Exes With Benefits
By Nicole Williams
Release Date: September 18, 2017
He wants a second chance. I want a divorce. To get what I want, I’ll have to give him what he does.
From New York Times & USA Today bestselling author, Nicole Williams, comes a new standalone romance in the same vein as Roommates with Benefits.
“One month. That’s nothing in the scope of a person’s life.” He slid a bit closer.
“One month is everything when it comes to opening myself back up to you.”
He didn’t argue that. He let silence speak for him instead.
“What exactly are you expecting during this one month?” I might have winced when I heard myself say those words.
He rubbed his mouth, trying to hide whatever was trying to form. “For you to give me another chance. For you to be my wife.”
The term made me nauseated. “Your wife? As in your indentured servant? No way.”
It was a smile he was trying to hide. Not very successfully. It made me thankful I’d slipped into these old boots so I could give him a solid kick in the ass if necessary.
“Like be willing to spend time with me. That’s it. That’s all,” he added when he correctly interpreted the question in my eyes. The question.
“What will we be doing during that time we’re spending together?” I pulled at the chest of my dress when I noticed the way his gaze had lingered there a moment too long.
His shoulder rose. “Got any ideas?” There was an unmistakable glint in his eyes.
“No,” I answered instantly.
“You used to have plenty of ideas for filling the time.” He took a swig of his Coke.
“And then I learned how to use my brain.”
He studied my fake smile, almost like he was contemplating what it would feel like against his mouth. “Dinners. Dates. Simple stuff like that.”
I held my best poker face, considering his offer. I didn’t want to stay married to him. If one more month was what it took to be free of Canaan Ford, I could suck it up. I’d already made it five years. “No expectations of anything of a physical nature?”
“If I remember right”—his eyes narrowed as he rubbed the back of his head—“it was generally you who instigated all of that back then.”
I shoved his chest. Bad idea. Solid. Firm. Home.
My jaw ground as I worked to erase that word from my conscious where he was concerned. “And you were just the perfect gentleman.”
Canaan snatched my hand before I could pull it away. Holding onto it, he dragged me closer. Not so close that our bodies touched, but close enough the separation was painful.
“Exactly,” he said in that low voice of his. The one he’d whispered my name in so many times as he moved inside me. “A gentleman gives his woman exactly what she needs. As many times as she need it. Just doing my part.”
“That’s right. So if you want to make any changes to this one month agreement, consider me your humble servant.” When his hand dropped to my waist, his touch hesitant at the same time it was insistent, I didn’t flinch out of instinct the way I should have.
Instead, I had to remind myself to pull away from him; to flinch at his touch. “I have a boyfriend, Canaan.” Even to my ears, it sounded like a weak protest.
His hand didn’t fall away when I stepped back. “You’re a married woman, Maggie.”
“My husband forfeited his rights years ago.” My eyes found his, expecting them to shoot away once mine made contact.
They didn’t. His gold eyes held to mine. “He’s here to reclaim them.
Exes With Benefits by Nicole Williams is more than a second chance romance. It’s an emotionally charged novel which clearly takes the characters on a life changing journey. Two young people got married before they were ready to step fully into the adult world. Their maturity level left them incapable of dealing with the emotional storm called life. Their communication with one another was broken. Their ability to express their emotions was non existent. Their coping mechanisms were became destructive. Their relationship became toxic. One became an enabler and the other was about to detonate. The only thing that could fix their problems was to walk away from the life they had begun to destroy.
Maggie Church and Canaan Ford got married right out of high school because of a surprise pregnancy that ended with a miscarriage. They clearly loved one another deeply but couldn’t handle the tragedy in their lives. To make matters worse there were other tragedies weighing on their souls. They were both too immature to handle their loss on an emotional level. Canaan began to drink heavily. The drinking led to a path of self destruction which included fighting and out of control behavior. Maggie couldn’t take watching Canaan self destruct and finally chose to walk away. As she watched Canaan in her rear view mirror, she vowed she would never return to Farmington, Missouri or Canaan Ford.
Five years later Maggie is forced to face her past and finally put it to rest. She has returned to Farmington for her grandmother’s funeral and to finalize the divorce. Canaan had refused to sign the divorce papers for the past five years. She has made a new life in Chicago with a successful career as an artist. She has been in a relationship with another man for the past two years. She needs to put the past to rest so that she can fully move forward in her life. Coming home isn’t always easy, especially when facing another loss. What she came home to was something altogether different than what she left behind years ago. Farmington is still the same charming small town where everyone knows each others business but the peoples lives have changed. Her friends have built careers and families of their own. Her ex husband is still living in the same apartment above the garage at her grandmother’s house but he is a different man altogether. She’s finding it hard to believe Canaan is the same man as the boy she left behind. She refuses to allow herself to become vulnerable to Canaan’s charm and apparent sincerity. She needs their divorce to become finalized.
Canaan was broken before he lost Maggie. Losing Maggie was the final bullet that killed his dying soul. He had a choice to live as the man he always intended to be or die alone from his own self destruction. He has always loved Maggie Church and knows they were destined for one another. He made a conscious choice to become the man Maggie deserved. He changed his life. He grew up. He became responsible. He became emotionally present. He became a real man. Now he’s going to win his wife back no matter how hard she tries to walk away. This time he is going to keep her. If she walks away, he’s going to chase her and bring her home. She is his wife. He just needs 30 days to prove it.
Needless to say, Nicole Williams painted a vivid picture of Maggie and Canaan’s life with her words. This novel was like an artistic painting that evoked so many emotions with it’s choice of color, realms of shading, and deliberate strokes of the brush. Sometimes the colors blended perfectly but the shading overpowered the overall piece. Other times the brushstroke strayed outside the lines but added more detail to the overall intensity. When all the creativity, choice of colors, and masterful technique came together, it became an emotional masterpiece. This is what Exes With Benefits by Nicole Williams became. Her words were what created a beautiful masterpiece about life, love, and the choice of happiness.
Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.
Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency.