Contemporay Romance

Beach Reads Romance Series (Book 1)

Destination Love cover.jpeg

A woman running from her past. A man with a broken heart. A new future could give them a second chance at love.

Faith Morgan’s lifelong dream comes true when she signs a book deal with a major romance publisher. For the first time in years, she feels the confidence she needs to cut ties with her nightmare of a boyfriend. But when he demands a piece of Faith's newfound success, she has no choice but to put distance between them. She figures about 11,000 miles ought to do the trick. Faith lands in New Zealand and swears off all men for good… until she meets the one who's destined to change her life.

Local businessman Dean Jameson always saw himself as a father in the making. He's ecstatic when he becomes a dad, but his heart shatters when his twisted ex reveals he's not the child's father. Meeting the captivating Faith renews his hope in the future, though he's unsure if he can leave his double heartbreak in the past where it belongs.

As Faith navigates her fear of being controlled and Dean dreads another betrayal, the two slowly but surely fall for each other. When their vindictive exes do everything they can to crush this second chance at romance, Faith and Dean must shed the past to rebuild a future based on true love…

Destination Love is a stirring contemporary romance set in New Zealand. If you like exotic locales, steamy relationships, and happily ever afters, then you’ll love Toya Richardson’s inspiring novel.

Buy Destination Love to experience the healing power of love today!  


Other Books by Toya



Excerpt

Faith took a deep breath and stared at her phone for long moments. This was going to be one of the most difficult calls of her life. She dialled the number and waited for a response.

“Hi, it’s me.”

“Nice of you to call me, Faith, where have you been?”

The sarcasm in his tone irritated her, she glanced at the clock and shook her head. “We only spoke a short while ago.”

“That’s too long. You should want to speak to me all the time.”

“My editor called…”

He cut her off in mid flow. “Oh, I get it. Now your books are doing well you think you don’t need me.”

“Alan, please…”

“No, Faith, now you listen to me…”

Not anymore she wouldn’t. The time had come to tell him how she felt, she steadied herself.

“Sorry, Alan, I can’t do this any longer.”

“What do you mean? Have you finally realised you can’t write? It’s about time you saw sense.”

“No, Alan, we’re finished.” Faith jostled the phone to her other ear.

“What the hell do you mean by that? Why?”

Faith sighed and closed her eyes. “You know why.”

“Oh, please enlighten me!”

“You’ve never once supported my dream to be a published author.”

“Yes I damn well have.”

“Don’t lie,” she responded with frustration. “You’re only interested now because I’ve been signed.”

“That’s not true and you know it. Marry me, Faith, you need me.”

She gasped with surprise at his response. “I don’t need you and I’m certainly not marrying you.”

“Who the hell do you think is going to pick up the pieces when your book deal turns to crap, huh?”

“Just stop it. I can look after myself.”

“Yeah, sure you can. Where the hell will you get the money to support yourself, answer me that?”

She ran a hand across her forehead.

“Deny it all you want, but you can’t cope without me.”

She gritted her teeth. “You’ve proved how shallow you are. We are over. End of story.”

“This is crazy, listen to me.”

“No, Alan, not anymore. I’ll leave your stuff on the porch. I want it gone as soon as possible.”

“Faith…”

She ended the call before she heard anymore and threw her mobile phone on the sofa with exasperation. When the phone rang again, she picked it up, cancelled the call and blocked his number.

Faith walked into the kitchen, grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and drank deeply. She ambled back into the living room, flopped onto a chair and closed her eyes, rubbing the cold bottle along her forehead. Now she’d made the dreaded phone call, she needed some company. Picking up her mobile once more, she rang Leah, her best friend.

“Hey, Leah, it’s me. I’ve told Alan it’s over.”

Leah asked her loads of questions about her conversation with Alan.

“Yes, I’ve blocked his number. No, he can’t get in here. I had the foresight to change the locks before I called him. I’ve also packed up all his stuff and left it on the front porch for him to collect.”

She held the phone away from her ear while Leah hooted and cheered loudly.

“What I need right now though, is some time with my best friend. Can I stay at yours tonight? I don’t want to be here when Alan comes to retrieve his things. He’ll only start with the begging and pleading routine and I really don’t want to see him or hear his whiny voice.”

“Come whenever you’re ready, honey,” Leah responded.

“Great. I’ll be there just as soon as I’ve chucked some things in my bag.”

****

Leah was waiting at the door when she parked on her driveway, her friend had the biggest smile on her face. It was so infectious that Faith couldn’t help but smile back. Leah ran towards her and gave her a huge, loving hug. They proceeded to dance around the drive until they fell against each other, laughing loudly.

“Come on.” She grabbed Faith’s bag from her. “The champers is already chilling nicely in the fridge.”

There were scented candles flickering in her living room and all their favourite junk food littered across the coffee table. Prawn, tuna and anchovy pizza, nachos and dips, cashew nuts, Thornton’s chocolates and a tub of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream.

“My God, it looks like heart attack heaven in here.” She indicated all the calorie-laden goodies.

“Yep, and there are two more bottles of champagne waiting to join the other one in the fridge. We need to celebrate your newfound freedom.”

Faith watched while Leah expertly popped the cork from the bottle. She held out two glasses for her while she poured the fizzing liquid into them. They chinked their glasses lightly together. She shivered with pleasure while the bubbles tickled her mouth.

“Here’s to your amazing future as a talented author…and a life without Alan.”

“Thanks, Leah. Cheers to that.”

They attacked their feast. Faith moaned with contentment while she munched on a slice of pizza.

“Thank you for always being there for me, sweetie.”

Leah handed a bowl of ice cream to her. “I am so happy you’ve finally got rid of him. He was trying to drain the passion and life right out of you. I knew you’d end it in your own time.”

When most people around her kept on about how she should leave Alan because he was holding her back, Leah had never once said a word. She’d always been there when Faith had called crying about not knowing what to do. Each time she’d stumbled. Each time she’d had a rejection letter and every time Alan had berated her, Leah had been her rock. Tears flooded her eyes.

“I love you, Leah, you’re the most amazing friend ever.”

“Stop,” she responded, wiping her eyes. “No tears. This is a celebration. Friendship is a two-way street, honey, and you’ve always been there for me too. Now we can retire to the hot tub.”

Faith grinned widely. She had been envious of her friend’s decadent purchase, although she did spend as much time in it as Leah.

“Great idea.”

****

Faith woke up the next morning feeling refreshed and invigorated. Even after they’d sunk two out of the three bottles of champagne. When she opened the curtains, the bright morning sunshine made her blink rapidly. This was going to be the first day of her new life. The sensation was exciting. Opening the window, she drew in deep gulps of the morning air. The perfect scene was marred by the sight of Alan’s car parked outside. It shouldn’t really be a surprise. This was the kind of stunt he’d pull. As soon as he spotted her, he got out of the car and marched up to the front door. She rushed to Leah’s room and began shaking her.

“W…what?” Her friend rubbed at her eyes.

“Alan’s about to knock at your door.” The near-hysteria at his arrival resonated in her words.

Leah leapt from her bed, grabbed her dressing gown and stormed downstairs. “I’ll deal with this.”

 

Faith had never seen her friend so fired up. “Leah…”

Pausing on the stairs, Leah looked over her shoulder “This has to stop, honey. And it’s about time I gave that man a huge dose of what’s on my mind.”

So many times in the past her friend had protected her from Alan’s outbursts. Not on this occasion, though. Today, she would deal with it herself. Alan needed to know that this time she wasn’t messing about.

“No, I’ll sort it out.” Faith assured her. The calmness in her words halted Leah’s progress down the stairs.

Leah halted at the top of the stairs. “Are you sure?”

“Positive.”

Leah retreated toward the kitchen, pausing in the doorway. “Okay, but if he starts to get nasty, call me.”

“I will, I promise.”

When he rapped at the door, she took a deep breath and prepared to do battle with him. The man looked rough, as though he’d slept in his car all night. His breath smelled stale and she shuddered with revulsion. Anger flashed in his eyes; he was obviously expecting to see Leah. Alan’s expression was quickly replaced with the puppy dog look which he thought she found appealing. She’d never fall for that pathetic trick again.

“Before you say anything, Alan, I meant what I said.”

“But we belong together, Faith.”

“No, we don’t.”

“You’ll see sense in the end.”

“I will never change my mind, regardless of what you say.”

“You always come back to me.”

“Not this time.”

“You need me. You can’t function without me.”

Bitter laughter bubbled up inside her at the words she’d listened to so many times in the past.

“Not now I don’t. I’m quite capable of living my life without you. Nothing you can say or do will ever make me relent. I am sick of your selfishness. The way you try to control me and how now, when I find success, you’re interested in my work. Well, it’s far too late for that. You should have been supportive when I needed you most.”

“You won’t last a week without me, and you know it. But that’s okay; I’ll be waiting for you to crawl back to me on your hands and knees. You’re a stupid, helpless woman and YOU. NEED. ME.” Each word sounded like a feral growl.

She was taken aback by his aggressive behaviour. In that moment, she wondered if he’d ever hit a woman. The answering response to the idea was yes. Time to put an end to it before he did turn violent. When she attempted to close the door, his foot shot inside the threshold and prevented her from doing so. She was about to kick him when he swore loudly as a fountain of water blasted his back. Alan turned around to face his attacker and Faith laughed at the scene. Leah had her garden hose trained on him, covering him with icy water.

“Get out of here now, asshole, before I call the police. Do I make myself clear?” Leah warned in a menacing tone.

The scene before her was so comical. Leah stood just over five feet tall, wearing her PJs covered in little unicorns. Her blonde hair flew wildly around her shoulders, and there was an angry glint in her pale blue eyes. Alan was over six feet tall and worked out daily in the gym. This didn’t appear to phase her and she chased him down the path swearing and cursing at him, covering him with yet more water.

“This isn’t over, Faith.” he shouted whilst getting in to his car.

“That was the funniest thing I’ve ever witnessed. I wish I’d filmed the event then I could’ve uploaded it onto YouTube.” Faith clutched her aching stomach.

“Perhaps you can include the scene in one of your future books. I have to tell you it felt so good drenching him like that,” Leah admitted.

“It was even better to watch it happen. Definitely the best laugh I’ve had in ages.”