Miranda Brookhaven returned to Bitterthorn, Texas to fix the past. Years ago, her father used her teenage romance with Coe Rodas to steal the prototype for a groundbreaking new automotive invention. Now her father's dead, and thanks to the convoluted will he left behind, she's stuck in town until she rights the wrong that lost her the man she loved.
Coe learned early on that life never goes according to plan. His dreams of hitting it big vanished when Miranda all but invited her father to take the only thing of value he ever had. But now the once-pampered princess is holed up in a condemned trailer on the edge of town...and everything he thought he knew about her—and about what happened between them back then—seems completely wrong.
Miranda's determined to give back to Coe all that he lost. If she can do that, maybe she can move on from the past. But Coe seems to be more interested in their rekindled passion than claiming what she thinks he deserves. She's got sixty days to convince him to cough up evidence that he's the original inventor—after that, the only way to transfer the patent rights over to him would be to make him part of the family, and she's not sure her heart can take another hit.
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A competitive figure skater from the age of eight, Stacy Gail began writing stories in between events to pass the time. By the age of fourteen, she told her parents she was either going to be a figure skating coach who was also a published romance writer, or a romance writer who was also a skating pro. Now with a day job of playing on the ice with her students, and writing everything from steampunk to cyberpunk, contemporary to paranormal at night, both dreams have come true.
The world screeched to a standstill for Miranda. She stood motionless as he engulfed her in a fierce yet surprisingly gentle embrace. One arm locked around her lower back, a hand coming to curl around her rib cage just below the underside of her breast. The other arm pressed against her upper back, pushing her against the cinderblock-like solidity of his chest while his fingers dived into her hair to cradle the back of her head.
It was like being hugged by a gladiator trying to get in touch with his softer, more cuddly side.
“Ah.” Flustered bewilderment held her still for two full heartbeats—she could feel the forceful hammer of them against his chest—before she tried to pull away. No dice. She wasn’t going anywhere until he was good and ready to let that happen. “I hope I don’t sound like I’m being deliberately obtuse, but…what are you doing?”
“Three. Four. Five…”
What the hell? “Coe?” Awkwardly she shifted, refusing to give into the urge to put her arms around him. That was one slippery slope she’d already wiped out on. “Um…Why are you hugging me?”
“Nine. Ten. Eleven…”
“And counting.” If he laughed like Count Von Count, she’d freaking lose it. “You’re hugging me and counting out loud. Yeah, that’s not weird.” She kept her mouth running because a terrible thing was happening—her bones were liquefying as awareness at how her breasts flattened against his rib cage pushed to the fore. She had to get out of this, fast. “I suppose you have a reason for doing this?”
His arms squeezed in affirmation that he heard her. The move brought her closer still, giving the totally unrealistic impression she was somehow precious to him. “Fifteen. Sixteen. Seventeen…”
Her confusion increased, but his warmth and the secure cage of his arms slowly seeped into every corner of her mind. She felt safe in a way that she’d forgotten existed, as if no part of the world could reach her through the cradle of his arms. It was insane to feel so utterly protected in the arms of the enemy, but she did. Every cell in her body shuddered in relief as her defenses relaxed and serenity flowed in like a silent miracle. She was tired, so damn tired, of always being on guard.
On their own volition, her arms crept around his waist to meet behind his back. Clutching, not just resting. Locking them together like two puzzle pieces meant to create a solid whole. Her eyes drifted shut, and she tucked her face against the warm curve of his neck while the little voice in her head whispered feebly for her to snap out of it. She didn’t want to snap out of it. She’d been on full alert for so long, the universe owed her a couple of stolen moments where she was free enough to just. Freaking. Breathe.“Twenty.”