Cynthia Thornton is the CEO of a world-wide cosmetics company. At age 40, her 10 figure income provides her with luxury few people enjoy and she is entrenched in her New York City lifestyle. She manages a mega-company with 28,000 employees, yet she can’t manage her own life. Her world is small and the happiness she seeks continually eludes her. Nicholas Legitt is a best-selling, Pulitzer Prize winning author who lives in a small town in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. At heart, he is a mountain man. He and Cynthia meet at a fundraising event. Their friendship creeps along until it escalates into an off-again, on-again relationship that is rife with acrimony. Cindy has a very troublesome characteristic that makes sustaining a relationship impossible. Jill McDonald had lived her entire life in the same, small Colorado town as Nick. She and Nick had a torrid relationship that began in high school and continued for over four years. Her life moved on after the parted but she never lost the love she had for her high school sweetheart. Now that his relationship with Cynthia was behind him, Nick was free to pursue his former lover and they revived a love that never faded. The characters are as real as the people you know and they will become your friends. But a word of caution. Don’t jump to conclusions. Things are not always as they seem. So how does the story end? Do they each find happiness in their own way? Does each one live happily ever after? The answers are in the story. Please note. 26 Hours is intended for mature readers. It contains adult language and adult themes that are secondary to the plot. The story is driven by its plot, not by its sexual content.
Bestselling author Nick Legitt finds himself seated next to glamorous and intriguing Cynthia at a fundraiser for his long-time friend, Peter. Amid the glitz and opulence of the New York City Plaza hotel, the two are drawn to one another, making it even more surprising for Nick when Cynthia immediately dismisses him at the end of the evening. 26 Days: A Love Story by Michael Stafford travels from the exciting energy of Cynthia’s New York home and high pressure career as a CEO to the beauty and quiet of Nick’s Colorado town and calm life with his dog, Gloria. As the two embark on a tumultuous long distance friendship, the reader learns more about Cindy’s tragic past and unusual reaction to it. With each move towards closeness, Nick is met with rampant outbursts that emerge from Cindy’s personality at the slightest provocation. But soon, Cindy comes to trust Nick’s honest character and confides in him the story of her poignant and agonising past. Working together, Nick embraces Cindy, providing her with her first trusted male friendship as they enjoy exploring cities and each other. Soon, their mutual admiration turns to something more as they both experience feelings they have never encountered before. But will their long distance relationship, distinctive personalities, and turbulent pasts create a barrier to lifetime happiness?
Michael Stafford’s 26 Days: A Love Story is an up and down ride of the relationship between Cindy and Nick. Nick’s character is slow moving and patient as he helps Cindy work through her demons, making him a most endearing character. Cindy’s battles and subsequent life decisions are very intriguing, providing an unexpected edge from traditional female leads. Stafford does a fabulous job depicting both the physical setting and emotional ties to the locations defined in the book. From New York city to the Colorado Mountains to the cowboy dancing night clubs of Dallas, the reader comes along with Nick and Cindy for their ride as they both work to leave their pasts behind and take a leap into happiness. Stafford’s writing has a rarely found tender edge that works magically through the character of Nick as he helps Cindy move forward through both their conversations and their passionate encounters. I look forward to further stories from Michael Stafford and, given that this is entitled Volume I, I eagerly await Volume II.
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