Texas Redeemed By Isla Bennet

Monday, August 26, 2013


Middle school sex-ed never said there’d be days like this….

Cut-and-dried facts about birds and bees, what goes where, and how to protect yourself before it gets there, was just not enough for me. I had questions, ladies and gentlemen. I asked the tough ones that adults brushed off with flippant “You’ll figure it out when you’re older” type answers. Questions about consequences, emotions and expectations—oh, my! Unsatisfied but still determined, I sought out romance fiction, gym class gossip, even the Kama Sutra, because why the hell not? Anything that might prepare me to know what I wanted and how to get it. But you see, there’s something to be said about the best-laid plans. As a teenager I happened to fall—and when I say “fall,” I mean I fell hard—for the wrong guy. Not the school badass who smoked and wrote poems about orgasms. No, I had to lust after a man who was devoted to the church. (Okay, in attention-seeking frustration, I did an about-face right into the arms of the badass. But that’s a story for another time.) They were heaven and hell—making a spectacle of myself with “the badass” was heaven compared to the hell of wanting a man I could never have. I couldn’t change the truth that I wanted wild, crazy, dirty, ridiculous passion. I wanted him to belong with me. I came so close, but in the end I had to let go. Not because of the relentless The Scarlet Letter and The Thorn Birds jokes (still not funny, by the way), but because I wasn’t ready for all that I’d learned about—you guessed it—consequences, emotions and expectations to come into play. I could never be what he really wanted. He could never be what I wanted. So I moved on. “Dating” has since been more about advance and retreat, the thrill of the chase—nothing serious. I discovered that I don’t want serious, and I shouldn’t feel bad because of this. I learned through many bumps and bruises that it’s okay to be twenty-something and single. I know that when I’m thirty, forty, fifty, it’ll still be okay to be single. It’ll still be okay to be me. I’m simply not ready for the incredible kind of forever love, the kind of love I read and write about. I am not Valerie Jordan, the heroine in my debut, TEXAS REDEEMED, who bravely takes on the consequences of love and sex with Peyton Turner, the guy she’s wanted since childhood.

Now that you know my story, take a peek into Valerie’s:

“You’re getting close. Too close. And it’s happening fast.”

“Not close enough, Valerie.” A second passed before he stepped into her space and she automatically placed her oven-mitted hand against his abdomen. Always boundaries getting in the way. “I can’t be in this town and not see you.”

“See Lucy,” she corrected.

“Both of you.” It was gutting him not to take hold of all that thick dark hair and have Valerie’s mouth open under his. He wanted to act, to react—but not think or feel. “I can't stand here like this and not—”

“Now you stop,” she warned, pushing with that damn oven mitt.

In a fast, hard movement he reached down and wrenched the mitt off, sending it flying off the porch into the darkness.

Her hand remained right where it had been, as if he’d removed the mitt magically. The heat from her palm seeped right through his shirt to his flesh.

“I won’t touch you.” Still, lust flexed inside him, reared up to battle his self-control.

“I don’t want you to.” But her eyes were locked on his, her fingers twisting his shirttails and—oh, hell—scraping his abdomen. She stroked his skin, causing his muscles to bunch, his blood to rush … and his body to react.

She’d sat on a picnic table at the mercy of his hands. Was it now her turn to explore?

Want to know more about Valerie and Peyton, and the writer they trusted to tell their poignant and passionate story? Visit for news and contests. Find Isla Bennet on Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest. Snag a copy of TEXAS REDEEMED at