When Ryan Wingate sees his ex-fiancée Lisa Wilde again, he wants nothing more than to wrap his fingers around her beautiful, tempting throat and shake the living daylights out of her. Her only salvation are the customers at his motorcycle repair shop. When Lisa sees Ryan again after running away from him five years ago, she wants nothing more than to jump his bones. He grew up, grew a beard and grew even hotter.He sees red and wants nothing to do with the woman who humiliated him. She only sees the color of love and wants a second chance. After getting some wildness out of her system, she grew up as well.He tries to run, but there are only so many places one can hide in a small mountain town. She knows every crook and cranny of the old place and is determined to raise hell to win him back. Will her determination make him love her again or will his determination send her running for the hills?
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The sound of approaching footsteps reached him and someone’s shadow blocked his light. He moved his head to the side to look up at the person, but only managed to shift into the blinding sun.
“Hey there, stranger,” a female voice greeted him, and he didn’t need to see to know who the voice belonged to. He gripped the bike so tight, if she was paying attention, she’d probably see his knuckles turn white.
He sat up on the asphalt and shielded his eyes to look up at Lisa. She stepped forward to block the sun for him. The result was more disturbing than if he’d seen her randomly walking down the street. She glowed from behind, an ironic play on the angel he knew she wasn’t.
“What are you doing here?” he found himself asking.
She gave him a brilliant smile. “Nice to see you too, Ryan. I see you’ve turned more sour over the years.”
“And you haven’t changed a bit,” he said gruffly.
She laughed, a light carefree sound, and it instantly stirred something inside him. He hoped it was indigestion.
“I take that as a compliment,” she said, fluffing her hair.
He grunted and stood.
“Still as tall as ever,” she remarked, checking him out from head to toe.
He grabbed the dirty rag and wiped the grease off his fingers, trying not to stare at her curves outright. She was wearing tight jeans, short boots and a flimsy white T-shirt that fit snugly up top. Her freckles popped out from under her bronzed skin and her flirty half-smile hadn’t changed a bit. She looked like she’d only gotten prettier and he was sure she’d even look good in rags.
“Some things don’t change,” he replied to her comment.
Her eyes held his gaze for a moment, but then all seriousness vanished from her face. She walked around the bike, running one hand along the seat. He remembered taking her for rides through the mountains, getting away for the weekends.
“How have you been?” she asked. Her blonde hair that had always been long was now grazing her shoulders in playful curls. How fitting, even her hair didn’t want to be serious.
He turned and walked toward his office. “Fine.”
Her footsteps echoed behind him. “I wasn’t sure if your folks told you I was back in town, but I wanted to show face in person.”
“How considerate,” he mumbled, opening the office door. He’d have a talk with his parents about this later. If they’d known she was back, they should’ve warned him. He pulled his chair out, sat down and started shuffling through papers on his desk. She walked into the small space, and instead of staying put by the entrance, sat her butt on the corner of his desk. He frowned at her, but she didn’t seem to notice.
“We’ve got catching up to do.” She looked from him to the papers, then back to him.
He tapped a stack vigorously against the desk. “The hell we do.”
She merely gave him her cheeky smile that he hadn’t seen in five years. Jesus, he’d been willing to do anything for that smile. That was a long time ago. Now she could smile like that all she wanted.
“Fine, you want to catch up? You took out the trash and never came back. Who does that?” he barked, fighting the anger he’d long ago put to rest. “We have nothing to talk about now. We should’ve talked five years ago, but you decided that you didn’t want to talk. You missed your chance.”
For a moment, she appeared blindsided. “I panicked. I was turning thirty. I had a midlife crisis. Didn’t you get my letter?” she asked, as if that made everything alright.
He got the damn letter, which he’d read a million times. “Leave me alone,” he said, grunting in disgust.
She twirled a curl around her finger. “You don’t really mean that.”
“Oh, I mean it, sweet cheeks.”
Her right hand gripped the edge of the desk and one leg dangled in no particular rhythm to smack against the side of the desk. “What’s the matter, sugar? You afraid of little old me?”
He set the stack of papers down and leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms over his chest. “You’d love it if I was, wouldn’t you? I’m just not in the mood to play games, Lisa. Why are you here? How long are you staying? Stopping by to cause havoc again?”
She shrugged. “Things have a way of turning out the way they’re meant to happen. I’m not the driving force of every disaster.”
He chuckled without mirth. “No, just some.”
She sat up and pulled something out of her purse, and he recognized her favorite lip balm. She pulled off the cap and rubbed the stick all over her lips, making them glisten with minty freshness. He wasn’t sure if she’d done it on purpose, but hell if he could tear his eyes away from her lips.
“Be that as it may,” she said, sticking the lip balm back in her purse, “I’m back and I’m not going anywhere.”
The statement made his pulse quicken. “So?”
“So I’d like to know what you’ve been up to. Is that so bad?”
He had a dreadful feeling. “Yeah, it is. As far as I’m concerned, my business is my business. I got nothing to share with you. Besides, I’m sure you can get the town gossip from your neighbors.”
She waved the comment away. “Who cares about the neighbors? I want to talk to you. I’ve missed you.”
His eyebrows rose as if he hadn’t heard right and he laughed out loud.
“I did,” she insisted with a frown.
He huffed, not wanting to waste any more time. “Whatever.”
Her leg started swinging again and she leaned toward him. “Did you miss me?”
Their eyes locked, but not even the dogs from hell could pull an answer out of him.
“I thought so,” she said, and the corners of her mouth turned up.
He exhaled loudly. “When are you leaving?”
“I told you, I’m not going anywhere,” she said, hopping off the desk. “Are you so eager to get rid of me again?”
She threw back her head and laughed. “What if I told you a secret?”
Despite his better judgment, he was curious. She walked around the desk, running her fingers over objects as if she had all the time in the world. His heartbeat sped up with each one of her steps. Finally she stopped before him and he swiveled his chair to face her.
“What if I told you that I’m back for good?” she asked in a husky voice.
For good? She was staying permanently? “Why would I care?”
Her lips pursed in mock disappointment. “Why would you not?”
He felt stifled in the small space and parted his knees for more comfort. She apparently saw that as an opportunity to step between his legs and come even closer. Her tight jeans brushed against his thighs and he cursed himself for getting aroused.
“What do you want, Lisa?”
She leaned down to whisper in his ear. Her scent teased him with memories of their time together, and for a second, he closed his eyes.
“I want you, sugar.”
Her words caressed his ear, but then his eyes darted open and he rolled his chair back abruptly. “You’ve lost your damn mind.”
She stepped back with a smile. “Not at all. I haven’t been more clearheaded in my life.”
The sound of motorcycles riding up to the shop sent waves of relief through Ryan. Customers were pulling up, thank God. He didn’t have time for this.
Lisa slung her purse over her shoulder as if it was a leather jacket and turned to go. “You better clear your schedule, baby, cause I’m here to stay.” She gave him a last look over her shoulder before walking out.
He felt as though he’d been run over by a train. Did that just happen? He leaned toward the window and saw her getting into her car, then she drove off. Yes, she’d really been there. He hadn’t just imagined it.
Dave walked in, looking sweaty and overheated. “Was that your ex?”
Ryan nodded, too stunned for words.
“You don’t see that every day. What’d she want?”
Ryan stood and marched past Dave out of the office. “She wants me,” he mumbled irritated under his breath.