Sometimes when perfect falls apart, a little trouble fixes everything . . . Twenty-one-year-old Kayla Turner has lost everything. After spending most of her life taking care of her ailing mother, she just wants to spot a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. So when her late father-a man she barely knew-leaves her an inheritance, she finally breathes a sigh of relief...until she learns the inheritance comes with strings. Strings in the form of handsome playboy Daren Ackwood, her father's protégé. To see any of her inheritance, she's forced to team up with him. From his expensive car to those sexy dimples, Kayla's seen his type before. But Daren isn't who he seems to be...Struggling to make amends for his family's mistakes, Daren has a life more Oliver Twist than Richie Rich these days. He's beyond grateful that James Turner included him in his will, but working with Turner's princess of a daughter to fulfill his cryptic last wish is making Daren wonder if being broke is really so bad. Still, she's just as beautiful as she is stubborn, and the more time he spends with Kayla, the less it feels right being without her. Soon Daren and Kayla begin to wonder if maybe the best gift Kayla's dad could have left them...was each other.
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Still handcuffed together, we carefully maneuver our linked wrists and open the old train door. Inside, the boxcar is completely empty except for a single, folded piece of paper.
I scowl. Will this scavenger hunt for money ever end?
“What do you suppose it is?” Daren nods at the piece of paper in the back of the train car.
“A check for a million dollars?” I say hopefully.
The only way to reach the paper is to climb inside. Which won’t be easy since my chest barely reaches the bottom of the train car and we can’t climb in one at a time because, you know, we’re attached to one another.
I frown. “How do you want to do this?”
Daren scratches his jaw. “I’ll hoist you inside first then I’ll jump in. Come here.” He turns me around to face him and I step into the circle of his arms.
The summer sun burns down on us. I stare at his chest where his T-shirt pulls tight against the hard muscles of his pecs and a trickle of sweat slowly slides down the back of my neck.
The corded muscles of his neck ripple as he turns his head. “Hold on to my wrists. Then I’ll lift you up.”
He places his big hands on my waist and his thumbs slide under my shirt, grazing the bare skin of my stomach. A warm zing shoots down my belly.
I snap my eyes to him. “Did you do that on purpose?”
“Do what?” His expression is neutral but there’s a glimmer in his eye.
I eye him shrewdly as I wrap my hands around his wrists.
He glides the pads of his thumbs over my stomach again and another, more powerful, zing darts straight down my belly and between my legs as I suck in a breath.
“Cut it out,” I say.
“Cut what out?” His eyes dance with amusement.
“You know what.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” A mischievous grin spreads across his face and I can’t stop the smile that starts to play at my own lips.
“Daren...” His eyes lock on mine and the twitching low in my belly starts up again. Then his gaze drops to my mouth and hunger lights his eyes.
I absently part my lips, my thoughts suddenly hazy.
Leaning in, he whispers, “Now do you want to kiss again?”
His words flutter over my ear like soft, warm butterflies beating their wings against my sensitive skin and a shiver runs through me.
The answer is yes. I do want to kiss him again. It felt so good to have his mouth on mine last night. To feel him up against me.
But I don’t answer.
He brushes his thumbs over the naked skin of my belly again, but this time dips them inside the waistband of my skirt and skims the lacey top of my panties.
I inhale sharply, tightening my fingers around his wrists as my nipples harden and heat builds in my core. I rub my thighs together, trying to alleviate the ache slowly building between my legs but it’s no use. I’m already a tight puddle of need.
How come this beautiful man can make me melt with just a simple touch? And how come it’s always so difficult for me to snap out of his sexy gaze?
I blink away from Daren’s pretty brown eyes and playfully whisper, “No,” before shifting back a few inches.
His eyelids, heavy with desire, open fully as he scans my face and throat with a smile. “Liar.”
I smile back, grateful he doesn’t try to convince me otherwise. I’d no doubt give in if he did. Because Daren affects me.
Every other guy on the planet is just that: a guy.
But Daren is a force. And I am a feather.
About the Author
Chelsea lives in Phoenix, Arizona where she spends most of her time writing stories, painting murals, and avoiding housework at all costs. She’s ridiculously bad at doing dishes and claims to be allergic to laundry. Her obsessions include: superheroes, coffee, sleeping-in, and crazy socks. She lives with her husband and two children, who graciously tolerate her inability to resist teenage drama on TV and her complete lack of skill in the kitchen.
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