Serena Bell a couple of years ago at a lunch hosted by my agent and thought she was absolutely wonderful. So as her new book hits the shelves, I wanted to be the first one to share it with you. So, with no further ado, here's the blurb and an amazing excerpt from Yours to Keep! And a very sexy cover as well :)
Serena Bell makes her Loveswept debut with the captivating story of a
woman living on the edge—and the man who’s destined to love her.
Ana Travares has been looking over her shoulder her whole life. Her
U.S. visa expired when she was a young girl, and if her secret is
discovered, she’ll be forced to return to the Dominican Republic. Ana
allowed herself to get close to someone once before—and after he broke
her heart, she swore never to make the same mistake again. But when a
handsome doctor asks for her assistance, she fantasizes about breaking
all her rules.
Even though pediatrician Ethan Hansen is a
natural when it comes to little kids, as the single father of a teenage
son he just can’t seem to get it right . . . except for the Spanish
tutor he’s hired for his son, Theo. Ana has managed to crack Theo’s
shell—and he isn’t the only one taken with her. The sexy tutor has fired
up Ethan with a potent mix of lust and protectiveness. But as he starts
to envision a future with Ana, Ethan is devastated to learn the truth
about her citizenship. Somehow he’s got to find a way to help her—and
hold on to the woman he’s falling hopelessly in love with.
“So—crazy question.” He had a nice voice, too, low and rumbly. “You wouldn’t happen to be a Spanish tutor, would you?”
“Because my son needs a Spanish tutor.”
Was he serious? She checked him out for signs that he was propositioning her, but his face was earnest.
needed the work. Always needed the work, and needed it worse now, if Ed
decided to blacklist her. But there were a million reasons she
shouldn’t work for this guy. He might cling to the idea that she should
report what had happened with Ed to some authority figure. Or he might
get curious about what had gone on behind the closed door and start
asking questions. She could easily imagine him putting two and two
together, especially when she asked him to pay her cash. Or he could
decide that if Ed could take a shot at her, so could he. She didn’t want
to believe this last thing about him, but she knew better than to
assume that because a man was physically beautiful he was also a saint.
“Mr. Branch can help you find a Spanish tutor,” she said finally.
He made a face. “Don’t make me go back in there.”
She couldn’t help herself; she laughed. The last of her shakiness dissolved.
“He’s really disgusting.”
“Totally vile,” she agreed.
The bell buzzed inside the high
school, and from a few open windows came the sounds of chairs scraping
and students chattering. He shifted from one foot to the other, and a
scowl twisted his features. “My son is giving me hell. He forged my
signature on a form and dropped Spanish. And I didn’t know anything
about it until the teacher started grilling me this morning about why
I’d ignored her note suggesting that I get him a tutor.” He kicked an
uneven spot in the sidewalk and didn’t quite meet her eyes.
His gaze came up, green eyes bright, and he smiled
ruefully. “Yeah. So I need a competent tutor, and I’m guessing you need
work, if you were in there talking to Mr. Hands.”
She giggled. She couldn’t help it. Mr. Hands. Perfect.
“I’m Ethan Hansen, by the way.” He extended his hand.
life didn’t provide chances to shake hands with men, or for any casual
touch outside her family. So it shouldn’t have surprised her that his
hand felt startlingly good around hers, warm and strong, his palm
slightly rough. Her breath went somewhere and was temporarily
unavailable to her. “Ana Travares,” she said, when she could.
“I’m assuming you’re competent? Let’s see. Are you on the
Recommended Tutors list?” He unfolded a piece of paper from his pocket
and scanned it. “You are.”
“Where’d you get that?”
were a bunch of them in a pocket outside that madman’s door.” He held it
out. Her name was indeed on it. “If you’re on the list, you can’t be
all bad, right?”
She wanted to clutch the list like a talisman. She was on it for the
time being, until Ed got around to making a new list. Which he could be
doing at this very moment. And Ethan Hansen had just vividly
illustrated how valuable it was to be on it. In tutoring, there were no
certifications or licenses. Even college and teaching degrees weren’t
essential. All that mattered was how well you convinced the world that
you possessed, in abundance, the required skill.
“Okay,” she said. Or someone said it; she wasn’t actually conscious
of having made a decision to accept the job offer. If her id had its own
greedy little voice, that would have been it speaking: yes to a job,
yes to money, yes to extra security against Ed Branch’s whims.
“Thanks.” The deep smile lines at the sides of his mouth got a
thorough workout for the first time. “That’s great. How’s Monday?”
“Sure. Five o’clock?”
sounds good. He’s home alone after school. Do you mind if I’m not back
when you get there? I’ll be home before six, in time to pay you.”
“You and your wife both work?”
“My wife died when Theo was seven.” Ethan said it matter-of-factly.
“Oh, I’m so sorry.”
could not have been relief she’d felt when he said his wife was dead.
It must have been a stab of sympathy. She wasn’t interested in him.
Couldn’t be interested in him. Not only because he was probably married,
definitely white, and undoubtedly rich and highly educated but also
because she didn’t date anyone.
She’d given up. The men from her neighborhood, the ones who could
handle the news that she was undocumented, found her strange—too brainy,
too American, too self-sufficient for their tastes. And as for men she
met on her own, outside the confines of her family’s approval . . .
Well, there were only two ways they ever responded to finding out that
she was living in the U.S. illegally—the way Ed had, by taking advantage
of her, or by running for the hills. As Walt had. She felt a stab of
pain at the memory of how things had played out with Walt.
Ethan coughed. “Yeah, so, about Monday. Like I said, I work until
late. Theo’s home alone. But if it’s not a problem for you, then Monday
“Do you have something I could write my address on?”
She fished in her backpack for a pen and some paper. He wrote his address and handed them back to her.
“Um, see you Monday, then?”
They shook on it, and this time she steeled herself, so she felt only a shiver of pleasure at the rough touch of his palm.
“See you Monday.” He released her hand.
As she went up the
hill toward the train station, she tried hard not to think about whether
he was watching her walk away, or whether he was looking forward to
Monday, or whether he’d been similarly affected by that very small,
theoretically innocent, skin-to-skin contact.