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Sometimes going back home requires a big leap forward.
Carrie Anderson—truth seeker, storyteller, journalist-at-large—is bad at social media and great at getting herself into trouble.
When she’s fired from her dream job for an ill-advised tweet, she has no other choice but to return to the town where she grew up with her head hung low.
It’s temporary after all. She can work at her family’s bed and breakfast, fix her finances, and get back to her life and home in Los Angeles.
There’s only one not-so-little problem…the grouchy ex-NHL star making her rethink what home means.
Jake Turner—great at hockey, bad at people—is not a happy man.
Haunted by his past, all he wants is to disappear into obscurity, to get away from the scrutiny of the press he’s been under since going pro at nineteen. But when the press finds him, disappearing is no longer an option.
Worse yet, the same journalist he’s trying to avoid is making him reconsider whether being forgotten is what he really wants.
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There are a few universal truths that still hold true. Not many, mind you. But at least a handful. Like…we need to keep our oceans clean. Who would argue with that? No one sane. Firefighters aren’t paid nearly enough for what they do. They run into fire y’all. The Rolling Stones > the Beatles. By a landslide. Daylight savings should be abolished. I dare you to change my mind.
And lastly, having a mad crush on your boss is a bad idea. That’s a clear loser in everyone’s estimation.
Even worse, that in a moment of lax morals, overconfidence in one’s desirability, and some uncharacteristic heavy drinking at the company winter holiday party you somehow end up kissing said boss in the bathroom. Not my finest moment but I’ve been lusting after him for the better part of the last four years so you can’t blame a girl.
At present, I find myself in said boss’s office making myself small in the chair opposite his and trying to avoid eye contact for obvious reasons.
“I have to let you go,” Ben says. That’s his name––my boss at So-And-So Media Corp, a name I can’t divulge due to the NDA all employees sign upon being hired.
My eyebrow notches up, but that’s about it. Just one eyebrow bump. Because although the wording is curious, I must’ve misunderstood. Or not heard him correctly. He’s not firing me. There isn’t a single solitary chance of that happening.
First of all, it’s only ten in the morning and I haven’t had my second Monster drink yet––stuff doesn’t get real for me until after that second injection of caffeine. Therefore, it is a legit possibility that my brain is misfiring in a million different directions and making me think I am being shit-canned by the man who I’ve had a nauseating schoolgirl crush on for as long as I’ve known him. The same man, mind you, whose every semi-complimentary word I’ve hung onto like it’s an edict from the heavens while he does me the honor of ignoring the undoubtedly hangdog, mildly brain damaged looks I give him.
Second of all…he needs me. The man can’t get through the day without shouting my name at least six times, and it’s never in ecstasy.
Ben leans back in his office chair with his hands neatly laced together on his trim midsection, his expression blank while my eyes wander behind him, to the bookcase filled with journalism awards and travel memorabilia. It’s a tangible reminder that Ben isn’t just the pretty face willing to do all kinds of nasty things to me in my daydreams, he’s also a ridiculously talented journalist who’s amassed experience and proven himself on more than one occasion.
And therein lies the problem. I worship Ben, and in turn, he rides me like a rented mule and not in the way I wish he would.
My attention shoots back to his impressive face. This is not an overstatement. Ben has bone structure that would turn most people, men and women alike, neon green with envy.
A thin straight nose, razor sharp jawline, thick dark brows frame moss green eyes, and a perpetual shadow covers the bottom half of his face because it’s always five o’clock in Ben’s world. Add the ghost of British accent to this cornucopia of awesomeness and it’s almost an overkill of sex appeal.
And it doesn’t end there. Nope. Because the sum of those parts is so much greater.
I once saw a picture of Ben taken at the Tripoli airport as he fled near captured by an ISIS cell. He wore a safari jacket, aviators, and a beat up Yankees ball cap. It made me so hot I got cramps. Freaking cramps! I thought my uterus was going to explode right there and then in the middle of the day as I sat at my cubicle stuffing my face with a roast beef on rye sandwich.
“Did you hear me?” he continues, his face expressionless save for a slow measured blink.
This isn’t at all like him––Ben’s usually smoldering raw sexual energy––but it’s been super awkward between us the last few months. Hence, I do what we both have done since the night of the kiss––I pretend it’s not happening. Sometimes I manage to convince myself the kiss didn’t happen either.
Catching myself staring at the lips in question, I look away. Who am I kidding? Nothing’s going to erase that memory. Not the way I bumped my forehead against his chest as he was exiting the bathroom I was entering. Not the feeling as I laughed and rubbed my forehead where it had impacted his hard chest. Not the image of him smiling down at me. Or when he wrapped those long fingers around my wrist and pulled me inside.
Yeah, I’m not forgetting that anytime soon.
Less than a minute later, I was unexpectedly pinned against the back of the door with his tongue down my throat. I had to open my eyes to make sure I wasn’t imagining it. That’s never a good sign. If you ever feel inclined to open your eyes in the midst of making out with your hot boss, something’s probably wrong.