More Than Words, the latest novel from Mia Sheridan, combines our love of friends-to-more romance, music, and PARIS! This one needs to be at the top of your Summer TBR list!
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
[Some Spoilers; For Mature Audiences]
Mia Sheridan is my latest contemporary romance obsession, and let me tell you that she’s knocked it out of the park AGAIN with her latest standalone novel, More Than Words. This book swooned me so hard and so fast. I binged over about eight hours, and by the end, I was sobbing, completely overwhelmed by emotion. My heart was full.
More Than Words is an exquisite love story, taking us through the different vicissitudes of life and lingering impacts of childhood trauma, but daring us to live each day with fierce conviction and no regrets. I’m so inspired!
11-year old Jessica Creswell is having a horrible day, but makes her escape from her family woes by going on an adventure around her neighborhood. Jessica walks a little bit too far and ends up at the train tracks near the golf course. She’s a little nervous, but this is just part of the adventure running through her mind. She’s the princess waiting for her prince to come and join her in the fight against evil. Something draws Jessica to an abandoned boxcar, and there, she sees a beaten up and beaten down boy…Callen Hayes. This is the prince she’s been waiting on! “I’m here to save you,” she says. And while Callen is pretty doubtful at first, over the next two years, the two form a friendship. Callen is clearly trying to escape his woes, and being with Jessie offers that chance. She shares her love of fairy tales and legends and her dreams of moving to France. Most importantly, Jessie introduces Callen to music and music composition. It opens a whole new world of imagination and possibility. However, one day, Callen stops coming to the boxcar, and all she has left is her memories of their adventures and a piece of his music…
About ten years later, Callen is a super successful music composer, who has worked on major, blockbuster films. Unfortunately he’s dealing with a severe case of writer’s block, making it difficult for him to fulfill his obligations. Callen’s usual remedies of alcohol and one-night stands aren’t really doing the job anymore, so when Callen’s agent suggests a vacation to France, he goes for it. And by chance, Jessie slams back into his life. She’s also in the Loire Valley for work and certainly knows all about who Callen Hayes has become, the bad-boy music composer. But the memories of their time together as kids still bring her so much joy. Similarly, reconnecting with Jessie unfurls all the pent-up frustration and allows Callen to hear the music again. She’s his muse; however, Callen believes he can never be good enough for Jessie. All they can have is the two weeks together in France. Yet, Fate always has an agenda of her own…
Jessie is my fave! I love her sense of optimism and passion for history and adventure. Jessie is so steadfast, so sure about who she is and what she believes. The pain she endures in her childhood (via the instability of her parents’ marriage) contributes to her strength of character, too. This is likely what endears Jessie to Callen.
Callen suffers unbelievable brutality as a child and those scars continue to have an impact. The only joy he derived was the beauty of music and the ability to share stories and emotions through that language. This is the gift Jessie helped to give him, and for that, Callen will always cherish her. But more than that, Jessie inspires Callen to have confidence in himself and his talent. With the most simple of gestures–like flying a kite, riding bikes, and going to museums–Jessie reminds Callen what it means to enjoy the moment free of fears and disappointment.
It’s no wonder that their rekindled friendship quickly escalates to more:
I didn’t know if I had unconsciously moved closer to her or if she’d moved closer to me— maybe both— but our arms were suddenly pressed together, and it seemed to me that all the heat in my body had traveled to the patch of skin that was now touching Jessie’s. It reminded me of the way we’d once lain together in that train car, shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip, as Jessie’s sweet voice took me with her to foreign lands, aboard sea vessels, and to deserted islands. Yes, this reminded me of then, but the now was also new and different. The electricity coursing between us was not a product of childhood, but of the man and woman we’d become.
I turned toward her, and she moved until she was facing me as well, and for a moment we just stared at each other. She looked slightly nervous as she blinked and pulled her bottom lip between her teeth. Purity. That’s what was in her expression. So unlike the looks of calculated lust I’d come to know.
“This reminds me of when we were kids,” she said softly, and it surprised me that she had been thinking the same thing I had a moment before.
“I’m not feeling kid-like, Jessie,” I said, my voice raspy with the desire I felt for her, my brain cloudy as the blood drained south and seemed to gather and pump heavily between my legs. Her eyes widened slightly and then moved to my mouth and slowly back to my eyes.
“Oh,” she whispered.
I wasn’t sure who moved first, but our lips were suddenly touching, her fingers had threaded into my hair, and I moaned as she took initiative, though slowly, tentatively, her tongue moving along the seam of my lips. I opened, and our tongues met, the soft sweetness of her causing my blood to pulsate hotly through my veins. I tilted my head and our kiss went deeper, Jessie sighing into my mouth as she wrapped her leg over my thigh. Oh God. The movement brought our pelvises together, my erection pressed firmly against her. For a moment I simply continued to kiss her, trying not to move, attempting to find the control that seemed to have abandoned me. Jessie liked to kiss. She liked to explore slowly— it felt guileless rather than seductive, seemingly for the pleasure of kissing alone, without any thought about where this might be going. Something about that was so damned arousing. I was completely lost in her. Lost in this kiss, in her touch. I felt like a horny teenager experiencing sex for the first time, when the opposite was true. I was a man who had done everything there was to do ten times over. So why did this feel different?
As if Jessie had been waiting for me to move and refused to wait any longer, she let out a frustrated moan and rubbed her hips against mine. She tilted her body so my hardness fit into the V of her legs, moving her leg down and up slowly so I slid against that sensitive part of her. The friction was a blissful torture that directed my hips to move and thrust— to take— though I held back, trembling with the effort. Jessie broke from my mouth, letting out a gasping breath, and tilted her head back on a moan, rubbing herself against me and causing my own arousal to notch up about a hundred levels.
“Callen,” she moaned, and I almost came in my pants. I breathed against her neck, taking her scent into my body, holding back a laugh of utter surprise at my own response. Maybe this was what sober sex was like. Had it been so long? Although we really weren’t even close to having sex. We hadn’t even removed a single item of clothing. Fuck, I want her. I wanted to strip her clothes off and crawl under these covers. I wanted to solve the mystery of the shades of color on the most intimate parts of her body. I wanted to fuck her in every position I knew and then invent a few more. I wanted to watch my cock as it plunged between her legs, coming out slick and wet with proof of her arousal. The vision swirled through my lust-fogged brain, and I wasn’t able to hold back the groan that seemed to pulse from my groin to my throat and out from between my lips, a tortured sound of desperate need. Jessie’s hands slid farther up my scalp, and her eyes met mine.
I was recently in Paris this past February, and though I was only there for a few days, I totally fell in love with the romance and joie de vivre of the city. I so enjoy being able to embrace those same feelings through this book. In addition to the Jessie/Callen story, Mia Sheridan has done a phenomenal job weaving in a secondary romance, as Jessie translates the writings of a young woman who was a companion to Joan of Arc during the Hundred Years’ War. I’m such a history buff, so I was thrilled for a chance to learn a little more of Joan of Arc. And then the diary of this young woman provides further opportunities for Jessie (and the reader) to wrestle with frustrations of first love, obligations to family, and faith.
In fact, it’s this consideration of faith that is among one of More Than Words most profound subjects, especially articulating the perspective of how GOD does his work in our lives through the people he brings to us. Watching Callen wrestle with his demons and eventually come to this realization is incredibly poignant, too.
More Than Words is MUSTREAD for fans of contemporary romance, especially childhood friends-to-more stories and musical romance. Truth be told, I think those who prefer historical fiction/romance will also get a kick out of this book.
Add it to your TBR list and grab your copy today. Trust me, this needs to be at the tip-top of your Summer Reading list!
Thanks to our friends at Forever Romance, we have an exclusive interview with Mia Sheridan coming this Thursday (June 14), so make sure to come on back!
*Many thanks to the publisher for an advanced review copy.