When I find a new or new-to-me author and I’ve really enjoyed their books, I tend to go and pick up their back list if they have one. But once in a while the author falls between the cracks and that is what happened with Emma Scott. A while ago I read and adored How to Save a Life and didn’t do any follow up for some reason. And since my memory is crap these days, I can’t remember how she came to my attention again. I’m sure it was by pursing friends’ reads on GoodReads, but however or whoever brought her back to the forefront, I’m forever grateful. I did purchase her back list, some of them, and have been making up for lost time. At this point I have to say that they are most excellently priced at Amazon, so a good reason to try one out.
Sugar & Gold is an emotional story with a bit of the paranormal, but just a bit. So if you aren’t a reader of paranormal, don’t let that stop you from reading this. This is the second book in the series, but it works very well as a stand-alone. The characters from the first book only make a brief appearance at the beginning and at the end.
Nikolai is in hell. Not literally, but because of a special condition he has where he ‘feels’ other people’s thoughts and sees them almost as colours. Interestingly, this is a real condition. I read a book not long ago where the hero suffered from something very similar and I googled it. But Nikolai’s case is much worse; bad to the point he can’t remain in any one place at the risk of being bombarded. He makes a living playing at underground poker games and just crisscrosses the country.
One night he’s in a bar and notices a young woman and just by looking at her, he experiences a sense of peace. The young woman in question is Fiona Sterling. Fiona has escaped her own issues and is living kind of an underground life while she saves enough money to move to Costa Rica, where she thinks she will finally find rest. You see, her ex really did a number on her and robbed her of all her self-confidence to the point where she questions everything. She is desperately wanting a one-night stand, and when she notices Nikolai noticing her, they are off to the races, so to speak.
But what starts out as a one-night stand turns into so much more. For the first time in his life, Nikolai experiences relief from the constant noise he lives with daily. He doesn’t want to leave her. And Fiona is just as reluctant for Nikolai to leave, even though they both agree it would only be one night.
These two find so much more than they could ever imagine with each other, and it’s such a beautiful and gut-wrenching story. I completely fell for Nikolai. He’s led such a sad and lonely and loveless life. And he didn’t even have a home! I can’t imagine anything so sad. And he is so devoted to Fiona. I love it.
And Fiona is such a delight. She so young and innocent in some ways but such an old soul in others. She and Nikolai are meant to be together.
This is the third Emma Scott book I’ve read since she came back on my radar and I’ve just started another one. She writes such rich and luscious books that really draw the reader into the story, and I highly recommend any of them.
Nikolai Alexei Young was born with a special gift…one he’d do anything to lose. The heart and soul of every person he comes into contact with is an open book to his heightened senses. Colorful emotions, whispers of thoughts, the sour tastes of old memories…He feels them all. The sci-fi books would call him an empath. For Nikolai, his ability has made him an exile. He roams the U.S. alone, avoiding the glut of life in big cities, and using his innate talents to win money in underground poker games. Just enough to keep going, one town to the next. He has no hope that his life can be anything else, until he meets her…
At nineteen, Fiona Starling was trapped in an ugly, desperate situation until she freed herself the only way she knew how. Now three years later, living outside Savannah, Georgia, she is rebuilding her life on her own terms; seizing every moment and saving every penny so that she might fulfill her dream of moving to the raw wilderness of Costa Rica. But behind her carefree smile beats the heart of a lonely young woman haunted by her past, until a chance encounter with a tattooed stranger changes everything…
Fiona takes Nikolai under her roof for three sultry nights, waiting out the rain of a summer storm. She grows more and more fascinated by this brooding stranger with whom she shares an intense physical connection—a connection so strong, she wonders if there is something between them beyond lust and passion. Nikolai is shocked to discover that Fiona calms the raging turmoil in his heart. She alone silences the din of other people’s lives, and envelops him in the sweet beauty of her inner self. Every moment he’s with her—every touch of her skin—brings him closer to the peace that’s been eluding him his entire life.
But Fiona harbors secrets that she is too terrified to reveal. After Nikolai confesses his unique ability, she is caught between wanting to believe him and fearing he’ll eventually unearth her own dark past. When the unthinkable happens, Fiona’s plans come crashing down, and Nikolai discovers his hated ability might be the only thing that can save the woman he loves.
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Other books in this series: