Sometimes the past won’t stay where it belongs.
Sara’s number one rule of dating: closed off, secretive men need not apply. Years of therapy helped her move past the damage done by her emotionally abusive boyfriend, and she’s ready to date again. Someone funny, laid back, and easy to talk to. All things her coworker Taylor isn’t.
Taylor’s quiet. Too quiet. He operates in permanent stealth mode, and he hides his secrets as well as Sara does. She doesn’t want to be attracted to him, but after a night spent in a hotel room together, trapped by a blizzard, she can’t deny there’s a fire-hot connection between them, waiting to ignite. Their working relationship inches closer and closer to friendship, until one day she gathers her courage and kisses him.
It’s the match Taylor was waiting for.
What starts as a sweet, fumbling friendship quickly becomes a passionate and intense affair. Just when Sara’s starting to feel safe in Taylor’s arms, his secrets come out, and she wonders if she’ll ever be able to stop looking over her shoulder.
Drawing her brown hair into a ponytail, she washed her face, then pulled on her sleep gear. After one last check in the mirror showed she’d gotten rid of the mascara rings under her eyes, she opened the door.
“Taylor, did you—” She stepped out and the words dammed up in her mouth.
The tattoo covering his back was more than ink. It was art. It belonged on full display, where it could be admired, studied, envied.
Black shaded to grey, the edges of the frame bleeding out rather than squaring off. A lone figure was stretched along his spine, and she could feel the pain of the needles as they worked over the thin skin, so close to bone. Stuck in the middle of a desolate wasteland, it conveyed a bitter, suffocating loneliness, the figure hunched over as it walked.
His muscles rippled, and she balled her hands into fists, shocked at the impulses twitching under her skin. She wanted to trace every line with her fingertips, then do it all over again with her tongue. It was a slim back, broader at the shoulder, tapered at the waist, fit and lean. A back that would hide well under a tailored suit.
It had her considering Taylor Smith in a whole new light. The unassuming sales executive with his quiet good looks took on a sleek and sensuous edge.
Her mouth snapped shut when he glanced over his shoulder. “Um. Blankets? Were there any?” Swallowing became very difficult as she watched him walk to the closet, muscles bunching as he reached up.
He tossed the blanket on the bed. “Thanks.” She grabbed the pillow nearest to her and hugged it to her chest. There were scars. Faint ones, thick ones, running over the ridges of his abdomen, up on his biceps, and a long, jagged one trailing down his sternum. There had to be a story behind those, too, and the questions whispered in the back her mind. She wasn’t staring. She just couldn’t bring herself to meet his gaze. She shifted it to the floor, the pillow falling from her hands.
Her head snapped up.
He reminded her of a hunting cat, all patience and stealth. His expression gave nothing away, although he had to be annoyed by her staring. If her scars were visible, she’d be annoyed, too. She brushed the guilty thought aside. “Yes?”
“Room service? We didn’t get a chance to eat.” He handed her a paper menu. “You done in the bathroom?”
She nodded absently, studying the menu. Better to study the menu than the man in front of her.
When the bathroom door clicked shut, air rushed from her lungs. She had to get a handle on this. This was Taylor. Boring old Taylor. Who cared if his body made him a little more interesting? Under it, he was still the same person who ignored her unless he needed something for work. It was probably her mind’s way of telling her she was ready to take the next step. There were other men out there if she wanted an entanglement. Men who talked. Unlike Taylor.
If she’s not writing, she’s reading, drinking hot chocolate, and trying not to destroy her house with her newest DIY project. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and no, it really doesn’t rain that much.