Manhattan domestic violence counselor Zoe Anderson is going on the most important vacation of her life.
Before she can move on, help other women, Zoe needs to heal herself. Her Cinderella life shattered three years ago one fateful night, leaving her a young widow, scarred inside and out. In an attempt to reclaim her life, bury her demons, and save her job, Zoe sets out for picturesque Lake George to claim the treasured family cottage she recently inherited. Her therapist’s advice: Reboot, restore to an earlier time.
What she finds is a rundown shack.
The neighboring resort mogul, Jason Rolland, whisks in to her rescue, insisting Zoe stay at his upscale Lakeview Lodge. The wealthy, handsome bachelor has a bank account as big as his ego, along with his own nighttime radio show where he plays the love guru of Jason’s Lair. He figures he might use the gifts God gave him to convince the sexy redheaded stranger to give up the crumbling eye-sore next door. A challenge he’s definitely up for. Besides, he’s been trying to buy the cabin—and demolish it—for years: the last reminder of his own tragic, childhood memories.
Zoe can’t deny her attraction to the tall, dark-haired Jason with his pool-water blue eyes. Definitely fling material—if she can just get past those flashbacks from the night everything changed. And the knowledge that when it comes to happy-ever-after, you usually don’t get a second chance. Certainly not possible with the Tiger of Jason’s Lair.
What Jason doesn’t figure on is Zoe’s charms melting his emotional armor, exposing his own bruised, battered heart. But with his reputation, can he ever win her trust & love? Can a tiger really change his stripes? Or will their pasts come back to bite them both?
A small teaser.....
Jason raised his eyes to meet hers. Zoe studied them, knowing hers were still hidden behind her sunglasses.
God, they’re so blue. A light, translucent, electrifying shade of blue.
There it was. That same tingling sensation in her core as the first time she laid eyes on him. But not just since that day in the office. Since almost twenty years ago.
He stared at her in silence as she waited for his reply. Surely, if he grew up here, the way things looked back then still held some nostalgia for him too, wouldn’t it? Apparently not.
A bulldozer. The thought sent a shiver down her spine.
She was so engrossed in her own reverie, she was completely taken off guard when Jason, without saying a word, lifted his hand very slowly and slid her sunglasses away from her face.
“I can’t tell what you’re thinking if I can’t see those celadon eyes,” he said.
Celadon? Seriously? What man even knows that word?
“Your usual alpha male thing isn’t going to work with me, Rolland. And by the way, they’re not celery, or whatever you just called them. They’re just plain old green.” Zoe had started to tremble a little. She wasn’t sure if it was from anger or . . . something else. Either way, she had to end this conversation soon before she turned into a sideshow.
She snatched her glasses out of Jason’s hand and perched them on top of her head. Unfortunately, she forgot she had the beach hat on. The glasses tumbled into the sand, and she heard Jason chuckle as he bent to retrieve them.
He straightened, but made no move to hand them over. Slowly, he brought them to his lips and, staring into her eyes the entire time, blew gently on the lenses, one at a time, to free them of sand.
Heat, coming not from the brilliant sun overhead but from a spot just above the line of her bikini bottom, spiraled up her body. As though she were stepping into a hot tub, she felt the tell-tale flush on her skin. She knew her cheeks were burning, bright pink. She felt her nipples strain against the lining of her bikini top. Thank God she was hidden beneath her cover-up.
She sucked in a quavering breath, and then let out a soft, exasperated growl.
“Give me those,” she said, grabbing the glasses out of his hand. I’ve got to get out of here. Now. She reached down for the handles of her beach bag. She dropped the glasses in, and then her book. “I’m expecting a phone call. From my attorney. We’ll discuss this matter later,” she said.
As Zoe stomped away across the sand, Jason called after her.
“What were you planning to do with Delia’s cottage, Zoe?”
She stopped short, but she didn’t turn around. The tightness in her throat told her she shouldn’t—and probably couldn’t—form a reply. He was asking a good question. One she’d apparently not yet considered when she’d hopped in the car and headed up here.
Pausing long enough for one more shaky breath, she continued on her path toward the Aspen, her ankles working hard in the deep, white sand.
Jason watched her go, shaking his head and smiling. She looked like a pissed-off cat that had lost her balance and toppled down from some perch. She was struggling to keep her pace quick. But her flip-flops, and the sugary sand, made walking a real challenge. She obviously wasn’t used to doing it every day.
Sure must be a little different from strutting down Madison Ave. in stilettos. No, that image didn’t quite fit. He couldn’t imagine Zoe Anderson in stilettos. She seemed more like the sensible pump type. Pearls, maybe. A cashmere cardigan over a pretty, floral dress.
Jason shook off the ridiculous thoughts and combed his fingers through his hair. How am I going to handle this?
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Claire writes emotional romance. Her heroes are hot, her heroines strong and brave: a combination lighting the spark to fan the flames of your most intense romantic fantasies. Claire's characters are human—they make mistakes, get clumsy sometimes, and they're not too proud to laugh at themselves and each other.
She writes in two genres: romance w/a ghostly twist, and sexy contemporary. Claire's books are like a thrill ride at a theme park. Whether it's spooky-scary, angst-ridden relationships filled with gut-wrenching turmoil, silly chuckle moments, or face-fanning sex, Claire guarantees to take you on an emotionally intense romantic journey.