Kieran never thought he‘d return to White Pine, Minnesota, much less see Audrey again. Gorgeous and smart as ever, she’s just as irresistible as he remembered. She still doesn’t know why he had to leave-or that he‘s missed her every day since. But he can’t deny he wants more than the no-strings fling Audrey proposes. As things between them heat up, Kieran must choose between the secret he‘s sworn to keep and the woman he never stopped loving.
In one smooth motion, he scooped her off the Harley and into his arms. He shook his head when he saw her getting ready to protest. “You yell or whine, and I’ll carry you outside and lock the doors on you. You stay quiet, we can talk in the back room. Agreed?” He saw an angry muscle working in her jaw, but she nodded nevertheless.
And then, just like that, Audrey Tanner was back in his arms.
He’d been so sure that he’d be able to return to White Pine and avoid his past altogether. So how he came to be carrying part of it in the form of Audrey Tanner, how her arms came to be looped around his neck, how her smell was everywhere, intoxicating him as he stormed toward the back room, was a turn of events he could never have predicted. It was also a dangerous set of circumstances, and he never should have let it get this far.
He had a job to do, dammit. He was here to build on his future—not relive the past
When he reached one of the back offices, he kneed the door open, then placed her roughly on the floor. She stumbled a little in the heels, but righted herself, glaring at him. He was about to tell her to change clothes and get out of the dealership, when he heard a pop. Something on the bustier came loose—he wasn’t sure what—and before Audrey could stop it, the front panel covering her chest slid downward. Her mouth made a horrified little O as her breasts sprang from their constrictive covering. Her nipples pebbled at the sudden exposure to cool air. Kieran got a hungry eyeful before Audrey scrambled to cover herself with a mortified, “Oh!”
Instinctively, he reached forward to help her. “I’m so sorr—” he started before she swatted his hand away.
“Stop it!” she cried. “Get back!”
Just then, Fletch Knutson walked through the office door, and pulled up short. His neat moustache twitched. His ice blue eyes flicked back and forth between them. “What in holy hell is going on here?”
“It’s nothing,” Kieran said, stepping away from Audrey.
Fletch’s face was bunched with concentration, trying to make sense of what he was seeing. His gaze settled on Audrey.
“Did he hurt you?”
Audrey clutched the broken bustier to her chest. “No, of course not,” he interjected. “It was just an accident.”
“I’m waiting for her to answer,” Fletch said.
Audrey’s knuckles whitened around her handful of clothing. He realized right then that she held all the cards. Her hand trumped his.
She could take him down with a smattering of words, could pretend like this had been more than it was and put his job at risk. Kieran forced his breathing to be steady—in and out, calm like it wasn’t the last play of the game—and tried to remember that the woman he’d lost his heart to five years ago had a blazing white soul, the stark opposite of his black one. She wasn’t like him, she wasn’t always calculating how to turn the odds in her favor.
Audrey had been so kind, so willing to trust him and believe the best. But even her shining golden goodness—her love for her friends and family and her hometown, her faith in the people around her—couldn’t lighten the darkness inside him, even though five years ago he’d wanted it to.
Underneath the makeup, Audrey’s face was pale. “No,” she said, “he didn’t hurt me. It’s just a misunderstanding.”
Kieran let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding.
“But I’d appreciate it if you’d tell him that he can’t fire me. I need this job.”