Published by Avon Impulse on November 8th 2016
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis returns to Heartbreaker Bay with a fun and festive holiday novella!
It’s Christmas Eve and Rory Andrews is desperate to get home to the family she hasn’t seen in years. Problem is, her only ride to Lake Tahoe comes in the form of the annoyingly handsome Max Stranton, and his big, goofy, lovable dog Carl.
Hours stuck in a truck with the dead sexy Max sounds like a fate worse than death (not), but Rory’s out of options. She’s had a crush on Max since high school and she knows he’s attracted to her, too. But they have history… and Max is the only one who knows why it went south.
They’ve done a good job of ignoring their chemistry so far, but a long road trip in a massive blizzard might be just what they need to face their past… and one steamy, snowy night is all it takes to bring Max and Rory together at last.
Christmas Eve had the nerve to show up just like it did every year: way too quickly and with ridiculous fanfare.
Rory Andrews stood in the courtyard of the Pacific Pier Building in San Francisco, surrounded by sparkly holiday lights and enough garlands to give the place its own ozone, and told herself things could be worse.
She just wasn’t sure how.
It was the unknown, she decided. Because this year, unlike the past six, she’d be spending Christmas with her family, a thought that caused a swarm of butterflies to take flight in her belly.
Not an uncommon feeling since she’d turned twenty-three a few months back and decided it was time to become a person she could be proud of if it killed her. And given the guy leaning against one of the lamp poles clearly waiting for her, arms crossed, frown in place, it just might.
Max Stranton. At his side sat Carl, his huge, eternally hungry, adorable Doberman.
“No,” she said, not to Carl but to Carl’s owner. Who was not lovable. “No way.”
As always when their gazes locked, Max’s was a disconcerting mix of heat and . . . something else that she couldn’t quite figure out, as he was good at hiding when he wanted to be. She never quite knew how to take the heat because it seemed reluctant. He was attracted to her but didn’t want to be.
Ditto. He made her knees wobble. And also a couple of other inner reactions that shouldn’t be happening in public.
“Merry Christmas to you too, Rory,” he said, and damn. It wasn’t just his eyes. His voice was rough and sexy, and for that matter, so was the rest of him.
He worked for an investigations and security firm in the building. Basically he and the rest of his team were fixers and finders for hire. To say that Max was good at his job was an understatement. He stood there looking like sex on a stick with a duffle bag slung over a broad shoulder, his dark hair two weeks past needing a cut, and the icy wind of an incoming storm plastering his clothes to a body that could be registered as a lethal weapon.
“What are you doing here?” she asked calmly even if her heart was anything but, pounding all the way up to her throat and ears because she knew. She knew exactly why he was here. “I don’t need a ride home.”
A flash of wry humor slid in with all that sizzling heat. “Because you’d rather take two buses and a train than get into my truck with me?” he asked.
Well yes, actually.
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