It Was Always the Real Deal

He’s driven her wild since high school. Now it’s time to strap in for the ride of her life.

Cardin Worth needs a favor from the famous Corley Motors crew chief Trey “Whip” Davis, her former crush. Problem is, his family and hers are bitter rivals with secrets that go back to Prohibition. She might be able to create peace—and have some sizzling sex on the side—however… if Trey pretends to be her fiancé.

Having a little fun on those steamy Southern nights seems like a great idea to Trey. Just to patch up the Hatfield-and-McCoy-style feud, of course. Then he’ll be leaving Dahlia, Tennessee for good. Except when Trey discovers what their families have been hiding all these decades, nothing will ever be the same.

2009 Best Harlequin Blaze nominee, RT Book Reviews

“This very sexy, emotional story has strong and wonderful characters who make it a memorable read.” — RT Book Reviews, 4.5 Stars, TOP PICK

“Maybe I was wrong when I thought I’d missed seeing you.”

“I’d say that’s a distinct possibility.” Coy was gone, a come-on in its place. “Especially since I’m right here, and you’re still missing seeing me.”

He was pretty sure his definition of missing and hers of the same word were two different things. That didn’t mean she wasn’t right. That he wasn’t overlooking something vital.

He crossed his arms and widened his stance, furrowing his brow as he gave her an obvious once-over. “I’m seeing you now.”

Her tongue slicked quickly over her lips. “You’re too far away to see much of anything.”

There were less than three feet between them. He came closer. “Is this better?”

“You tell me,” she said from where he’d backed her into a waist high storage locker.

He leaned in, flattened his palms on the stainless steel surface, one on either side of her hips, and hovered, her body heat rising, his breathing labored and giving him away. “Not as better as it needs to be.”

Her hesitation in replying wasn’t about uncertainty, or impropriety, but about making him sweat, making him wait, making him want and ache. He was doing all of those things, strangling on the tension that was thick in the trailer around them, and robbing him of his air.

Finally, she moved, her hands coming up, her palms pressing to his chest, her fingertips finding his nipples and rubbing circles where they dotted his shirt. He shuddered, and she tipped forward, nuzzling her nose to his throat.

He closed his eyes, inhaled, caught the scent of her shampoo, of her sun-heated skin, of her perspiration that was sweet, a damp sheen. Keeping his hands to himself had seemed smart, but she made him too stupid to care.

He held her upper arms, her shoulders, sliding his hands up her neck to cup her face, her cheeks, her jaw, sliding them down to her ribcage and the promise of her breasts.

There was no sense for any of this, no reason, no rhyme. He had no idea what had really driven her here, and the climb of his temperature left him unable to figure it out, or do anything but feel.

She met his gaze, parted her lips, pushed up on her sneakered tiptoes to find his mouth. He bent to make it easy for her, but mostly he bent for himself. Her tongue slipped between his lips to tease and seduce and show him the years he’d missed out on.

He couldn’t let himself wonder about or regret any of that now because she was here, and he didn’t want to miss any of what was happening. Her hunger was that of a long separation, a desperation, neither which he understood or which fit.

What he did understand were her hands at his waist, tugging up his T-shirt, slipping beneath. Her fingers threaded into the hair on his belly, then into that on his chest. She toyed with his nipples, his chest hair, and drove him mad.

He broke the kiss because he had to, and rested his mouth at the corner of hers to catch his breath, his control. Her lips parted. He felt the urgent beat of her heart all over. “Cardin, why are you here?”