Authors: Melanie Shawn
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romantic Comedy, #Romance, #Contemporary
Copyright © 2014 Melanie Shawn
All rights reserved. This copy is intended for the original purchaser of this book. No part of this may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without permission in writing from Melanie Shawn. Exceptions are limited to reviewers who may use brief quotations in connection with reviews. No part of this book can be transmitted, scanned, reproduced, or distributed in any written or electronic form without written permission from Melanie Shawn.
This book is a work of fiction. Places, names, characters and events are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locations, or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.
Cover Design by Hot Damn Designs
Copyedits by Mickey Reed Editing
Proofreading Services by Raiza McDuffie
Proofreading Services by Melani Bruce
Book Design by BB eBooks
Published by Red Hot Reads Publishing
ow do my boobs look?” Haley asked her sister as she stood up straight, rolling her shoulders back and skimming her fingers down her flat—because she was sucking it in!—stomach. As she turned from side to side, her eyes scanned every angle of her body reflected in the beautiful full-length, wood-rimmed, oval antique mirror that stood in the corner of her room.
“Great,” Krista answered flatly from behind, lying on her stomach while engrossed in her book.
“You didn’t even look,” Haley pointed out.
With a sigh, Krista closed her textbook and pushed up to a sitting position. Crossing her legs crisscross-applesauce style, she said pragmatically, “Hales, do you really think that Eddie’s going to take one look at you in that tank top and jeans and suddenly realize that he’s in love with you? Do you think that
the outfit that will finally get him to notice you? After all these years?”
“I was going for casually cool,” Haley explained as she turned to face her sister.
“Casually cool may not produce the reaction you’re hoping to achieve.”
Haley swiveled again, focusing her attention back to her reflection, biting the inside of her lip. After a quick once-over, she knew her sister was right. “Good point.”
Grabbing the bottom of the white ribbed tank top, Haley pulled it up and over her head, stepping into her walk-in closet. As she scanned her impressively fantastical wardrobe, she felt the familiar tug of appreciation and gratitude for both her job and her boss. Haley had worked at Bella, a small boutique clothing store, for four years now. Amber, formerly Webb, Sloan—since she married Haley’s cousin Seth six months ago—was not only the booming businesses owner, she was also a designer and personally created a lot of the pieces that Bella carried.
Amber was most well known for her signature dresses. She had an uncanny ability to design dresses that were comfortable to wear while simultaneously complimenting one’s figure. Haley tugged off her jeans and grabbed two such dresses, holding each up beside her as stepped back into the bedroom.
“Blue or green?” She wiggled each as she asked her sister, who was busily highlighting text on the page in front of her.
Glancing up, Krista’s eyes popped open. “Pink.”
Haley’s brow furrowed and her eyes shot down to the two dresses she held. Neither was pink. It took her a moment before she realized that the bra and panty set she herself had just designed and was wearing—in order to test them out before she sent the design to production—was, in fact, pink.
Haley always tested out her samples for quality control purposes. She needed to personally ensure that they weren’t itchy, didn’t dig into the skin, or anything else that would make the wear unpleasant. Her goal with her lingerie line, Tempting, was and always would be to make pretty undergarments that women could feel sexy and comfortable in.
“Ha ha ha, very funny,” Haley said as she pulled the blue cotton dress off the hanger.
Krista shook her head, a mischievous smile growing on her face. “I’m dead serious. You show up on Eddie-boy’s doorstep in
and he will definitely take notice.”
As Haley put the blue dress on over her head, she said, “I’m going over there to watch Emily. I don’t think showing up in nothing but my skivvies is the most appropriate thing to do.” Although the thought of Eddie seeing her in nothing but her sexy lingerie did send a thrill skittering down her spine.
Krista set down her yellow highlighter pen and said with a sigh, “Can you hear yourself? Let’s examine this for a moment. Okay, you are going over there to babysit his daughter.
. On a Saturday night.
. You know he’s out there hooking up while you are at home with his kid.”
“You don’t know that for a fact.” Haley, unfortunately,
know that for a fact. She knew that once a month Eddie would hook up with one of his friends with benefits. She knew this to be a fact because sometimes they would call before he got home to leave a message about what a good time they’d had and how
Eddie had been.
Haley knew how amazing Eddie was, but not the way those women did.
, she reminded herself,
they don’t know him the way I do
Eddie took the phrase ‘private life’ to an almost stealth level. For years now, he’d
dated women in their small town, no matter how badly the female population of Harper’s Crossing—Haley most of all!—wished he would. Many of them had actively tried—and failed—to change his mind, some more blatantly than others. Haley had seen women throw themselves at him,
heaving their bodies against his, and Eddie just ignore it.
The single moms of his seven year old daughter’s friends were a tad more subtle in their efforts. They would casually set up ‘play dates’ with Emily and their children. But after a particularly uncomfortable pool party where Eddie showed up with Emily in tow to find out that the kids would actually be watching a movie inside and the pool party would only be himself and Emily’s friend’s mom (who was wearing a G-string bikini), he’d stopped going on ‘play dates.’ Now, when one was planned, either Haley or Eddie’s sister Chelle would take Em, to the great disappointment of the moms at Harper’s Crossing Elementary School.
“Hales, you have to start being realistic about this. Do you really think after knowing the man practically all your life that one day he’s just going to see you from across the room and everyone else will disappear, causing him to have an epiphany that he’s in love with you and always has been?”
Haley knew that her sister’s question was not meant to be answered, that she was just trying to prove a point, but that didn’t stop Haley from doing just that. “It happened to Riley and Chelle.”
Haley’s sister fell back on the bed with a moan as she covered her face. “Oh my gosh! That is
different.” As she sat back up, Krista’s arms flew out and she exclaimed, “Riley hadn’t seen Chelle in, like, ten years or something. You see Eddie every day.”
“So?” Haley shrugged as she once again turned her attention to her reflection.
“Sooooo…” Krista closed her book dramatically before stating firmly, “I love you and I am sorry to say this but you need to face the cold hard fact that he’s just not that into you.”
Haley mentally shook off her sister’s observation. She knew that not only Krista, but her other sisters, Jessie and Becca, thought she was crazy to pine away for Eddie. And maybe she was, but they didn’t know him like she did. They didn’t love Emily like she did. They didn’t see how he did special things for Haley like DVRing shows that he knew or thought she would like and making sure that the oil in her car was changed, or that her tires had enough air in them.
They didn’t see that he waited up when he knew she was out late and then texted her to see how her night was. They didn’t see the look of jealousy in his eyes every time Eddie saw her with a guy, whether it was just a friend or on the few occasions that she had gone out on a date over the past few years.
And they didn’t see how he was with her when it was just the two of them. How the sparks would fly and the heated look in his eyes that could best be described as panty melting.
“I gotta jet.” Krista stood and grabbed her books and notebooks. “I have a date.”
“With who, Chris?” Haley asked, spinning around on her heels.
“Yep. He finally got a Saturday night off so we’re going out on a
“Wow,” Haley unintentionally said aloud out of sheer shock. Sure, she knew that Chris, who was a bartender at The Grill, and her sister had been friends with benefits for a while now, but she was surprised that things might be getting serious.
Her expression must have revealed her inner astonishment-slash-curiosity because Krista came to an abrupt stop as she glanced over her shoulder before heading out the door. “What?” she asked defensively.
“Nothing,” Haley said, putting her arms up in surrender. If Krista was
moving on, Haley could not be any happier for her.
—Krista pointed at her with an accusatory stare—“of all people have no room to judge
“I’m not.” Haley tried to keep her expression as blank and innocent as possible. She and Krista were Irish twins, being born only ten months apart, and the two had always shared a very strong connection. She knew her sister would see right through her faux-innocent expression, but that didn’t stop her from putting it on. “I
Krista narrowed her eyes for several moments before nodding once. “Mmm, hmm,” she muttered before heading out the door.
After her sister left, Haley padded across the hardwood floor to the window in the corner of her room. She looked out between the white-wooded shutters. Her gaze immediately fell on Emily as the little girl rode her bike up and down the street, her long honey-blond hair trailing behind her in the wind. If Em was out in front, that meant…
Haley’s pulse picked up speed as her eyes scanned up the driveway. The hood of Eddie’s red pickup truck was propped open, blocking her view from the man beneath it. A tan, tattooed, muscled arm was all Haley could see of Eddie. But that was all it took for her lady parts to sit up and take notice. Tingles spread through her as she watched the chiseled lines in his arms as he worked on the engine.
, there was just something so sexy about a man working on a car. It was so
. Haley didn’t fool herself, she knew that a large part of her attraction to Eddie came from the fact that he was just so capable. If it was broken, he could fix it. Which was…
Just when she was about to step away from the window so she didn’t dip her toe into stalker waters, he stood. Rays of sun shone off his silky black hair as he stretched his neck from side-to-side. The olive skin of his straining neck peeked out from his white t-shirt. Her eyes continued up and locked on his lips. Oh lord, those lips. She couldn’t even count how many dreams—while asleep and awake—she’d had about those full, soft lips.
Not being able to tear her gaze away as he reached up and closed the hood on his truck, she watched, captivated. He used a rag he held to clean his large hands and an audible moan escaped her mouth. His movements weren’t rushed, hurried. They were measured, deliberate. Eddie Thomas was one hundred percent alpha male. The way he moved, the way he talked, the way he looked.