Book Spotlight: All the Befores by Samantha Chase

All the Befores
(Magnolia Sound #3.5)
by Samantha Chase
Date Released: December 10, 2019

About All the Befores
Susannah Westbrook never thought she’d find love again.

After a failed marriage, focusing on her children instead of her love life was the best thing to do. Now years later, she’s content with her life. But when she meets Colton Hale, she decides that she wants to be more than just content—she’s ready to take a chance on love once again.

After just a year of being together, Colton is ready to spend forever with Susannah—to give her the happily ever after she deserves. But old insecurities have a way of making a comeback when you least want them to.

Will they be able to get over all their befores for a chance at their happy ever after?




Read my five-starred review of In Case You Didn't Know.

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An Excerpt from In Case You Didn't Know
“Do you think people will judge me if Colton sleeps here when there are guests?” Susannah blurted out the next morning when Mallory came over to see how things were going with the guests.

“Um…hey. Good morning to you too,” she said with a smile, walking over to the antique buffet table in the dining room and helping herself to a glass of juice. Glass in hand, she turned back to Susannah. “I’m sorry, what was the question again?”

Susannah relayed the conversation she had with Colton the night before and spoke in hushed tones because guests were still coming and going. “So? He’s being crazy, right? I mean, no one’s going to think anything of it. He’s just being overly cautious.”

“Well…”

“No,” Susannah interrupted. “People aren’t that closed-minded about things like this anymore. And besides, it’s no one’s business! It’s not like I’ve got a revolving door of men sleeping with me! It’s one man and one that I love! Doesn’t that count for anything?” It wasn’t until she noticed Mallory’s eyes had gone wide and then heard someone clear their throat that she realized just how loud she had gotten. Luckily, when she turned around, she saw it was her nephew Mason and his fiancée Scarlett. Embarrassed, Susannah scurried around wiping down a table for them, offering them coffee and juice.

Mason kissed her on the cheek before doing the same to Mallory. It wasn’t until he had Scarlett seated that he spoke. “So, um…not that I was eavesdropping…”

“Oh, God…” Susannah groaned.

“But if I could add my two cents to the topic,” he said with an easy grin.

“Mason,” Mallory interjected. “Maybe you shouldn’t.”

He held up a hand to stop her. “Look, personally, I agree with you. It isn’t anyone’s business who you’re involved with and whether or not they’re sleeping here with you.”

“Thank you.”

“However,” he continued, “you know what small town life is like. Now, granted, you aren’t only opening your doors to the people of Magnolia Sound to stay here, but your guests are going to be interacting with the people and business owners in town and…well…you know, people talk.”

“But they’ve been dating for a year,” Scarlett commented. “I don’t see what’s different all of a sudden.”

“Thank you, Scarlett,” Susannah said with a smile, pouring her a glass of orange juice. “Nothing’s different.”

“Except now people are staying here and you’ve opened the home to the public and – therefore – to scrutiny and gossip too,” Mallory said. When Susannah tried to comment, she stopped her. “Look, I’m not saying I agree with it, Mom, but it’s just something you need to be aware of. When you own a business in this town, everyone feels like they have a right to comment on what you do and how you do it. I get it at the shop all the time. People come in and will comment on what pieces of furniture they don’t like all the way to whether or not they like what I’m wearing that day! And don’t even get me started on when they come in and comment on something Jake or Coleman Construction did! It’s maddening!”

“I had no idea…”

Scarlett nodded and raised her hand a bit. “Now that Mallory’s mentioned it, I can totally agree. I saw it with my dad’s garage and my grandfather’s bar. People talk. And it’s not always about the business itself. You get one uptight guest in here or someone local suddenly gets wind of or actually sees Colton’s truck here all night and it will become part of the dialogue when people talk about the inn.”

“I can’t believe that would happen,” Susannah scoffed.

“But are you willing to take that chance?” Mallory asked. “Look, as a mature and responsible adult, one could argue that this is your house and you can do what you want.”

“Exactly!”

“However,” Mallory went on, “it could also be argued that you’re old enough to handle not sleeping with your boyfriend every night. So if he isn’t here on the nights you have guests, it shouldn’t be a big deal.”

“But what if she’s booked every night for months?” Mason asked. “She and Colton aren’t allowed to…you know…during all that time?”

Both Scarlett and Mallory laughed but Susannah wasn’t amused.

“Look,” he said, “I’m not saying you two can’t get busy on your own while the guests are out or maybe you have someone working overnight so you can go to his place, but that’s going to get old fast.”

“Ew, you did not just talk about my mom getting busy,” Mallory said with disgust. “That’s just gross.”

“Oh, grow up,” he said with a laugh, pouring himself a cup of coffee. “We all do it and personally, I think it’s great that she and Colton have a good sex life!”

“No one said that!” Mallory cried.

“If they didn’t, then we wouldn’t be talking about finding a way for Colton to spend the night,” he countered. “If she wasn’t interested in sex with him, then she wouldn’t care about sending him home at the end of the day.”

“Okay, okay, okay,” Susannah said quickly. “That’s enough. I’m not…this is not the conversation I want to be having and now I’m completely mortified.”

“Mom, you don’t have to be mortified. Sex is a completely natural part of a healthy relationship. That is what you once told Sam, wasn’t it? You know, after he came home and saw Colton leaving?”

Groaning, Susannah hung her head and shook it. Why had she thought it was a good idea to ask her daughter about this?

“Of course, this wouldn’t be an issue if you would have accepted Colton’s proposal,” Mallory added.

“Holy crap! Colton proposed?” Mason asked loudly and Scarlett punched him in the arm. “Sorry. I just…wow! How come you turned him down? We all thought that’s where you guys were heading.”

Straightening, Susannah looked from Mason to Scarlett to Mallory and then back to Mason. “You did?”

He nodded. “Hell yeah. You guys were great together and it was nice to see you so happy. Plus, Colt’s a really cool guy. I always enjoy hanging out and talking with him when the family’s all together.” Then he paused. “Wait…if you turned him down, why are you worried about him sleeping here?”

“Just because she turned down his proposal doesn’t mean she wanted to end things with him,” Scarlett said, but Mason was shaking his head.

“Then he’s a better man than I am. If I had proposed to you and you turned me down, I don’t think I would be able to keep dating you.”

Scarlett patted his hand. “Dude, we’re having a baby. If I had turned down your proposal, we still would have been involved with each other.”

Rolling his eyes, he explained, “That’s not what I meant. If circumstances were different and you weren’t pregnant and I proposed…”

“Ah, got it.” Then she nodded. “Yeah, I don’t think I would want to keep dating you if I turned down your proposal.”
“What if you just weren’t ready?” Susannah asked, fascinated at the turn in the conversation. “I mean, what if you loved him, but you just weren’t ready to get married?”

Scarlett considered that for a moment. “Well, I think we would have talked about it and maybe agree that I’d accept the proposal but that we wouldn’t even think about planning a wedding until I was ready.”

Interesting.

Looking at Mason, Susannah asked, “And how would that have made you feel? Would you prefer putting a ring on her finger even though there’s a chance she might never want to get married?”

“Hmm…I don’t know. I don’t know if I could keep going like that. In the back of my mind I’d always be wondering if she was ever going to change her mind. It would put so much extra pressure on the relationship. Plus, I think I’d start wondering how long I’m supposed to wait. If I’m the kind of guy who wants to get married, that means I want a marriage and kids and all that goes with it. Am I supposed to give up on what I want while I’m waiting for her to figure out what’s stopping her? I mean, I’m an awesome catch!”

Scarlett smacked his arm playfully. “Feeling pretty full of yourself this morning, Bishop. What’s up with that?”

“Oh, please, I’m like this all the time and you know it,” he teased right before leaning in and kissing her.

While they seemed to get lost in each other, Mallory slowly walked over to Susannah. “Seems to me there’s a lot more for you to consider than just being able to sleep with your boyfriend.”

And as she strolled from the room, Susannah had to agree.




About Samantha Chase
Samantha Chase is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller of contemporary romance. She released her debut novel in 2011 and currently has more than forty titles under her belt! 

When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook, wearing a tiara while playing with her sassy pug Maylene…oh, and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.

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