We Are Us, an all-new, angst-filled, second-chance standalone romance from Tara Leigh is releasing February 27th, and I have the gorgeous cover along with the very first sneak peek!
“Close your eyes.” I slant a curious look at Gavin, taking in his kiss-swollen lips and flushed skin, his untamable mop of hair and the blaze of excitement lighting up the blue of his corneas. Gavin squeezes my hand reassuringly as I do what he’s asked, then slowly walks me the remaining few steps toward our cave. Without vision, my other senses are heightened. The cry of birds sounds closer, like they are perched just overhead instead of on branches thirty or forty feet above. The bite of the breeze on my skin is sharper, each gust sending a chill racing along already sensitive nerve endings. The smell of ripe earth and rich evergreen and the clean, bracing scent of Gavin himself is downright intoxicating, my head swimming as I pull breaths deep into my lungs. Most of all, the moonstone pendant laying against my collarbone is making my chest tingle, my heart fluttering against my ribcage. “Okay, open them.” I do, immediately gasping in surprise at what Gavin’s done to our little cave. There are candles burning and scattered rose petals—no, poppy petals—and a basket filled with drinks and snacks. A pile of blankets and pillows. “You did all this for me?” I ask, my voice sounding whispery and weird. I feel whispery and weird. I’ve never had a birthday like this. I’ve never even imagined a birthday like this. First the necklace and now, seeing the lengths Gavin has gone for me… Beneath the surface of my skin, I’m a chaotic mess of emotions. I don’t know what to say, how to act. This is unchartered territory for me. “Of course,” he says, as if it’s nothing. But it’s not nothing. It’s everything. Before I dissolve into a teary puddle, Gavin reaches into his pocket and pulls out a deck of cards. “You taught me how to play gin rummy—how about I teach you to play poker?” A strangled laugh leaves my throat. “I think that’s fair.” We sit down and Gavin spends a few minutes going over the basics of the game before dealing out the cards. It’s not as easy as gin rummy, but I get the hang of it after a few rounds. And when Gavin lifts a mischievous brow and asks, “Want to make things interesting?” I know exactly what he’s doing. Not just poker. Strip poker. And that’s when I realize just how much planning went into tonight. Beyond buying me an expensive present. Beyond pimping out our cave. Gavin found a way to make my first time—our first time—a mix of old and new. An experience evoking our past and celebrating our future. I’ve imagined the night Gavin and I would finally go all the way a million times. But I’d only focused on the physical aspects. Would it hurt? Will there be blood? What if I do it wrong? It never crossed my mind that he would take such care with… everything. But, of course, it should have. Gavin Cross is one of a kind. And he’s mine.