Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Genre: Contemporary Romance
POV: First Person, Single
Series: Wildflower Duet
Hero: Thayer Holmes
Heroine: Salem Grace
Published On: March 23, 2022
Started On: April 10, 2022
Finished On: April 13, 2022
He cuts off my question, pressing me into the corner of the maze, the dried corn stalks rough against my back, and then he kisses me. It’s a rough, searing, soul-stealing sort of kiss. Thayer Holmes has branded himself on me. And I know, without a doubt, that whatever this is, whatever we become, if we grow and flourish like the wildflowers behind our houses, or crash and burn, it won’t matter because when I’m old and gray, lying in bed thinking about my life, he’ll be the best part.
The Wildflower Duet by Micalea Smeltzer was released early last year. Ms. Smeltzer is an evocative writer, whose elegant prose and characterization left me spellbound when it came to the story Sweet Dandelion. Being a sucker for May-December tropes, I was quick to grab this as it was released and I was not disappointed – at least with the first installment of the duet.
Salem Grace is 18 years old when the story begins, having just finished high school and dating the quintessential popular guy you come across in small towns. 31 year old Thayer Holmes moves in as Salem’s next door neighbor, and an unlikely friendship is forged with the single father whose gruff and silent manner should have been off-putting but draws Salem to him like a moth to a flame.
As Salem starts to babysit for Thayer’s son, the relationship between the two deepens to something much more, and a love forges to life, unlike any Salem has known. With Thayer, Salem feels safe from the nightmares that plagues her, and she feels cherished in a way that she has never known. However, tragedy is not too far from their lives when the unthinkable happens, driving the kind of wedge between Thayer and Salem that only time alone would heal. As the story moves to its second installment, Salem returns to her hometown six years henceforth, forced to come home and face the music at long last. This time around, she is older and wiser, and has a secret that she left with all those years ago.
As mentioned earlier in the review, I did enjoy the first installment in the series. Salem and Thayer invoked so many emotions in me that at times I felt chock full of it. Salem’s tragic past had me wanting to hurt someone, a very specific someone, and Thayer was all kinds of appealing. He has his own demons to fight with, but the connection between Salem and Thayer is one that all too real for him to ignore, even with the huge age gap between them.
I could understand why Thayer acted the way he did towards the end of the first installment, because some losses, you never ever fully recover from. The fact that Salem loved Thayer enough to know that and understand that was one reason I loved both of them to bits. But as the story moved to six years later, I found that there was not much essence nor conflict to the story to keep the reader hooked and the pages turning. I would have been happier had the first installment being extended a bit, and this was just a single book story. I believe it would have been more fitting.
Towards the end, I skipped huge parts of the latter half of the second book, just so I could get to the ending. I don’t like reiteration in my novels to the point where I have to force myself to keep my eyes open. That is what happened with the second installment in the series, with mundane details of everyday life thrown into make the pages count. I just sorely wish that had not been the case because if not, this would have been a stellar 5-star read!
Recommended for fans of the author and fans of May-December themed romances.
Final Verdict: The Wildflower duet is a story of tragedy and heartache. It is also one of deep abiding love and hope that gets you through the darkest moments of life!
“I’ll get our drinks.” I head back to the kitchen for them. I grab another Diet Coke from the fridge and turn to get his, but nearly smack into his chest. “Jesus Christ!” My hand flies to my chest. “Don’t sneak up on me like that.” He makes no move to back up. “Thayer?” His brown eyes stare at me intently. “W-What are you doing?” His tongue wets his lips and I realize he’s staring at my mouth. “Are you going to kiss me?” I blurt my thoughts out loud.
He towers above me, lowering his head so I’m cocooned with the mini-fridge behind my legs and his body blocking everything else. I know if I wanted to move, he’d let me pass, that’s the kind of man he is. But the fact is, I don’t want to.
His voice is deeper than normal when he asks, “Do you want me to?”
I swallow. Do I?
“Salem,” he murmurs my name between kisses.
I wind my legs around his waist, gasping when I feel the hardness of his erection.
We are chaos. Unrestrained passion igniting with a single spark.
“Need to be in you.” He sounds like he’s aching with the same need I am.
He shoves his jeans down and his boxer-briefs with them.
Thayer Holmes is naked in front of me.
I don’t look away.
I take in every inch of him.
Every. Long. Perfect. Inch.
He doesn’t hesitate. Grabbing the base of his cock, he plunges into me. I cry out, my back arching. He’s so big and I’m so full.
“Fucking hell, Salem,” he curses, exhaling heavily.
“Am I too tight?” I squeak, because my God, he’s stretching me.
He shakes his head, brown hair falling over his forehead. I reach up, brushing it away so I can see his eyes. I need to see them. He can’t hide from me that way.
“No,” he rocks slowly out and back in, “it’s just…” His fingers tighten around my hips, angling me up to meet his thrusts. “You feel like mine.”
His hips push into mine and I gasp at the feel of him hard and ready.
“Thayer,” I pant.
He wraps a hand around my neck. I moan, surprised at how much I like his hand there. “Do you want me to fuck you against the wall, Salem?”
“Thayer,” I pant, breathless, “right there. Don’t stop.”
I fall over the edge, my orgasm rattling me to the bone.
His lips press open-mouthed kisses to my neck. He pumps his hips harder, faster into me, and impossibly I feel my body building toward another high.
“Thayer!” I scream his name, my orgasm rippling through me.
“If you wouldn’t have chosen a peony, what did you think my favorite would be?”
“Sunflowers,” he answers without hesitation. “I guess that’s because you remind me of them. You’re so bright and happy most of the time.”
“I didn’t used to be,” I admit mournfully.
His finger is warm beneath my chin, lifting my head to look at him. “Who we used to be doesn’t matter, it’s who we are now, what’s in our hearts that matters most. You’re sunshine, Salem, but even the sun doesn’t always shine.” His hand moves to cup my cheek. A sigh passes through my lips as I lean into his touch. “I’m not bright like you, but I promise, when your days are dark, I’ll be your light.”
“You feel so good,” he murmurs into the skin of my neck. “Fucking made for me, Salem.”
“God, yes.” I squeeze my legs around him. He rests his forehead against mine, our noses brushing, breath to breath.
He makes love to me and I soak in every bit of that, letting it fill me up.
This is what it means to be cared for. Cherished.
Anything less is second best.
One of his arm winds around my back and he lifts me effortlessly, pressing my back to the shower wall. His erection presses into my core, my hips grinding against him on their own accord.
“Yes,” he encourages, guiding my hips with his hands, “get yourself off on me.”
He kisses me again, and it’s rough, aching, so desperately needy.
My fingers grapple against his slick back.
I rock my hips harder, faster. It feels so good. He feels so right.
My orgasm shatters through me so fast with so much force that I scream.
I bite my lip, holding back tears. My voice is barely above a whisper when I say, “I never stopped caring about you. I moved on, but my heart didn’t.”
He pulls the truck abruptly off to the side of the road. Gravel and dirt kick up behind us as he slams the vehicle into park. He turns slowly in his seat to look at me.
“Thayer—” I start to question, but he doesn’t give me a chance to finish my thought. He cups my cheek in one hand, his mouth descending on mine in less than a heartbeat.