Where there’s smoke, there’s fire… Whenever Jones touches him, flames flicker in Truitt Larkin’s smoky-gray eyes.
Growing up in Ember Peak, Colorado, Jones nurtured dreams as big as the Rockies. Why else would a flat-broke college student believe he has a shot with Truitt Larkin, the billionaire CEO of Larkin Corp? And, sure, Tru might own the fab, five-thousand-acre Ember Peak Ranch, where Jones is just the son of a ranch employee, but that doesn’t mean a future with Tru is doomed, does it? When he finally, finally convinces Tru to break his chiseled-in-rock no-sex-ever policy, Jones is sure smoke will never shroud Tru’s silver-flame eyes again.
But fire burns and dreams crash. And when Tru shuts down Jones’s hopes, Jones leaves Ember Peak—and a big chunk of his heart—for good.
Tru knows he’s responsible for fracturing his valued friendship with Jones. Indulging his attraction to the younger man was selfish and destructive—something he’ll always regret. When Jones returns to Ember Peak for a family wedding, Tru wants a chance to heal their friendship and give back to Jones the comfort of coming home. But sparks fly the moment they reunite, and they scramble to douse the passion that’s burned them both before. Yet a flicker of hope glows brightly, and soon they need all their courage to see their way to a future together.
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I was playing with fire. The phrase churned through my head even though it was the kind of cliché I’d usually have no use for. I knew too well that every worthwhile risk had a good chance at ending up in flames. I also knew fire could be hypnotic and beautiful and feel fucking great, especially if your soul had been encased in ice for a good long while.
Being scorched by Jones Hudson and his amazing fire was like a ride to hell I never wanted to end. But what I wanted wasn’t good for me or for him, and so…
This morning was gonna suck. It was time to pay the price for my selfishness, my weakness. I held back a sigh and glanced at the clock. 5:45. I had two hours. Two.
My fingers tangled gently in his hair. He’d fallen asleep like this—smashed against my side, one arm draped over my chest, one leg draped over my thigh, his face nestled into my neck—at least twenty times in the last week.
Sex wore him out.
For about ten minutes.
My lips curved into a smile even though my heart was beginning to thump a pained rhythm beneath his warm grasp. It was dawn and the curtains were open on the room’s floor-to-ceiling windows. The sun wasn’t strong yet, but the newborn beams making it through the glass had found Jones’s hair.
Talk about fire.
My first horse had been a sharp little chestnut with a coat that had turned to flame in the sun. So pretty it had made my eyes hurt. Jones’s hair was the exact same color.
His fingers tightened suddenly on my ribcage and I prepared myself to get hit with a dose of pure autumn sky. “Morning,” he mumbled, his voice scritchy as rough-grade sandpaper.
More guilt there. I’d gone a little wild when he’d blown me in the elevator last night, his welcoming throat a temptation I couldn’t resist.
He propped himself on my chest, opened his eyes all the way, and smiled. And there it was—eyes heartstoppingly blue and a smile that inspired me no matter how stale my dreams had become.
“What’s wrong?” he asked, tracing the curve of my lower lip with his fingertip.
He asked it, of course, even though I was wearing my best everything’s-cool face. Never could fool Jones. I could occasionally fool his mother. And on very rare occasions my half-sister, Sandra. But never Jones.
I shook my head and tipped my chin for a kiss. His lips were chapped and I licked at them gently before going deep, wanting to taste him, refusing—goddamn forbidding myself—to think about how this was the last time I’d be with him this way.
“Mmm,” he sighed into my mouth. “How can you taste this good?”
“Because you crave the flavor of morning-after jizz, wine, and pizza?”
He licked my smile. “Yep. Must be it.”
Although her extended family hails from the Rockies, the Plains, and the Midwest, Edie has spent the last ten years in her Green Mountain home. She seeks romance wherever and whenever possible.
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