October 25, 2012
Series: Lone Pine Lake
Lone Pine Lake’s resident playboy, fire captain Christian Nelson, is happy with his single-guy lifestyle. But when quiet, mysterious Jane Clark comes for a tour of the firehouse with her three small children, Chris is immediately drawn to the beautiful woman—even though he’s been burned by commitment in the past.
Jane’s been battling scars both physical and mental—having lived through a devastating house fire years ago—so she’s hesitant when her brother’s best friend, Christian, offers to help quell her family’s residual fears of fire. Jane’s mind is the epitome of once burned, twice shy, but her heart has other plans.
Despite her brother’s warnings about his friend’s playboy status and dangerous occupation, Jane can’t help but fall for the gorgeous fire captain. Can two scarred people find the strength to let go of their pasts to live in the present, when a lifetime together might be the sweetest gift of all?
Chris leaned in, his mouth close to her ear yet again, and she swore she felt the brush of his lips against her flesh. “The movie’s terrible, don’t you think?”
Her cheeks warmed at his closeness and she hoped he wouldn’t notice in the dark theater. “It is pretty terrible,” she admitted. He pulled away from her, flashing a quick smile.
That smile sent a zing all the way through her body right down to her toes. Goodness, would she ever get used to seeing him, looking at his gorgeous face?
“A few people have already ditched this movie—not that I can blame them. Should we?”
Jane glanced around the theater, noticed that they were practically the only ones left. “What else would we do? It’s probably too late to see another movie. I need to get back to Mindy’s and pick up the kids.” Disappointment filled her that their date was ending early. She’d hoped for at least a couple of hours with Chris, away from the children.
“We could grab a coffee before I take you home,” Chris suggested, and she wondered if he wasn’t willing to end their time together just yet, either. The attraction between them was undeniable. With the heated glances they exchanged, how she shivered when he touched her, the subtle flirtation…
Their eyes met, locked, and she was held captive, her hand frozen for the briefest second. He grabbed her by the wrist, pulled her hand to his mouth, and pressed a fleeting kiss to her knuckles.
Oh, God. Shock froze her in place and she knew she should pull away, brush it off as nothing. But she couldn’t ignore the heat that coursed through her at the mere touch of his lips, and she swallowed hard, blinked slowly. Anything to try and bring back the normal, everyday emotions she lived with.
But they were gone, wiped clean by the touch of Chris’s fingers, the brush of his mouth.
“Jane.” He whispered her name, his voice achingly gentle, and her lips parted to answer him but nothing came out. The intensity of his gaze, the way he watched her left her paralyzed, speechless. “Don’t be afraid. I won’t hurt you.”
Her eyes went wide as she stared up at him. His face hovered above hers, his hand tightening on her cheek as he drew her closer. Oh, he was going to kiss her, just as she’d imagined only moments before. Panic set in. Her breathing accelerated, her chest heaved with the effort, and she licked her lips in preparation.
Earning a quiet groan from Chris. Feminine power sparked within her. Who knew she had such an effect on him?
“I shouldn’t do this. But…you’re so beautiful.” His words made her heart flutter.
“Chris, I—” she started, but he didn’t let her finish. His head swooped and his mouth captured hers, silencing her, swallowing her words.
She forgot what she wanted to say. Her mind had been wiped clean by the touch of Chris’s mouth upon hers.
And she never wanted this kiss to end.