Ash Jensen, a squeaky-clean sophomore at the University of Tennessee, has a trail of baggage a mile long — she buried her fiancé only a year and a half ago. She swore she’d never love again but when she finds herself interned to a yummy Canadian conservation officer that promise is tested big-time. Kade Gyllenhahl sports wild tattoos, a rebellious attitude and a fohawk to die for. He’s definitely the wrong man for her and she knows it.
Kade doesn’t have time for a girl like her. She’s a pretentious, unreadable princess who lives her life by her parents’ rules. Kade knows nothing about her past and he’d prefer to keep it that way. Besides, he’ll lose his job if he sleeps with Ash. Now if only he could get his mind off her.
When the two of them end up alone and isolated on a routine field trip into the woods, things get a little complicated…
One man afraid of commitment.
One woman afraid to love again.
One life-changing journey.
“You like vodka?” Kade said.
“What?” I glanced at him uncertainly. “That’s kind of an odd question. From way out in left field.”
“You’re half Russian.” He was staring at me intensely. “You must like vodka.”
“Oh, no.” I returned his gaze with equal intensity. Had he felt that tingle when our hands touched, too? Our conversation was all innocent on the outside but I could sense the sexual tension seething on the inside. Neither of us broke eye contact. He wasn’t sitting all that far from me. It wouldn’t take much to close the gap and wrap my lips around his. “I had vodka once when I was in tenth grade. Almost threw up. Scotch is more my thing.”
“Scotch? That’s a man’s drink.”
I shrugged, but didn’t break eye contact. “Not really.”
“Any preferred brands?” His voice sounded deeper, more sexual. I was starting to lose myself in those eyes.
“I don’t know.” My voice sounded strange, too. A little breathy. “All kinds of brands. I don’t like Jack Daniels, though.”
“That’s not even scotch. That’s whiskey.”
Kade stood up now and edged a little closer. His eyes never left mine. “How can you not like Jack Daniels? That’s, like, a Tennessee institution. They make it there, don’t they?”
“They do.” My heart was beating fast. “But Collier and McKeel is more my thing.”
“How do you know so much about all these drinks, anyway?” he said in that deep, slow voice. “The legal age is twenty-one in Tennessee.”
I knew my eyes were broadcasting sheer want. He felt it. I’m sure he did, because his eyes fed that want right back at me. “I’m a delinquent.”
“You are.” He took another step closer. I could hear his breathing now. Deeper. Faster. “Collier and McKeel… remind me to let you try Seagram’s 83 sometime. Canadians make the best whiskey. Perfect for a delinquent like you.”
“I’m actually more of a wine person. At least I used to be.” We were so close now, barely a hand-span away. Those green eyes never left mine, and consumed me.
“Wine? I can see that. I’d peg you as a fan of white. You speak Sauvignon Blanc?” The way he said those French words sounded so sexy.
“I speak champagne,” I said huskily. “Dom Perignon makes the most amazing Cristal. White Gold is–” I choked off the words, feeling suddenly like I was drowning, and I turned away from Kade. I couldn’t hold back the sudden tears.
After all this time, something so simple as the name of a drink still affected me. I almost hoped Kade would wrap his arms around me and carry me away from the horrors of the past and save me from the guilt, but when I looked at him I saw he’d retreated to the shade again. He was sitting on the log with his arms crossed, facing away from me, staring at the river.
Hayden Hill is the author of HOPELESS FOR YOU. When not writing, publishing, and blogging, Hayden is busy cycling and taking pictures in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. A romantic at heart, Hayden is always looking to take that one picture or write that one story that will move the world. Maybe someday.
If you live in Edmonton or will be visiting, feel free to drop Hayden an email and say hello–Hayden is always looking for an excuse to eat White Chocolate Cheesecake with readers 🙂
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