Series: The Montgomerys #2
Author: Jennilynn Wyer
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 22, 2022
One damaged woman who was afraid to love again.
One broken man who was lost to anger and darkness.
One perfect love.
“Say my name.”
“You’re My Harper.”
Love wasn’t worth the pain of disappointment and rejection that followed, so Harper Collingswood locked up her heart and swore she would never allow another man to break it. However, Harper couldn’t have anticipated Bennett McIntyre crashing into her life. Literally. Some would call it fate. Some would claim serendipity. Others would say it was destiny. Whatever it was called, it was terrifying. Harper had barely survived one tragedy. Would she be able to survive Bennett as well?
Bennett McIntyre used to have dreams. He used to laugh and be the center of attention. Mr. Popular who had women clamoring to catch his eye and his attention. He was a rising star in baseball with a bright future ahead of him. But he wasn’t that person anymore. Bennett was broken. He was quick to anger and he used his fists to deal with his problems. He hadn’t spoken a word in six months. He gave up his dream of baseball and refused to pick up a glove or a bat. He hated being touched. He just wanted the world to disappear and leave him the hell alone. Bennett wasn’t prepared to come face-to-face with the angel who had saved him on that horrific day six months ago. He wasn’t at all prepared for Harper Collingswood.
Could Bennett become the man who Harper needed and deserved, or would he drag her down into the darkness with him? Would he be able to protect her when a threat from her past came back to claim her?
Reader’s Note and Trigger Warning: Wanderlost is a steamy, New Adult, friends to lovers, college, small town, sports romance, and the second book in The Montgomerys series of stand-alone novels. You do not have to read the other books in The Montgomerys or the Fallen Brook Series to read Wanderlost; however, Wanderlost is part of the Fallen Brook world of books, and characters from previous books will pop up in the story. Each stand-alone in The Montgomerys series focuses on one of Fallon Montgomery’s half-siblings. Wanderlost is Harper’s story. Wanderlost touches upon topics that may be triggering to some sensitive readers such as flashbacks to an active shooter situation in a school setting, depression, drinking, violence, and reference to drug use. The story also contains foul language. Any sexual intimacy between the characters is consensual. For these reasons, the book is recommended for mature readers aged 17+.
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We’re currently in Bennett’s bedroom because I told him I didn’t want to go to mine. I know the nightmares will come as soon as I close my eyes, and I’m so tired right now. I need sleep, real sleep, that doesn’t involve reliving the most horrific day of my life. Somehow, Bennett seems to understand this.
Standing just inside the doorway, I look around his room. It’s bare. Just the bed, a nightstand, a dresser, and a small desk—all college issued. I jump when his warm hand touches my elbow. He places an item of clothing in my hand. It’s his old baseball jersey. Number fifteen. I saw a few of his games back in high school. He was a phenomenal player.
“Thank you,” I tell him. “Should I go change in the bathroom?”
He gives me a dimpled smile, one that makes my heartbeat pick up, and turns his back so that he’s facing away from me. Well, okay then. I guess I’m changing in here. A bra and panties are basically a bikini set. No big deal, right?
Shedding my shirt and the pants I wore to the restaurant, I slip his jersey on over my head. It hangs down to my knees and covers the most important bits. I may also discreetly sniff the collar of the shirt because it smells like Bennett.
I pull back the bedcovers and crawl onto his bed, covering my legs with his sheet. “I’m decent,” I tell him, and he turns around.
The scorching way he’s looking at me has my thighs clenching together under the sheet. He bites his bottom lip and licks of arousal tingle over my skin. Desire is the last thing I should be feeling right now, but holy hell, Bennett is the sexiest fucking man I’ve ever laid eyes on.
He tugs his shirt over his head with one hand, and it’s then I remember his two truths and a lie text.
He cocks his head at me in question.
“You’re not going to sleep naked, are you?” I squeak.
His low chuckle does funny things to the butterflies in my stomach. Bennett tosses the shirt over to the chair, leaving his shorts on. I can’t stop my eyes from roaming his naked chest. It is a very, very nice chest. I know some women love a man with hair on his chest. I’m not one of them. Bennett’s is smooth and defined, wide at the shoulders, and a torso that narrows at the waist. His abs are tight. Not too ridged or bumpy, but simply perfect. I think I made a bad decision about asking to stay here tonight.
Bennett walks over to pull the blinds to the window to block out the morning sun. His back is just as delicious as his front. Stop eye-fucking him.
When he faces me again, I dart my attention to the door. The closed door. I’m alone in a bedroom with Bennett McIntyre in a bed where Bennett McIntyre sleeps. I’m going to die.
I feel the bed dip beside me and clench my eyes tightly shut. Bennett’s hand touches mine and he flips it palm up. That small touch feels so sensual, I swallow down the whimper of need that wants to erupt out of my mouth. What the hell is wrong with me?
I feel him drop something small and cold into my hand. Cracking open an eye, I see that it’s one of his wireless earbuds. An explosion of happiness shoots through my heart. He’s going to play his music. It was how he first communicated with me. I slip the bud in my ear and wait.
Bennett taps a file on his phone and reaches around my shoulder, pulling me to his side. My hand automatically flattens on his bare chest and my head finds the perfect spot to rest over his heart. Hailey Michelle’s version of “Wild Horses” starts to play, and I snuggle in deeper to Bennett’s side. The song is slow, soft, and melodic. Soothing.
“Two truths and a lie,” I murmur sleepily against his chest. My head raises and lowers with each breath he takes. The motion is similar to floating along with the gentle swells of the ocean.
Bennett hasn’t spoken anymore since that first time at the ropes course yesterday. I have no clue if he’ll do so now.
“You are one of the strongest people I know. I wish I hadn’t been a chickenshit in ninth grade and had asked you out. I really want to kiss you.”
All truths. Wait. My eyes fly open. Oh my fucking God. Did he…? My heart is hammering so hard, I’m surprised it isn’t shaking the bed. Then I realize, as I slide my hand up his chest, his heart is beating just as frantically.
I tip my face up and our eyes meet. Those forest-green eyes so easily reel me in and make me want things I’m too afraid to ask for. I lick my lips, and he tracks the swipe of my tongue.
“Say my name.”
Bennett shifts on the bed, tucking me closer into his body. Everywhere we touch electrifies and sizzles. I feel like I’m burning up; a fever of desperate want and longing coiling its hot tendrils around me.
He caresses the side of my face with the backs of his knuckles, before curling his hand around the nape of my neck and burrowing his fingers in my hair. His gaze devours me—my eyes, my cheeks, my mouth. He tightens his grip in my hair at the same time I reach up and touch his bottom lip with my fingertips.
“My Harper,” he whispers and ever so lightly, brushes his mouth against mine.
Excerpt from Chapter 13, Wanderlost, copyright 2022, Jennilynn Wyer
Releasing January 17
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Jennilynn Wyer is the author of the Fallen Brook Series and is the winner of the Chesapeake Romance Writers Rudy Award for Romantic Suspense and a two-time Contemporary Romance Writers Stiletto Finalist. She is an author of steamy, New Adult and College, and Contemporary Romantic fiction. She lives with her family in the Gulf States, is married to a Brit, and you can usually find her in her favorite reading spot, e-reader in hand, with the latest romance novel. Her Teen and Young Adult books are written under the pen name of J.L. Wyer.