TH Dear Author recTicket Home

Is that a cell phone in his pocket … or is he just happy to see her?

When Amy Moreland left Seattle, she never expected to see her workaholic ex-boyfriend again. Encountering him on her Connecticut-to-New-York-City commute is the surprise of her life. He seems hell-bent on winning her back, but every time his cell phone rings, it’s a painful reminder of how he failed to put her first.

Jeff Havers can’t help that his phone keeps interrupting his carefully composed apology speech, but having Amy sic the Metro North security team on him is a bit much. Once he talks his way out of handcuffs, he focuses on coaxing Amy to tell him about the fears that drove her away.

As the train ride takes them through the landscape of their lost life together, sparks fly and remembered heat reignites. But if they’re not brave enough to overcome the still-fresh pain of old wounds, it could be too late to pursue what really matters—their ticket home.

Warning: This book contains steamy train-car action, sex on the stairs, and a hero determined to give his velvet-and-heels-clad woman exactly what she’s looking for.

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Praise for Ticket Home

“A sweet and spicy ride with surprising tenderness and emotion. Highly recommend!”
—Molly O’Keefe, author of Crazy Thing Called Love

“A well-crafted, sexy, soulful journey you won’t want to miss.”
—Mira Lyn Kelly, USA Today bestselling author

“Totally gripping, raw, sexy romance.”
—Charlotte Stein, author of Sheltered

“An amazing debut with great characters and plenty of steam.”
—Gina Maxwell, New York Times bestselling author

Ticket Home is a debut work by Ms. Bell and it’s damn good. … Ms. Bell’s tale has heart, heat, and hope. … It’s no easy to feat to create intensely sympathetic, utterly real characters in 78 pages. Ms. Bell does so with the panache of a veteran novelist.”
—Dabney Grinnan for Dear Author

Ticket Home is the debut for Ms. Bell and I would say she has penned a winner.  Full of angst and heartbreaking love and happiness, I wish this novella had been about 150 pages longer.  I look forward to whatever Ms. Bell has in store for us.”
—Jennifer Myers for Fiction Vixen

Excerpt from Ticket Home

Copyright © 2012 Serena Bell
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

“Is this seat taken?”

Amy had been dozing, her head lolling on the vinyl train seat, a victim of Metro-North’s gently rocking progress over the aging tracks on the way to Manhattan. The sweet shug of well-fitted metal on metal and the slight hitch in the train’s forward motion had soothed her to sleep like a fully grown baby in an industrial-strength swing. But at the sound of that male voice, her eyes flew open, and she looked up into a pair of eyes that were more familiar than her own.

“Jeff!”

His name burst out before she could bite back the joy in her voice. If he hadn’t surprised her, she would have said it coolly, would have pretended away the shock and, yes, elation. She would have held him at bay. But it was too late now. All her excitement, all her hope, was right there in her voice.

His smile told her he’d heard it.

He’d come for her. Six months too late, but he’d crossed the three thousand miles she’d put between them and come for her. He loves me, she thought, drinking in his long-lashed brown eyes, strong jaw, and dark brown hair that had gotten longer since she’d seen him last, long enough to fall over one eye.

“Hey,” he said. “I can’t tell you how good it is to see you.”

“Yeah. It’s…good to see you too.” That was the understatement of the century. “But—what—? You’re on my train. What are you doing on my train?”

“I flew in last night. I didn’t want to wait until tonight to see you.”

She felt a rush of pleasure at that, melting warmth she’d forgotten he could call up at his whim.

“Your cousin told me where to find you. I got on at White Plains. I couldn’t— I wanted to talk, Ames.”

Ames. No one had called her that in six months. She could feel herself softening like caramel on a sunny day, as she had so many times back in Seattle. But she made herself be patient. He had apologizing and explaining to do. Recanting and reforming. She was supposed to be angry at him.

Where have you been all these months?

Why didn’t you try to stop me when I left?

Why wouldn’t you at least entertain the idea of my taking this job?

Because that was what had precipitated all this: their breakup, her flight across the country, these months of separation. She had gotten a job offer in New York, a chance to move from financial aid officer to director of financial aid, to work for her alma mater, and when she’d told him—

She could still see his face when he said it. There’s no way that could work. Pure dismissal.

He couldn’t have made it any clearer.

It wasn’t just that she was supposed to be angry at him. She was angry, the memory of it returning with a fast, brutal strength. Hardening her against him.

She was grateful for it. She needed that hardness, because without it, he broke her heart, over and over.

Yet it was surprisingly difficult to sustain her anger. To be as cold and clear and unmoved as she knew she needed to be. For one thing, even without looking at him full-on, she was aware of the muscles moving in his upper arm and shoulder beneath his suit coat as he clung to the metal bar above his head. She wanted to ogle him, to remember the exact nature of that shift and bunch, muscle and sinew.

“Amy—” He swayed as he loomed over her, suspended from the metal rail above. His eyes were luminous and dark under those gorgeous lashes, filled with something big he wanted to say to her. Hope expanded like a brilliant bubble in her chest. “I’m so sorry, Ames. If I could go back and do it differently, if I could go back and hear you out, and not be such a stubborn son of a bitch, I’d do it. I don’t know why I reacted the way I did. I don’t know why—”

A head poked out from the seat in front of hers, and a thick Brooklyn accent said, “D’ya mind? You’re not the only ones on this train.”

Jeff made a sound that might have been a laugh. He leaned closer, close enough that she could see the day’s beard growth clinging to his jaw, and asked, “Can I sit with you?”

She hesitated. She was afraid, afraid of her own susceptibility to his physical presence. Afraid if she let him slide into the seat, if he sat that close and smelled like Jeff, she would fall back into her old ways, forgetting that she had ripped herself away from him, Band-Aid from skin, and crossed an entire country to escape exactly this weakness in herself.

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