Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Barbara Johannsen
Word Count :40000
Publication Date :2010-07-28
Series : #
Heat Level :
Category : Contemporary Romance
- Product Code: 978-1-55487-443-9
When Ronda Miller agrees to pet sit for her Aunt Claire, she has no idea that her aunt’s handsome neighbor, Nick Austin, will be at her disposal. Ronda has her own set of rules to live by and they don’t include a handsome fireman with a ready smile and an antique truck. But Nick is persistent. He’s always around to help—when he isn’t rushing into burning buildings and rescuing people. Is it too late for Ronda to change her life? Can she get beyond the self-imposed rules she has set for herself and fall under Nick’s Tender Persuasion?
The moment Jingle Bells began playing on the car radio, Ronda Miller grimaced and reached to change the station. After three hours of nerve wracking driving on slick, snow encrusted highways, she didn't need reminded that Christmas was only four weeks away. She hated the holiday season.
Taking her eyes off the road for only a second, she rolled the dial through the channels, looking for a weather report, only to discover most of the stations were playing the usual assortment of seasonal music. Switching the dial off, she returned her gaze to the road--just in time to see the red pickup truck sliding crossways in her path.
Acting by instinct, she slammed her foot down hard on the brake pedal, momentarily forgetting the slick surroundings. The rear of the car fishtailed slightly before its tires found a dry stretch of pavement and lurched to a stop. Startled by the sudden mishap, Ronda sat frozen, gripping the steering wheel with both hands. "What the--"
The driver's door on the pickup opened and a male body in jeans and sweatshirt emerged--looking like some hunk from a wish book. Ronda stared with wide eyes as he made his way over to the side of her car. He was tall and trim, with wide shoulders that filled out the bright green sweatshirt to unusual proportions. His lower body was encased in worn denim that bore the remnants of oil stains and grease smears.
Fright briefly gave way to anger when Ronda glimpsed the broad smile he flashed at her. In the next instant, she grabbed the window crank and furiously rolled the glass out of the way so she could unleash her frustration on him.
"I hope I didn't scare you too badly," he said.
"You sure as hell scared me!" Ronda yelped. She realized then her heart was thudding against her ribcage and her neck was sweating beneath the collar of her sweater. "Why were you so careless?"
He chuckled slightly, shaking his head. "I'm having a problem with my gas pedal sticking," he explained, his gaze sliding over the tight-lipped stare she aimed at him and her tousled chestnut colored hair. "You must be Ronda," he said, smiling again. "I'm Nick Austin, your aunt's neighbor." He thrust his right hand through the open window in greeting.
"Will you move your truck, please?" Ronda quipped, ignoring the hand only inches from her face. She'd already had enough of this stranger's cheery mood and his lack of sincerity for having nearly scared her to death. At this point, she only wanted it to end so she could drive the rest of the way to her Aunt Claire's house up the road.
"Sure," he said, pulling his hand back. "Just as soon as you accept my apology."
Ronda aimed a speculative look at him. There was nothing like running head first into a brick wall and then realizing you were to blame for the encounter. "If that is what it takes to get you to move your truck out of the road," she said between tight lips.
"That's what it takes," Nick returned, his smiling mouth fully teasing her.
It was then his sweatshirt blinked at her.
A series of colored flashes assaulted her green eyes and all but totally erased her anger. A decorated Christmas tree loomed at her from the front of Nick's shirt.
"You like it," he admonished with a chuckle. "Everybody does. I designed it myself. It plays music, too," he added, reaching one hand to activate the sound. "Listen."