Kel’s been burned once too many times to believe in love, and yet Ivy makes him want things he never imagined. But when her surprising past intrudes, Kel fears that everything she’s told him has been a lie. Is he willing to fight for a true love story?
(Let me tell you, with a teaser like that this one is too hard for me to resist!)
A Heartbreaker Bay Novel
by Jill Shalvis
It’s love. Trust me.
After a lifetime on the move, Ivy Snow is an expert in all things temporary—schools, friends, and way too many Mr. Wrongs. Now that she owns a successful taco truck in San Francisco and an apartment to call home, Ivy’s reinvented life is on solid ground. And she’s guarded against anything that can rock it. Like the realities of a past she’s worked hard to cover up. And especially Kel O’Donnell. Too hot not to set off alarms, he screams temporary. If only his whispers weren’t so delightfully naughty and irresistible.
Kel, an Idaho sheriff and ranch owner, is on vacay, but Ivy’s a spicy reason to give his short-terms plans a second thought. Best of all, she’s a tonic for his untrusting heart, burned once and still in repair. But when Ivy’s past intrudes on a perfect romance, Kel fears that everything she’s told him has been a perfect lie. Now, if only Ivy’s willing to share, Kel will fight for a true love story.
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He held her gaze for a long beat before taking the bag and unzipping it, finding the dishes she’d put together for him. “Not tacos,” he said in surprise.
“Making tacos is my job,” she said. “This was for something else.”
“And what’s that?”
“An apology for being … grumpy last night.”
She gave him a get real look and he smiled. “Okay, maybe a little. But it was understandable. You’d just gotten an unfortunate and unfair surprise.” He gently tilted her face up to his. “You doing okay this morning?”
“Yes,” she said. “Of course.”
“Of course,” he repeated and shook his head. “Smart, tough, and resilient,” he murmured, his gaze on her face.
Now it was her turn to smile. “Some might say stubborn, impulsive, and doesn’t know when to quit.”
“Yeah,” he said. “But I find those things very attractive.”
Honestly, she didn’t know how to take half the things he said. They made her feel both terrified and exhilarated at the same time. “You’re a strange man.”
“So I’ve been told.” He looked over the food. “You poison any of it?”
“No, and only because I’d never waste food.” But to prove it, she grabbed the fork she’d packed and took a bite of her eggs. “Mmm,” she moaned before she could stop herself, but hey, she’d worked out and been on the move ever since, and she was starving. Plus, she made damn good eggs if she said so herself.
Again their eyes met, and that now familiar spark went right through her. She wanted him. Quite badly, if going off her racing pulse meant anything. He was so … what, exactly? Steady? Tough? Intense and yet somehow easy-going, not to mention also extremely easy on the eyes?
“You didn’t have to cook something special for me,” he said, sounding touched.
“You helped me last night. I repay my debts.”
“I didn’t do it so you’d feel indebted to me,” he said and cocked his head as he studied her for a beat. “Someday you’re going to have to tell me about the apparent assholes who’ve been in your life to make you so distrusting of me.”
“Oh, don’t flatter yourself. It’s not just you. I don’t trust anyone. And it wasn’t just me paying back a debt,” she admitted. “I wanted to cook for you.” And because that made his smile warm, which in turn made something inside her warm as well, she shrugged and backed up a few steps, needing breathing room. “I also wanted to thank you for your help,” she said, feeling annoyingly awkward as he shoved stacks of plans to one side of the table and started pulling everything else out of her bag with a deep male hum of pleasure when he caught sight of the pancakes.
“Are those blueberry?” he asked very seriously.
“Fair warning, if they’re as good as the eggs, I really am going to drop to my knees and ask you to marry me.”
That startled a laugh out of her. “Fair warning, if you drop to your knees, I’m going to use my considerable kickboxing skills on you.”
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s sexy contemporary and award-winning books wherever romances are sold and click on the blog button above for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.