Authors: Zoe Dawson
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary, #New Adult & College, #New Adult, #College Romance, #New Adult Mystery, #Bayou, #Bad Boy, #Family Romance, #Sexy NA Contemporary Romance
Published by Blue Moon Creative, LLC
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents
either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.
Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is
Copyright by Karen Alarie. All rights reserved, including the right to
reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. The author
acknowledges the copyrighted or trademarked status and trademark owners of
the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction: Mercedes, Mustang,
iPad, Harley Davidson Street 750 Motorcycle
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I make every effort to research thoroughly all subject matter, but I’m not
infallible. If you find anything in my novels that I have incorrect,
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Cover Design by Okay Creations
I'd like to thank beta reader Sue Stewart. Thank you, also, to Faith
Freewoman for her excellent advice and editing skills and to my
proofreader, Judy Witvoet DeVries. A big thank you also to Sarah Hansen
for her fabulous cover design.
To all who have had to grapple with this kind of situation.
don't let it be Boone Outlaw.
whispered it over and over, like a prayer.
I first heard the car behind me, my thought was
. I knew absolutely nothing about changing
a flat tire. I could probably have figured it out, though. But when I
turned around at the sound of the truck pulling up behind me, I saw
bold white letters stenciled on the side of the truck.
. I groaned. The anger I
struggled to keep under wraps surged.
guess the odds against it being Boone just weren't in my favor. I was
on the road home and Boone was working for my daddy. He was bound to
be heading to work right about now.
had watched him almost every day from my window, doing his sketching,
planning out his work. I was struck by how much he’d changed
since high school. Then his hair had been long, too long. The black
silk had obscured his face and always seemed to be in his eyes. He’d
also been reckless, disorganized, and lost.
he wore it cut short, heavy and spiky across his forehead, just
touching his well-formed ears and brushing the nape of his neck. He
was conscientious, too, and on time.
anger I wanted to hide from him welled up again, and I cursed my
stupid car, the tire and whatever had punctured it straight to hell.
Do you need a hand?” I wished he wouldn’t say my first
name. It always made my stomach jolt, the way his soft, unhurried
Southern accent wove around the syllables.
I blurted out too abruptly and too harshly. Boone’s blue eyes
narrowed as he took in the jack and the other confusing piece of the
jack I hadn’t yet figured out.
came up beside me and my skin tingled at his nearness. He sauntered
past me. Boone always seemed to do that. Move slow and sexy. He would
have to be wearing a tank top and those sinfully tight jeans. They
molded to his backside and left nothing to a girl’s
imagination. His biceps stood out even though his arms were relaxed,
his chest had filled out in the year I had been away, and his voice
had deepened even more. He squatted down and surveyed the damage to
you have the jack backwards,” he said it matter-of-factly,
without any of the snark boys use with girls when they think they’re
would have figured it out,” I snapped.
turned to look up at me, his eyes a startling blue in his handsome
face. Wait. That wasn't exactly right. Boone was gorgeous. All that
dark, shaggy hair, his broad shoulders tapering down to his lean
waist, and the muscles that bunched in his thighs. I didn't want to
notice. I wanted to hate everything about him.
no need to get snippy, girl.”
not a girl,” I said through clenched teeth. What I had gone
through in the past year had irrevocably changed me into a woman. But
I couldn’t afford to be ungracious. I had groceries in the car.
Ice cream. I’d be a fool not to accept his help. “All
right. Fix it,” I said rudely.
glanced back at me and I abruptly averted my eyes. “Yes,
ma’am.” The inflection in his tone was slow and sarcastic
with just a brush of the Southern drawl that I had missed so much
when I’d been away. Even though I was pissed at him, he made my
insides jingle-jangle. How he accomplished that was beyond me. The
warring impulses left me feeling ready to explode, because what he’d
done to me last summer couldn't be forgiven.
thunder rumbled and I looked up. “Great, a storm.”
always storms here.” He had righted the jack and was pumping up
all that steel, his arms and shoulders taut.
outta the rain. I'll take care of this for you.” He didn't even
give me a chance to respond, just continued to work the jack,
grabbing that weird iron tool that was on the ground near it. I
murmured something about a damn pushy Outlaw and stalked past him to
my car, yanked the door open and huffed myself inside. Slamming it
didn't alleviate the mad that was hammering through me, or the
attraction I was fighting that continued to hum along my nerve
endings. It started to pour, pelting the car, and I bit my lip. Why
did he have to be such a Good Samaritan? It made me feel like a
colossal bitch. But I was the victim here. After what he put me
through, I didn’t want to be in his presence another moment. I
was determined not to let all that charm affect me.
watched in the rearview mirror, hoping and praying he would just fix
my tire, get the message and leave. The memory of the graduation
party last year intruded on my thoughts. Boone had been there. Wasted
as usual, looking so delectable and forbidden, my stomach clenched
from the memory. He had a lot of nerve to act like nothing had
happened between us that night.
a rush like the sound of a waterfall, the skies opened with an even
sat in the car waiting for him to finish. When the passenger door
opened and he slipped inside, my head whipped around. Boone, all
soaking wet, six feet two inches of sexy, angry, Outlaw settled into
my seat. Boone and his two brothers, Booker and Braxton, were
triplets. Drop dead gorgeous, identical triplets who made up the
unholy trinity. They prowled through our high school—the power
of three, keeping bullying at bay. With the exception of a few, most
people just got out of their way. Apparently, keeping myself off
Boone’s radar wasn’t working for me. My anger spiked.
the hell? You’re getting my seat all wet!”
freaking welcome, Verity." He glared at me, something I'd never
experienced until just now. Boone had never glared at me before. It
seemed that everyone had a breaking point and I just pushed the wrong
are you pissed off at me?”
stared straight ahead. I just wanted him to get out and leave me
alone. “Thanks for fixing my tire, but I’ve got ice cream
in the back seat for the church social and I have to get it home.”
My voice was not at all sincere. It was flat, the anger coloring it
even though I tried to play it cool. All I had to do was get through
this summer with my parents, break the news to them about my plans,
and blow out of Suttontowne like it was nothing but a bad memory.
just stared at me for what felt like an eternity.
the fuck? You aren't going to tell me, are you?”
not angry at you,” I said like an idiot. It was obvious that I
was madder than hell at him. He was intelligent and perceptive. Of
course he knew I was lying through my teeth.
black, wet hair clung to his forehead. A frisson of heat settled in
my gut as I watched out of the corner of my eye as droplets of water
slipped over his finely formed lips. His t-shirt clung to his hard
chest, his skin glistening, and I could see the muscles delineated
tension in the car shifted and my eyes fused to his. His chest heaved
and I found that my breathing went shallow.
didn't take you for a liar.”
he only took me past the danger zone. I said nothing. I had too much
to say and it was all trapped in my throat, in my chest, and in my
swore softly, pulling his eyes away from me and dropping his chin.
All of a sudden and completely against my will, I had the urge—no
the craving—to reach over and run my fingers through all that
wet, tumbled mess of midnight black. Tears pricked my eyes and I
promised myself, again, I wouldn't shed one more tear over Boone.
and no one in this town ever changes,” he growled under his
breath. He opened the passenger door and glared at me again. “You
would think I’d be used to it by now.” He pushed out of
the seat and stood in the rain, giving me such a heartbreaking look,
my tears gathered anyway. I couldn't help but be affected.
turned then, slamming the door and stalking away. I watched him in my
rearview mirror as he kicked dirt and stones on the side of the road,
got back into his truck and peeled off.
breathed a sigh of relief. Whatever had possessed my daddy to hire
Boone? It would have been so much easier not to be forced to see him
every damn day.
slipped down my cheeks. I guess my promise to myself was broken. For
a split second I remembered Boone at that party, and guilt and shame
washed through me.
Outlaw ruined my life. There wasn’t any way I was going to cut
him any slack.
was still fuming when I got to the door at the back of the rectory.
Boone’s truck was parked over in front of the church, but he
wasn’t outside. It was still raining too hard.
I could even turn off the ignition, the back door opened and he
reached inside without a word to me, grabbed a bunch of bags, turned,
and went into the now-open back door to the kitchen.
slipped out of the car, getting pretty wet in seconds, and grabbed a
few more bags. He trudged back out and got the rest. Inside the
kitchen, I saw an iPad tablet on the table. When I glanced at it, I
saw what appeared to be a colorful sketch. But, before I could look
at it closely, Boone came back into the kitchen. He set the bags on
continued to ignore me, and that was just fine. He sat back down at
the table and started working on the intriguing design I’d
the day care manager, came into the kitchen holding the hand of a
little tow-headed boy. “Boone!” he cried when he saw him
sitting at the table. He pulled away from Lindsay and rushed over to
him. Boone flashed a genuine smile, turning to catch him and swing
him up to eye level.
gave Lindsay a smile and she smiled back, opened the fridge, pulling
out the packs of juice reserved for day-care, then went to the
cupboard and grabbed the crackers. I saw the way she glanced at
Boone. It was a mixture of
God he’s attractive