He survived combat…but will he fight for love?
Former Army Captain and venture capitalist Preston Guthrie has always had a thing for Cat Kingston, but he never felt like he could date his best friend’s sister. Plus, he’s a wrong-side-of-the-tracks guy and she’s a white-picket-fence kind of woman. Yet when they met again just before he was deployed, sparks flew. A fire ignited. And the heat was hot. For the first time, he thought a relationship with her might be possible…until an injury in the war changed everything
Journalist Cat Kingston had a rough couple of years, surviving a broken engagement and the loss of her job. But connecting with Preston last fall seemed right. They shared steamy Skype sessions while he was overseas—until he was wounded, and cut her off without explanation. Now he’s back in town to be the Best Man for her sister’s wedding…and she wants answers.
Preston’s struggling with a leg wound, but the war scarred him on the inside, too. When Cat pays him a surprise visit and her brother catches them in a compromising position, Preston tells him they’re dating. He’s not sure how he can spend the entire wedding week fake-dating her when the chemistry between them feels anything but…
A ring. Prim, proper, Catherine Kingston had a belly button ring. That realization must have short-circuited his brain, because before he knew what he was doing, he’d touched it. Her abdominal muscles tensed when his fingers grazed her abdomen and her stomach went hollow with her sudden intake of breath. She went still and turned her head toward him.
Somehow his entire body froze in place. He was totally transfixed by the feel of her beneath his hand. “W-what is that?” he managed to say.
She placed her small hand over his large one. Her pale skin was a huge contrast over his naturally darker tone. “A belly button ring, and don’t act like you’ve never seen one.”
“I have. Just not on you.”
“You don’t like it?” she asked, still not moving her hand.
“No, I-I like it. Just surprised is all.”
“I could surprise you about a lot of things,” she said. He looked at her in alarm. Was she flirting with him, or about to tell him off? Her sunglasses were too dark, and he couldn’t read the expression in her eyes.
“You always surprise me,” he managed.
“How’s that?” she asked.
She’d surprised him during those first few months in Afghanistan, when she’d always been there for him, sending him letters and crazy things in care packages. Like pens with pink feathers and her romance novels with pages of love scenes marked and little sticky notes that said, “Read this! And think of me.” She’d sent him crazy patterned socks and gum and instant Starbucks coffee that was as close to being fresh-ground as it could get. She’d been open and honest and giving, and she still was, regardless of how shitty he’d treated her. And that was the most surprising thing of all—her inability to give him up.
“You stood up to your family the other night,” he said. “Life’s too short to not do what you want.”
She sat up, and this time she completely took off her glasses. His hand fell to his side. “If you mean that, really mean that, what is it that you want?”
“No.” She put a hand on his arm. “Tell me, Preston, what is it that you want? Because you could have it. You could have all of it just for the asking.”
Blood pounded in his ears. Had he heard her right? She was offering herself up, not to Brady, but to him. And he wanted her, every blessed part of her. He wanted to run his hands all along her smooth, sun-warmed body. He wanted to peel off those scraps of what she called a bathing suit and explore every part of her. With his tongue. Including that belly button ring.
Miranda Liasson loves to write stories about courageous but flawed characters who find love despite themselves, because there’s nothing like a great love story. And if there are a few laughs along the way, even better! She’s a former Golden Heart winner who writes series romance for Entangled Publishing and lighthearted contemporary romance for Montlake Publishing. She lives in the Midwest with her husband, three kids, and Posey, a rescue cat with attitude.
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