One step at a time…
Maddie Kingston just walked away from everything in order to take over her family’s struggling shoe business. And she’s in some serious trouble. The majority of the company’s shares have been bought out by none other than Maddie’s ex-boyfriend, self-made billionaire Nick Holter. Now Maddie needs his help…even if it means buying Nick from a charity bachelor auction.
After the Kingstons destroyed his grandfather’s career, Nick vowed to take over their company. He’s inches from victory when he finds himself bought and paid for…by his sexy ex-girlfriend who’s hell-bent on saving her family’s company. Between their families’ feud and their own unfinished business, tempers – and emotions – run hot. Too hot.
Because kissing with the enemy is a guaranteed shoe-in for trouble…
“So what on earth happened?” Doris literally sat on the edge of her canvas outdoor chair.
Maddie cleared her throat. She sucked in a big, deep breath. But no words formed.
Nick cleared his throat. “Yes, well, our families saw our happiness and decided to end their feud.”
Nick stood and placed his arms on his hips, assuming the tone and inflection of an actor. He was good. Really good. “I took Maddie back home and I said, ‘Gramps, Maddie’s the love of my life. Now, I know you haven’t been talking to your old friend, and our families completely ignore one another when they pass on the street, but time’s up and that baloney’s got to end.’ Then I took her in my arms like this—” Nick pulled Maddie up, grabbed her around the waist and dipped her low—“and I said, ‘Sweetheart, it’s up to you and me to bring our families back together. Full circle. ’Cause that’s what love does.’”
He eased her up slowly, the taut cords of his arm muscles pulling, pulling. His warm brown eyes stared into hers, and she went limp under his touch. He smelled of campfire and fresh air. His lips hovered so close she could feel his breath on her cheek. Just when she thought he would kiss her, she landed upright, and he sat back down in his chair, snagging another s’more from the platter.
Dear God. Maddie stood with knees wobbling, breaths shaky and shallow. As she hitched down the sweatshirt and righted herself, Maddie wondered what kind of power Nicholas Holter possessed that his one touch could send her swirling into a melted puddle? She was so doomed. Worse, she was incapable of hating him, even though he was a vulture capitalist scoundrel who would take her whole family down if she couldn’t buck up and face him.
Doris clutched her heart. “True love prevails! Oh, I knew it. You two were meant to be. Destiny.”
Her marshmallows burst into brilliant orange flame, and Doris blew and sputtered and waved them in the air.
The strange spell that had been cast burst as well. In their real story, there was no hope, no destiny. No expectations that love could conquer all the bad stuff in life. There was just Nick’s bitter desire for revenge against the company that he felt sold his grandfather down the river.
Maddie pulled a smoking marshmallow off Doris’s stick and popped it into her mouth. It was charred and burned and crispy on the outside. Just like her heart.
Real life didn’t turn out like a fairy tale, no matter how badly she wanted it to. It wouldn’t bring her true love, or get her father’s health back, or stop this sexy, irresistible man from ruining her family. And the reality of knowing that really sucked.
Miranda Liasson loves to write stories about courageous but flawed characters who find love despite themselves, because there’s nothing like a great love story. And if there are a few laughs along the way, even better! She won the 2013 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award for Series Romance for the book which became This Thing Called Love, out this spring from Montlake Publishing, and also writes contemporary romance for Entangled Publishing. She lives in the Midwest with her husband, three kids, and office mates Maggie, a yellow lab, and Posey, a rescue cat with attitude.