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She never met a stray she didn't love…
In high school, Sam Pennywell had a massive crush on Rick Russo. But he was her cousin’s boyfriend and strictly off-limits. Meeting Rick again years later, she can hardly recognize the man he’s become.
As a paramedic, Rick’s career is all about helping others. But in the line of duty, he’s become one of the injured. He’s caught in a dark place he can’t escape on his own. He can't make Sam any promises of love. Promises are too easily broken.Sam spends her life taking care of sick and homeless animals. She's never met a stray she didn't love, and Rick is the most important rescue she'll ever make.
The kitchen door creaked softly, signaling their departure. Sam held her breath and waited in silence for the coast to clear. When she heard no other sounds, she emerged from the broom closet. She stepped into the kitchen and froze. Rick was still there, leaning back on the counter and taking a pull from a bottle of beer.
She could only think wow. If he'd been hot five years ago, now he was positively scorching. Time had improved on what nature had given him. Six-plus feet of solid muscle, from his broad shoulders to his hard chest that tapered to a taut middle. His tight T-shirt didn't hide much. She was sure his jeans didn't either, though Sam didn't let her gaze drift lower for fear of passing out.
If she'd been a cartoon character, her eyeballs would have popped from their sockets and pinballed across the room while her tongue unrolled and flopped to the floor. Her heart would have boinged right out of her chest, dangling from a spring.
His eyes widened in surprise before narrowing in a glare. Deep brown eyes sat above a strong Roman nose. He wasn't handsome in the way of pretty-boy movie stars, but strong-featured and completely masculine. "Where did you come from?"
"Uh—" She took a step back. For a moment she lost the power of speech. Ugh, what was her problem? He'd been a jerk to Britt, and here she was, practically drooling over him. "In there." She tilted her head toward the closet. "I'm just cleaning up." She lifted the broom and dustpan as proof, then realized how dumb she looked. She let her hands fall to her sides. "I'm, uh, I'm Sam. Britt's cousin?" She winced. Why'd she say that last part like she wasn't sure? Dumb, dumb, dumb.
"I know who you are." He cut to the chase. "How long were you in there?"
Her mouth twisted. The jig was up. "A few minutes. Sorry."
"You make a habit of listening in on people's private conversations?" He lifted the bottle to his lips and took another swig.
Sam bristled at the question and his insulting tone. But worse was the way his gaze flicked over her and dismissed her. Fine, so she wasn't tall and willowy like Britt, nor did she have killer curves like Morgan. No, Sam was small breasted and narrow hipped, and with her short hair had more than once, from a distance, been mistaken for a boy.
But she got tired of guys giving her that you're-not-worth-my-time look.
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