“In this solid spin-off from her Monroes series, Bennett revisits the small town of Haven, GA…Supporting characters provide strong friendships and amusing subplots…The convincing chemistry between the lovers builds to playful, humorous sex scenes and touching domestic moments. Readers will hope for Bennett to continue telling Haven’s love stories.” – Publishers Weekly
National bestselling author Jules Bennett returns with a spin-off of her Monroes series set in the small town of Haven, Georgia; home to generations of families, plenty of Southern charm, and an airport that’s seen better days. But as three friends are about to discover, love gives everything wings . . .
At eighteen, Olivia Daniels left Haven behind and never looked back. Doggedly climbing the corporate ladder, she’s finally nearing the top when her father dies–leaving her part-owner of the run-down airport that was his first love. It’s a complication Olivia intends to wrap up quickly–buying out her co-owner and selling the land. Good thing her childhood best friends are with her for moral support. Because one look at her new partner is proof that her tidy plan has hit turbulence . . .
Jackson Morgan practically grew up in Haven’s airport, and no one could have been a better mentor than Olivia’s dad. Flight is in Jackson’s blood, but his roots are firmly planted, and there’s no way he’s giving up the airport–not even for sassy, headstrong Olivia, his childhood crush. Coming to an agreement won’t be easy, especially when the attraction between them soars to new heights every day. Love definitely wasn’t on the itinerary, but is it enough to keep them together for a lifetime trip?
An excerpt from Stay With Me by Jules Bennett
Jax gritted his teeth as he checked the panel once again. He didn’t have the time or the patience for some city slicker who thought she could come in and take charge . . . no matter what their past entailed.
Olivia—“don’t call me Livie”—wanted to keep a personal detachment. Fine, he could play her game. But, he wasn’t about to let her just sell this place out from under him. He had too much to lose if the airport was taken from him.
After she’d hightailed it out of town in her little sporty car and a whip of her short blond hair, Jax truly didn’t think he’d ever see her again. Unfortunately, life happened and she was back . . . with a more expensive flashy car and much longer hair in a paler shade of blond.
That punch of lust to his gut wasn’t going to be a problem. There was no way he’d be persuaded by another beautiful woman ever again—he’d learned that lesson the hard way.
Just because she came strutting in claiming she now owned half, that meant nothing as far as he was concerned. Obviously, she was ignoring how this partnership came to be.
Livie Daniels was all business wrapped in a perfect, curvy package. That pink suit was a nice touch . . . if he found city chicks to his liking. Jax was rather amused at how she thought she could talk down to him like he had no idea what she was doing.
That whole “better for you and the town” speech had been a nice touch, but he’d been a Senior Airman in the United States Air Force. She’d have to do better than that if she was going to try to get on his good side.
Of course she’d followed him. Someone like Livie didn’t like being told no. Well, she had better get used to it because he wasn’t selling his half. Ever. No amount of money could compete with loyalty and family—and Paul Daniels had been like a father to Jax.
Not only had he told her no, he’d ignored her, so that probably didn’t make her happy, either. Too damn bad. He didn’t have time to cater to a pampered princess . . . no matter how sexy she looked in that suit wrapped over her curvaceous body. She was still trouble in stilettos and he had other things that needed his immediate attention.
Slowly, Jax eased out of the cockpit, reached up and curled his hands around the wing, staring at her across the way. It was all he could do not to smile at the streak of grease across her cheek.
She hadn’t had a thing on her when he’d swiped earlier, but he’d been in a mood and couldn’t resist the petty maneuver of messing her up. He’d seen that bright red Beemer pull onto the grassy lot, had taken one look at her face, and known the prodigal daughter had returned.
The thirteen-year-old boy inside him didn’t have to remind him how he’d had a silly crush on someone five years older than him, how he’d always felt awkward when she looked his way or flashed a smile. He was well beyond that kid now—and had the life lessons to know better than to get sidetracked.
Livie Daniels in all her perfection and class was an instant reminder of the last time he’d let lust guide his judgment. Never going down that path again.
She returned his stare as she crossed her arms over her chest. Okay, time to draw this little meeting to a close. As much as he enjoyed the scenery, they were not going to come to an agreement right now . . . maybe never. And as long as he never agreed to sell, then she was at his mercy.
“I realize you don’t want to be tied to this place,” he started. “Believe me, I don’t want you here, either. But, we both own an equal amount, so you’re going to have to get along with me.”
Her mouth dropped open on a gasp. “Excuse me? I’m buying you out. We don’t have to get along or even be friends.”
When she threw out an impressive number for his half, Jax raised a brow and whistled. He immediately thought of what he could do with that much cash, but instantly pushed pipe dreams aside. Selling his soul came at no price. He was proud of this life he’d created. Carrying on a legacy started by a man who meant everything to Jax was worth more than any amount of money offered.
Now more than ever, Jax knew life wasn’t about cash. He had a daughter to look out for and to pass on the lessons he’d been taught—lessons in loyalty and love was were priceless.
“Nice, but no thanks.”
“You’re being ridiculous,” she scolded, as if her words would hurt him. He was immune at this point in his life.
“And you’re not getting my half, so suck it up, Princess.”
He moved around to the other side of the cockpit and opened the door. If he couldn’t get this air vent working again, he was going to have to reschedule tomorrow’s flight—and he couldn’t exactly reschedule when the elderly couple needed to get to their granddaughter’s wedding in Sarasota.
He had to pick up his daughter from pre-school in a couple of hours and he really wanted to take her to the park and a movie, but he wouldn’t be able to if he didn’t get this work done. He couldn’t exactly work when his unwanted guest wouldn’t leave him alone to think.
He should’ve let her just fall on her ass earlier.
Heels clicked across the floor and he knew this fight was far from over. Whatever. He could handle her . . . he just didn’t want to.
This place was more than just an airport. Jax had sought refuge here during the most pivotal point in his life. It was in these very walls that he found his passion in flying, which that led hism to become a pilot in the Air Force. So what if the place had seen better days? Maybe Livie needed to learn that the important things in life had nothing to do with how fresh the coat of paint on the walls was. It was because of this well-loved airport that he was able to return home to his daughter and provide a stable life for her.
He had some colossal mess-ups in his past, but finally he was getting things right. His bank account may not be padded, but that didn’t mean near as much as integrity and being a good dad. Jax realized that Livie saw him as nothing more than a grease monkey, but that was her problem. He was long past caring what people thought of him.
There was only one female he cared about these days.
“You want more money? Is that it?”
Exhausted with this line of questioning, Jax turned from the plane, stopping short when she’d closed the gap and stood only a few feet in front of him. He’d be damned if that streak on her face didn’t diminish her beauty. She most likely had men falling at her stiletto-covered feet, offering to do anything she wished. She’d be smart to learn he wasn’t going to be one of those men simply because she had a pretty face and killer curves.
When Jax’s parents had passed when he’d been ten, and Jax had to live with his grandfather. The man did the best he could, but he was older and tired, with his own set of health issues. So Jax had started hanging around the airport, taking a love to the skies . . . much like the late owner Livie still hadn’t mentioned.
Propping his hands on his hips, Jax leveled her gaze.
“Someone like you won’t get that I’m not able to be bought.” He didn’t care that her cheeks tinged with pink or that the muscle in her jaw ticked. He was pretty pissed himself. “Money has absolutely nothing to do with why I’m not selling my half.”
Livie rolled her eyes. “Please. Everything comes down to money.”
Wasn’t that a sad statement? From her tone, he could tell she fully believed such nonsense. The girl he remembered didn’t feel that way. Livie had raised money for a local animal shelter when she’d been a freshman in high school. She’d formed a group and had taken up an insane amount of donations. Even then she’d had the telling signs of a businesswoman and a leader. He wasn’t much liking the detached woman she’d grown into.
“Loyalty and tradition have nothing to do with my finances and both of those are what makes up this airport. You know there’s more to all of this than just a business transaction.”
When she narrowed her eyes, he didn’t back down. She may not have wanted to address the full picture, but he wasn’t going to let her hide behind the proverbial elephant in the room.
“Well, you’d know it if you’d ever been home in the last sixteen years.”
Her lips thinned and those eyes turned to slits. Yeah, he’d hit a nerve. Welcome to the club. She’d hit one as well barging into his airport and assuming she’d be welcome.
“I can see you’re not in the mood to discuss business.”
Uncrossing her arms, she straightened that already perfectly shaped jacket and hip-hugging skirt. The years had done her an unfair amount of favors. Who knew the woman could get more attractive?
“I am determined to sell this land, Jackson. You can’t be so stubborn just because I’m the one making the offer. It’s a good deal.”
The image of his little girl running through the open hangar, her arms wide, her excitement when she took her first plane ride, the fact that this was his home . . . absolutely priceless. Piper had planted the bulbs last spring, hoping to see them blossom this year, and they had. His daughter had a hand in this place as heavy as his own. In the grand scheme of things, money was just paper . . . kind of like his marriage certificate.
Slowly, Jax narrowed the gap between them. She tipped her head up to meet his eyes, but she didn’t back up. Damn if Livie wasn’t holding her ground. On any other occasion he’d appreciate her tenacity and strength, but not when her sole goal was to dismantle his life. And it was a bit difficult to take her seriously when she had that streak on her cheek.
When he took one more step, Livie reached up and held on to the wing, her eyes widened.
That’s right. She was about to learn who truly held the upper hand on this fifty percent partnership from hell.
“Your offer and your big city thinking have no place in Haven. You knew that when you left years ago. I may not look like much to you, but believe it or not, I’m more than a plane mechanic.” He focused on his words and not her sweet floral scent. “And there are real people in this town. People who rely on me and my services, services your father started and hoped to pass down to you one day, but you left.”
She pulled in a sharp breath. That’s right. He was going there.
“I doubt my father would want you to turn down such a generous amount,” she countered with a tip of her chin.
Jax couldn’t help but laugh. “If you’d been around at all, you’d know Paul busted his ass to keep this place going. This is more than an airport, it’s a legacy.”
She pursed her pale pink glossy lips. “So, what do you propose then? You want me to just walk away and pretend I don’t own half? Just let you keep going on as if nothing happened?”
Even if she did just that, something major had happened. Paul was gone. Selling this place would seem like he was severing that bond.
Did Olivia even have a clue as to what all her father had done? Did she care? Did she know his reasoning for letting her go so many years ago?
“Think about the lives you’d be impacting.” Reaching up, he gripped the smooth edge of the wing, mimicking her stance.
Livie dropped her hand, tilted her chin up, and offered a smile. “We need to come to an agreement that works for both of us.”
“Doubtful that can happen when we want two separate things.”
Livie’s smile hit him with a punch of lust to the gut. Damn it. He had to keep dodging these blows. “Then we’ll just have to get creative.”
Images popped into his mind of how creative he could be . . . but he didn’t think her line of thinking matched his. She was trying to get him off course and if he weren’t wasn’t careful, she’d succeed.
“You should know,” she went on, “I never lose.”
She spun on her heel and marched away. He didn’t even bother telling her she was wasting her efforts fighting because he’d come out on top. How could he say anything when his gaze was fixed on the sway of her hips . . . and the imprint of his greasy handprint on her ass?
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About Jules Bennett:
National bestselling author Jules Bennett is a former salon owner turned full time author. Considering she met her husband at the age of fourteen and they’ve been together since, Jules knows a thing or two about romance and happily ever after. She and her husband live in the Midwest with their two young children. When Jules isn’t creating emotional, witty stories, she’s spending time with her family, working out or procrastinating on social media. She loves to hear from readers. You can connect with her through Facebook, Twitter, or her website: julesbennett.com.