Evanne Lorraine
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Simply Inevitible

Blurb

Cat crushed on Kyle for years, now that he’s moved back to Sterling Falls she’s pulling out all the stops to impress him.
Kyle doesn’t recognize the gorgeous red head, but he’s eager to get acquainted until his stalker reminds him getting involved with the temptress could be a fatal mistake for her.

Excerpt

Liam and Tiana paused to share a kiss on the landing on their way down to the party. Liam leaned back and smoothed a strand of dark hair behind his wife’s ear, a look of tender possession softening his rugged face.
Although she had Bambi eyes, long legs, a fine ass, and breasts to match, Tiana wasn’t in Cat’s class. But then no one was.
“All done torturing your lovely wife?” Kyle asked when they finally joined him in the entry.
“What happened to Cat, did she shut you down and leave?” Liam snapped back.
“Who are we talking about?” Tiana snagged a glass of champagne from a passing tray, offering it to her husband.
“Cat Stewart,” Liam accepted the drink.
“Oh, perhaps it’s for the best if she did,” she said softly.
“Give me a break, I’m not a Neanderthal,” Kyle huffed with mock offense. Just a guy who did a good deed for nutcase and can’t figure out how to get her out of his life.
“Of course you’re not.” Tiana patted his arm. “It’s just that she has her hands full between clients, Teddy, and of course Lisa. I don’t think she’s in the market for a fling.”
“What, I’m only good for a quickie?” Why am I snarling at her for saying exactly what I know—no woman deserves the kind of complications I bring to the table.
“Watch it, brat.” Liam glared an unmistakable warning.
“Fine I’ll go flirt with Grace, she likes me. If you don’t object?” He didn’t wait for an argument, striding toward the fireplace where the retired postmistress held court.
He jammed a fist into a pocket, smashing it against the hard jeweler’s case, and clamped his teeth to keep from shrieking like a girl with frustration. He hated being so close to losing control, hated the persistent self-loathing for failing to recognize Noelle’s brand of crazy in the first place, and hated her for fucking with his head. He took a deep breath, letting it out slow and repeated, picturing the gentle drift of snowflakes settling around his pond. Gradually he exhaled the anger and inhaled calm. His jaw unclenched and his shoulders loosened as he approached.
Off with you now, I have business to discuss with Kyle,” Grace dismissed her audience then turned to Erica, “Would you fetch me another glass of bubbly and one more of those mini-quiches, my dear?”
“Of course, Gran.” She rose and scurried toward the bar.
“Take a load off,” Grace patted the sofa next to her.
Ten minutes later his eyes started to glaze while he kept an attentive expression pasted on his face as she continued to extol her granddaughter’s assets.
“You haven’t heard a word I said,” she accused.
“Every syllable,” Kyle lied cheerfully. “Can I interest you in more wine or maybe some of those little tarts?”
“Don’t bother. You might as well tell Erica it’s safe to come back,” she huffed.
Eager to obey, he rose and turned to leave.
“She’s perfect for you,” she speared him with a parting shot.
“No doubt, but she’s not you and it wouldn’t be fair to saddle her with a man pining for another woman.” He smoldered at her over his shoulder.
“You’re impossible,” she snorted, eyes sparkling with amusement.
While striding away, he scanned the area, anxious to avoid another awkward encounter with Erica, who was probably mortified by her grandmother’s matchmaking.
He spotted her talking to Cat and stopped, riveted.
She’d changed a lot in the past seventeen years. So had he, but her changes were all outside improvements. Aside from a few more nicks in his hide and little more bone and muscle, his differences were inner deteriorations.
Once Liam had given him the gorgeous redhead’s name, he recognized the keen intelligence and self-deprecating humor in those beautiful eyes. The Coke-bottle glasses were gone, the wild hair tamed, and pudgy pre-teen body now sleek and toned. The flawless complexion, smoky siren eyes, and seductive lips he tried not to imagine around his cock absolutely belonged to a grown-ass woman. Lush curves filled a deceptively simple dress so close to her skin color it was easy to imagine her naked. His body reacted, tightening where he had no business tightening.
Her shiny mane glinted with burgundy highlights and was wound into a complicated knot with a few loose strands that made his fingers itch to find and remove the pins holding it in place so he could wrap the thick length in his fist.
He’d never been so instantly spun up in a woman. He couldn’t resist another glimpse, still as stunning as he thought.
She must have sensed him staring. Again.
For an endless moment her sparkling eyes met his. Her expression alive with warmth.
He kept his game face firmly in place, masking the hunger he had no right to feel.
Soon her eyes clouded with questions.
He didn’t have the answers she deserved.
His eroding sense of decency finally kicked in. Much as he wanted to, making a move on her would be wrong. She belonged with someone better than the pencil-necked geek who’d crowded her, but that someone wasn’t him.
He angled for the kitchen and safety.
Lynda, Liam’s housekeeper might fix him something more substantial than the bite-sized snacks on offer then he would escape out the back, head home and hit the heavy bag until he was tired enough to sleep.
Someone snagged his sleeve, he whirled hand balled into a fist.
Erica took a quick step out of reach. “Sorry to startle you. I just need to apologize for Gran. She means well. Truly, she admires you and only wants the best for me.”
“Don’t worry about it. I’m wound too tight.” He gave her an apologetic grin.
Her pale cheeks pinkened. “The holidays are a stressful time for everyone.”
“Yeah.” Smooth as ever Sterling. What’s next stomping on puppies?
“Actually I’ve been seeing Eddy Potter. He took over running the post office after Gram left. She’ll never approve of him as long as she thinks there’s any chance we’ll get together. I love him.” She peered up at Kyle hopefully.
“My best wishes for both of you.”
“Thanks, uh, I was sort of hoping you were interested in someone. Gran might learn to accept Eddy if you weren’t a possibility.”
“Sorry, not happening.”
“There’s no one special in your life?” She frowned in disappointment.
“No,” he snapped.
“I understand. I had to ask, please forgive me for prying into your personal affairs.” She backed cautiously away.
An iron hand clamped around his arm. “Hold on tough guy.”
Kyle jerked around, meeting Ben’s dark eyes. “Holy shit, when did you get back?”
“Long enough ago to witness you terrorizing that sweet thing.” his brother rumbled back, obviously not pleased.
“Give me a break, I’ve already had a tough night,” Kyle muttered, not happy with his actions and even less thrilled to have to explain himself to his little brother. So what if the big ape had a couple of inches and fifty pounds of muscle on him? He’d always be the younger, less experienced, and therefore inferior brother.
“Yeah, I got that. Doesn’t excuse barking at an innocent woman.”
“You’re right. I’ll apologize.”
“You better.” Ben scowled.
“Why are you so late to the party?” Kyle shifted the subject away from him acting like an insensitive ass.
“A couple a minutes. Had to shit to do in town. The roads were fucked up coming back.”
“What kept you in Seattle?”
“Talking to a man about work.”
Kyle arched a brow. “Thought you were taking some time off.”
“It’s a kinda open-ended opportunity.”
Something in his brother’s hard gaze suggested he back off. Whatever the job was, Ben would talk about it when he was ready and not before.
He sought for a neutral comment and finally said, “Hope it works out the way you want. How long are you staying?”
Fortunately Ben’s attention zeroed on a new target. “Gotta go, fresh and lovely comin’ up on your six.”

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