supposed to be home. He kept splitting, though, because he didn’t want to lose his rhythm and cool off his muscles if it was only Paige stopping by to see the women.
“Holy shit.” It was Mitch, and Josh followed his gaze to the mountain of split wood he’d created piling up around him, and then to the last batch he’d split and stacked. “You see a different long-range forecast than I did?”
“Just burning off some…excess energy.”
“Sex is more fun than splitting wood for burning off energy.”
Josh growled and swung the maul with so much force the log blew apart instead of splitting.
Mitch laughed. “Not a bad substitute if you can’t get a woman to have sex with you, though.”
“Screw you.” He bent and set another log on end, then hefted and swung again.
“Maybe we should hire you a hooker before you clear-cut the entire property.”
His oldest brother was a real freakin’ comedian. He started to pick up another log, but then realized it was going to take him forever to stack what he’d already split. They were forecasting four to six overnight and he didn’t want the split stuff freezing in, so he’d stack that next.
“So let me guess,” Mitch said. “You finally realized your trusty sidekick is actually a woman.”
Josh swore and wiped his sleeve across his forehead. “Did you know Katie has a really great ass?”
“Let’s just say I’m aware she’s attractive.”
“How did I not see that?”
Mitch shrugged. “You’re a late bloomer, I guess. You know hair growing on your balls is natural, right? You don’t need to be embarrassed.”
“So you’re splitting wood like a crazy man because Katie has a great ass?”
“I didn’t see it before. She was just Katie, you know? Then she came into the kitchen in this white tank top and little boxer shorts and…I can’t un-see it now.”
“She’s still the same old Katie.”
“No, she’s not, because I never had to shove my hands in my pockets to keep from bending the same old Katie over the kitchen table.”
“Okay, that would probably piss Rose off on several levels.”
Josh didn’t want to talk about Katie anymore. He never should have brought up her ass in the first place. “Did you come over here just to bust my balls or did you have some higher purpose?”
“I’m not sure there is any higher purpose than busting your balls, but have you got anything going on here right after Christmas? Like the twenty-seventh, maybe?”
Josh tried to picture the calendar in his head. “That’s Thursday. Since Christmas is on Tuesday, we left most of the week unbooked. I have people coming in for a long New Year’s weekend, but none of them are arriving until Friday, so…no.”
“Good. Ryan could use some help moving the last of Lauren and Nick’s stuff down to Brookline.”
“Oh, wait. Except for that group checking in Thursday. Damn. Forgot about them.”
“Yeah, I’m free. We’re gonna do it in one trip, though, right?”
“Yes, and Ryan says it’s the last trip,” Mitch said, nodding. “They’ve been bringing stuff down each time she visits and when he goes back and forth, but he wants it done.”
“We’ll make it done, then.”
“And Katie told Lauren she’d help her unpack, too, so she’s going to ride down with you.”
“You’re an asshole.”
“Enough with the girl talk. How are the trails?”
Josh Kowalski is tired of holding down the fort—better known as the Northern Star Lodge—while his siblings are off living their dreams. Now that his oldest brother has returned to Whitford, Maine for good, Josh is free to chase some dreams of his own.
As the daughter of the lodge’s longtime housekeeper, Katie Davis grew up alongside the Kowalski kids. Though she’s always been “one of the guys”, her feelings for Josh are anything but sisterly. And after a hot late-night encounter in the kitchen, it’s clear Josh finally sees her as the woman she is.
Katie’s been waiting years for Josh to notice her, but now that he has, she’s afraid it’s too late. Giving her heart to a man who can’t wait to leave town is one sure way to have it broken. But Josh keeps coming up with excuses not to leave—could it be that everything he’s ever wanted is closer than he could have imagined?