The Bad Boy Is Back
Evan Downey needs a new beginning. Since the death of his wife five years ago, the brilliant tattoo artist has shut himself away in a prison of grief that not even his work can break him out of-and what's worse, Evan knows his son Lyon is bearing the brunt of his seclusion. Moving back to the lake town of Evergreen Cove where he spent his childhood summers is his last chance for a fresh start.
Charlotte Harris knows she owes it to her best friend's memory to help Evan and his son find their way again, but she can't stop her traitorous heart from skipping a beat every time she looks into Evan's mesmerizing eyes. Charlotte is determined to stay strictly in the Friend Zone-until a mind-blowing night knocks that plan by the wayside. Now, if they're brave enough to let it, Charlotte and Evan might just find a love capable of healing their broken hearts . . .
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“Know why I moved here?” he asked, keeping his voice low.
She wrenched her eyes from his and focused on a spot over his shoulder.
“Because you didn’t want to live in Columbus anymore.” That’s what he’d told her. That he wanted a change. That he and Lyon had outgrown the house. And, she imagined it’d be hard to live in the house where Rae had passed.
“But why here?”
His fingers grazed her jaw and turned her head, his palm moving to her neck where he cupped her nape and forced her eyes to his.
Reluctantly, she met them.
“Rae’s more alive when you’re around, Ace.”
Her heart, oh her heart. Kicking against her chest in a confusing, hectic rhythm.
“You bring her to life for Lyon—more than anyone else. I need him to remember her because he can’t remember her alive.” His hold stayed, his palm warming her neck, his gaze unwavering.
She tried to separate the two feelings she was having—one that she was now talking about Rae with Evan and two, that he was touching her while talking about Rae.
Before she could, his lips closed over hers.
Her thoughts short-circuited.
This wasn’t anything like a soft peck hello. This was his lips moving over hers, slanting over hers, warm and firm and then his mouth opened and—
Oh my gosh!
His wet, warm tongue slid along the seam of her lips and she stopped being passive and started kissing him back. When she would have touched her tongue to his, he relocated it, running along her bottom lip instead and tugging with his teeth.
If she’d been standing, her knees would have given out and dropped her right on her butt.
And then there was the palm on her neck, now spearing up through her hair and clutching onto a handful of it. He held her captive, his hand fisting her hair as he angled his mouth again. In response to the soft whimper escaping her throat, he swept his tongue into her mouth. He tangled his tongue with hers once, twice, and released her.
When he pulled his mouth away, a long, satisfied sigh escaped her lips. Because that was a kiss. A kiss to rival all other kisses.
She opened her eyes to realize A) she’d closed her eyes and B) she’d at some point wrapped both hands around his forearms where she was holding tight and C) Evan looked as please as she felt.
“God damn, Ace. Your mouth.” His eyes flicked to her lips. Lips still tingling from the rough scrape from the stubble surrounding his.
She concurred with that sentiment. Not that she said anything. She’d gone dumb; completely mute.
He backed away, but held onto her chin and tweaked it lightly with the rough pad of one thumb. “That’s the way this is gonna go from now on.”
Her breathing went shallow, her thoughts went muzzy and her head blurred as her heart palpated to the point of panic attack.
She didn’t mean to say it, and it had only been a whisper, but by the look twisting Evan’s face—the angry look twisting his face—he’d heard. And he hadn’t liked what he’d heard.
“Sorry,” she said to him this time. “I should go.”
Unbelievably, he leaned closer. She pulled her chin back until she realized she likely had a double chin, then settled her head on her neck in a more reasonable position.
Gosh. He was making her crazy.
Jessica Lemmon has always been a dreamer. At some point, she decided head-in-the-clouds thinking was childish, went out, and got herself a job . . . and then she got another one because that one was lousy. And when that one stopped being fulfilling, she went out and got another . . . and another. Soon it became apparent she'd only be truly happy doing what she loved. And since "eating potato chips" isn't a viable career, she opted to become a writer. With fire in her heart, she dusted off a book she'd started years prior, finished it, and submitted it. It may have been the worst book ever, but it didn't stop her from writing another one. Now she has several books finished, several more started, and even more marinating in her brain (which currently resides in the clouds, thankyouverymuch), and she couldn't be happier. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want. (While eating potato chips.)
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