Title: Make Me Whole
Series: Oil Barrons #1
Author: Marie Johnston
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 18, 2022
I had a perfect life. Schoolteacher. Married to my high school sweetheart. Little starter house that we called charming but was really just old. All I needed was the two-point-five kids and I’d be living my perfect dream. Then my husband died.
After the funeral, I had a breakdown that lasted for a month…or twelve. But now I’m reemerging, healing, finding my way. It’s time to learn who I am now, and whether or not I can fix a leaky sink. And by my side, the entire time, is my husband’s best friend, Liam. The single dad knows a thing or two about personal struggles, and about how to replace faucets.
With Liam, I feel alive again. Confident. Capable. Liam has become my best friend too. Except if my parents, my in-laws, and the rest of the town had any say, I’d stay far away from him and his bad boy reputation.
How do I admit to them what’s so hard to admit to myself? That I’m starting to look at him like he’s more than a friend. That the heat in his eyes when he looks at me is far beyond friendly. That like it or not, Liam makes me feel whole again.
Blinking to adjust to the dimmer light, it wasn’t hard to find Liam. Sparks flew from the far corner, where the light from the open door had the hardest time penetrating.
The torch Liam held went dark. He flipped his face shield up so it rested on top of his head. “Hey. That time already? The afternoon got away from me.”
He set his equipment on the work bench by the hunk of metal he’d been working on. He slapped his thick gloves down and took the face shield off. Then he shrugged out of his well-worn leather apron.
I blinked again, but it had nothing to do with lighting. His long-sleeved blue T-shirt with the logo of a bar and grill in Williston was plastered to his chest and back. A smattering of singe holes gathered around the collar and a few tiny ones on the sleeves where the apron didn’t reach. Liam adjusted his shoulders like he was trying to dislodge the fabric from his skin, but all the move did was make his muscles ripple.
I’d known Liam wasn’t the same lanky kid from high school, but I’d never had proof like this.
He ran a hand through his hair—same effect. Biceps bulging and rippling muscle.
My brain snapped a picture, like someday I might need to reference the type of man that could get my libido going again.
Which I wasn’t looking for. Dating wasn’t on my radar, much less…activities beyond that.
Although recently I’d been thinking… I gave myself a mental shake. My therapist said there was nothing wrong with thinking about dating someday. Nothing wrong with dating itself. Nothing wrong with not being ready. Nothing wrong with dating while still not feeling ready. I hadn’t reached that point yet. And I didn’t have to think about it at Liam’s.
Releasing May 17
Marie Johnston writes paranormal and contemporary romance. She also works as a medical laboratory scientist and has worked as a public health microbiologist. Depending on the situation, she can be oddly unconcerned about germs or weirdly phobic. Marie’s been a volunteer EMT, a college instructor, a security guard, a phlebotomist, a hotel clerk, and a coffee pourer in a bingo hall. All fodder for a writer!! She has a husband, four kids, and even more cats.