About This Loving Feeling:
Samantha Rushford’s future looks bright: the high school art teacher is getting ready to leave Mirror Lake and move to Boston with her ambitious boyfriend, and she hopes a diamond ring is just around the corner. But her past still has a hold on her—especially the bittersweet memory of her rebellious ex, who kissed her passionately before he left town without a word.
Since then, Lukas Spikonos has parlayed his rebel ways into life as an up-and-coming recording artist. When he shows up for a surprise gig at the high school prom, Sam is more dumbstruck than starstruck—he used the words of a poem she wrote about their breakup to create a number one hit. But Lukas hasn’t returned just to impress students; he’s facing some real-life responsibilities and needs Sam’s help. But she has her own unresolved issues about the life she wants to lead. Will the music—and the pull of true love and family—put their hearts back in harmony?
REVIEW: THIS LOVING FEELING (MIRROR LAKE) BY MIRANDA LIASSON
This Loving Feeling by Miranda Liasson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Like everyone else Sam just wants to be happy. The problem? Figuring out what she has to do in order to become that way. Ms. Liasson has a knack for intertwining the reader with the story, at least in my case. Her characters are so life like that it feels as if they jump off the page and pulled me inside. Lukas and Sam face some tough choices on the road to forgiveness if a second chance is even possible. I received an ARC of This Loving Feeling in exchange for an honest review. It takes more than love to make a relationship work, it takes dedication and maturity as well. Ms. Liasson at her finest.
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Sam was suddenly swept away by her own students, the traitors. “Oh my God, Ms. Rushford, you know him?” one of her students asked. She only had time to shrug as they collectively pushed her forward, everyone shouting and cheering. She managed to catch Jess’s gaze from her place near the drinks, full of concern and worry. As the crowd began chanting “Ms. Rushford, Ms. Rushford,” and “Sing one song, Sing one song,” she knew she was doomed. She couldn’t disappoint her kids, seeing how excited they were at the amazing turn of events, so she allowed herself to be drawn up onto the stage.
Under the spotlight and the disco ball, she found herself next to Lukas Spikonos. The splinter under her thumbnail. The water seeping into her shoes on a rainy day. The prickle in the bouquet of roses. And every other awful metaphor she could think of.
She could force herself to make nice, for the sake of her kids. She had no choice. She would never spoil this for them, no matter how much she disliked him.
“Hello, Samantha,” Lukas said, tossing his head a little to flick a lock of gypsy black hair out of his eyes. He played a little strum on his guitar, the spotlight bouncing off its spit-shined wood, as he casually hooked one long leg around the rung of a stool and gestured for her to take a seat on another one nearby. There went that smile again, still slightly crooked even though he could surely afford to throw millions at some dental work.
She deflected the smile by glancing at the guitar. Some fancy acoustic model she knew nothing about. He had one arm draped around it, his hand hanging casually over the body. Those hands. Each long, elegant finger adorned with a hammered silver ring she knew he’d made himself. On his wrists, he wore bands of leather cords.
Reluctantly, she looked up. Met his deep, searching gaze, being careful not to look too long lest it suck her in and turn her to dust. “Hi, Spike,” she said, deliberately avoiding his God-given name. “Long time no see.”
“You as well, Samantha Rushford,” he said as he swept her slowly up and down, taking in every inch. “Long time no see.” Then he started the riff, that same damn one again. He crooned into the mic, his butter-soft voice spreading smoothly through the gym and trying to work its way into her heart.
But failing. Gritting her teeth, she forced a frozen smile. For the kids, for the kids, she repeated to herself as every impulse begged her to reach out and strangle his beautiful neck with one of those shiny guitar strings. She crossed her arms to hide her clenched fists.
For the next three minutes, life imitated art in the weirdest way as she joined him in a song about love gone bad. Their love gone bad. The pure, resonant tones of his voice seemed to vibrate clear through to her soul. Her own voice was adequate but didn’t hold a candle to the angelic quality of his. She simply carried the familiar melody as he harmonized and blended their voices together until they sounded . . . beautiful. The anguish she had written about long ago was the anguish he now sang about, carried on his face, and the very intimacy of it shook her deeply.
At last the music ended. Panic swelled inside her chest. It was only a song. To believe more would be as unrealistic as believing in a child’s fairy tale. She shook her head to dissipate the spell that seemed to envelop her like the cacophony of applause and cheers sounding all around them. When the final whoops and hollers went up at the end, she took her chance and hopped off the stool.
Out of the spotlight, he grabbed her by the elbow. She spun to face him.
“I thought you’d want the chance to finally sing that to my face,” he said, his coffee-black eyes flashing.
“Gee, thanks. I’ve been waiting six years for that. I feel so much better now.”
He tugged her back under the spotlight and spoke into the microphone, “Hey kids, give your teach a hand. Her voice is so sweet it makes your heart break, doesn’t it?”
Suddenly he leaned over and she realized with horror that he was going to kiss her. She politely offered her cheek while clenching her teeth but he ignored her civilized gesture. He pushed his guitar aside, wrapped one hand around her neck, then pulled her in and kissed her directly on the mouth.
His lips were pliant and soft. His kiss was gentle but thorough, bold, and cocksure. He tasted like peppermint and his own unique, seductive flavor that brought unwanted memories hurling back. He pulled away and looked at her with a blank expression, as if he were actually startled by his own brash behavior. Then the wicked sparkle returned, and a wide bad-boy grin spread slowly over his face.
“You arrogant bastard,” she hissed in his ear, still smiling, above the deafening uproar of the gym.
She turned to go, but he reached out yet again. For a moment, they were in the shadows. His grip on her arm felt hot and tingly, probably from all the outrage coursing through her body. In the dim light she saw something raw in his eyes. She used to be attracted to precisely this exact kind of danger, this risk. That was before she’d lost a brother seven years ago. She’d learned the hard way that stable and steady was far better than a wild roller coaster ride that gave you an adrenaline rush and a headache.
“Let me see you later,” he said off mic. On the stage, a handler took away the stools. The gym went black except for a lone spotlight, beckoning him for his next song.
He had to go, as always. But this time, Sam wasn’t going to be the one he left behind.
She shrugged out of his warm grasp, shaking her head. Then she took advantage of the darkness and slipped away.
About Miranda Liasson:
Miranda Liasson loves to write stories about courageous but flawed characters who find love despite themselves, because there’s nothing like a great love story. And if there are a few laughs along the way, even better! She’s a former Golden Heart winner who writes series romance for Entangled Publishing and lighthearted contemporary romance for Montlake Publishing. She lives in the Midwest with her husband, three kids, and Posey, a rescue cat with attitude.
Author Website: www.mirandaliasson.com
Author Blog: http://www.mirandaliasson.com/blog/
Author Twitter: : https://twitter.com/mirandaliasson
Author Facebook: : https://www.facebook.com/MirandaLiassonAuthor
Personal Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/miranda.liasson
Pinterest board for the book: (https://www.pinterest.com/mirandaliasson/a-man-of-honor/
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