Series: Gallant Lake Stories #1
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Published by: Harlequin Special Edition ™
Release Date: September 2019
Nick and Cassie have each come to Gallant Lake for a fresh start, and end up working together at the resort. Cassie, a domestic violence victim, is a jumpy, defensive bundle of nerves. Nick, an ex-cop, is loud and restless, always off kayaking or hanging from some mountain cliff. After a pepper spray incident, Nick offers to teach Cassie self-defense. Which puts them in close, sweaty contact…. From rock climbing to bubble baths, they help each other learn to trust again.
When Cassie’s past threatens to send her on the run again, they both have to set their fears aside to take a stand for love.
“You can go join the guys, Nick. I’ll be…”
He looked down at her and continued to hold the door, his expression saying it all.
“Right. You’re going to walk me to my car whether I need it or not.”
“Now you’re getting it.” He followed her across the dark lot, and she tried to define the emotions swirling around inside her. It wasn’t fear—she knew what fear felt like. But the jolt of adrenaline wasn’t unsimilar. She was on edge. She was anticipating, but anticipating what? That Nick would touch her again? Or that he wouldn’t?
She resolved that question when she almost walked right past her car. She stopped so quickly that Nick bumped against her back, his hand resting on her waist to steady them both. But she didn’t feel steady. He was usually quick to remove his hands from her, ever since that second training session when he let his fingers linger on her neck. But his hand wasn’t moving. In fact, she could almost swear his grip tightened just a little. And damn if she didn’t lean into him.
“Cassie…” Nick cleared his throat, his grip loosening, but not releasing her. “Isn’t this your car?”
“Oh...yes. Sorry.” She stepped away, proud of herself for being able to do it calmly and thanking the heavens for the dimly lit lot. He wouldn’t be able to see her confusion. She reached in her bag for her keys.
“You aren’t going to pepper spray me again are you?” She welcomed the wry humor in his voice. This was the Nick she knew how to deal with.