A Rivers Community Novel. Book 4.
Carrie Longmire loves life with a passion—whether it’s her job as a hospital CEO’s admin, star pitcher for the hospital’s softball team, or her latest romantic possibility, she gives 110 percent and won’t take less from anyone else. Maybe that’s why she’s still single. She’s never met anyone who could convince her they wanted anything more than a fling. Friendly was fun, but not where she wanted to hang her heart.
Gina Antonelli had big dreams once, of riding her athletic achievements all the way to West Point and being the first in a long family line of soldiers to serve as an officer. When that dream died along with the girl she’d planned to marry one day, she’d vowed to forget about happily ever afters. Love hadn’t gotten her anything but a broken heart and a ruined body.
When Gina agrees to renovate Carrie’s soon-to-be new house as a favor to her brother’s boss, she doesn’t welcome Carrie’s overtures at friendship or her own unexpected attraction.
I always know when I pick up a book by Radclyffe that she won’t let me down and ‘Love After Hours’ is no different. There is something about Radclyffe’s books that draw me in and keeps me reading. She’s like the god of Lesbian Fictional Romance and it is obvious she’s here to stay.
Carrie is back and it looks like love is on the cards. Her love interest is contractor Gina Antonelli. She’s dark and mysterious, with a temper when she doesn’t get her way at work and her and Carrie clash from their first conversation. As time moves forward they realise that there is a very potent chemistry between them but will Gina’s past hold them back from really falling?
I’ve been really invested in the Rivers Family Romance series from book one and every book that passes I wished that Carrie Longmire would get her book and thank god it’s finally here because this girl deserves love. I really enjoyed getting a more in depth knowledge of Carrie from her point of view. Her relationship with Gina is off the chart hot from the minute they connect. I really can’t wait to follow more about this couple.
This book also goes into more depth about Blake’s transition and his friendship/relationship with Margie. There is something really wonderful about the way Radclyffe has told Blake’s story from book 2 and let it continue into all of the following books. I was worried it would stop at some point but she’s kept it up throughout and his and Margie’s story is probably my favourite to evolve through the series!
Blake and Margie are so together about everything for teenagers. I wish I could have been more like them at that age. They chat through everything and are very frank with one another, it’s honestly so refreshing. And probably another reason these two are my favourite protagonists in the series so far. I really hope that one of the books to come in the series will focus solely on them because I really love their story as they evolve together without much angst or heart ache, they just work!
Can’t wait for what comes next. 5 stars
If you would like to purchase ‘Love After Hours’ please follow the link below:
Amazon: Love After Hours (A Rivers Community Novel)
- Series: A Rivers Community Novel (Book 4)
- Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (November 14, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1635550904
- ISBN-13: 978-1635550900
Excerpt from Love After Hours by Radclyffe
Carrie pulled her red and white Mini Cooper convertible into the farthest slot in the nearly empty staff parking lot behind the Rivers and squinted to relieve the ache in her barely focused eyeballs. Too early. Too much sun. Who the hell got up this early in the morning anyhow? Her idea of morning started around eight, not five thirty. She grabbed her bag, locked the car, and hurried toward the side entrance to the administrative wing, navigating the gracefully meandering flagstone paths between flower beds and towering trees mostly by memory, refusing to be seduced into a cheery mood by the ridiculous beauty of the place. She lost that battle halfway across the green. Assaulted by the scent of fresh-mown grass and Sweet Williams, she stopped, took a deep breath, and surrendered to the pleasure of being in the place she loved most in the world.
And really, who wouldn’t fall in love with the stately old red brick hospital, with its sweeping lawns, lush gardens, and imperious perch above the quaint village nestled below it. Usually she loved coming to work, as long as it wasn’t in the middle of the damn night! Today was a special case, though, and she picked up her pace. She needed an hour at least to get the weekend’s accumulated emergencies taken care of if she was going to make it to pre-op by seven. Mondays always sucked, but with everything going on, this one was already shaping up to be worse than usual.
Never mind—handling the tough stuff was her job, after all. Once she triaged whatever emergent problems had been directed toward Presley’s attention after the end of the workday on Friday, she could safely ignore anything else until at least noon. Flann had said she’d be done well before that.
The wide marble-floored hall leading down the center of the administrative wing was empty. All the sane people were home in bed. She ducked into the coffee room to put on a pot and have her second cup of the day. Maybe this would get her brain working. Why did anyone think it was a good idea to come in this early? Bad enough Presley always started before the sun came up, and Carrie had to be in by seven thirty or feel guilty all day that the boss was working three times as hard as her.
Not that she regretted the decision this morning. She’d volunteered to go through the mail, because if she didn’t, Presley would, and Presley needed to be with Abby right now. They all did. That’s what friends did, offered moral support during times like this. Presley would never ask her to come in this early, but someone had to, and that’s why she was the admin, after all. She was the wall, the immovable object that kept all the daily traumas and dramas away from Presley so Presley could do whatever it was CEOs did. Not that she didn’t know what Presley did every day—she logged Presley’s correspondence and handled follow-up phone calls and, more often than not, took over projects once Presley had all the necessary moving parts moving the way they should. Presley had to focus on the big picture—the one where the hospital stayed open and the community had accessible health care and the town didn’t dwindle away and die like so many other rural towns. Presley had dragged the Rivers back from the edge of extinction and probable demolition in the last half year but was still juggling finances, staff issues, insurance contracts, and new hires simultaneously. That’s why she’d finally been able to talk Presley into letting her spearhead the renovation of the emergency room and the expanded trauma area and MRI suite. Really, how hard could it be to handle a bunch of construction workers? She wrangled a team full of guys into line three times a week from the pitcher’s mound—mostly they were like a bunch of puppies, rambunctious and tending toward chewing on the furniture, but a swat on the butt usually brought them into order.
She smiled thinking about the upcoming interleague tournament as she hunkered down at her desk and powered up her computer in the alcove framed by tall white arched columns adjacent to Presley’s office. The only thing she loved more than her job was pitching for the hospital softball team, especially when they were in first place. As long as Blake’s surgery went well, she’d be playing tonight.
Her stomach tightened. Okay, so she was really nervous, even if she didn’t have any reason to be. The anxiety was normal, right? Even if she did work in a hospital surrounded by constant emergencies. Even if she lived with a doctor who was called out in the middle of the night almost every night of the week for some emergency. Sort of lived with, although not so much anymore, and not for much longer.
But this was different. This was family. How quickly they had all become family—Presley and Harper, Flann and Abby, Blake and Margie. All the Rivers family, and the ones they loved and who loved them. Blake would be fine. Flann was an exceptional surgeon and Glenn would be with her, steady, solid Glenn, who was everyone’s strength, especially Flann’s and Abby’s right now. And her cousin Mari. She smiled to herself. The cousin she didn’t know she’d had until just a few months before, now as much family as the one she’d grown up with.
“Is the boss in?” a husky, irritated voice demanded, jerking Carrie’s attention up from her screen.
A woman in khaki canvas pants cinched by a wide, worn brown leather belt, work boots, and a faded blue T-shirt with the sleeves torn off stood in front of her, dark eyes snapping, her equally dark hair ruffled and sweat slick even at this hour of the morning. A thick black lock dragged across her forehead, almost falling into her right eye. Her arms were tanned and muscled, her hands long fingered and, at this moment, hooked over the waistband of her pants. Her long lean legs were spread wide, her expression impatient. A hard hat rested in the crook of her arm, clamped against her side as if it was simply another appendage.
“No, she isn’t,” Carrie said with her office voice, calm and collected and friendly. “She’s not expected until this afternoon.”
“Well, I have to talk to her.” The woman wasn’t making a request. She stared back at Carrie, as if Carrie could conjure Presley from her top desk drawer.
Carrie kept her smile in place. “I’m very sorry, but she’s unavailable. Perhaps I can help—”
“Nope, you can’t. Look, miss, here’s the situation—I’ve got six guys, a heavy excavator, a dump truck full of crushed stone, and a front loader idling in your parking lot—”
“It’s Ms.,” Carrie said, feeling the smile slip and not particularly caring. Really, it must be the job and not the hormones that made some of these hard-hat types just plain hardheaded. “And what parking lot are you talking about? We don’t have security scheduled to reroute traffic, and if you’re blocking—”
“We wouldn’t be blocking anyone, if we had—”
“So you are blocking access? What parking lot? Tell me it’s not the emergency room.”
The woman blew out an exasperated breath. “Do you want an extension to the emergency room or not? Because if you do, I have to bring my equipment across the parking lot to get to the excavation site.”
“And exactly when did you inform us you would be starting this morning?”
“I called and left a message on Friday afternoon.”
“With whom?” Carrie felt her eyebrow rise. “I didn’t take a call from you, Ms.—”
The dark brows drew down. “Somebody by the name of…Phillips, maybe? Some guy in resources.”
“How on earth did you end up with Stan Phillips?”
“What does it matter? I’m wasting fuel and man-hours chatting with you. Under other circumstances, that might be pleasant, but right now, I don’t have time for this. I need you to get Worth on the line for me.”
Carrie snorted. As if there’d ever be a time when a conversation, let alone a chat, with this woman would be on her must-do list. She’d lost count of the times she’d been interrupted. Way too many times to worry about making a professional impression. “That is Ms. Worth, and who might you be exactly?”
“Gina Antonelli. The contractor who’s going to build your new wing if I can actually ever get to work.”
Damn it. That project was a priority, and her baby to boot. Carrie sighed. “Okay, let’s start at the beginning.”
“Let’s not. Just get me the boss.”
Would snarling I am the boss carry any weight at all? Carrie’s jaws tightened and her back molars began to throb. Not a good sign. Not the morning to try her patience. Definitely not anytime, any day to pull a strong-arm act on her. Good looks—okay, fabulous looks—could only get you so far, and in this circumstance, no mileage at all.
“Let me speak slowly so you understand me,” Carrie said, very carefully and very precisely. “Ms. Worth is not available and will not be available until later today, at the earliest.” She held up a finger to forestall the interruption she saw coming. “And…if you have a problem, now or in the future, you will need to explain it to me, and I will be able to assist you. Now, which part is not clear?”
“I understood all of that, quite well, actually.” Antonelli scowled. “My turn. I can’t start work because the necessary permits are not posted. That suggests to me that the inspector has not approved the project. You and your absentee boss are wasting my time and money and, by the way, your own.” She smiled, a smile that suggested, under other circumstances, she might be drop-dead gorgeous, but right now she only reminded Carrie of a very dangerous wild animal.
“Now that,” Carrie said dryly, “is something I might be able to help you with. Where can I reach you? No one is going to be in the municipal offices until at least eight thirty, if we’re lucky.”
“And what am I supposed to do until then? Tell my guys to sit on their hands?”
Carrie gritted her teeth and avoided the response she might have made if she’d been on the field in the midst of a heated game. “If you can’t begin work without the permits, then I don’t see that you have any choice.”
“I hope you people are a little bit better at your job where the sick people are concerned,” Antonelli muttered through clenched teeth. She tossed a business card onto the desk. “You can reach me at that number. Miss.”
Before Carrie could respond, the woman spun on her heel and stalked away. Carrie watched her go, aware her mouth was open. What the hell? Gina Antonelli elevated rude to an art form. She absently noted Antonelli’s stiff-legged gate, as if her left leg didn’t quite bend at the knee, although her ability to stomp didn’t seem impaired. The thought was fleeting as Carrie quickly turned back to her computer and pulled up the contracts for the ER expansion plans. She was going to have to wake some people up. She couldn’t wait for the town supervisor to get to the office, not if she was going to get to the OR in time to see Blake.