Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Lee-Ann Wallace
Word Count :10489
Publication Date :2018-06-12
Series : #
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-1933-2
All it took was a little bit of courage.
After losing her first love because of her older brother Wade’s meddling, Cara Thomas hesitates to get involved with one of Summerton’s new tattoo artists and coffee shop owner, Troy Thompson.
Scared that Wade will ruin Troy’s life like he did with her high school sweetheart, Cara keeps her real identity a secret. Matters are taken out of her hands when she is dragged to a family birthday, and Troy finds out who she really is.
Fear drives Cara away from the man who could make all her dreams come true, but a little bit of courage changes the direction of her summer and life.
They’d bonded over art, but Cara Thomas knew there could be so much more between them than just that.
Troy Thompson, coffee shop owner, cook, barista, and part-time tattoo artist felt like a dirty little secret she could never tell her family about. She dreaded the day her brothers found out.
But she couldn’t stay away. Troy filled a hole she felt in her soul for so long. Five years ago Wade had destroyed her world on a scorching summer afternoon, and all her dreams had fallen apart.
She smiled at Troy over the rim of her takeaway coffee cup and lowered her lashes while she leaned one hip against the front counter of his shop. The rich, bitter scent of coffee filled her senses and competed with the trails of Troy’s own scent that wafted her way when he moved closer.
He met her gaze with his own, a crinkle of a smile at the corners of his blue eyes. “Going home?”
His rough voice stroked down her back like fur and sent shivers in its wake.
At five-fifteen in the afternoon, he was shutting down and preparing for the next day.
He knew exactly when she would stop in, and he always had her coffee ready for her just the way she liked it. He wouldn’t even let her pay for it anymore.
The five or ten minutes she spent with him every weekday afternoon were minutes she’d come to treasure. They made going home to her lonely little cottage bearable.
She felt more for him than just friendship, but nothing would come of it. Wade would never allow her to date Troy even if he was a friend of the family’s in a roundabout fashion.
She found that out the hard way.
“Yes, I have to be at—”
Her favourite song played from her phone in the side pocket of her prized studded leather handbag. Cara frowned and put her cup down on the counter to dig it out. A number she didn’t recognise appeared on the screen.
She turned away from Troy’s curious gaze and touched her finger to the screen to accept the call, then lifted it to her ear. “Hello, Cara speaking.”
“Don’t hang up.”
Cara sucked in a breath and steel shot down her spine at her brother, Murdoch’s voice. Her hand twitched. She turned and grabbed her coffee cup, squeezing so tight she almost popped the lid off. She gave the cup a lift, followed by a forced smile to Troy before she walked out of the shop.
He didn’t need to hear her acting like a bitch.
“What do you want?” she demanded once away from the coffee shop’s door.
“Little sis, it’s nice to talk to you too.” Murdoch’s voice was filled with reproach and a hint of pain.
She hadn’t seen anyone in the family for almost six months, something that ate at her, but the hurt went too deep.
“What do you want, Murdoch? I have to be at yoga in half an hour.” She didn’t. It was an hour, but just talking to him and hearing his voice was enough to make her eyes sting with tears.
“You’ll have to miss it. We’re having a family dinner at Pascali’s for Sienna’s birthday, and Wade wants you to come. We all want you there.”
“No.” No way, no how. Just no. Wade could go rot in hell for all she cared, but the squeeze in her chest told her she didn’t really mean it. In any other circumstance, she would have loved to go to Pascali’s for dinner.
“It wasn’t a request, Cara. I’ll be at your house to pick you up at seven. Dinner is at seven-thirty. If you aren’t ready, you’ll go as you are, and if you’re not there, I’ll find you and drag you there. This bullshit has gone on long enough. It’s time to grow up.”
The phone call cut off, and Cara’s hand tightened around it. Bastard! It would serve him right to spend the whole night searching for her and miss dinner.
Cara gritted her teeth and stomped down the footpath as fast as her heels allowed her.
She made it home in eight minutes instead of the fifteen it usually took her—strolling slowly so she could enjoy the late afternoon cool.
She needed wine, and lots of it to survive tonight.