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Return to Earth #2

The Ground Beneath

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Samantha Casey has been burned by love. She’s determined to remain single and keep a safe distance from any and all female temptations. Her plan is derailed when Jessica Walker strikes a barter deal with her that includes dinner together every night for a month. Jessica’s never been in love, but her sights are set on Sam. Night after night, in the face of Jessica’s beauty and hopefulness, Sam’s resolve weakens.

They live in a time long after peak oil. The climate has permanently shifted, and storms rise quickly and with vengeance. One such storm descends on Sam’s farm and Jessica has to spend the night, forcing them to face their feelings for each other.
After the storm, Jessica is on her way home when a man who’s been stalking her sets up an ambush. Can Sam find them in time to rescue Jessica and allow true love to rescue her?


First published July 20, 2015

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About the author

Missouri Vaun

25 books131 followers
Missouri Vaun is a two-time Golden Crown Literary Society award-winning lesbian romance writer published by Bold Strokes Books. FOREVER'S PROMISE is Vaun's latest, a historical romance. Wes dresses as a man for property rights. Will she risk it all for love?

Vaun spent a large part of her childhood in southern Mississippi, before attending high school in North Carolina and college in Tennessee. Strong connections to her roots in the rural South have been a grounding force throughout her life. Vaun spent twelve years finding her voice working as a journalist in places as disparate as Chicago, Atlanta and Jackson, Miss., all along filing away characters and their stories. Her novels are heartfelt, earthy; speak of loyalty and our responsibility to others.

She and her wife live in Northern California.

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5 stars
26 (38%)
4 stars
27 (39%)
3 stars
13 (19%)
2 stars
2 (2%)
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0 (0%)
Displaying 1 - 10 of 10 reviews
Profile Image for Lex Kent.
1,682 reviews8,872 followers
October 13, 2016
This is a novella that takes place in Vaun's Return to Earth universe. Book 1, All Things Rise, had quite a few characters that left you wanting to know, what happened to them? Sweet Jessica Walker, was one of them.
I really liked the love story between Jess and Sam. For a book only around a 100 pages, you cared for them and wanted them to be happy. My problem with novellas is that they normally seemed rushed, I didn't get that feeling here. It felt like a full story, which was nice.
Trigger warning. What stopped me from rating this higher was all the nasty men trying to rape one of the mains. I was enjoying this nice love story, then I had to read about multiple attempts at rape. I just didn't think it was needed in this story. In the previous book, All Things Rise, Vaun was basically making the point that while life is tough, it's worth wile on Earth. Yes, she made it known there was danger, but if as a women you have to worry about multiple men rapping you, maybe the cloud cities is they way to go and not earth. It just seemed to clash a bit with the overall story arc.
I did still enjoy most of this short. I think Vaun writes romance well. And I'm still looking forward to the next book, I just hope Vaun doesn't feel the need to use sexual assault anymore.
Profile Image for Justina Johnson.
385 reviews21 followers
October 23, 2015
This is a wonderful complementary story to 'All Things Rise'. Two communities are presented where one exists on the planet surface, and one is constructed and maintained far above the surface of the planet in what is called a cloud community. The first book of this series revolved around one of the most beautiful love stories I had the pleasure of reading. This book takes place exclusively on the planet, where life is often harsh yet friends and neighbors are by and large supportive, friendly, and trustworthy. Even with survival as a high priority, love also flourishes on the planet.

Samantha Casey, Sam, is alone at the start of this story. Her partner sought out an option that hopefully was going to get her to the cloud community. Sam is a respected craftsperson who produces some extraordinarily beautiful wooden artifacts. She is not a successful communicator, however. In fact, although she knows how important it is to speak her mind, she often cannot integrate that blessed skill within her interactions even with those she loves. Interestingly, she seems to be a gentle and passionate lover. When crises arise, she is also a stalwart fighter who can come to the aid of lovers and friends making her in actuality an outstanding significant other and solid contributor within her circle of comrades. I so adored Sam as she is quietly a magnificent individual capable of in-depth affection and care. Tremendously touching!

Jessica Walker is a woman with strong feelings, relatively reasonable expectations, and great tenderness. Much to her friends' dismay, Jessica has been rather reserved in her intimate relations as if waiting for the perfect partner. However, options for partners are rather limited locally. For Jessica, serendipity provided her with a wonderful opportunity to acquire something she admired and got to know someone better whom she secretly coveted. Jessica negotiates a bartering agreement with Sam that will allow her to acquire a hope chest while cooking Sam's dinner until the piece is completed. Jessica is personally ecstatic about this arrangement because she feels she may have true feelings for Sam. Her initial encounter with Sam after this bartering agreement was made leaves her feeling confused and mildly disappointed. However, time might work a kind of magic as Jessica returns day after day to prepare and share dinner with Sam. This relationship subtly moves forward in ways that I sense pleased and amazed both Jessica and Sam. Wondrously aggrandizing!

There is a deliciously exciting crisis that evolves allowing Sam and her friend Matthew, Jessica's brother, to rectify a disturbing situation while elevating life, love, and friendship. Fantastically fortuitous!

NOTE: This book was provided by Bold Strokes Books for the purpose of a review on Rainbow Book Reviews.
Profile Image for Regina.
50 reviews8 followers
August 30, 2015
This is more like a add-on than a full book since it's only 100 pages, but the couple here (Jessica and Sam) isn't as interesting as the couple in All Things Rise (Cole and Audrey), which is probably why 100 pages is already a stretch, lol.

Jessica is actually a minor character from All Things Rise and I got the book because I thought it was another character (Jessie the maverick pilot oops). Well, this romance is even more straightforward than I expected. Young girl is attracted to older girl, young girl spends time with older girl, they fall in love, and HEA ensues. Oh, and add a jealous suitor and a returning ex for a little bit of drama.

Anyway, it was an alright read (3 or 3.5), but I wouldn't mind another book in this series, but with Ava's story and more of Cole and Audrey too. That would be fun. :)
Profile Image for Tq.
25 reviews2 followers
July 16, 2015
Nice novella. Looking forward to reading more from this author.
Profile Image for Heather Henkel.
1,404 reviews20 followers
May 3, 2016
Nice quick read

This was a short story that packed a lot into it. I was a good story and I enjoyed reading it.
5 reviews
July 19, 2022
I liked this book more than the first book because the relationship was more convincing. I wish it was a little slower and had more development, but it was a quick read. I finished it in one day. I definitely wanted more complexity and character development. They don’t even have much background or anything. It felt a little flat, but was still a nice read.
Profile Image for Loek Krancher.
1,039 reviews50 followers
August 7, 2015
A fantastic and captivating love story!

This is an outstanding love story and it's set in a great environment. It's well written with characters that felt so real. It's all about faith, hope, trust and love. I like this book so much that I've purchased immediately All Things Rise. What a first acquaintance with this author! I definitely recommend this to anyone.
30 reviews4 followers
November 8, 2015
Really great read

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found myself drawn to the characters and would like to see their story continue at some point. This is my first time reading this author's work and I will definitely be reading more by her. Thank you for a great read.
Displaying 1 - 10 of 10 reviews

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