Title: This Love
Release Date: Aug 4, 2015
Running off to Amsterdam is the best decision Ella ever made in her life. In just a few months, she’s been able to put her past behind her and has found a new family and friends. She can almost ignore the voices in her head telling her this idyllic scenario is temporary.
When Lou Rivers shows up in Amsterdam, he’s the constant reminder of the life she led and the mistakes she made. As the two of them embark on an emotional and musical journey across Europe, Ella will have to face her own insecurities and make a decision that might break them apart forever.
I had never kissed with my eyes open. This was going to be my first time. It took me a couple of seconds to be completely aware of what was happening and realize that I wasn’t imagining his lips pressed on mine. I closed my eyes then, and my lips parted, searching for his tongue. I had wanted this kiss for days, and my tongue wrapped around his a little too fast, too eager.
His hands cradled my face so softly, so gently. My arms circled his neck, and I ran my fingers through his hair. His lips were silky soft, and there was a faint taste of cinnamon on his tongue from the apple tart we just had. His tongue caressed mine over and over until I was breathless. A moan escaped my mouth as he released me and he attacked me again, nibbling at my bottom lip. When he kissed me again and started sucking on my tongue, I was a goner. Heat spread under my skin, coursing through my body, all the way to my fingertips.
He stopped kissing me and released a breath. I found him looking at me with an expression of wonderment in his eyes.
I was glad it was nighttime. The way he was looking at me, had my heart hammering against my chest, and the blood rushing to my cheeks.
Maybe one day I would live to tell Lou Rivers had mad kissing skills. I’d be like one of Elvis’ many flings telling the press—decades later—how great he was. I wondered if I’d get to say we had gone out on dates.
“I’m really sorry about earlier,” he said.
“You should never follow a kiss with an ‘I’m sorry,’” I told him playfully.
“I can’t catch a break with you, can I?” he asked, chuckling.
I shook my head no, but I was smiling at him.
“Are we good?”
“Was it good?” he asked, leaning in, bumping his shoulder against mine.
“Oh my God! What are you, fifteen?” I slapped him playfully on the arm.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” he said with a smugness I hadn’t seen before.
“You know, I’m really not too sure it was that good. I can hardly remember it, already,” I teased.
“You already forgot our first kiss?” he jokingly asked, the smile on his face telling me he was enjoying this. Our first kiss. By the way he said it, it sounded like it was going to be followed by many more.
“I might need a refresher,” I answered, looking at him defiantly.
He leaned down and kissed me again. This time, things were different. Our first kiss was slow, gentle, building. As his lips claimed me, he closed the distance between us, wrapping his arms around me and pulling me to him. As his tongue kept teasing me and tantalizing me, he placed a hand around my waist, and with the other one behind my head, he dipped me slightly backwards. Show-off. I gripped his shoulders, trying to hold my balance. His body was flushed against mine, and I felt something else as well. Apparently, it didn’t take much for him to get...excited. I liked that I was the one doing that to him. His tongue circled around mine over and over, going deeper. It knocked the breath out of me. This one was an unforgettable kiss. And now I was going to want more; there was no going back.
He stopped, leaving me mid-kiss. A sigh escaped me, and as I opened my eyes, I glanced at him. He was breathing fast, and even in the semi-darkness his eyes looked wilder and even more magnetic than usual. A satisfied, lopsided grin spread on his face.
“There. You shouldn’t forget this one. I was trying to be a gentleman earlier.”
“So you were,” I replied, trying to regain control of my body.
He leaned down, gave me one last peck, took my hand, and said, “Let’s go.”
Neither of us could say a word the entire time we were walking back, but his hold on my hand was strong, and I felt like I never wanted to let it go. From time to time, I could feel his eyes on me, but I never looked in his direction, partly because I had a stupid smile I couldn’t wipe off my face. I wanted to lean into him and have his arms around me.
When we got to Johan’s, I finally looked up. Now, this was going to be awkward. How were we going to say goodbye? With a handshake, a hug, or another kiss?
Thankfully, I didn’t have time to think about it much longer, because his strong arms enveloped me and slowly pushed me backwards, until I was against the brick wall. He pressed his body against mine and my arms ran up his body, wrapping around his neck. Our noses touched first, and then our mouths were devouring each other again.
Everybody thinks they know how to kiss, but a lot of people don’t give it the right emphasis. Some guys are so rushed with it, like they are just trying to hurriedly open the doorway to your vagina. That’s one way to shut that door down for good. Guys seem to forget that kissing is the prelude to everything else. It’s the way you introduced yourself. Some guys I’ve kissed wouldn’t open their mouth enough or even give you enough access to their tongue. And they’d be so boring. After a few minutes, I was ready to be done with them. But this, the feeling of his tongue around mine and his soft full lips kissing my face and my neck...I could have kissed him for hours. Lou went from wrapping his tongue around mine to gently biting my bottom lip, and then kissing me under my chin, all the way under my ear, only to trail back up and do it all over again.
His light stubble tickled me at times, but somehow it only made me more aroused. I started shivering under his touch when he slipped one hand under my sweater, trailing all the way up to my ribcage, sliding it under my bra. He took one of my breasts in his hand and started teasing my nipple with his thumb and index finger. I grinded my hips against his while a moan escaped my mouth. I ran my fingers through his hair and started trailing kisses on his neck, sucking on his earlobe. His other hand made its way under my sweater, and they were both caressing my back and it almost seemed as if he was aiming to take my bra off. Okay, this had gone too far.
“Okay, smooth kisser,” I whispered in his ear, my voice low and breathy, “it is Amsterdam and all, but we’re still in the street, making out next to my place of employment. I’d say we have gone far enough,” I pulled away from him, holding his gaze, panting like prey running away from its hunter.
“You’re right,” he said. “I’m sorry.”
“You do say that a lot,” I teased him, mimicking what he had just told me a few days earlier.
“Just tonight, I swear,” he replied, giving me a grin that was hard to resist.
My 4 star review of This Love
I really loved this book from head to toe! Start to finish, it was fantastic. This Love is the first book I have read by Hilaria and it won’t be my last. She had the ability to take me to another world, and submerge me in a culture I know nothing about- and even though the two main characters are American, I just wanted to visit Amsterdam immediately. Their story was fantastic and I absolutely fell in love with Ella and Lou.
Ella is a musician, who has made some poor life choices, but those were her choices nonetheless and she is paying the price. But when she meets Lou, she finds a bond in music, and to him, she wasn’t expecting. I love that they have this hobby in common!! It makes me love the love story even more- because they are instantly drawn to one another. And I love how Lou wants to show her the meaning of true love, how he tries to pursue her is fantastic, and well thought out.
Ella is definitely a free spirited heroine, who I can relate to in many ways. She is really strong. And she has to make really hard decisions sometimes, and I loved that it was really true to life. I love the secondary hodge podge of characters too. They are fantastic. They help make the story more interesting, that’s for sure. The interactions between the main and secondary are necessary to tell the story, in my opinion that’s the best part.
I loved this story, and I hope Hilaria has many more books come out soon- I loved this one, and I think I have seen there is a second one coming out too! I can’t wait for more. And I will be adding Prude, her first novel to my TBR right away. I love discovering new authors!!
Hilaria Alexander was born and raised in the south of Italy, where her family still lives. She attended college at the Istituto Universitario Orientale in Naples, Italy, and lived one year in Tokyo, Japan, as part of an exchange student program. She now lives in Oklahoma City with her husband and kids. When she isn't at work, she is reading, catching up on her favorite TV shows and making up story-lines in her mind. She loves traveling and is a self-proclaimed concert addict. This Love is her second romance novel. She published her first novel, Prude, in January 2015.