Lance Townsend craves freedom after years living a structured existence in the Army. But just as he’s about to start on his bucket list, Lance receives an unexpected request: check in on his goddaughter. The problem? The adorable little girl’s aunt is the one woman he’s never been able to forget.
Carly Quigley can’t believe her brother’s best friend, the man who jilted her years ago, is at her door. He claims her brother asked him to check in on her niece and their fixer-upper, but all either of them can focus on is their undeniable attraction. Carly knows Lance is counting down the hours to leave, which makes him the wrong man for her. Unfortunately, the wrong man has become oh-so-tempting.
“Thank you,” she whispered.
“For what?” He was shocked to hear his breathing sounded so labored.
“For giving me the afternoon off. For making that cake. For helping with Mya when I botched everything. It’s a lot easier with you here.” She blushed. “A couple days ago, I would have never thought I’d say that.”
He kissed the tip of her nose. “Yeah, you didn’t seem too thrilled to see me.”
“No, I was…okay.” She laughed. “I wasn’t. To be honest, I was still thinking about my brother’s wedding. I’d never understood why you’d left me so abruptly back then.”
Warning bells sounded in the back of his mind at the mention of her brother. His best friend. It felt like a broken record was playing on repeat in his brain. And that record was titled Off-Limits, Off-Limits, Off-Limits.
Carly must have picked up on his thoughts. She took a small step back. “I know, you don’t want to kiss me. You don’t see me that way.”
He took her in from her swollen lips to the sexy business suit she still wore, to all of that amazing hair. Her eyes were practically twinkling, lighting up her fair, flawless skin. Did she have any idea how gorgeous she was? How appealing she was?
He shook his head. “That’s the problem, Carly,” he began, his voice coming out in gruff spurts. “I do see you like that. I’ve been fighting it since I got here.” He ran a hand through his short hair. “Hell, probably since Chris and Gretchen said I do.”
Her mouth fell open.
“I tell myself over and over that it’s wrong to think about you the way I do.”
A small smile played over her lips. “How do you think about me?”
He swallowed hard. “In a way that would definitely make your brother sucker-punch me in the face.”
About the Author:
Award-winning romance author Kerri Carpenter writes contemporary romances that are sweet, sexy, and sparkly. When she’s not writing, Kerri enjoys reading, cooking, watching movies, taking Zumba classes, rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams, and anything sparkly. Kerri lives in Northern Virginia with her adorable (and mischievous) rescued poodle mix, Harry. Visit Kerri at her website, on Facebook and Twitter, or subscribe to her newsletter.