September 18, 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.”
Before I could attempt to figure out how to follow that, he lifted his hands. “I’m here to help. That’s all. No hidden agenda. I swear,” he added when I eyed the stack of packing supplies like there was a secret code I was meant to decipher.
“I don’t want to fight. Or argue. Or debate. Or anything else you and I could never stop going on and on about.”
“I don’t either.” He kept his hands raised for another moment before dropping them at his sides. “We didn’t always used to be like that, you know?”
“I remember. And then we turned thirteen and hormones got the better of us and we couldn’t seem to stop fighting.”
“I remember times we weren’t fighting. Lots of times.”
“The only times we weren’t fighting was when we were making out or making something.” I closed the door and cleared my throat.
“Fighting and fucking. We were damn great at both.”
If it wasn’t for the boyish grin he gave me right then, he would have gotten more than a grumble from me.
“We should have just stayed friends. That was the only relationship we were good at.”
“We never could have just stayed friends.”
“Why not?” I glanced around for a sweater to throw on, since that was the second time he’d looked at me like he had to convince himself not to misbehave.
“Chemistry. You and I had it.” He started folding the first box, his hands working with all of his attention directed at me. “You and I still have it.”
The warm jolt that shot through my veins whenever he came close confirmed his theory. However . . .
“You need a lot more than chemistry to make a marriage work. To make any relationship work.”
His shoulder lifted as he taped the box. “Of course you do. But a hell of a lot of chemistry sure doesn’t go bad with all of that other love, trust, and respect stuff. Does it?”
Grabbing a box, I put a good distance between us before starting to make it. “I wouldn’t know.”
Canaan stopped in the middle of yanking a strip of tape. “I felt like we had those things. Maybe not in the amount we should have, but I always loved and trusted you. And I respected the shit out of you too.”
I thought back to all of those nights I stayed awake, waiting for him to come home. My hand cupped around my telephone, whispering silent prayers to whatever god was listening at the time. I thought about the empty bottles and mornings of him not being able to recall anything of the night before. The scents of other women on him. I remembered tending to wounds and mending injuries.
Although the real ones that needed fixed I was never able to heal.
My eyes met his and lingered there. “You had a funny way of showing it.”
His mouth opened instantly, but it closed just as fast. He took a full breath. “I know.”