The Tri-Town Series is set in small towns along the South Shore region of Nova Scotia, Canada.
Under Your Scars features the largest town on the South Shore, Bridgewater.
Logline: You can run from your past, but it will catch up to you eventually...
Alexis has that special something about her that Seth can’t fathom. His friend Mirabelle’s new employee is even prettier than the merchandise she sells. Too bad she’s distantly polite when he tries talking to her.
Alexis is attracted to Seth, but she’s in hiding from her past and her mistakes. Getting involved with the one person she's attracted to could blow her cover.
When they’re forced to work together, their libidos ignite. Alexis is terrified to open up and give in to her feelings for Seth. If he remembers that night five years ago, he’ll never speak to her again.
It becomes a question of whether Seth will expose her and force her to keep running, or if he'll help her face her past.
Available as a print on demand paper back on Amazons around the world!
Under Your Scars was released MARCH 6, 2020 via eXtasy Books.
It is the second book in the Tri-Town Series, which features stories set in the three main towns of western Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, Canada - Bridgewater, Lunenburg, and Mahone Bay.
Under Your Scars has a small connection to Away to Me, but is a standalone HEA story, and not a direct sequel.
Seth was glad to see Alexis at the Rogers’ middle of summer barbecue that night. He was thinking of saying hi to her when Mallory jumped on him. His youngest godchild was small and made up for it with her enthusiasm and sunny temperament. He listened to her rattle on about summer camp while he kept glancing in Alexis’s direction every few minutes.
Sympathy rose as he saw how uncomfortable she seemed in the crowd. She was obviously out of her element and looked like she was trying to make an escape. When Mallory ran off to join her friends and siblings in the pool, he made his move. He sauntered over to her side and gave her a bright grin. “Hey, Alexis. Having fun?” He could barely see her glance up at him through her dark lenses as she shrugged. “I take it that’s a no.”
“How do you know if I’m not having any fun?” she muttered with a dirty look.
He admired her soft pink blouse, faded, skinny jeans with holes in the knees, and how her ponytail curled around her neck, down between her delectable breasts. “At the exhibition, you were talking non-stop with all of us, and we couldn’t keep up with you half the time. It was the same way when we were playing pool at the bar last week, or when we were getting things done up for the sign at the store. Tonight, you look like a deer caught in headlights.”
Her jaw clicked, and she sighed. “Leave it to you to notice that.”
“You’re forgetting who you’re talking to.” He tossed in one of his brightest smiles for emphasis.
Alexis stared up at him over the top of her sunglasses. “I haven’t.”
Despite being surrounded by what felt like half the town, it was quiet in the shade of the big oak tree that dominated the north side of the Rogers’ backyard, a private oasis. Seth was grateful no one was paying attention to them, especially Mirabelle. She would get the wrong idea.
I like Alexis a lot. She’s a great friend, lots of fun, and really sweet. Her being so pretty is icing on the cake. What straight man doesn’t like being with a beauty like her, even if it’s only in friendship?A picture of his icy ex-wife rose in his mind. I’m not ready to start dating yet or even have a friend with benefits. Sex with Alexis might be hotter than the sun, but Jesus, I’d rather not fuck things up with her. I’d rather keep her a mile away than ruin what we have now.
Alexis groaned. “I thought this was only going to be a family thing. If I had known it was going to be the entire town, I would have told Mirrie to shove the invite up her ass.”
The mental picture of Mirabelle doing that made Seth laugh. “She’s pulled off the same stunt on me a few times. I’d get here, thinking it was just her, Blaine and the kids, and I’d see people here I don’t know and don’t care to meet. She thinks you’re lonely.”
Alexis sniffed primly. “I have enough friends, thank you.”
“How many single men did she force you to meet today?”
She crossed her arms across her chest and growled.
Seth cringed in sympathy. “I see a lot of the single women she’s tried to hook me up with, too, so it’s not just you in her sights tonight.” Although he was wearing looser jeans and a black t-shirt emblazed with a country music band on it, he was still getting admiring looks. I wish they’d screw off. I hate desperate women. They always think you should marry them after the first date.
Alexis gave him a sad smile. “You, too, huh?”
“Yup.” He rolled his eyes and sighed.
“Shit. Next time, I should bring a date, so she buggers off and won’t do this to me again,” she muttered.
He held out his hand. “Deal.”
Her head whipped around and stared at him over the top of her sunglasses. Seth felt an odd feeling in his gut. Bile started rising in his throat.
Thankfully, Alexis’s question drove away the nausea. He shook it off and focused on her. “Yeah, as in we come here and leave here together the next time Mirrie drags us to one of her parties,” he said conspiratorially.
Her eyebrows shot up for a second, and the action made her spectacles slide down the bridge of her nose a little. Her nose wrinkled, which made Seth smile inwardly. Damn, she is too cute for words. Too bad I’m not looking for a girlfriend. She’ll be a perfect one for some lucky guy. “It may make it easier to avoid her setting us up with people we’re not compatible with,” he reminded her.
Alexis nodded slowly. “I’d rather hang out with you because you know me and don’t care if I’m quiet or not.” With a soft smile, she stared up at him over her glasses. “Thank you, Seth,” she murmured.
As his gaze locked with hers, the image from his recurring dream overlaid it, and a weird sweat broke out on his forehead. He shivered in the humidity, and his heart started racing. He lifted a trembling hand to his cheek as he closed his eyes and tried to shake it off. All he could see on the canvas of his eyelids was the girl in the corner of the gray room, the sunlight hitting her sneakers, with the smell of disinfectant burning his nostrils. He swallowed hard several times, hoping the nausea would disappear. Vertigo hit him like an eighteen-wheeler, and he almost fell face-first into the grass beside the massive oak tree they were standing alongside.
Someone said his name from a distance. His heart beat faster, and he felt like he was going to throw up. Don’t let me puke on her shoes! I’ll never live it down, and she’ll stop talking to me, for good reason.
A soft touch on his arm and a light flowery scent in his nostrils helped bring back some of his equilibrium. He was still sweaty, his hands still shook, but his heart rate dropped noticeably, the queasiness started lifting, and his breathing evened out.
He recognized concern in Alexis’s voice, closer this time, and he swallowed hard to hold back the remaining nausea. He cleared his throat and opened his eyes marginally. Her perfume wafted around him again as a gentle hand touched his forehead.
“Were you out in the heat too much again? You’re sweaty, and you’re white as a sheet.”
“Maybe,” he mumbled in an effort to cover up the truth. Alexis would think he was insane if she knew about his recurring dream and how his subconscious was putting her in it.
“Mirrie’s going to have a fit if you keep standing there and weaving like a tree in a hurricane. I’ll take you inside, where it’s cool, and she won’t see you.” She put her free hand on his arm, and the rest of the odd sensations went away.
He shook his head. “I’m okay now. It’s gone.”
Over her glasses, she peered up at him with concern. There was a softness in her dark eyes that he had never seen before, and it made him feel woozy again. Oh shit. Please, don’t let me faint on her. Alexis will not like it, and Mirrie will send me to the ER for observation. He gave Alexis a reassuring smile, and without thinking, he put his hand on her hip. Jokingly, he leaned forward, so his forehead touched hers and winked at her.
“What are you doing?” Her nose wrinkled, and there was a confused note in her voice.
“I’m making sure you can see me. I know how blind you are without the glasses. Since you keep staring at me over the top of them, I thought I’d give you a better view.” He grinned at her, and the last remnants of the sickening feelings went away. “I’m fine.”
She whacked him on the arm and sighed. “Yeah, if you’re picking on me about my eyesight, you’re fine.”
“Of course, having a pretty girl like you looking out for me helped a lot,” he added and wagged his eyebrows at her.
He felt a hard shove on his shoulders and held firm.
“Go take a swim, Seth. It’ll help more than I will.” She tried pulling out of his embrace and gave him another shove.
He held her close, backed up another step, saw grass under his feet, and stopped. “I’d rather lean on you for a bit,” he shot back and slid an arm around her waist. One more step back had concrete under his boots.
“God, you’re an ass,” she muttered and put her hands on his chest.
He prepared for the inevitable and slid his other arm around her. “Ass or not, at least I’m not blind.”
Just as she shoved him, he took three steps backward and held on to Alexis tightly.
Alexis shrieked in surprise, and Seth cackled as they fell into the pool together.