A secret. A song. A seductive blonde.
Bridal shoe company owner Lori Hanover is in way over her head. First, her designer sister has fallen head over heels for the rock star fiancé of a client - talk about bad PR! Now her business is falling apart. Lori's only hope in saving her company is making the world believe it was true love, even if she's not so sure herself. Her best bet? A song. For this she turns to the most frustrating musical recluse in America, Dash Mills, a man who could pass for Thor’s sexier brother. And even though this former rock superstar agrees to help, it comes at a price…
When Lori agrees to Dash’s terms, he thinks she's the one in for a challenge. But the more time he spends with this spitfire bombshell, the more tempted he is to play her—in more ways than one. But Dash left behind the rock and roll life for a reason. And seductive as Lori may be, if she drags him back into that world, this time he won't forgive himself...or her.
A wet tree branch fell from on high, missing Lori by inches. She leapt back, squealing like a little girl and...
No, no, noooo! Sludge seeped between her toes, filling the delicate black ruffles as her shoe sank into a thick, cold puddle. On a whimper, Lori lifted it free with a slurping suck to find it an inch deep in shimmering brown mud.
What horrible thing had she done in a former life to deserve ending up here? Tossed litter out the car window? Damaged a library book and given it back without telling? Seduced a priest?
A rare urge to throttle her sister came over her, but no, it wasn’t in her DNA to blame Callie for anything. She could have strangled Jake but at least he kept Callie so thoroughly distracted she hadn’t a clue about the depths of trouble their company was in.
Add a two and a half hour round trip to deliver a damn package because some putz had decided to go completely off grid, and the focus of her ire condensed to one Dash Mills. Friends with Jake Pain-in-the-Ass Mitchell and now he’d ruined her shoes? The guy may as well have had a target tattooed to his head.
Chin down Lori took a straight line towards the house till her mud-caked heels slid and clacked against the dank steps leading up to the dark wrap-around porch.
She’d give over Callie’s lyrics, give the guy a brief and a deadline and off she’d go, never having to be put out by him again. Glaring at the heavy front door, she wrapped her fingers around her phone, curling her other hand into a satisfying fist as she prepared to pummel--
When she heard a noise.
A scrabbling. A snuffling. The sound seeming to come from...inside? Behind her? Everywhere.
Adrenalin spiking, the first things that hit her— literally— were two huge gray and white streaks as a pair of massive husky dogs appeared in a whirling dervish of legs and claws and lolling tongues. And then they were gone, leaping off the end of the porch and gamboling off into the forest.
Heart in her throat, lungs full to bursting, blood rushing every which way Lori barely had the chance to collect her breath when she realized they were merely the forewarning.
What followed was a man. And as he slowly made his way up the steps towards her, despite her own five feet eight inches— plus the added benefit of four-inch heels— she found herself looking up, and up, and up.
With the muted sunlight at his back and the darkness of the porch at his front, he was a shadow.
A huge man-shaped shadow in a crumpled gray T-shirt attempting to contain his huge chest, scruffy jeans clinging to thighs the size of tree trunks, dirty-blonde hair sticking out at every angle...
And was that some kind of weapon slung over his shoulder? An axe? A gun?
Lori gripped her phone so tight her fingertips lost feeling.
If she was the Evil Queen then here was the huntsman. Did the huntsman take down the queen? She couldn’t for the life of her remember. She couldn’t even remember which fairy tale it was from.
What she did know was that apart from two absent wolf dogs and her distracted driver, she and this mountain of a man were alone.
The man-shape clearly wasn’t so taken aback. In a voice so deep it left reverberations in its wake, he said, “You’re not Reg.”
She opened her mouth to agree that she was not Reg, but the man didn’t wait to be told. He merely shouldered his way past— a wall of heat knocking her out of his way before he even had to— opened the unlocked door and headed into the even deeper darkness of the entrance of the house. Once inside, he nudged off his huge muddy boots and shook of any raindrops that dared cling to him.
Lori was somewhat mollified to see the weapon over his shoulder turned out to be a stick. A big stick, sure. The perfect kind to throw to a dog...or two.
When he shot her a guarded glance through a pair of bedroom eyes she knew the sooner she got this over and done with the sooner she could get back to the real world.
But when she opened her mouth for the second time she was once again stymied, as his eyes squeezed shut and he gave into a huge yawn, stretching his arms above his head, the muscles in his arms bulging. His rumpled T-shirt lifted at his belly to reveal a happy trail and the fact that the top two buttons of his jeans had been left undone, as if he’d rolled out of bed, shucked them on and headed off into the wilderness.
Also leaving her with the pretty sound impression that he wore nothing underneath.
When Callie had mentioned meeting Jake’s illusive reclusive ex-band-mate a few weeks before, Lori had briefly imagined an overweight, overly-tattooed guy who reeked of bourbon and past glory.
Instead, she’d found Thor.