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on December 06, 2018
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“Sometimes love happens when you least expect it.”
That was what my husband’s mistress told me the day I found out about their affair.
I didn’t believe it until five minutes later when mouth-watering celebrity chef
Tanner Reese walked up, tossed his arm around my shoulders, and told my cheating husband to take a hike. Tanner and I couldn’t have been more different. He spent his weekends at clubs, rubbing elbows with fellow A-listers. I spent mine in yoga pants with cheese boards and a glass of wine—or six.
Our relationship shouldn’t have worked, but it did. That is until Tanner proved to me that even though love happens when you least expect it...
So does heartbreak.
I was provided a review copy; this did not influence my opinion of the book.
With her latest book ‘Across the Horizon’, Aly Martinez brings us Tanner and Rita’s story. You may remember them from The Darkest Sunrise duet. Tanner is Porter’s brother and Rita is Charlotte’s best friend. If you didn’t read the duet, please do yourself a favor and do it! The Darkest Sunrise duet was on my Favorites of 2017 list! This book runs along the same timeline as the duet. Although, you can definitely read this without having read the duet because there aren’t any spoilers.
Rita Hartley Laughlin had been “contently” married for 7 years, to Greg. From the way she styled her hair to the shoes on her feet, he had molded her into the perfect doctor’s wife. She not only ran their home, but she also managed his medical practice which he co-owned with Rita’s best friend Charlotte. Her whole world was wrapped up in Greg. Then one day, Rita found texts on Greg’s iPad from Tammy Grigs (an employee at their medical practice) indicating the two were having an affair.
❝My heart sank and a herd of angry barn moths armed with daggers and spears fluttered in my stomach.❞
Rita suddenly found herself in the midst of a nasty divorce, as well as on the hunt for a new job and place to live. What she didn’t expect to find in this process was Tanner Reese.
Tanner Reese co-owned several restaurants with his brother, and he was the star of the cooking show ‘Simmer’ where he showed off a lot more than his cooking skills. While the money was great, Tanner wanted to be known for more than just the chef with abs. He was also struggling to keep his ex-girlfriend’s book from being published, as her tell-all was not at all truthful and he knew the ramifications would put his job at risk and embarrass his family. Everyone told him to stay out of the limelight, to stay away from women and keep his head down. But when he saw Rita at the office party he and his brother had volunteered to cook at, he knew he needed to get to know the beautiful blond with the firey spirit.
This book had a different feel from a lot of Martinez’s books. There wasn’t as much angst and I didn’t have as many “feels” with this book. But I loved it nonetheless. The story was sweet and the characters were as amazing as I knew they would be!
I shifted the phone to my other ear and asked her, “Did you just get in bed?”
“If, by bed, you mean carrying a glass of wine out back to swing in the hammock, maybe.”
I bit my bottom lip, my head falling back against the headrest. For most men, this would have been an innocuous statement. But for a hammock connoisseur like myself, this was the normal guy equivalent of her saying that she liked to give blowjobs during halftime.
“You have a hammock out back?”
There was a delay in her response, which was followed by a subtle kiss of her lips on what I assumed was a wine glass. “Don’t knock it until you try it. It’s one of the most underrated luxuries in outdoor furniture.”
“Oh, I’m not knocking anything. Rope or quilted?”
“Oh, sweet heavenly baby Jesus, she’s beautiful and knows her hammocks. I’ve never been so turned on in my life.”
She giggled, pausing for another sip. “You know, if you leaked this hammock fetish to the press, you could probably increase demand by five million percent and singlehandedly lower the country’s unemployment rate.”
Okay, so at some point during the day, she’d figured out who I was.
But! Even with this knowledge, she was trying to avoid a date with me and was not elbow-deep in planning our televised wedding. This was a definite plus in my book.
“Yeah, but then, when I talked to beautiful women like yourself, I’d have no idea if the hammock was your idea or a ploy to impress me.”
“Jeez, that’s sad, Tanner,” she said, her sweet Southern accent like a wave rolling over my name.
I’d meant it as a joke, but it was the absolute truth when it came to dating. Early on in my career, I’d done a rapid-fire interview about my personal life. One of the questions had been: What would your ideal woman order on the first date? Truth be told, the only thing I hoped my ideal woman would order was something she wanted. I didn’t factor into that. But I’d been on my last question in my last interview of the last day of a month-long press tour. My face had hurt from fake smiling, I’d been in desperate need of a shower, a smoke, and sleep, and my mind had been mush, so I’d prattled off the first thing that had come to mind: shrimp and grits.
That one little answer somehow made it onto my Wiki page, and after that, every woman I’d taken out ordered shrimp and grits. One of them even had a shellfish allergy and nearly ended up in the hospital. And this insanity was not limited to women outside of the spotlight.
I’d once gone on a date with America’s princess of pop, Levee Williams. We’d hit it off at a charity event. For one of the most famous women in the world, she was a surprisingly nice girl, gorgeous, and funny as all get out. But the first time I took her out? One guess what she ordered.
I was at the end of my rope with dating and lost my freaking mind before storming out like an asshole. That night, as I was reporting shrimp and fucking grits as an error to Wiki, I noticed that her page listed it as her favorite food. I’d never had the balls to contact her again, and I once hid behind a palm tree on Rodeo Drive when I heard the clamoring of paparazzi calling her name. But that’s neither here nor there.
In short, while finding a woman was all too easy, dating was hard.
But that wasn’t about to stop me from trying with Rita.