When Emma Grant returns to her family’s Audubon Springs beach house to fulfill the stipulations of her father’s will, she has every intention of forcing her former lover out of the house for good. She’s never fit into her wealthy family and would prefer avoiding her past, but with her brother threatening to reveal her young daughter, she has no choice.
Rafe Iuliano has other plans. The wealthy Grants tried to bribe him out of Emma’s life years ago, but he’s determined to prove once and for all that a master carpenter is worthy of Emma and the house.
Their ridiculous and steamy battle for the house reignites the love and passion that bloomed between them years ago. But when Rafe discovers she’s kept their daughter a secret for two years, can he overcome anger and pride to claim his family and the love of his life, or will the deception drive a final wedge between them?
“This is your fault!” Emma shouted.
“My fault?” Rafe blinked through the thick coat of flour. “You’re the one who started this.”
“Yeah, you—Miss Macrobiotic Princess!” They used the barstools for support, and pulled themselves up from the slippery floor. “You’re immovable just like your mother.”
“And you’ve got about as much depth as a toenail. For the life of me, I can’t remember why I was ever with you.”
With a predatory look in his eyes and gait, Rafe advanced. In two long strides he pinned her to the counter, his hands grasping her hips. “Don’t!” His voice, low and dangerous, and his near proximity overwhelmed, charging her body with a jolt of electricity rendering breathing impossible. His gaze locked on hers for an eternity, then without warning, he dipped his head and licked lavishly at the syrup on her chest and neck.
Need and heat consumed her at his touch, fraying what was left of her nerves. She dropped her head back, shivered, and her knees buckled. He held her steady, fully pinned against the counter and continued to feast on her neck. Then with a shake as if waking from a dream, he stepped away, taking his heat with him.
Emma swayed and gripped the counter. Goose bumps rose on her flesh at the storm brewing in his eyes.
“Say or do anything you want to push me out of this house, but don’t ever say you don’t remember.”
Annie O’Malley’s dream of owning a secondhand bookstore in tight-knit Audubon Springs is coming true. Still reeling from her parents’ sudden deaths, she believes that signs or messages can be found within the pages of books. She loves her job and has made plenty of friends but longs for the acceptance only love and a family can provide.
Tony Iuliano is there to fix the wiring in her shop. He doesn’t believe in fate, magic, or the power of a good book. All this combined with his sexy-as-sin presence and all-knowing attitude infuriates Annie. The quirky bookworm intrigues him enough to accept her bet to read a book from her shop. When he discovers a stack of fifty-year-old love letters in the book, he wants to leave the past alone, but seeing it as a sign, Annie challenges him to read the letters and search for the long-lost lovers or lose the bet.
While shaking the dust off several ill-fated romances and fighting their attraction at every turn, the pair soon become the town gossip daily special. If they can stop arguing long enough, they may just discover this particular sign was meant for them all along.
“I thought you were the best electrician in town and this would only take one day?” Annie cocked her head to one side, eyebrows raised.
“Your wires are fairly complicated, which comes as absolutely no surprise. I need a few parts.” The damn woman drove him nuts.
With her eyes fixed on his she deliberately pulled the string from the stack of old letters in her hand.
“What are you doing?” He reached across the counter, but Annie hastily moved the letters behind her back. “Hey! According to you and fate, I’m supposed to read those.”
“You are, but seeing as you’re too chicken, I’m going to have to.”
“It has nothing to do with being chicken. It’s a matter of privacy and respect, something you’d understand if you grew up in this town.”
“Tomato, tom-ah-to.” She shrugged.
Tony charged behind the counter and lunged for the documents. She jumped out of his reach and turned to run, but he wrapped an arm around her tiny waist and pulled her back. When she tried to wriggle free, he turned her until she was pinned against the wall. With his body hovering dangerously close to hers, he inhaled the scent of her hair – oranges and sunshine – and when she emitted a slight gasp, his groin tightened.
Years in the cutthroat LA music industry have Kit Maggio yearning for love and acceptance in her hometown, Audubon Springs. Her position as a Theatre Arts professor doesn’t erase years of being shoved aside by her family. Her baby sister is getting married, and her high school sweetheart doesn’t recognize her. Will she ever find what she needs?
Vince Iuliano never imagined he’d be a single dad. Vowing no woman will ever again break his daughter’s heart, he focuses on providing a happy and stable home. But when the love of his life rents the house next door, can he take a chance on happiness?
Vince never forgot Kit. Setting out to earn her forgiveness, they fall back into the rhythm of love and heat, much like the songs they wrote as teens. When LA calls, will Kit go, or stay and write her greatest love song in Audubon Springs?