Release Date: May 29th!
Cassidy runs into Channing at the coffee shop.
Cassidy Shaw stood in the line at the coffee shop hoping the barista would gulp down an espresso and pick up the pace. The woman being waited on must have placed an order for all of Congress because each time Cassidy blinked six more cups appeared on the counter. Ah coffee. Just being in the vicinity of the delicious aroma was punishment enough, she was craving a strong cup of premium java and seriously thought about shirking the herbal tea order she would be placing.
She glanced at her cell phone display. It was two o’clock. She had six hours to get ready for the engagement party and needed every minute she could spare. There was still time to come up with a good lie and bow out but she wanted to offer her congratulations to Hannah and Geoff just in case she couldn’t make it to their wedding. Besides, it had been awhile since she’d been able to get out of the house and catch up with friends. She wanted to feel like she was part of the world again. But she didn’t want to answer questions about why she’d dropped out of sight.
She really wanted to look her best tonight and that could only be accomplished if she could get a good nap in before it was party time. She’d listened to Hannah drone on about the guest list for weeks and one name made her ears perk up: Channing Blake. There wasn’t a day that went by when she didn’t think about that six-foot two hunk of man with the easy smile and beautiful jade eyes that spoke volumes to her. She’d heard he’d gone back home to Texas and was working for his family’s company. That wasn’t a surprise. He was passionate about two things: the law and his family. He talked about his family with so much love, it was hard not to be envious of the closeness he had with his brothers.
Hannah said she hadn’t received a response from him, but part of her was hoping she’d see him again. So much so, she thought she saw him walking through the door of the coffee shop. Did every gorgeous man with an incredible smile that oozed sex appeal remind her of him? No, because she didn’t know anyone else who fit the description. She tightened her gaze on the man coming closer and holy crap, it was him! She tugged on the baseball cap she was wearing, then swore under her breath because she was wearing a pair of ratty old sweats. She moved to her left, hoping the tall guy in front of her would shield her.
“Channing Blake, what in the world are doing here?” She gave him her best smile as she squeaked out her fib.
“I’m in town for Hannah and Geoff’s engagement party.” He grinned.
Cassidy steeled herself when Channing came in for a hug. Of all the days to not give a crap about a tea run, it would be the day he’s back in town. She could feel every muscle in his strong body as he pulled her close. He was earthy and sexy, just like she remembered him. Being wrapped in his arms felt like safety and seduction all wrapped up into one complex package. What was it about that fabulous smile that got her get all flustered? Or the way his eyes sparkled when he looked at her? As he stepped back he planted a kiss on her cheek that narrowly grazed her lips.
“I forgot you and Geoff were roommates first year.” At the rate she was telling lies, she feared her nose would start growing.
“I had to come back for their engagement party. I think they fell in love two minutes after they met. I always knew they’d get married.” He chuckled.
“Me too. Those two were made for each other.” She sighed and took a step forward. The line was finally moving.
“Some people have it easy. They find their soul mate and never let go.”
“If only life were that simple.” Cassidy’s cell phone pinged with a text alert. She glanced at the screen. It was her friend Mark informing her Channing was in town.
“Are you going to the party?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Cool. Why don’t we go together? We have a lot of catching up to do. For starters, I want to know where you disappeared to last year.”
Oh no. That was the last thing she wanted to talk about. “Well, I’m actually going with Mark Davidson. I don’t know if you remember him.”
“Yes, he lived across the hall from me and Geoff. How is Mark?”
“Still an environmental caped crusader.”
“Yes, I remember. Geoff threw a soda can in the trash one time and Mark came over to our apartment and read us the riot act about recycling. We found it odd he knew it was in our trash.” Channing laughed.
“So how about we catch up at the party tonight?”
“I look forward to it.”
It was finally her turn at the counter and she gave the barista her herbal tea order as well as an order for the coffee concoction she remembered he drank in school. She reached into her purse for her wallet to pay but Channing had already beaten her to the punch and gotten his change. His cell phone pinged a few times but he ignored it and she felt like an idiot for checking that text message earlier. She remembered how polite and charming he was, even when they were at each other’s throats. He’d say something infuriating one minute but would rush to open the door for her the next. It was the simple things he did to show how much good home training he had that she missed. It could have been a southern thing but he was always attentive, respectful and could anticipate her moods like no one else. A few minutes later, Channing was holding the door for her as the exited the coffee shop.
“So, you’re really coming to the party? You’re not going disappear on me again, are you?” Channing gave her a skeptical look.
“I said I was, didn’t I?” She laughed.
“Good. We have a lot to talk about.” He kissed her on the cheek again and walked away.
She watched him as he made his way down the street. That man knew how to wear a pair of jeans. Cassidy shook her head, coming to her senses. Ogling Channing Blake’s ass wasn’t going to help her get ready for the party any faster.
I hope you enjoyed the pre-edited excerpt! Release date May 29th!
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