Declan has the difficult job of breaking through Leah’s life-long brainwashing when it comes to the Hanover family. Her father has done a number on her when it comes to his hatred of the guys’ father. Thus, his logic of the old saying like father like son is literal. But slowly, charmingly and sensually, Declan wears Leah down to see that things aren’t anything like what she’s thought for most of her life.
The Hanover brothers inherited some bad behavior from their con artist father. Now three strong women will make honest men out of them.
After ten years in the Army and four overseas deployments, Declan Hanover is ready for life away from a military base. Sweetwater, Oregon, a sleepy coastal town, seems like the perfect place to start over. His plan is to work out a deal with his brothers and the bank to let him keep the estate they’ve inherited, Shadow Hill. But he wasn’t prepared for Leah Baron, whose family lost everything to his father’s cons—including the house Declan intends to make his own…
Leah thinks Declan is just like his conman father. He possesses a bad boy charm that makes her heart pound, but that doesn’t mean she can trust him. All she wants is to get close to him so she can get her house back. But Declan has other ideas. He doesn’t mind being in close proximity to Leah—as long as it’s in the bedroom…
Enjoy this fun teaser…
The man had been in her house for less than five minutes and she’d already lost control. Technically, he hadn’t even taken the step necessary to enter her family room. He hung by the door, all broad-shouldered with damp hair and a T-shirt that stretched over him and highlighted the trim waist and what she guessed was a super-flat stomach. That tattoo on his biceps peeked out and she had to fight the urge to ask him about it.
Yeah, time to put the brakes on anything but contract talk. She had the man’s entire family history spread out only a few feet away. There was no opportunity for anything but work, which was the right answer anyway. Her father would go from heart attack recovery to a grave if she so much as smiled at Declan too long.
She meant to rub her hands together but clapped instead. The sharp whack wiped out the room’s quiet. “Speaking of work—”
“Were we?” One of his eyebrows inched up, and he managed to make the condescending look seem sexy.
“First, I need to know if you speak for all of the Hanovers.”
She clamped down on a growl. Clearly it was going be one of those evenings. “Your brothers.”
“Consider me the spokesperson.” He rolled back his shoulders and managed to highlight every rippling muscle on his arms and chest.
Impressive skills, but no way was she getting sidetracked by all that hotness. “Let’s set some ground rules.”
“Yeah, I would have bet money you’d have ground rules.”
Before he could say something else to tick her off, which she assumed was inevitable, she walked to the back of the house. She didn’t know he’d followed until his husky voice hit her in the back of the neck from only inches away. The shiver that ran through her had nothing to do with fear.
The kitchen sat right in front of them. Instead of hanging out in there she took a left and headed into the dining room where she’d already closed the curtains to the deck and set up some notebooks for them. She’d toyed with the idea of having a notary waiting nearby but figured that was a bit presumptuous. No need to spook Declan this soon.
She kept moving until a table separated them. With her hands resting on the back of the chair at the head of the table, she let her gaze wander over him. No wonder Mallory turned into a giggly schoolgirl around him. He had the Holy-Hell-Hot thing down.
He wasn’t pretty-boy handsome. He had a dark edge that went far past his near-black hair. Strength radiated off him. Control oozed until an invisible wall surrounded him and he silently dared her to break through.
Maybe he learned it through the discipline of the Army, or maybe dear old Charlie passed the trait on, though she was starting to doubt that, but Declan’s self-assurance showed in every line of his body. He walked into a room like he owned it and argued as passionately as if he’d sat in on those fancy lawyer classes with Beck.
To keep from getting thrown off by whatever sly thing was bopping around in his head, she grabbed onto the last thing he said. “You gamble?”
That’s what her investigation suggested, but the quick response had her attention. “Not even a lottery ticket?”
“I don’t believe in luck.” He glanced down at the yellow lined notebooks and pens. “What about those rules?”
Following his gaze, she noticed how she had lined up the edges of the paper with the pens. Man, it looked like she used a ruler. Yeah, nothing like a good case of nerves to bring out a woman’s buried compulsions. “The rules are simple.”
“I’m betting they’ll piss me off.”
She wasn’t sure what to say to that, so she launched into her prepared speech. “No straying off topic. No touching. No chit chat. We negotiate and hammer this out, so you can move on to whatever other state suits you. Preferably one on the East Coast.”
Straightforward and in a calm voice, she ticked them off on her fingers despite the circus act spinning and jumping in her stomach. When she finished, her heart thumped loud enough to drown out her voice. That had to be a good sign. A teacher once told her panic was just a sign of her body preparing her to do whatever she feared doing.
He just stood there. The longer the silence stretched, the more she cursed that teacher and her idiot theory.
For what felt like an hour, but probably barely amounted to minutes, he didn’t move. Didn’t show any reaction until his lower lip twitched. “Go back to the second one.”
“The second thing on your list.”
Touching. So much for thinking she’d handled everything well. She tightened her grip on the chair, letting the edge bite into her palm. “You know very well what I said.”
His head dropped to one side. “If this is a business meeting, why are you worried about touching?”
Well, damn. “Don’t read more into that than there is.”
“Is it the idea of me touching you or of you touching me that has you all prickly?”
Talk about a miscalculation. So much for trying to push his attention to business. “Neither.”
“Oh, I don’t think that’s true. You’re a grown woman. We keep running into each other, sparking off each other. Why can’t you admit you’d like to experiment with a little touching?”
If he smiled, she was going to punch him. She might anyway. “Declan.”
“It’s an honest question.” He shot her a you-started-this crooked smile. “A man needs to know these things in advance.”