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Ride Like You've Never Fallen - Summer Lake Book 11 (ebook)

Ride Like You've Never Fallen - Summer Lake Book 11 (ebook)

Sweet n Steamy Romance

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1239+ 5-Star Reviews

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Lily's family left Summer Lake when she went away to college. She tried to make her way in their world, but money and status didn't mean much to her. After calling off her engagement and giving up her career, Lily's back at the lake. She's finally happy. She has a life she loves, and she's pursuing her passion running the riding stables. There may not be any other kind of passion in her life, but that's okay, or it would be if it weren't for Nate. Nate's her friend. Nate sleeps around. Nate is most definitely not the guy she should want to get passionate with, but, unfortunately, he is.

Nate's enjoying life in Summer Lake, too. His boss, Pete, may have warned him off the local women, but that's okay, there are plenty of fresh tourists every weekend to keep him busy. He'd rather get busy with Lily, but that's a bad idea. She's his friend. She means more to him than just a quick hookup.

When these two finally do hook up, they'll have to decide if it's worth putting their friendship at risk for a relationship that might prove impossible anyway.

Available to Read on Kindle, Nook, iThings, Kobo, Phone, Computer, Tablet, Etc! Your eBook will be delivered to your provided email address by BookFunnel. 

Ride Like You've Never Fallen is the eleventh book in USA Today Bestselling Author SJ McCoy's international hit Summer Lake Romance series, loved by over 1,000,000 fans of sweet and steamy romances. 


Readers say:

"I will keep reading her books, as long as she keeps writing them, whether it's 3 more books, or 60 more....I will be here until the very end.."

"If you haven't started reading this series, yet, you really have no idea what your missing out on. Every single book in this series is fantastic!!! They will make you laugh, cry, and jump for joy."

"I am in love with this book!" 

"I have absolutely fell in love with each character and feel like part of the family."

"Well, once again a 5 star read! I have enjoyed all of these books in this series. They are all great reads! You must read them! I can not wait to get to the next box. When I am done, I will most likely read them again!!!!!!"

"I get started and I can't stop. Love the twists and the turns taken to get from the beginning to the end!"

"This series has it ALL. I've come to believe I know all the characters personally, the I would love to live ,and hang out with them all at Summer Lake. That's why SJ McCoy is such an amazing author. Her writing skills puts you "IN" her books. You don't just read them, you live them."

"Nate and Lily's story is one that you don't want to put down! A must read that leaves you wanting more of the Summer Lake series."

"Every time S J McCoy writes a book about summer lake, she makes you fall in love with the people in the place all over again.

    Chapter One Look Inside

    Chapter One

    Lily left the barn and checked her watch as she made her way back to the camper. The meeting with the staff had gone smoothly, and everyone knew what they were doing, where they were supposed to be and when. Seven-thirty on a Saturday morning and the day lay ahead of her—empty. She’d been working up to this point for weeks, organizing the roster, matching the available instructors to the bookings. Figuring out who could lead trail rides and who would give lessons in the arena on weekends. She was finally happy with all the arrangements. She’d reached her goal of being able to have the weekends to herself. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way she’d lost sight of why she’d set that goal—she needed to have a life outside of work and the free time to enjoy doing fun things. She sighed as she opened the camper door and let herself into her temporary home. She had the free time thing sorted; now she just needed to get a life!

    She poured herself a fresh coffee and sat down at the table. It wouldn’t all come together at once; she needed to keep reminding herself of that. It was a process, and she was doing okay. One step at a time was all anyone could ever do. All she needed to do for now was figure out what her next step was going to be. She didn’t even need to decide what she was going to do with the day, just what she was going to do next. She cradled the warm mug between her hands. She was going to enjoy her coffee—and then think of another step. She smiled. See, she could do this. No matter what her family might say, no matter how crazy they thought she was, she could build a good life for herself. Her definition of what a good life was didn’t match up with theirs—that was all. They valued money and material things—reputation and social standing were very important to them. Lily just didn’t share their values. That was fine, or at least as far as she was concerned, it should be fine. She might not share their values, but she respected them. She just wished they could do the same for her.

    Her phone buzzed. It was a text from Renée.

    Did you give yourself the day off? Come for breakfast? We’re celebrating

    Lily smiled. She had a good idea what Renée might be celebrating, and she was happy for her. Plus, now she knew what her next step was. She drained the last of her coffee and texted back.

    On my way.

    On her way through town, she couldn’t help glancing down Nate’s street as she passed. His SUV was parked in his driveway. She shrugged. What did it matter to her anyway? He was just a friend and not a very good one at that. If his car was home, that meant he wouldn’t be at breakfast with Renée and Gabe and whoever else was there. It didn’t mean that he was home. If he’d gone out last night, he wouldn’t have driven—and he more than likely wouldn’t have come home either. She shook her head and turned into the square at the resort. It was none of her business where he was, or what he got up to. She shouldn’t care—she didn’t care. She pulled into an empty space and cut the engine. Nah, she wasn’t a liar, and she wasn’t about to start lying to herself. She did care; she cared very much, but she knew she shouldn’t and wished she didn’t.

    She got out of the truck and waved when she saw Renée and Gabe sitting with Emma and Jack, Missy and Dan, and Smoke and Laura. No Nate—no surprise there.

    She made her way across the deck to join them, weaving her way between the crowded tables. The summer season was almost over if you went by the calendar, but if you went by the way Ben kept the resort full with guests and day visitors, you’d never know it.

    “Hey, Lily,” called Emma. “How are you?”

    “I’m great thanks, Em. How are you?” Lily eyed her baby bump and wondered just how big Emma was going to get.

    Emma laughed. “I feel wonderful, apart from being as big as a bus!”

    Lily laughed with her. “You’re pregnant, it goes with the territory, doesn’t it? And you look great.”

    “Thanks. I’m just getting impatient. I’ve been pregnant for months, but it feels like years already. I want the baby to be here now.”

    Missy laughed. “I’ll remind you of that, Em, when you’re complaining about not getting enough sleep.”

    Jack smiled as he put an arm around her shoulders. “I keep telling you; we need to enjoy every moment of this part.”

    Missy nodded sagely. “It all goes so fast. Don’t wish any of it away.”

    Emma rolled her eyes at Lily. “I was only joking.”

    “I know.” Lily turned to Renée, “And how about you? What’s your news?”

    Gabe grinned, and Renée smiled up at him before looking back at Lily. “My divorce finally came through. I’m a free woman!”

    “Congratulations! That’s wonderful.”

    Lily knew how much her friend had been looking forward to this day. Her ex was in prison, and that part of Renée’s life was behind her, but she’d confided in Lily many a time that she wouldn’t feel free of it all until her divorce was final.

    Ben came out to join them with a fresh pot of coffee. He poured Lily a cup with a smile. “Morning, Lil. Here you go.”

    “Thank you.” Lily took the cup and raised it in a toast to Renée. “Here’s to leaving the past where it belongs.”

    Everyone else raised their mugs and grinned at Renée.

    “Here’s to being a free woman,” she said as she grinned back at them.

    Lily noticed that Ben hadn’t joined the toast. She elbowed him in the ribs. “Don’t look so glum, mister. I said here’s to leaving the past where it belongs. Not everything or everyone in the past belongs there.” She raised an eyebrow at him.

    He grinned and raised his mug to her. “Now that, I can drink to.”

    “Can I invite her yet?” asked Emma.

    Jack gave Ben an apologetic look. “You said you were going to stop asking that, Em.”

    Emma shrugged. “I can’t help it. I just want Charlotte to come back and Ben to be happy and everyone to have babies and live happily ever after.”

    Lily had to laugh, as did the others.

    Emma wasn’t letting it go, though. “Well, can I?”

    Ben shook his head. “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times, Mouse. Charlotte isn’t going to come back here until she’s got her life straightened out. And even then, she isn’t going to come until I ask her. Me, not you.”

    Emma nodded. “I know, I know, but if I ask her, she could just come for a quick visit, you know, apart from whatever the two of you have or haven’t got going on.”

    “Drop it, Em.” Missy sounded irritated, her tone sharp enough to make Emma sit back.

    There was an uncomfortable silence around the table for a few moments until Dan broke it. “Is Nate coming this morning?”

    Jack shook his head. “I doubt it.”

    Ben smiled. “Me too. He was in here until we closed up last night.”

    Lily took a swig of her coffee. Of course he was, and from the look on Ben’s face, she’d guess that Nate didn’t leave alone either.

    Her cell phone rang in her pocket. She hated to take calls when she was with her friends, but she needed to check who it was, just in case anything was wrong at the barn. She pulled it out and was surprised to see that it was her mom. She got up. “Excuse me, guys. I need to take this.”

    “Do you want your usual?” asked Ben. “I’ll get the order in.”

    Lily nodded and smiled her thanks to him as she made her way to the steps that led down to the beach.

    She wanted to let the phone just keep ringing. It could go to voicemail, and she could call back later. But she couldn’t do it. It was too ingrained in her—when her parents wanted to talk, she listened.

    “Hi, Mom.”

    “Hello, Lily. I have some wonderful news to share with you.”

    Lily’s heart sank. She knew what was coming.

    “Andrew proposed, and Rose accepted.”

    “That’s great.” Lily felt bad. She was happy for her sister, really, she was. The sinking feeling in her stomach had nothing to do with concern for what this news meant for Rose. It was due to concern for what it would mean for Lily herself.

    “It is! It’s wonderful. I wish it had been you first, but still, never mind. These days there’s no shame for the eldest if her younger sister gets snapped up first.”

    Lily pursed her lips. Why did her mom always do that?

    “Anyway, we’re throwing an engagement party for them at the beach house, next Saturday.”

    Lily wished she hadn’t managed to clear her weekend schedule. She’d love to say she couldn’t make it because of work. Not that her parents would stand for that anyway.

    “So, you should come on Friday night.”

    Lily rolled her eyes. “I won’t be able to get there until lunchtime on Saturday.” It wasn’t true. She could go Friday morning if she wanted to, but she didn’t. More than that, she hated being told what she should and shouldn’t do.

    “Oh, don’t be a silly Lily.”

    Lily gritted her teeth. She’d hated the way her family called her that when she was eight; she certainly didn’t need it now she was thirty.

    “I’m not being silly, Mom. I know you don’t think much of it, but I do have a life here, I have responsibilities and—”

    “Responsibilities to whom? Are you telling me that your ponies are more important to you than your sister? Do you care more about animals than you do people?” The tone of her mom’s voice rose steadily, and Lily braced herself for the onslaught. She let her breath out when it didn’t come. “You can find someone to take care of them, can’t you? You only have to think about yourself. It’s not as though you have to coordinate your plans with anyone.”

    That just caught Lily wrong. It was her mom’s way of taking a jab at her, reminding her that she didn’t even have a boyfriend, let alone a husband or children to think about. “Actually, I do!”

    “Don’t be silly, who?”

    “I have a boyfriend!” Lily screwed her eyes tight shut and shook her head. Why, oh why had she said that?

    “A boyfriend? Since when? Why haven’t you told us? What does he do?”

    Lily bit the inside of her lip. Of course his profession would be her mom’s first concern. “I haven’t told you yet because I haven’t been seeing him long. I wanted to be sure about him myself first. I didn’t want to get your hopes up only to disappoint you—again.”

    “We’ve never been disappointed in you, Lily! Whatever gives you that idea?”

    Lily had to bite back a laugh. What gave her that idea? Just every little dig her parents made at her every chance they got.

    “So, you’re going to bring him? That’s wonderful!”

    “What? Err, no.”

    “But you said you had to coordinate with him. You can’t come until Saturday because he’ll be at work on Friday, is that it?”

    “Err, yeah, but…” Why on earth had she started this?

    “And what did you say he does?”

    “He’s a…” Shit! What should she say? “He’s in business.” Surely that would do? It didn’t make him a doctor or a lawyer, which would be her mom’s preference, but it should keep her happy, while still being vague enough—shouldn’t it?

    “What kind of business?”

    Lily brought her hand up to cover her eyes. She needed to get off the phone. “Oh, he’s calling me now. Can I call you back, Mom?”

    “Of course. You go talk to him. Tell him your father and I will look forward to meeting him next weekend.”

    “Okay, bye, Mom.”

    Lily hit the end call button and let her arms drop down to her sides. What had she done? She took a couple of deep, calming breaths. Nothing that couldn’t be undone. She’d make up some story as to why her non-existent boyfriend couldn’t go with her next weekend. Or better yet, he could be her excuse not to go herself. She’d figure something out. She made her way back up the steps to rejoin the others for breakfast, though she’d lost her appetite now.

    ~ ~ ~

    Nate rolled over and looked at the clock on the nightstand. Eight fifteen—on a Saturday? He buried his face in the pillow. What was he doing awake at this time? And why was he in his own bed? The pillow muffled his groan as he remembered. Last night had gone well. Vicky—that was her name—had been fun, hot, and up for spending the night with him. But then she’d gone on to talking about what they would do for the rest of the weekend. Nate rolled onto his back and stared up at the ceiling. He’d gone along with her for a little while. He wasn’t above stringing her along until morning and then getting a call from a friend in need and having to regretfully leave her to entertain herself for the day. She’d chattered on about how she could make him breakfast, and they could go for a walk, but when she’d said she wanted him to go horseback riding with her, that’s when she’d lost him.

    He didn’t mind horses; he enjoyed riding in fact, but riding would mean going out to the barn—Lily’s barn. He sighed. Cute, feisty, totally off-limits Lily. His friend Lily. What was his problem? She was his friend, and a good one at that. He wouldn’t mind if Smoke or Jack saw him around with Vicky, and they were his friends, so why didn’t he want Lily to see it? She knew what he was; she knew he liked the ladies. Whatever his reasons, the thought of having to take Vicky out to the barn had been enough to turn him off her completely. He’d seen her safely back to her room when the restaurant closed for the night. He’d almost reconsidered when she stuck her hand in his pants while he was kissing her goodnight. But he’d left her wanting and come home. He blew out a sigh. Because of Lily? Nah, that couldn’t be it. Maybe he just needed a break.

    He got out of bed and pulled his jeans on. He was thinking too much, and it didn’t suit him. He did all his thinking at work, and he was damned good at it too. He figured his brain needed a rest on his time off, so on the weekends he made most of his decisions from his pants. Right now, his stomach wanted a say, and it was telling him he needed breakfast. If he hurried, he might catch some of the gang down at the Boathouse—and if he were lucky, he wouldn’t run into Vicky.

    He grinned when he saw quite a few of his friends sitting at one of the big tables out on the deck when he reached the restaurant. Smoke and Laura, Jack and Emma, Missy and Dan, Gabe and Renée, and … His stride faltered as he saw Lily coming up the steps from the beach. She looked upset. She went and sat on the end of the bench and stared at the plate that was waiting for her. Nate watched the others question her as he hurried over to join them.

    “No, no, it’s fine.” Lily made a face at Smoke and picked up her fork.

    “Hey, everyone.”

    “Hey, Nate.” Laura turned to smile at him. “You’re just in time. Something’s upset Lily and she won’t tell us what. Can you try to talk her around? She listens to you.”

    Nate smiled, liking the thought that he might have some sway with her that the others didn’t.

    “What’s up, Lily-Bean?”

    Lily rolled her eyes at him. “I’m fine. Honestly. I don’t need you laying on the charm. I just want to eat.” She looked around. “Come on; there must be something fun to talk about? I don’t want to put a damper on everything.” She turned to Renée, “Do you two have any wedding plans?”

    Nate raised an eyebrow; Lily wouldn’t normally put people on the spot like that. She must have something to hide if she was trying to shift the spotlight onto Gabe and Renée.

    Gabe grinned at him. “Don’t worry. I know that question probably breaks you out in hives, but Renée just got her final divorce papers through, and I’ve been waiting a long time for her to be free to marry me.”

    Nate nodded. Each to his own, though why any man would want to confine himself to being with only one woman for the rest of his life was completely beyond him.

    “We’re considering our options at the moment,” continued Gabe, “but you’ll know all about it just as soon as we decide. And it won’t be too long if I get my way.”

    Smoke held a fist out to him. “I’m with you, Gabe. If you figure out a way to hurry her up, will you let me know what it is?”

    If there was anyone other than himself who Nate had thought would never tie himself down to just one woman, it was Smoke. But then he’d met Laura, and she’d changed everything. Nate could even understand it in their case. Smoke could have chased women for the rest of his life, and between them all, they’d never come close to being what Laura was. She got Smoke; she was perfect for him. She was her own woman, too, and Smoke admired who she was as a person. In their case, Nate understood it. He shot a quick look at Lily. He admired who Lily was as a person; she was her own woman, but they were just friends. Maybe some people, like Smoke and Laura, were just made for each other.

    “When are you going to make an honest man out of him?” Gabe asked Laura.

    She laughed. “I don’t know yet; I’m having too much fun stringing him along.”

    Smoke scowled at her. Usually, his playful scowl barely concealed his laughter. This time, it seemed to Nate that it barely covered his frustration. He smiled. Smoke wanted to get married more than Laura did. Who would ever have believed that?

    Ben came out to join them and put a plate down in front of Nate. “Full Boathouse breakfast. I figured you might need to build your strength back up.”

    “Thanks,” Nate smiled at him, but he wished Ben hadn’t said that. It surprised him, but with all the others talking about getting married, he felt, perhaps for the first time, a little embarrassed about the way he lived his life.

    Missy laughed. “Don’t look like that, Nate; it’s not as though anyone here is going to be shocked that you wore yourself out last night.”

    He shrugged and gave her a rueful grin. “I guess not. It’s just with you all getting married and having babies, I feel like you’re all growing up and I’m the only one who’s not ready to yet.”

    “Not the only one,” said Lily. There was an edge to her voice that Nate hadn’t heard before.

    “Will you just tell us what that phone call was about?” asked Missy. “You were fine before that, and now you’re all bent out of shape. There’s no use saying you’re fine and then being all pissy.”

    Only Missy could get away with saying it how it was.

    Lily smiled. “Sorry, Miss. You’re right. It was my mom. Rose just got engaged to the good Doctor Andrew. She’s still the perfect daughter and is happily fulfilling all their expectations. Apparently, Mom needed to remind me what a disappointment I am—and how I care more about animals than people.”

    “Your parents haven’t changed then?” asked Missy.

    “Not one bit, I’m sad to say. She told me I should get to the beach house on Friday evening to attend the no doubt lavish engagement party they are going to throw for the happy couple.”

    “And what did you say?” asked Renée.

    Lily covered her face with both her hands and peeked out between her fingers at them. She was so cute when she did that.

    “That’s what I’m mad about. I’m mad at myself. She pissed me off so much, telling me there was nothing in my life that could be anywhere near as important. So, I…”

    Missy laughed. “Go on. I’m dying to hear this. What did you tell her?”

    Lily closed her fingers over her eyes. “I told her I couldn’t get there until Saturday because my boyfriend was working Friday.”

    Nate’s heart jumped into his throat. “What boyfriend?” Why didn’t he know about it?

    Dan looked at him. “Come on, Nate. Even I know that there’s no boyfriend. Lily just said it because she was frustrated at her mom.” He turned to look at her. “Didn’t you?”

    She nodded, keeping her hands up over her face. “I lashed out like a little kid.” She peeked out through her fingers at Nate. “Which is why I said you’re not the only one who has some growing up to do.”

    “Ah.” Nate felt foolish now. He should have understood that, but when she’d said her boyfriend couldn’t go with her, it had felt like a kick in the … guts.

    “So, what are you going to do?” asked Emma.

    Lily brought her hands down. “The way I see it, I have two choices. I can either blame my non-existent boyfriend, who for some reason can’t go, or I can have an imaginary break-up with my imaginary boyfriend before next weekend.”

    Emma smiled. “Maybe they’ll be nice to you if they think you’re going through a break-up?”

    Lily shook her head adamantly. “No. You just made me realize that I can’t stand that option. There’d be no sympathy, just more disappointment in my inability to keep a man.”

    Her family sounded awful to Nate. He couldn’t imagine the pressure and expectations from parents. His own were so laid-back and so proud of everything he did.

    “I can think of a third option,” said Laura. She shot Nate a sly smile that he didn’t understand.

    “What?” asked Lily. “I’m open to all suggestions.”

    “You could ask a friend to go as a stand-in boyfriend.”

    Nate watched Lily think that one over for a moment. “No. I don’t think so. I don’t think I could put up a pretense all weekend like that. Besides, it wouldn’t be fair to ask—even if I knew anyone who’d fit the bill.”

    Nate swallowed when Laura raised an eyebrow at him. Now he understood what she was thinking. “I’ll do it. If you like?” Oh, shit! What was he getting himself into?

    Lily met his gaze; he couldn’t read her expression at all. “Thanks. Let me think about it?”

    He nodded. He wasn’t sure if he hoped she’d say yes, or no.

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