Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Excerpt: FINDING HAVEN by T.A. Foster @tafosterwriter

Power. Money. Control. Love.

He has all but one.

When movie star, Evan Carlson, discovers his girlfriend’s picture with another man splashed on the cover of gossip magazines, he decides he’s had enough of his fishbowl life and attempts to outrun the media frenzy his relationships have become. Driving until the road stops, he ends up on the remote and quaint Perry Island, where a heartthrob can blend in like the locals and be a beach bum as long as he wants. All that changes when Evan meets Haven Owen, aspiring songwriter and the girl he just can’t get enough of. A summer romance turns into something much deeper and Evan gets tangled in his own web of lies to keep Haven in his life. But when his ex tracks him down, Evan learns there are some things you just can’t outrun.

Is the cost of love, losing all control?

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“Good morning, sunshine.” Travis beamed as Haven reached behind him for an apron.

He moved closer so that her arm grazed the firm muscles in his shoulder. The pair was almost eye level, and when he was this close, Haven could see deep flecks of amber in his dark eyes.

“Hey.” She stepped back, slipped the straps over her neck, and tied the strings tightly around her waist. Nothing was more unflattering than these canvas aprons her father made everyone who worked at Owen’s General Store wear.

“I’ve had better greetings,” the store clerk teased. He had stopped sweeping. He leaned against the broom handle with one arm while his free hand roamed Haven’s hip, resting on the curve of her waist. His palm felt warm through the thinness of her T-shirt.

Haven rolled her eyes. “I’m not a morning person. You know this.” She tugged at his wrist, working herself free.

“I wouldn’t forget something like that.” He smiled. She noticed he was overdue for a haircut. However, most surfers let their hair grow long in the summer. Travis wasn’t any different.

“Just stop with the chipper-chipperness.” Her cheeks flushed pink with the memory of waking up under Travis’s tanned arms. That had been two days ago. She glanced over his shoulder and read the clock above the register. 5:45. Even with rushing around, she was still fifteen minutes late. God, she had to get out of here.

Travis gripped the handle and turned his attention to the strokes of the broom across the store’s hardwood floors. “Got it.”

She hadn’t meant to snap at him. He was just being Travis, and she was doing what she always did—lashing out at him when he was only being nice. But, it was too familiar, too intimate. True, things had taken an awkward turn since they had made out after Ben Jordan’s bonfire party, but somehow Haven had convinced herself they could do those things to each other in the dark under the influence of too many red cups, and it would magically disappear when they worked together at the store. It didn’t go as planned. It never did.

“Trav, I’m—” Before she could complete the apology, her father barged through the back hallway. She bristled when he appeared.

“Haven? You late again?” The white-haired man avoided his daughter’s eyes and looked at Travis.

Unbelievable. This happened almost every morning and every morning Travis covered for her, but this time she didn’t deserve her ass to be saved. Her eyes darted toward the dark-haired boy as if to say, “It’s ok. I know I’m toast.”

“Haven was here, sir. Right on time.” Travis circled around, concentrating on the dust pile and not Haven’s wide eyes.

“Good. Travis, would you mind giving me a hand? There’s a delivery out back on the docks. Bait shrimp’s in.”

“Sure thing, Mr. Owen.” Travis winked as he handed his broom to Haven. “Maybe you could finish this for me.”

“Uh. Sure.” She took the handle and watched as the two men disappeared into the hallway’s delivery entrance.

Travis would certainly give her a hard time about the whole exchange; he always did. If he thought covering for her would lead to more alone time, he had the wrong idea about what happened between them. Haven couldn’t deny they had chemistry and the night at the beach was hot—hotter than it should have been.

Things had gradually escalated in the past month since she arrived home from college graduation. It started with an accidental kiss in the shadows of the employee parking lot after work, and then one night the kiss moved to the backseat of the car when Haven thought they had technically rounded second base. It was as if Travis had transformed into the hot new guy when she was gone last semester. Everything about his body was new to her.

She secretly admitted she liked getting to know this side of him, but the there was one thing about him that hadn’t changed. He wasn’t interested in stepping one toe off the island, and Haven didn’t want to keep one toe on it. No amount of flirting or hot kisses could change that.

About the Author

T.A. Foster is a Southern girl whose heart and spirit are connected to the beach. She grew up catching rays and chasing waves along the North Carolina Outer Banks and now resides in the state with her adventurous pilot husband, two children and two canine kiddos.

Her long love affair with books started at an early age and as soon as she was able, she transformed imaginative stories into words on paper. T.A. has an undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a graduate degree in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M University.  When she’s not chasing her two-legged and four-legged children or trying to escape for date night, you can find her reading, writing or planning her next beach trip.

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