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Long ago, Delanie made one gigantic mistake. Or committed one small felony, depending on how you look at it. Stealing a coin from a sexy stranger was just a prank to help a sorority sister get revenge. The sleeping with him part was totally unplanned. Yet she holds the memory of that one intense, passionate connection close to her heart—like the coin she still wears around her neck.
Six years later, she’s invited to a beautiful resort in the San Juan Islands to not only accept a donation for an abused women’s shelter, but to consider a job opportunity as well.
Instead, she finds herself face-to-face with her past.
Grant has always suspected Delanie stole his rare, lucky coin. He just never knew why—or why she disappeared the morning after their hot night together. After spending years looking for her, he’s lured her right where he wants her. He’ll have his answers, come hell or high water.
And, if things go his way, he’ll have Delanie, too.
“I like your tattoo,” a deep voice came from behind her. “The last time I saw it I was taking you from behind.”
Delanie choked on the wine she’d just taken a sip of, her fingers almost crushing the stem of the glass.
No. It wasn’t possible. Goosebumps broke out over her body even as quick heat spread inside her. She could feel the owl tattoo on her shoulder blade tingle under his gaze.
What was more shocking? His words or the man who had just spoken them? God, it was a toss-up.
She drew in a slow breath, afraid to turn around. Her heart pounded furiously beneath her breasts and her palms dampened.
The coin she’d stolen from him six years ago hung on a pendant around her neck like a beacon. Thank God it was beneath the neckline of her sundress and well out of his view.
“Do you remember that night?” His warm breath tickled her ear.
Hot shivers raced down her spine as his words evoked images of the night they’d spent together. The air locked in her throat and she bit her lip, trying to halt the bombardment of erotic images.
Of course she remembered. That night was a firebrand on her mind. But admitting she hadn’t forgotten could only bring trouble. It couldn’t possibly be him standing behind me, the silly voice of denial screamed in her head.
Without turning around, she could sense the tall, hardness of his body just inches from her. Could feel his blue eyes burning a trail over her.
Another tremble wracked her body.
Get yourself together, Delanie. You’re not a silly co-ed anymore. And he has no idea what you did the morning after your night together.
She focused hard on the sparkling blue water that lay beyond the trees. She’d always heard Washington State was beautiful, and this island and resort in the San Juan Islands was a genuine paradise.
Funny how she’d considered herself a lucky woman getting invited to such a posh resort. How wonderful that not only was she here to accept a donation to the Second Chances shelter, but to also consider an offer as the resort’s marketing director.
Her lips twisted. She should have known. Paradise always had a price.
“Still thinking about that night?”
Annoyance pricked at his mocking tone. Knowing she couldn’t very well keep her back to him forever, she forced a bland expression onto her face and turned around.
Her bravado slipped a notch the moment she saw him, but she forced it back by lifting her chin higher. “I think you have me mistaken with someone else.”
“Do I?” He lifted an eyebrow, his mouth twitching with obvious amusement.
She swallowed hard.
Grant Thompson looked just as good now as he had six years ago. Scratch that, he looked better. The tall, lean, college athlete had turned into a sexy grown man. His face was harder now, more angular with the loss of the boyish roundness.
His hair, once more red than blond, had settled into something in between. But those eyes…those eyes were just as blue and piercing as they had been all those years ago. On that night she’d been stupid enough to bounce the bed springs with him.
She felt the warming of a blush and bit her cheek.
“Excuse me.” She stepped past him, but he reached out and caught her elbow, swinging her back around. Hot tingles raced up her arm where his fingers touched.
“Well at least you got my name right this time.” Her voice shook as she tugged herself free from his grip. She stumbled backward and eyed him warily.
That heart-crushing moment would remain engraved in her mind forever. Right after bringing her to a sweet morning-after orgasm, the jerk had called her Janie. Janie! And then to add insult to injury, he’d fallen back asleep before they could even finish making love. Wait, sex. Of course a guy like Grant wouldn’t consider it making love.
“I’m sorry about that.” Grant’s jaw hardened, all amusement vanishing. “That mistake caused a helluva delay in finding you.”
“Sorry? As if that—” She broke off and narrowed her eyes. “In finding me?”
He tilted his head and gave her a considering look. “Is that why you left so suddenly that morning?”
Guilt stabbed low in her gut, and she reached to touch the pendant under her dress. Before her fingers connected, she jerked her hand away and tucked a strand of short blonde hair behind her ear instead.
Careful, girl. You’re on dangerous grounds right now.
“Look.” She let her gaze slip away from his. “I don’t know what kind of twist of fate brought us together, but I’ll catch the first ferry back to Anacortes.”
“It was me.” He stepped closer, blocking her path back into the building.
Her heart almost stopped at the three words. “Excuse me?”
“I’m the twist of fate.” His mouth tightened. “Finding you was the first piece of good luck I’ve had in years.”
She almost dwelled on the luck comment, but the fact that he was claiming to be the twist of fate resonated louder.
The urge to flee increased and she shook her head, glancing around the patio. Her stomach clenched as she realized they were alone now.
“Grant…” She ran her tongue over suddenly dry lips and his gaze darkened as he observed the small movement.
“Lanie.” He stepped forward and she took a step back, her pulse jumping.
“Delanie,” she muttered without thinking. “I haven’t been called Lanie since college.”
The waves crashed against the rocks below as he backed her up against the guard railing.
“When does the next boat leave?” she queried, her heart fluttering harder in her chest. “I can arrange to be on it.”
“You don’t understand. I don’t want you to leave.” His hands curled around the rail on each side of her body.
The faint smell of soap and cologne tickled her nostrils and the heat of his hard body mingled with hers.
“It took me six years to find you.”
Six years faded to nothing with him standing so close. A tremble rocked her body, and her nipples tightened, chafing against the lace of her bra.
She bit back a groan. “Please…”
“The last thing I’m going to do is put you on a boat home, Delanie. We have a lot to talk about.”
Her stomach dropped and her mouth went dry. Oh. God. He knew.