Dr. Katherine "Kat" Arnolds left Oregon and never looked back at the town that failed her as a child. But when a new patient from Independence Falls joins her clinical trial, she returns determined to show everyone in her hometown how she has thrived—including her high school crush.
Brody Summers saves people. For years, he looked out for his younger siblings and ran the family business. Now he works search and rescue. After a failed mission, Brody plans to take an evening off. When a blonde city girl knocks him off his feet, he refuses to walk away from desire. But it doesn't take long for Brody to realize the past is returning to haunt him—and it goes back farther than one wild night.
The last thing Kat wants is a reason to extend her stay in Independence Falls. But she can't escape the memory of Brody's wicked touch. As their passion heats up, Brody wonders if he's falling for the one woman who doesn't need rescuing.
The black suitcase with the gold designer label came out of nowhere, knocking Brody Summers on his ass outside the Portland airport hotel. He looked up, planning to growl at the person wielding the bag, and saw legs. Long, shapely legs designed to lead a man’s thoughts straight to the bedroom. And those shoes—heck, her black and gold high heels matched her suitcase.
His gaze traveled north taking in every inch of smooth skin. Two questions flashed through his mind.
What would she look like bound to his bed? And, where were her pants?
Her heels clicked on the pavement as she stepped closer. He caught a glimpse of her short skirt, peeking out between the tails of her long top. The black button-down collared shirt mixed business and pleasure in a way that sent his imagination on a side trip, wondering what she wore beneath the silky, form-fitting material.
Probably a matching bra and panty set that cost too much to rip off her petite curved body without inviting tears. The woman who’d knocked him flat on his ass looked about as expensive as her luggage.
And she was groomed to perfection. Her long blonde hair fell in waves around her shoulders and red lips quirked up.
“Lost your footing, cowboy?” Her voice possessed a low, throaty quality designed for whispering naughty pleas after the fancy clothes hit the floor.
But cowboy? What the heck? Brody raised his hand and touched his head. Nope, his Moore Timber baseball cap still covered his dirty brown hair.
“Your shoes.” She pointed the shiny black cowboy boots he’d dug out of the back of his truck. His work boots needed to dry out after trampling across the wet, muddy mountainside.
“Need a hand getting up?” she added extending one perfectly manicured hand.
“Thank you, ma’am, but I can manage.” He pushed off the ground. Standing in front of her, he realized she wasn’t as tall as she’d appeared from the ground. At six foot three plus the cowboy boots, he towered over her.
“Ma’am,” she murmured, her green eyes shining with amusement. “I forgot how formal you are out here.”
“Returning home?” While she looked him over, he eyed the automatic door behind her, which led to the hotel lobby. He wasn’t shy. Not by a long shot. But compared to her, Brody knew he looked like he’d spent the day rolling in dirt.
“I’m here for work, but this isn’t my first time in Oregon.” She extended her hand again. “I’m Kat.”
Knowing it would be rude to refuse, he shook her hand. “Brody.”
Her eyes widened for a second and he drew away from her firm grip, guessing his callused palm had caught her by surprise. A woman who matched her fancy shoes to her luggage was probably accustomed to well-groomed men in suits.
“I believe I owe you a drink Brody. For knocking you to the ground.”
After spending the past twelve hours combing Hood Mountain for a lost family, he was overdue for a beer. But first he needed to get cleaned up. “Thanks, but I have a date with the shower.”
Kat’s eyes narrowed, her gaze sharpening as if he’d issued a challenge when he said ‘shower.’ And while the thought of inviting this near stranger to join him appealed to the same part of his anatomy that appreciated the heck out of her short skirt, high heels, and sexy top, he steered clear of one-night territory with women he’d just met. And he didn’t plan on making an exception tonight.
Duty had landed him in Portland and he needed to stay focused on his missions. Somewhere on the snow-capped mountain, a ten-year-old boy was wondering around looking for the parents Brody and his team had located earlier. Heck, if he’d had his way, he’d still be out there searching for the kid. But the team leader had ordered Brody, and the rest of the guys who’d been working for twelve hours, to take a break. He hated walking away without finishing the job, but he had to admit that a fresh team of search and rescue volunteers might cover more ground. And Brody had been bone-tired from the moment he’d started the search thanks to the ‘mission’ waiting for him back home.
Back home, Brody’s little brother sank deeper into depression as the hope of recovering the short-term memory he’d lost to a logging accident dimmed. Sure, Josh was lucky to be alive after getting hit in the head with a metal hook. He’d spent weeks in a coma following the accident. But writing down every detail about his day-to-day life drove Josh crazy.
Now, thanks to the doctor who’d agreed to include his brother in her clinical trial, Josh had a fighting chance. Brody planned to meet Dr. Westbury, the famous neurologist, here in the morning and drive her back to Independence Falls. Before that he needed a solid six, maybe seven hours of sleep not a detour into casual sex.
“Nice meeting you Kat.” He moved around her, heading for the double doors. Now, when he’d finally found someone who might be able to help his little brother was not the time to find out how Little Miss Perfect would look in his shower.
He paused by the open doorway and glanced over his shoulder.
“If you change your mind,” she said, one hand clutching the handle of the designer bag that moonlighted as a weapon. “Come find me in the hotel bar.”
“I’ll do that.” He suspected his ironclad willpower would keep him in his room. But looking back at her, Brody had to admit he wanted a taste of perfection.
After several years on the other side of the publishing industry, Sara Jane Stone bid goodbye to her sales career to pursue her dream-writing romance novels. Sara Jane currently resides in Brooklyn, New York with her very supportive real-life hero, two lively young children and a lazy Burmese cat. Visit her online at www.sarajanestone.com or find her on Facebook at Sara Jane Stone.
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