The line between lust and hate is often blurred…
After being ditched at the altar over a year ago, Deputy Colin McLaughlin is fine with being single. Despite the fact that nearly every eligible female on the island wants him, he isn’t looking for love.
But something stirs his blood when Hailey starts showing up more on the island. And it’s not just the conviction that the apple doesn’t fall far from her troublemaking, drugged-out family tree. His frustration mounts that even after she ruined his twin brother’s life, the desire he’s felt for her since high school still simmers.
Hailey Alexander knows her past is littered with mistakes. She’s done her best to make amends and move on, but a certain Scottish-born deputy doesn’t seem in any hurry to forgive or forget.
More than just fighting the attraction that’s compromising their hearts, they face a new threat from Hailey’s past that may threaten her life.
Warning: Contains sexy Scottish men living in America. The occasional kilt. A hero deputy who can’t forgive or forget, and a nurse immune to bullshit. Angry kisses. Scalding sex. And a drugged-out stalker ex to keep these two on their toes.
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“Thanks for the ride.” He fell into step beside her.
“Really?” She shot him another hard glance. “As if you gave me any choice.”
“One always has a choice.” He paused. “Sometimes we just make the wrong one.”
He knew he’d hit a mark when she flinched as she hit the Unlock button on her keys, opening her car door. Before climbing back in, he glanced at the license plate and memorized it. When he went back to work tomorrow he’d be sure to run it and find out what kinds of trouble Miss Hailey had been getting into.
He settled into the passenger side and had barely fastened his seat belt before she threw the car in Reverse.
“You know, I kind of figured you’d prefer a lobotomy to riding in the car with me any longer.”
“Maybe I like to keep an eye on you.”
“Yeah, well, maybe that’s just weird.” She shook her head as she pulled out of the hospital parking lot. “We’re not exactly friends.”
“No. We’re certainly not that.”
But they once had been friends, somewhat.
“Though I do appreciate what you did today.”
“Anyone with my skills would’ve done the same.” She gave a hard shrug. “Though a word of advice? Next time you might want to reevaluate taking personal calls while your ten-year-old niece is scaling a cliff.”
“Fuck it all, really? It wasn’t a personal call,” he snarled, unable to believe she’d brought it up again. “It was work.”
“Mmm hmm. New to this baby-sitting business, I’m guessing?”
“You’re deliberately provoking me, Hailey.”
“Oh, is that what I’m doing?” The car sped up as she hit the accelerator.
“And might I point out you’re now legally speeding?”
“Point it out all you want, Deputy. Your ass is off duty and hitching a ride.”
He wasn’t really worried about the speed of the car right now, rarely would he pull someone over for a few miles above the speed limit—Charles Richland being the exception.
He shifted in his seat and turned to look at her.
Her lips were pursed, her cute little nose lifted in the air, and her breathing seemed a little uneven. She was angry, but there was something else there. Something else that had the blood in his body stirring.
Sliding a quick gaze down her body, he lingered briefly on the curve of her breasts and then the golden thigh peeking out below her denim shorts.
She must’ve sensed his gaze because she stiffened and drew in another deep breath that had her chest rising.
“Stop checking me out.”
That knocked the wind right out of him. “What did you say?”
“You heard me, Colin. Do you think I’m stupid?” The look she shot him showed overly bright brown eyes that shone with anger and heat. “It occurred to me why your bitterness focuses mostly on me. Why you can be so damn cruel when it’s outside your personality.”
His teeth snapped together. “Oh, please do enlighten me.”
“Because you’re attracted to me.”
She said it so casually, so matter-of-factly, that again he struggled to breathe.
“Am I?” Somehow he kept his tone bored. Steady.
“Yeah. You are. And you would’ve been much happier if I were some fugly chick you could just happily hate and ignore from a distance.”
“That’s complete shite.”
“It’s really not and you know it. In fact, you’ve always been attracted to me, Colin McLaughlin.”
All right, he’d bloody well had enough. “Stop the fuckin’ car.”
Hailey was so stunned by the harsh command that she automatically moved to obey. She pulled the car onto a side road and turned off the engine.
“Okay, maybe I went a little far there,” she admitted.
And she had. What the hell had she been thinking, spitting out every thought in her head? That always led her to trouble. Colin didn’t reply, just unfastened his seat belt. He was going to get out and walk? They were still a good fifteen-minute drive away from Deception Pass. Guilt hit her as she glanced around the isolated road.
“I can take you to your car. You don’t need—”
“Oh, I definitely need.”
In an instant he’d moved half out of his seat and thrust his fingers in her hair, holding her still as his mouth crashed down on hers.