Type-A chef Carolyn Henderson has walked away from her job at a trendy NYC restaurant after an abrupt family tragedy. Now, as a guardian to her four-year-old niece, Emma, and a very disobedient mutt – kids and dogs are so not her skill set – moving back to Marietta, Montana seems the best temporary option. But when confronted by her parents’ declining health, Carolyn has to face reality. And she’s going to need some serious help. So who better to ask than Matthew West, a blast from her high school past… and as hunky and helpful as ever.
Vet – and very eligible, if reluctant, Bachelor – Matthew West can’t believe his luck when his high
school crush stumbles through his door. Dogs, kids, and gorgeous damsels in distress. Carolyn
needs help with the pup, and he needs help whipping up delicious concoctions for the Bachelor
Bake-Off. So she wants to make a deal: dog obedience lessons for cooking tips… but Matthew
wants to broker quite a bit more…
1. Matt kept on looking at the dog, because every time his gaze went to Carolyn, his heart did that same skip-beat. She had let her hair grow longer, and it curled around her shoulders. She still had the same elegant features he remembered. He knew if she put her hair up, that he would be able to see the long lines of her neck, the curve of her shoulders. When they’d been together, his favorite place to kiss her was in that small divot at the base of her neck. Just thinking about that sent his mind down some southern paths.
2. Damn. He still wanted her. Maybe it was the memories whispering through his mind, or the knowledge that they were both adults now, and anything they did together would be that much better, but desire started to simmer inside him all the same.
He shifted a little closer, inches away from her. “I really didn’t do anything.”
“You did a lot,” she said, but the words were a whisper. Her gaze dropped to his mouth, then moved back to his eyes. “Are you going to kiss me?”
“Do you want me to?”
“I think it would be…” her gaze dropped to his lips again and held there for one long, hot second “…an exceedingly bad idea.”
“Because we broke up years ago and I’m not staying here and we have to work together and…” She shook her head and backed up, shifting into serious Carolyn as easily as changing her shirt. “And I’m not getting wrapped up in this fairy tale again. We both know that’s not real life.”
Then she called the dog to her again, snapped on his leash, and said goodbye to Matt. He watched her go, and cursed himself for getting wrapped up in her spell.
Lesson learned. Again.
When she’s not writing books, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shirley Jump competes in triathlons, mostly because all that training lets her justify mid-day naps and a second slice of chocolate cake. She’s published more than 60 books in 24 languages, although she’s too geographically challenged to find any of those countries on a map. Visit her website at www.ShirleyJump.com for author news and a booklist, and follow her on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/shirleyjump.
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