Bygones, by Lisa K. Nielsen: A Unexpected Homecoming

bygonesLexi planned to settle her father’s estate and rush back to the city. She didn’t bargain on the pull of the past, including a blazing-hot guy named Joe.

Bygones ($15.95, 290 pp., ISBN: 978-1-60381-329-7), is a contemporary romance with elements of suspense by Lisa K. Nielsen. When her father dies, a young doctor returns home, where she finds both romance and danger.

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“Full of sexy banter and menacing intrigue…. Nielsen uses the braided narrative to keep the romance moving and the mystery compelling. Her characters are likable and believable, whether they are swapping classic novels or bonding over take-out. The novel is well paced, moving quickly into the dual conflict of romance and suspense.… Nielsen creates a small-town vibe where the ghosts of high school still haunt, gossip, and interfere. Fans of contemporary romance mixed with a mystery subplot will be happily sated with Bygones.”

—Camille-Yvette Welsch for ForeWord Reviews

“Lexi and Joe have tremendous depth and deep affections for one another. One can’t help but cheer for this couple, losing themselves in the fantasy of their two worlds colliding. With red hot romance and suspense that never wavers, Bygones is an exciting story that will leave one breathless until the very end!”  Keeping reading….

—Chantel Hardge for InD’Tale Magazine

“If you’re looking for a sweet escape with the perfect touch of sizzle, look no further. Part romance, part mystery, part psychological exploration of the voyage into adulthood, Bygones reminds readers that tragic events can have a silver lining and love is the greatest gift around.”

—Elena Hartwell, author of the Eddie Shoes Mystery series

Dr. Alexandra Hadley would prefer to leave small town life behind forever, but her father’s death forces her hand. In his will, he has left her his medical practice and Georgian-style mansion, and it is up to her to hire a new doctor and settle his estate. Fresh out of medical school, Lexi is happily settled in Chicago, doing research in tandem with her boyfriend. Brian, fifteen years older with impressive credentials and sophisticated tastes, has no interest in visiting her birthplace of Glenmore, Illinois.

Lexi soon discovers that home has its attractions, the first being the handsome contractor Joe Manning, her secret crush in high school. Seeing patients is also surprisingly satisfying. When Joe offers to remodel her father’s den, Lexi jumps at the chance to erase sad memories and become better acquainted with her gorgeous handyman. Even as the charms of Glenmore draw her in, a series of break-ins at her father’s house make her fear for her safety. Is the intruder searching for something other than valuables? And how determined is the culprit? Lexi finds her fragile happiness at risk, including her newfound love for Joe Manning.

Says the author, “I think everyone who has grown up and left their hometown wonders what it would be like to return as an adult, to function as a member of the community—especially if our imaginations are allowed to run wild. This is my ‘what if’ story.”

Lisa K. Nielsen was born and raised in West Dundee, Illinois, a small town forty-five miles northwest of Chicago. She graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in zoology, then studied to be a physician’s assistant in Iowa City. For many years now, she has worked in the field of urology, which allows her time to write and read. She e-published her first novel, At Second Sight, in August 2013. Lisa loves to travel is a long-suffering fan of all the Chicago sports teams. She also enjoys cooking, baking, and spending time with her dog. For more information, click here.

Keep reading for an excerpt:

“Wait a minute. I thought you were dating that dumb jock quarterback.”

“Kevin Whatley? Yeah, I was, but we broke up right before New Year’s. He was pissed because I wouldn’t sleep with him.”

Joe nodded solemnly. “He must have loved you very much.”

Lexi laughed and lightly punched him on the shoulder. “So, do you remember Amy Rodgers’ New Year’s Eve party?”

Joe stroked his chin thoughtfully. “Amy Rodgers … New Year’s Eve ….” He snapped his fingers. “Yes, Amy Rodgers’ New Year’s Eve party!”

Lexi rolled her eyes. “Okay, shut up. Well, Kevin was there and being an asshole, so I decided to piss him off by making out with you.”

Joe’s brow furrowed. “Was I at this party? Because I’m pretty sure I would have remembered making out with you.”

“You were there, but every time I saw you, you headed off in the other direction. You totally blew me off.”

“Well, that’s not how I remember it. I would have taken you up on your offer, but steroid boy Kevin would have beaten the shit out of me.”

Lexi laughed again. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d had so much fun. “Oh, God. Please. You don’t even remember.”

“No, I do. I do remember.”

“Joe, it’s fine. You don’t have to humor me.”

Joe inched closer to her. “I’m not humoring you. And I can prove it.”

“Yeah? How?”

Joe closed his eyes for a moment. “You were wearing these tight black jeans with high-heeled boots.” He opened his eyes. “And this slinky sleeveless top that was all shiny and sparkly.”

Lexi gasped and covered her mouth with her hand.

“And your blonde hair was all long and sexy and sleek, and you had some glittery stuff in it.”

Lexi flattened her palm on his chest. “Oh my God. You do remember.”

“Of course I do. I sorta had a crush on you too.”

Her breath caught as Joe’s eyes flashed. His chest was warm and firm beneath her palm. “No way.”

Joe leaned in and whispered, “Way.”

Lexi was mesmerized by his lips as they moved in on hers, feeling helpless to stop him. Not really wanting to stop him. He kissed her softly, his lips burning hot. She melted under them as he cupped the back of her head and stroked his tongue inside her mouth. Lexi moaned with need, her body tingling, surprised at her reaction. The last time she’d been instantly aroused by a kiss was … never.

Stroking her fingers up his chest, she wrapped her arm around his neck and kissed him back. Their tongues tangled as they moved closer together. Her skin was hot and tight where Joe clutched her hip. What is going on with me? This never happened when she was with Brian. Oh, God! Brian!

Lexi tore her lips away from Joe’s. She moved her hand back to his chest, this time to gently push him away. “Joe, I can’t—”

“It’s okay. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.”

Lexi met his gaze, her heart pounding. “No, it’s my fault. I shouldn’t have kissed you back. It’s just that … I’m seeing someone.”

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