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Her instinct is to run.
His instinct is to let her.
Ten years ago, secrets and lies caused Ava Cardona to walk away from her hometown, family and the man who broke her heart… Nick Williams.
Now she’s back and stranded on Nick’s farm with animosity still burning between them. But behind the hateful stares and cold shoulders, old attractions are igniting.
It’s wrong that she still wants him. He hurt her once, there’s no way she’ll let him do it again. But the way he looks at her… touches her… he’s making it difficult to resist him.
She must guard her heart and push him away.
He’s not letting her.
Just when she believes she can forgive past hurts, Ava learns of a devastating new secret, one Nick has kept from her, and she does what she does best… runs.
Will Ava get far, or will she decide that it’s time to stop running and instead chase love?
“I’ve never seen a car repaired by poking.”
Ava whirled around and threw daggers with her gaze. Turning back to the engine, this time she rattled some hoses.
Nick shook his head.
Opening the Mercedes’s door, he slid onto the soft leather seats. She stomped over to him.
“What the hell are you doing in my car?” She pushed a lank, wet strand of hair away from her face, streaking a smudge of grease across her cheek. “Oh my God! Water is all over the controls on the door!” She shrieked.
“If you keep standing there blocking me from closing it, it will only get wetter.”
She quickly slammed the door. There was no mistaking the word bastard on her lips. Why was he helping her again?
He flicked the ignition a couple of times, and it made a cranking sound. It didn’t sound like a flat battery. Dammit, why couldn’t it be as simple as the battery? It needed to go to the workshop.
He got out of her car and threw her the keys.
“Well?” she said shivering as the rain pelted them. “What’s wrong with my car?”
His gaze dropped to the raised peaks of her nipples. He pinched the bridge of his nose and trudged through the mud to his truck and away from the headlight show. “I think it’s either the fuel pump or an electrical problem.”
Her voice rose. “You’re going to fix it, right?”
“I can’t on the side of the road.”
“You’re not going to just leave it here?”
“Yep, there’s no one who can tow it tonight.” He opened the truck door and paused, the words about to be spoken tasted like ash on his tongue. “Want a lift?”
Her mouth opened and closed a couple of times before she shut it in a firm line.
“Get in…or don’t. I really don’t care. I’m getting in, my balls have just about disappeared.”
She straightened her shoulders, stuck her nose up in the air, and didn’t budge.
“Suit yourself. Good luck getting a ride tonight.” He jumped in his ute, turned the ignition, and cranked on the heater.
A crack of lightning lit up the sky, and Ava scrambled into his truck just as the thunder boomed and rattled the windows. Nick didn’t bother hiding his smirk. She was still scared of thunderstorms. He pulled back onto the road and navigated his way through the dark, stormy night.
After a moment, she said through gritted teeth, “I guess you’re going to gloat.”
“No,” he replied.
She squeezed water from her hair. “I don’t believe you. I bet you’re dying to rub it in my face that I needed help and you came to my rescue.”
“I would’ve stopped for an injured animal. Don’t think you’re anything special.”
Another lightning strike illuminated the sky, and she covered her ears, preparing for the thunder soon to follow. When it did, she sprung so high she almost bumped her head on the roof of the truck.
“Still scared of a little storm? We’re not going parking like we used to, so I can distract you.”
She whipped her head around and stared wide-eyed at him.
Crap, why did he have to say that? Shifting in his seat, he scrubbed a hand over his face. To change the subject, and because her shivering vibrated against the seat, he said, “There should be a jumper behind you.”
She twisted around to reach behind the seat, and her breast brushed up against his arm. He ignored the rush of heat heading south.
“Where am I taking you?”
“I have a room booked at a bed-and-breakfast. It’s called Greenhill House.” Then she glanced around the cabin of the truck and laughed with disbelief. “Is this the same truck you drove years ago?”
Nick drew in a deep breath, “Yes.”
She ran a hand over the cracked vinyl seat. “It’s not very comfortable.”
“You never complained. You used to beg me to take you parking in it so we could fu—”
“I did not!” she interrupted.
“Sorry it’s not as luxurious as your Merc.” Leaning forward, he squinted through the rain and pulled to a stop. “Shit…”
Ava followed his gaze. “What?”
“The road into town is flooded. We can’t cross.”
“Isn’t this a four-wheel drive?” she asked.
“Then what’s the problem?”
He gave a heavy sigh. “It’s too deep. We could get washed away.” Nick slammed his fist against the steering wheel. How did his day turn to shit? “You have two choices. I take you back to your car and hope it’s comfortable for you to sleep in or…” The next words clogged in his throat.
Ava sounded reluctant to ask, “Or what?”
He cleared the lump. “You stay the night at my place.”