Lover’s Oak, by Corinne Scott: the Return of a Southern Belle Fallen on Hard Times

loversoakShe’d lost everything, and the plan for survival didn’t include love.

Lover’s Oak ($15.95, 314 pages, ISBN: 978-1-60381-280-1) is a contemporary romance with strong elements of suspense by debut author Corinne Scott. A Southern belle dogged by misfortune returns home, hoping to reclaim her legacy and start a new life.

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“Romantic suspense at its best. I loved the characters, how real and well-rounded they are, and the multiple twists and turns the author takes them through until the dynamic and dramatic ending. Lover’s Oak is filled with family drama, secrets, and some sinister action. A good book for a summer read!”  Read more….

—The Bibliophilic Book Blog

“Entertaining characters … intriguing storyline … exciting writing … a book worth reading slowly, so as to savor every word!” —Genevieve Scholl, author of Until Death Do I Part

Lover’s Oak kept me on the edge of my seat. Filled with great characters and plenty of twists and turns, this romantic suspense will keep you guessing until the end!!” —Victoria Stolte, author of Far From Home

“The secrets of Lilly’s past—especially concerning the now sheriff of Wildfire, Jackson Trainer—are coming back to haunt her in this romantic novel that also has murder, mystery, and a few surprises that make it an amazing read!” —P.S. Winn, author

Lover’s Oak is a fast, well-paced read, with many layers, just the right amount of sexy, without ever being trashy …. There’s a second, unexpected story line involving two characters that I found really sweet, and overall enough twists, family secrets and sparks between Lilly and Jackson to keep the reader hooked…. Overall highly recommended!” —Camilla Monk, author of the Spotless series

It’s been twelve years since ‘Thrilly Lilly’ left the sleepy town of Wildfire, Georgia. Rich and popular but also reckless and spoiled, Lilly never heard the word ‘no.’ So what made her flee rural Georgia for Boston society at the age of 18 to marry a much older man she hardly knew?

Now a widow, Lilly is back, a bit thinner but just as beautiful and elegant. She is intent on running Lover’s Oak, her family’s cotton plantation, even though her daddy cut her out of his will and named her 11-year-old half-sister Daisy as his heir.

Why did Lilly never come home to visit, even to attend her daddy’s funeral? What does a wealthy widow want with a cotton plantation? One man in particular wants answers: the town’s heart-throb Northerner sheriff, Jackson Trainer. Lilly fled Wildfire the day they had planned to elope. Jackson must hide his love and resentment as he tries to protect Lilly from mysterious forces threatening her life and the lives of those around her.

Meanwhile a killer lies in wait, determined to rid Wildfire of Lilly once and for all.

Says Corinne, “I’ve always been drawn to romance and especially romance set in the south, with stories where more than just relationships are at stake. On a trip to New Orleans one summer in college I went to Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana, and became inspired to write this book. I could see Lilly standing at a lover’s oak tree and an idea was born. I wrote for two years off and on and finally finished this novel my senior year of college. It would be eight years before I finally had the courage to submit it anywhere.”

Corinne Scott was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. Her parents were teachers, so of course she grew up to be a teacher as well, proving that the apple does not fall too far from the tree. Corinne has a bachelor’s degree from Texas State University and a master’s from the University of North Texas. She is passionate about books, which led her to her current occupation as a librarian and now author. Lover’s Oak is her first novel. For more information, click here.

Keep reading for an excerpt:

A sudden change in the air drew her back to the present. The hairs on the back of her neck prickled.

Jackson.

Lilly turned from the tree. Jackson stood five feet away, but the Grand Canyon might as well have stood between them. She could feel the waves of resentment coming off him. Jackson Trainer had a natural aura of authority and power. It had always been there simmering beneath his rough exterior. Even though the entire time she had known him he had been on the right side of the law, he always looked like the bad boys Lilly had once been attracted to.

Jackson Trainer was wearing the same ‘go to hell’ look as he had during their first encounter. He’d never put up with her moods or fallen for her feminine wiles. He had that big city charisma and attitude. He came from a world that Lilly could not comprehend—not then, anyway. When they first met, she had never left the state of Georgia.

She felt the usual symptoms Jackson brought on—the feeling of being hot and cold all over, the butterflies in her stomach, the hot cheeks. It was all coming back in full force. Would she ever be able to remain ice cold around the one person she most needed to resist? Lilly’s chin shot up and she straightened her spine, ready for his attack.

A slow, insolent smile spread across Jackson’s wide mouth. “Well, Princess, you’re about twelve years too late.”

The insolent sound of his voice and the cockiness of his stance brought Lilly back to the present and immediately put her on the defensive. It was just like the first time he had confronted her.

Jackson was dressed in his sheriff’s attire and behind him was his trademark Harley. A quick glimpse told Lilly it was the same one he’d had all these years. She looked back at him. He still had that insolent smile flitting around his mouth.

How did I ever think that arrogant look was sexy? Lilly thought.

She allowed herself only a quick scan of his features, even though she wished she could have taken longer. Jackson, much to her annoyance, looked even better than she remembered.

The bad boy good looks had matured. Now he was a devastatingly handsome man.

The dark, slightly curly hair that grew a bit too long for Southerners’ tastes dipped just over one eye. The piercing gray eyes never missed anything. She’d never been able to lie or cover herself with Jackson around. He saw her as no one else did, despite her antics, scheming, and attention grabs. He’d always seen down to her soul. Well, not this time. His eyes would see only what she wanted them to see. It did not matter that he was long, lean, and irresistibly sexy. She had run across many of his kind over the years and managed a ‘no thanks’ without giving a second look. Jackson Trainer would be no different.

“Well, well, if it isn’t the prodigal daughter. Home at last. How’s the wealthy life been treating you, Lilly Mae?” Resting against his bike and crossing his ankles, he gave the appearance of nonchalance, but Lilly could detect the tension humming through his body.

“It’s Lillian. And great. Life’s been great.” She realized she was clutching her purse in a nervous gesture. She immediately loosened her grip.

“Yeah, I can see that.” He paused as his gaze took in every inch of her appearance. “Lillian.”

She recalled that smirk. Only this time there was an edge to his voice and a meanness that was new. Indignation almost took over. Lilly had to work extra hard to keep the fire from her eyes.

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