September 22, 2017
From New York Times & USA Today bestselling author, Nicole Williams:
The only benefit I want from my ex is a divorce.
We got married for all the wrong reasons. The one thing we got right was our separation. I should have known better than to think I could bet on forever with a guy like Canaan Ford. Everything about him screamed impermanent, from his wild eyes to his restless soul.
When I left him and the small town I’d spent my whole life in, I swore I’d never go back. Never only turned out to be five years. Canaan claims he’s changed, but he hasn’t—same knowing smile, same rough demeanor, same body crafted from sin and sinew. And yet, something is different. He thinks this is his chance for redemption. My disagreement comes in the form of divorce papers dropped in his lap. He refuses to sign them. Unless . . .
He wants a month to prove himself to me—that’s his offer. One month to make me fall in love with him again and if I don’t, he’ll sign the papers. As much as I want to say no, I agree. I can suffer my ex for a short amount of time if that’s what it takes to be free of him once and for all. I fell for him once; I won’t make that same mistake twice.
He says we’re not over. I say we were over before we got started. Only one of us can be right, and I can’t let it be him.
Nicole Williams is one of my go-to-authors. I’ve been a fan for years and she’s hasn’t disappointed me! She’s constantly coming up with fresh ideas, interesting plots and sexy, likeable characters. Exes with Benefits is her new gem. It’s an epic second chance romance. Childhood friends who become teenage lovers and marry at eighteen. It ended before it really began and heartbreak sent Maggie running from her husband, her family, her friends and her home. Five years later she’s back to serve Canaan divorce papers. She’s made a name for herself in Chicago and she just wants him to sign the papers and get back to her life. But he has other ideas. He’s her husband and he’s not letting her go without a fight. He agrees to sign them if she give him one month. Just one month of dating and spending time together and if she wants to leave, he’ll let her go. Canaan isn’t the same man he was when Maggie left. He’s changed. A lot. He’s not the angry teenager with a chip on his shoulder, he just needs to prove to Maggie that she’s always been the one. Maggie doesn’t have time for this. She has a life and a career she loves, but she can’t bring herself to say no to Canaan. They didn’t’ work out before, so why would they now. Canaan is even sexier than he was. The grease and coveralls just add to his appeal, damn him! Maggie is learning that he’s not the same man. He’s calmer. Sexier. Sweeter. And determined to keep her. Is she strong enough to hold her ground? Will Canaan and his charm show her they are meant to be together forever? I loved this story! OMG! Canaan is perfection. Pure perfection. Yes, at the beginning I wanted to smack him upside his head, but he’s grown up, matured and has the words and actions that Maggie needs. She just has to let go of the past and look at her future. This is an emotional story with a lot of past baggage and current obstacles and I was honestly worried that I was going to have to curse Nicole! But I knew she would never let me down. Overall, it’s an emotional story filled with sexiness, humor, sadness, redemption, second chances and sweet words. I already want more of Canaan!
“You’re a married woman, Maggie.”
“My husband forfeited his rights years ago.”
“He’s here to reclaim them.”
Damn. Canaan was in his mechanic jumpsuit, but he has shrugged out of the top half and tied the arms around his waist, leaving nothing to cover his upper half except a thin white tank painted to his skin and a whole mess of grease streaked everywhere else.
“Because you can’t write a great love story without a tragedy to overcome. Because that’s when love’s proved. Not when life’s easy, but when it’s so damn hard you can barely breathe.”
“We are wrong for each other in all the right ways, Canaan Ford.”
“One month is everything when it comes to opening myself back up to you.”
He didn’t argue that. He let silence speak for him instead.
“What exactly are you expecting during this one month?” I might have winced when I heard myself say those words.
He rubbed his mouth, trying to hide whatever was trying to form. “For you to give me another chance. For you to be my wife.”
The term made me nauseated. “Your wife? As in your indentured servant? No way.”
It was a smile he was trying to hide. Not very successfully. It made me thankful I’d slipped into these old boots so I could give him a solid kick in the ass if necessary.
“Like be willing to spend time with me. That’s it. That’s all,” he added when he correctly interpreted the question in my eyes. The question.
“What will we be doing during that time we’re spending together?” I pulled at the chest of my dress when I noticed the way his gaze had lingered there a moment too long.
His shoulder rose. “Got any ideas?” There was an unmistakable glint in his eyes.
“No,” I answered instantly.
“You used to have plenty of ideas for filling the time.” He took a swig of his Coke.
“And then I learned how to use my brain.”
He studied my fake smile, almost like he was contemplating what it would feel like against his mouth. “Dinners. Dates. Simple stuff like that.”
I held my best poker face, considering his offer. I didn’t want to stay married to him. If one more month was what it took to be free of Canaan Ford, I could suck it up. I’d already made it five years. “No expectations of anything of a physical nature?”
“If I remember right”—his eyes narrowed as he rubbed the back of his head—“it was generally you who instigated all of that back then.”
I shoved his chest. Bad idea. Solid. Firm. Home.
My jaw ground as I worked to erase that word from my conscious where he was concerned. “And you were just the perfect gentleman.”
Canaan snatched my hand before I could pull it away. Holding onto it, he dragged me closer. Not so close that our bodies touched, but close enough the separation was painful.
“Exactly,” he said in that low voice of his. The one he’d whispered my name in so many times as he moved inside me. “A gentleman gives his woman exactly what she needs. As many times as she need it. Just doing my part.”
“That’s right. So if you want to make any changes to this one month agreement, consider me your humble servant.” When his hand dropped to my waist, his touch hesitant at the same time it was insistent, I didn’t flinch out of instinct the way I should have.
Instead, I had to remind myself to pull away from him; to flinch at his touch. “I have a boyfriend, Canaan.” Even to my ears, it sounded like a weak protest.
His hand didn’t fall away when I stepped back. “You’re a married woman, Maggie.”
“My husband forfeited his rights years ago.” My eyes found his, expecting them to shoot away once mine made contact.
They didn’t. His gold eyes held to mine. “He’s here to reclaim them.”