Noah and Willow know not to mix business with pleasure. They've both been burned in the past, he thinks she's too young, and she definitely shouldn't hook up with her boss. So, they don't. Instead, they build a friendship, while fighting an obvious attraction.
But when Noah's called back East after a natural disaster that threatens his home and the loved ones he left behind, he's forced to face his past with Willow by his side.
Will their turbulent pasts hold them back from giving into fate? Or will the two of them realize that they've been each other's calm before the storm?
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Tilting her head and curling her hair between her fingers, her gorgeous mouth forms a megawatt smile “Wow. Every time I learn something new about you, I’m more and more impressed.”
She’s flirting, I’m not an idiot, but I don’t want to lead her on so I change the subject. “How about you? Were you born in California? I know you went to college out here from your resume, but—”
“There is no but,” she interrupts. “I have the most unexciting life imaginable. I was born and raised in Del Mar. I have two younger brothers, parents divorced when I was little, and Dad lives in Oregon with his new wife, Marcy. I went to college close to home to help Mom with the boys, and Sloane has been my best friend since fifth grade. That’s me in a nutshell. Boring, plain, uneventful. No one cares about keeping up with this Jones.”
I can’t quite read her. She rambled it off so quickly it almost sounds rehearsed. I have nothing else to go on, so I can’t tell if she’s hiding or avoiding something. I don’t pry, because I don’t like talking about my past either. And because of that, I’ve learned to always make small talk and keep the attention off me with flattery.
“I find it hard to believe that there’s anything boring about you, Willow Jones. You’re beautiful and smart and you have the whole world ahead of you.” Nice! Now I sound like her father. It just came out without thinking. I meant it as a compliment—a not too forward one—but by the wearied look on her face, I can tell she took it the wrong way. Damn, this woman brings me close to choking on my own tongue. What the hell?
“I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it since you seem to avoid me every chance you get.” She looks down again, making it impossible to read her face. She was flirting and I misled her with my goo-goo eyes.
Fuck! She found a way to catch me off guard and now I have to backtrack to fix this mess. Getting involved with a co-worker—or any woman right now—just isn’t on my to-do list. “I’m not avoiding you, Willow. I’m just not the guy for you.” I can’t say it’s not taking serious willpower to stay away. It’s hard to always be the good guy. Where the hell is Tori when I need her? I need to be bad. Very, very bad.
Instead of deterring her, my dismissal makes her bolder. Or maybe it’s the second vodka and cran. Willow pouts—intentionally, for sure—and those pretty, glossy lips snatch my attention. It’s so fucking sexy that my dick grows hard against my zipper and I shift in my seat so I don’t bring notice to the bulge in my pants. “Blaze warned me about you, you know.”
“Oh, really?” Now I’m curious. “Please enlighten me on the bullshit my friend’s fed you.” Blaze means well, but he always shares a little too much.
Willow laughs, exposing the smooth skin of her neck as her head falls back. What I wouldn’t give to taste that spot right there. Stop tempting me, Willow. You’re making this—and me—harder than it has to be.
She points a finger in my face, waving it around. “You see, if you’d accept my invitation to lunch once in a while, I could fill you in on all the bullshit he’s told me. But until I hear it from you, I’m forced to believe him.”
“Oh come, on. You’ve been working for me long enough to know I almost never take a lunch break. I eat on the site most days. That’s if I even get the chance. And like I said, I’m not the guy for you.” Keep saying it. It’s bound to sink in.