Published by Self Published on 11/16/17
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon
What makes you happy?
That was the question Emery Reed asked me the day we met, and I couldn’t give him a single answer. I could have said my dog, or my books, or yoga — but I just stared.
And then, I got in his car.
It was crazy to take a road trip with a stranger, but after years of standing still, he was my one-way ticket to a new life, and I wasn’t going to miss it.
We shared the same space, the same car, the same hotel room — and still, we were strangers. One day we’d be laughing, the next, we wouldn’t speak. Emery was surrounded by impenetrable walls, but I wanted in.
Discovering his journal changed everything.
I read his thoughts, words not meant for anyone’s eyes, and the more I learned about him, the harder I fell. It turned out nothing made Emery Reed happy, and I wanted to change that.
I earned his trust by violating his privacy, and as wrong as it was, it worked — until one entry revealed a darkness I never knew existed, a timer I never knew was ticking.
Suddenly, what made me happy was saving Emery from himself. I just didn’t know if I could.
Woweeeeee! Talk about an angst filled ride with heartfelt feels. Kandi Steiner steals your heart in this sweet and breathtaking romance that brings two broken souls together, sending them on a poignant journey of self discovery. From start to finish, On the Way to You made me feel so deep and so much! Honestly, it’s a struggle to even put words to what I feel. It was intense. SO INTENSE. And I can’t recommend it enough. A must read romance that goes way deeper than the romance aspect. This is a book with a message, and I just LOVED it.
I adore Kandi Steiner’s books. Her stories are always MORE than romance. They have a theme of hope and second chances that really inspires a reader. The way she writes, with intensity and fervor, make you feel every word of her novels. I truly connect to her characters and her storytelling, and On the Way to You was no different. I fell in love with Emery and Cooper, and was actively invested in them. This story is heavy and haunting in parts, but also so beautiful and heartfelt and sexy with the gorgeous romance that springs to life. Everything about it hooked me. And I found myself feeling a million and one things. If you know me, you know I thrive off angst, and On the Way to You has many different types of angst. From the slow burn, slow building relationship feels, to the deeper, more raw and poignant emotional issues, this book has a little of everything, and that’s what makes it a must read.
So… what’s the book about?
Well, the blurb pretty much says all you need to know. Emery comes to town and stops in at the diner that Cooper (our heroine) works in. He asks her a really random question. “What makes you happy?” Now for me, I double blinked like, “huh.” LOL. It’s a weird way to greet someone, but I have to say it definitely caught my attention and intrigued me. Cooper is also caught off guard by Emery. He’s different and beautiful, and when an opportunity to tag along on his trip arises, she finds herself making a rash, impulsive, and crazy decision that changes her life completely.
From there this story takes off. Emery and Cooper are both characters that are haunted by their pasts, but the way they attack life is so different. It’s heart wrenching and eye opening to go on this journey with them. I could not get enough of them together and felt so moved by the way they reacted to each other. Emery is a man with some serious baggage and goodness, I broke for him. Over and over and over again. And Cooper is a girl with such a big heart and so much potential that I just fell in love with her.
Overall, I was left a speechless by this author. She always creates a story that has a message, and I really felt that with On the Way to You. I felt like she was bringing us more than a simple redemption/second chance/self discovery romance. She was trying to bring hope to the hopeless. And I really really really LOVED that she shared this with us. It’s one I’ll remember for some time to come and one that has definitely made a lasting impression.
“You said one drink,” I reminded him.
“Vegas Bomb is a shot, not a drink. And you also said you were having whatever I was.”
His smile was infectious, and I mirrored it as I leaned in a little closer. “Sneaky.”
Trey shrugged. “Or innovative, depending on how you look at it.”
He slid me two shot glasses as soon as the bartender set them in front of him, the larger one filled with Red Bull and the other with two types of whiskey. When our Manhattans were made, Trey told the bartender what name the tab was under before turning to me with a devilish grin.
“Drop the shot glass in the Red Bull, then chug. Ready?”
Excitement swirled with fear low in my stomach as I laughed, shaking my head and lifting both of the glasses. “As I’ll ever be.”
But before Trey could say three, a hand snatched the whiskey shot glass from mine, and Emery slid right between us.
“Hey!” I squeaked, frowning as I tried to grab the glass back. Emery held the shot right out of my reach, his eyes hard on mine, those two lines creased between his brows, jaw set.
“What the fuck, bro?” Trey stole the shot back, but Emery still didn’t move.
“You don’t drink.”
His entire body was pressed against mine, his breath hot on my lips as he stared down the bridge of his nose at me.
“We’re in Vegas,” I reminded him.
“So now you drink?”
He was challenging me, his chest puffed out, fists clenched tight. Trey tried to move him out of the way again, but even though he was taller, Emery was solid. He didn’t budge.
I narrowed my eyes. “What does it matter? Seemed like you had your hands full over there.” I nodded toward the other end of the bar where he’d been sitting before. “Maybe you should worry about whether or not she drinks instead of me.”
“I don’t give a fuck about her.”
“Oh,” I mocked. “And you give a fuck about me?”
He blinked, as if my cursing surprised him, or the fact that I’d called him out. And since I’d finally shocked him silent, I reached around him, taking the shot glass from Trey’s hand. Then I leaned over the bar enough that I could see him behind Emery, raising my glass to his.
Trey eyed Emery, a little pissed, a little confused as he tapped his glass to mine. Then as he took his, I stood straight again, my chest still touching Emery, and with my eyes hot on his, I dropped the shot in the Red Bull and chugged.
All my senses were attacked violently in that next second, my eyes and throat burning in sync from the whiskey, but I didn’t cringe against the fire. I let it consume me, let it slide all the way down into my stomach as I wiped the corners of my mouth and stacked the empty glasses on the bar. Trey stepped around Emery, though we were still staring at each other, at least until Trey’s hand slipped between us with my Manhattan.
“Love to.” The words were like arrows lashing from my lips, and I aimed them straight at Emery as I snagged my clutch from the bar and tore my eyes from his, following Trey out to the dance floor.
I chugged half of my drink before Trey stopped, pulling my body flush against his. I was completely at a loss for why anyone actually enjoyed drinking as another burn sliced its way through me. I shook my head, eyes squeezed shut, my hands holding tight to Trey’s arms for balance.
“I take it that was the person you were supposed to meet?”
“Doesn’t matter,” I said, still fighting the roll of my stomach as I added more alcohol to it.
Trey smirked, pulling me even closer, the hand not holding his drink sliding confidently down to my ass. “I think that’s our theme for the night.”
“We should get tattoos.”
He laughed at that, but then his eyes fell to my lips, and neither of us were laughing anymore. “I think I want to leave my mark on you in a different way tonight, Cooper.”
I swallowed, my heart thumping against my rib cage like it wanted to flee, like it didn’t want to see what would happen next. Trey squeezed his hand, bunching my dress with it, and then our bodies were moving, his leg between mine as we rolled and dipped. I’d never danced before — not unless you counted the times I was alone in my bedroom with a fake microphone and Taylor Swift on the radio — and this was definitely not that kind of dancing.
Sweat rimmed the roots of my hair the longer we moved, and I drained the rest of my drink, abandoning the empty glass on a nearby table as Trey followed suit. Then we had both hands to touch, to roam, to pull, to feel. Trey’s hands were enormous, his thumbs nearly touching above my navel as he gripped my waist, swaying me with him.
The alcohol buzzed through me like a lightning storm, hitting me in flashes along with the laser lights streaming from the DJ above the dance floor. I closed my eyes, reveling in the feel of the music, the base, the hands, the night. Trey leaned in, his voice barely audible as he spoke over the music and told me he’d be right back, he was grabbing us another drink. I nodded, eyes still closed, my hands lifting above me once Trey wasn’t there to hold onto anymore.
It was surreal, dancing in the middle of a crowded club in Las Vegas, the music vibrating through every vein as I moved in time with the rhythm. A week ago, I was just a little girl in Mobile, Alabama, serving pancakes to the same people I had since I was sixteen. Now, I was a vixen, sexy and confident, wearing a dress that showed my most sensitive scar.
And it was the last thing on my mind.
Trey’s hands slid around my waist from behind and he pulled me back into him, his hips matching my rhythm as he molded himself to me again. His abs were hard against my back, and I arched into him, running my hands through my hair and pulling it all to one side to cool my neck. But when he ran his nose along the skin I’d just exposed before sucking my earlobe between his teeth, my eyes shot open.
Because I knew then that it wasn’t Trey at all.
I breathed his name like a curse, and his hands squeezed my hips in affirmation as he rocked against me from behind. My eyes fluttered shut again at the rush from his touch, my knees suddenly weak, and I leaned into him, letting him take my weight. His hands were everywhere — wrapping around to grab my own, fingers laced between mine before he dragged them up my ribs, under the wire frame of my bra, and then they were on a hot trail back down to my waist.
My lips parted as he picked up our pace and I let my head fall back onto his shoulder, eyes still closed as he kissed along my neck. Every part of our bodies was sewn together, and his heart beat hard and steady through the fabric of his shirt, the bass to the quick, light beat of my own.
Cracking my eyes open, I turned in his arms, staring at his chest. As soon as I lifted my eyes to his, I heard my name.
“What the fuck, man?” Trey shoved Emery away from me, his fresh drinks crashing to the floor with the movement. “I thought she made it pretty clear at the bar that you needed to back off.”
“She’s here with me, asshole,” Emery said, bowing up to Trey.
“Oh, you’re the guy she was supposed to meet here, huh? The one who left her standing heartbroken on the floor when she first got here?”
The color drained from Emery’s face, and his eyes flicked to mine, but Trey stepped even more between us.
“Well, sorry bro, you fucked up, and now she’s with me. So take a walk.”
Emery’s face screwed up, his hands shoving Trey back. “You fucking take a walk, bro.”
Trey went to shove Emery again but I jumped between them, pressing my hands into his chest.
“Stop! It’s fine, Emery was just leaving.”
“Not without you, I’m not.”
I spun, rushing toward him. “What is your deal? You’ve ignored me for the past three days, including an hour ago when you had another girl wrapped around you at the bar. Go find her and leave us alone.”
“I. Don’t. Want. Her.” He stepped right back into me, into my space, his chest heaving. “And you don’t want him.”
“You don’t know anything about what I want.”
“I do,” he argued. “Which is exactly why I haven’t said a word since the night we kissed. Because I know what you want, Cooper, and I also know that I can’t fucking give it to you.”
He pulled back, the heat from him leaving me in a rush as I watched him push through the crowd toward the exit. My heart beat loud in my ears, louder than the music, louder than the voice in my head that told me I was in deeper than I could swim. Trey grabbed my hand from behind but I ripped it away, and before it registered in my cloudy mind what I was doing, my feet carried me through the sea Emery had already parted.
About the Author
Kandi Steiner is a Creative Writing and Advertising/Public Relations graduate from the University of Central Florida living in Tampa with her husband. Kandi works full time as a social media specialist, but also works part time as a Zumba fitness instructor and blackjack dealer.
Kandi started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a die hard hopeless romantic (like most girls brought up on Disney movies).
When Kandi isn’t working or writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys beach days, movie marathons, live music, craft beer and sweet wine – not necessarily in that order.
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PS: All these books are standalones!