Larissa C. Moyer spent her early adult life bouncing around different cities as a musical theater actor and making lattes behind too many espresso bars to count. When she isn’t snuggling with her dog or driving her sweet husband completely bananas, she can usually be found reading a romance novel with some sort of beverage or snack close by. Amazingly, though, sometimes she can do all of those things at the same time! Her plan is write epic love stories in each of the cities she lived and loved. You can find her on Instagram @sincerely_lovelarissa or on TikTok @larissacmoyer
“Our word is lightning.”
Dean Roberts is at a never-ending crossroads.
A single dad adjusting to a world where his ex-wife barely tolerates him, and his brother is engaged to his ex-girlfriend.
But . . . he’s almost a year sober.
So, at least there’s that.
He just needs to keep control.
Enter Amelia James.
The green-eyed beauty has worked tirelessly to bury a haunting past.
As a kid who grew up in foster care, she decided long ago that life was easier alone.
Alone is safe.
She lives a simple life with her cat and that’s more than enough for her.
When the two of them unexpectedly meet, the attraction is instant. And Amelia’s interest piques when Dean starts a conversation with her in sign language.
Their one night stand becomes a series of chance encounters, something neither one of them can ignore.
But their lives are messy. And when Amelia’s past joins the tumultuous winds of Dean’s present, it tangles their deepening connection.
Threatening the existence they’ve each so carefully curated
This is a story of the beauty in brokenness. Learning to live with our scars.
It’s not about forgetting . . . it’s about finding more.
Trigger Warnings: Sexual assault, irresponsible role play, child abuse, alcoholism/addiction, PTSD
Is this what the bar scene has to offer?! The only time I’ve spent in bars is to pick up a take out order, but I hopped in here on a whim after returning a book to the library.
My mind has felt . . . busy all day and I didn’t want to call on Tim two days in a row. But I may need to rethink my prowling grounds because . . . this guy could be the hottest man I’ve ever seen.
His wavy brown hair is thoroughly grabbable and the chiseled cut of his jaw is prominent from beneath his short, copper-colored scruff.
I have a strong urge to bite it.
When his eyes drift over to me, I do my best to pretend I wasn’t just inches away from him, contemplating what it would be like to bite his face. Instead, my mouth pulls up at the corner and I tuck my hair behind my ear.
A timid smirk tilts on his lips as his eyes drift from my ear and then back to my eyes. “Hey,” he signs.
A sharp inhale inflates my chest. The hot, broody man signs?!
My lips pull to smile and I almost let it happen. Almost. But instead, I simply lift the corner of my mouth as I sign, “Hi,” back to him.
Our small exchange is interrupted by the bartender. He places two napkins down in front of us but then directs his attention to the Tall-Dark-And-Bend-Me-Over-The-Bar man next to me. “What can I get ya?” he asks, a flirtatious smile inching.
I’ll fight you for him, tapster . . .
The guy next to me shifts in his seat and clears his throat. It takes him a solid ten seconds to finally answer, “Club soda with lime, please.”
Oh fuck. The timbre of his voice is downright . . . irresponsible. It’s low and husky and it sends a jolt of electricity through every one of my nerve endings.
You thirsty bitch. Calm down.
He looks over at me, signing, “Do you want something?”
Um . . . yes, sir, I do.
My lips tilt, taking a subtle glance at his ring finger. When I find it bare, I nod before glancing back at the bartender. “I’ll take the same.”
He nods, giving one more scan to the guy next to me before he turns to get our drinks.
“I think you’ve caught his attention,” I sign, eyeing the bartender.
His eyebrows raise with a nod, signing, “Well, flattering as that is, he’s not really my type.” His eyes darken toward me, silently suggesting that I might be more his type and my heart nearly skips a beat.
His thumb absentmindedly taps on the lip of the bar while his knee lightly bounces below it. Turning back toward him, I sign, “So . . . you’re not deaf?”
He shakes his head. “My brother is.”
He tosses it out there so casually that the light flutter in my chest suddenly feels like a goddamn bat cave. I know for a fact that plenty of deaf kids grow up in homes where their parents don’t even learn sign language.
The statistics are kind of insane, actually. At least ninety percent of deaf kids are born to hearing parents and only ten to fifteen percent of those people ever learn sign language.
So . . . he’s not only gorgeous, but he’s a fucking unicorn.
I clear my throat as the bartender sets our drinks down, breathing a laugh before I sign, “We might be the lamest bar flies in Chicago.”
He tilts his chin up in a lazy nod, staring at his glass with an expression I can’t quite place before he turns toward me. He raises the glass just slightly between us, signing, “To lame,” with his other hand.
I pick mine up too, clinking it with his glass before we each take a sip. As I set my glass back down on the bar, his eyes catch mine again and the cool liquid seems to soothe my burning loins enough to notice that he seems . . . distressed.
His warm, coffee-colored eyes look a little worn and tired. I notice the slight tension he’s holding in his jaw and forehead.
I wonder what’s wrong . . .
I shake my head, quickly reminding myself that it doesn’t matter. Broody, after all, is the male equivalent to unhinged in females. We’re the most adventurous in the bedroom, but God help you if you have to deal with us outside of it.
Something about his demeanor tells me that he’s looking for an escape, too. Which is odd, seeing as he ordered a drink with no booze.
But then again, so did I.
“What’s your name?” he signs.
I’m about to give him the name I give to all men but . . . the fact that I’d be signing it stops me. I’ve never signed that name before and . . . I don’t really want to.
I fingerspell my name and then show him my name sign, “A. Heart.”
A soft smile pulls up his cheeks before he signs, “I’m Dean,” but he only fingerspells his name.
My eyebrows pull together. “You don’t have a name sign?”
He sighs, taking another sip of his drink before he looks back to me. “No, I do.”
I sit waiting, staring at him in anticipation and he chuckles while he shakes his head. As I bring my glass back to my lips, another sigh escapes him before he signs, “D. Fart.”
My hand moves to cover my mouth as I snort a laugh. Once I swallow, the laughter trickles out.
He nods, still chuckling himself. “Yeah, laugh it up. But my brother gave it to me when we were kids and he refuses to give me a new one.”
Something in my chest swells. He might not like the name sign, but he respects it. And . . . it’s cool. My shoulders relax and my head tilts, signing, “Hey, ya know, audibly—our name signs rhyme.”
The ghost of a smile pulls on his lips as he nods. Another moment passes and we both take another sip of our drinks, letting a slightly awkward pause loom between us.
For someone that’s as bold as I am in the bedroom, I don’t actually have a lot of experience with picking up men. And I’m out of practice. My consistency with Tim has allowed me to be an exclusive slut for the last few months, but even when I met him, it wasn’t in this kind of setting.
One where I saw him walk in and positioned myself next to him. One where he noticed me and struck up a conversation.
“So do you live in the neighborhood?” I sign, mostly to make conversation. It only occurs to me after I ask the question that it totally sounds like a pick up line—and a bad one, at that.
My eyes widen, but the unease passes quickly when his mouth tilts up. He takes another sip of his drink and then runs his tongue along his bottom lip.
Lord, have mercy . . .
He contemplates my question for a second before he looks back over at me, his eyes scanning my face for another moment before he signs, “Yeah, about ten minutes from here.”
I nod. Unsure of how to play this. I don’t think I actually expected to find someone at all when I came in here and now I’m realizing how slutty it would make me look to leave with him—a stranger.
I take another sip of my drink, closing my eyes for just a moment while I try to quiet those voices—well, one voice in particular—before I glance back at Dean.
His eyes are squinting in my direction, studying me, and I feel my cheeks heat.
Jesus. Why am I yucking my yum?
I am a slut—and I don’t care. So why am I getting all up in my feels about letting this guy find that out?
I huff out another breath, strengthening my resolve. I’m here for one reason and one reason only, and if this guy isn’t willing to facilitate that need then I might as well move along.
“Want to show me?” I sign.
I started out as an actor and I think that’s where it stems from. I liked creating characters and I want to create narratives around all the cities I’ve lived in.
I start with characters. I develop them first and then find the stories that surround them.
I like hanging out and traveling with my husband. I’m an avid reader and I’m also notorious for having some beverage nearby and curling up with my dog and a good book.
Sleep. Haha, truly. I rest a lot. It takes it out of me while working full time as an editor and my husband and I are currently trying to navigate the adoption process.
Usually with a good dinner. And I’ll usually buy a book I’ve been dying to read.
This is a companion novel from my first novel in our hands.
All of my characters have a little bit of me in them. But Reggie shares a lot of similarities to one of my oldest dearest friends.
Dean was a character that I’d already developed through the eyes of two other characters, so finding his voice was a bit challenging to begin with. Amelia’s past was very difficult to write because of the dark nature and trauma that came from it.
Finding a way to make two strangers fall in love in a timely fashion, haha!
Jennifer Hartmann and Queen Colleen Hoover.
It’s actually from my author’s note- “Never let the noise of thunder deter you from the stroke of lightning.”
I would want to meet Dean and tell him, “I knew you could do it, my dude.”