We’re celebrating the release of THE REAL by Kate Stewart!
They say it happens when you least expect it.
It did for me.
It started the moment I saw the simple message pop up on my computer screen:
Cameron’s Mac: Hi.
And when I met the eyes of the gorgeous man messaging me from across the coffee shop, I never thought my reply would lead to the most intense, sexual, and passionate relationship of my life.
We both agreed to check our bags at the door and put our future hopes and aspirations on the table.
I fell in love with his no holds barred attitude, sexy smirk, and undeniably good heart . . . and for a while we forgot about our baggage. We happily tripped over it to get to the other, neither of us willing to show the contents of our pasts in the off chance it could ruin us.
We built our love on a foundation of gray.
It was life in black and white that threatened to tear us apart.
Cameron’s Mac: Hi.
I looked above my laptop and took a deep breath before I accepted his invitation.
Abbie’s Mac: Hi.
Abbie, he’s going to wear your skin! I tried to ignore my inner voice.
Cameron’s Mac: I saw you with the homeless guy.
Abbie’s Mac: Ok?
He took a sip out of his Real Men Love Pomeranians mug and shrugged before he typed.
Cameron’s Mac: So, that was nice of you. Most people in the city just walk on by.
Abbie’s Mac: Oh. Most people do walk past Bennie. But he’s different and I’m not most people.
He lifted a brow and bit his lip.
Cameron’s Mac: I see that.
Cameron’s Mac: Want to have your next cup with me?
Say yes, say yes! It’s only coffee!
Abbie’s Mac: No, thank you.
His brows drew tight with his frown.
Cameron’s Mac: Sure? How about some breakfast?
My pulse raced with the memory of my last reaction to that type of attention and the consequences, and I answered without another thought.
Abbie’s Mac: No, thanks.
His chuckle was deep and covered me, even across the space between us. He bit his full bottom lip as he typed, his smirk still intact.
Fuck. Me. Damn it, Abbie!
Cameron’s Mac: Well, I guess today is not my day.
Abbie’s Mac: That’s all you’ve got?
I had no clue why I sent that message . . . why I was bothered that he didn’t try harder. Just that fucking smirk. It was sexy as hell.
He read my message and shrugged as he typed.
Cameron’s Mac: You seem to enjoy coffee. I don’t have an agenda. You’re beautiful, I noticed. I wanted to drink coffee with you. You said no. I’m going to scrape up the rest of my pride now and head out.
He closed his laptop and stood while I deflated. Damn it. He was being nice. Since when are guys just . . . nice?
Am I a man hater? Have I become that woman?
I spoke up as he slipped his computer into a worn leather bag.
“I’m sorry,” I offered in quick apology. “I was expecting some horrible line or screwed up proposition. The web, messaging, anything that has to do with technology has been hazardous for me. I’ve seen enough unsolicited dick pics for a lifetime. I was just being cautious.” And that was the truth. But I’d said it aloud in verbal vomit. Did I really say “dick pics” out loud?
He chuckled again as he looked down at me from where he stood, then grinned.
“Today isn’t the right day.” The husky baritone of his voice matched the silky hue of his eyes, which seemed to darken as he looked me over.
“No?” I asked in a whisper as I sized up his six-foot-plus frame and imagined the possibilities.
“No,” he said. “Maybe we can not have coffee again sometime?”
He’d tapped out with a simple ‘no’ from me. He couldn’t have been that interested in the first place.
I couldn’t deny the disappointment welling up in my ovaries.
“Okay.” I lifted the last syllable when he didn’t press further.
Cameron pulled out his wallet and set some money on his table then walked over to mine and did the same.
“At least let me buy your next cup.”
After setting the bills down, he stood over me briefly and I caught his scent—purely masculine. I inhaled as much as I could without being obvious. He didn’t smell like a psycho.
Cameron picked up his man–bag while I pictured running my fingers through his messy, inches thick, dark-brown hair.
Don’t let him leave. Tell him you aren’t that big of a bitch. But that would seem desperate. You aren’t desperate. But you are horny. Omg, are you horny??
As if reading my thoughts, I caught another flash of his teeth and had to bite my cheek to keep my reaction in check.
“I’ll see you.”
“Yeah, see you. And thanks,” I said to his retreating back, an octave louder than necessary. “For the coffee,” I added. Outside the window, Cameron bent and exchanged words with Bennie before sticking some cash in his hand.
Well, Abbie. Guess you’ll just have to wait until the next time you roll out of bed and a beautiful man hits on you. Should happen again, you IDIOT!
Once again, my hesitance had cost me. And I couldn’t help but feel like this time it cost me big.
Sagging into my seat, I continued to stare in his direction, watching those broad shoulders walk out of my life.
Kate Stewart lives in Charleston, S.C. with her husband, Nick, and her naughty beagle, Sadie. A native of Dallas, Kate moved to Charleston three weeks after her first visit, dropping her career of 8 years, and declaring it her creative muse. Kate pens messy, sexy, angst-filled contemporary romance as well as romantic comedy and erotic suspense because it’s what she loves as a reader. A lover of all things ’80s and ’90s, especially John Hughes films and rap, she dabbles a little in photography, can knit a simple stitch scarf for necessity only and does a horrible job of playing the ukulele. Aside from running a mile without collapsing, traveling is the only other must on her bucket list. On occasion, she does very well at vodka.
Contact Kate – Email – email@example.com
If you’ve read DRIVE and loved it I’m happy, because it was my top favorite of 2017. If you expect The Real is a continuation or Drive 2 rethink – when has Kate Stewart ever recycled a story? She has an incredible gift of putting her own unique spin on every trope and plot. And you bet that she did that with The Real.
Cameron and Abbie are troubled characters. At a certain age almost everyone comes with baggage but Cameron and Abbie decide to leave theirs at the front door and start with a clean slate. The rules are: no expectations, no talk about the past, no absolutes – just getting to know the people they are now, being in the now. The time they spend together is full of laughter and new things, banter, joy and growing feelings. And for a while this works really well and in their favor but at some point you need to drag the skeletons out of the closet and talk about the things that shaped you into the person you are today, right?
It was always the pain that twisted love into a tragedy. Expectations ruined the rest.
But let me tell you about Abbie and Cameron.
All the swoons for Cameron – I fell in love with the King of Woo from the first moment. He so deserves this name – he has this charming personality, the sweet, untroubled one that makes you think “this man has everything in his life and yet he wants ME.” His romantic gestures make Abbie feel special, adored…wooed. He showers her with his affection and under his caring hands Abbie starts to bloom. Cameron is an unforgettable character, he was so honest and sweet about his feelings and adoration for Abbie. It was obvious that he fell in love with her early on.
“The only thing that could trump you today, Abbie, is you tomorrow. And I don’t want to be without you tomorrow.”
Abbie is highly suspicious of everyone. It’s not just a quirk though, it’s something she developed over the past years. Her inability to trust men has kept her from a change in her relationship status, a fact that she hates when everyone else is marrying the love of their lives. The cafe she goes to every Saturday is her safe haven, where she can pretend she is normal. When Cameron and Abbie set their rules it’s the first time in a while that she feels freed from the burden of her past. Abbie was funny and smart, cautious for having been burned in the past but I didn’t fault her for that. She needed to process everything at her own pace.
I have to admit that for a little while I didn’t think that Abbie deserved Cameron but her insight, her own moment of enlightenment, the way she covered every concern I had and came to the right conclusion made her perfect.
In a new world of second chances, I was the luckiest son of a bitch alive. I knew it.
I loved how their relationship developed at a slow simmer. Their exchanges were funny and adorable from the beginning, turning more personal with every meeting, taking it to the next level with the crescendo of a toe-curling kiss that will set your Kindle on fire.
” I want you. I’m not jaded anymore, Cameron.”
I feel the same,” he whispered softly. “You’ve changed everything for me.”
There is one aspect in this story that lifts this book from great to fantastic – unfortunately giving details would spoil the story so I’m being very vague but it’s something that people don’t talk about although we know it exists. I thought it was a stroke of genius and I love that Kate Stewart built a story about this issue.
Ms Stewart tosses us into a hurricane of emotions and for a good portion of the book I was cursing at her for having my heart in a too-tight grip. Joy and delight is mixed with gut-wrenching pain and sorrow. There is tenderness and light-hearted banter and fun, passion and anger to find in this story. Emotional, thought-provoking and poignant – it’s what this author’s books are known for and the reason why I keep coming back to her for more. She makes it hurt so good. DRIVE will be hard to push off the pedestal of TOP FAVORITE but The Real comes close.