It’s my dream job, rehoming abused dogs. The problem? I’ll be working with my best friend’s dad. The man I’ve always had a crush on…
Dominic Dawson. Forty-one and still pure muscle. He’s an ex-military dog handler, tall and handsome with eyes intense enough to make any woman weak. So where does that leave me?
I’m nineteen, independent, and recently moved back to the States. I’m not Miss Confident though.
I’ve never dated, and I’m on the curvier side. And a virgin, too.
And my best friend, his daughter, would freak if she knew I obsessed about Dominic being possessive with me. Or how often I think of kissing him, about him claiming me…
Then he does kiss me, but I think it’s a one off. Only we can’t stop, and things get so steamy I’m sure we’ll be caught. At this rate, it won’t be long until everyone finds out. Will they all be against us? Will my best friend be?
And is Dominic’s heart as intense as his eyes?
*************FULL BOOK START HERE*************
“I’m glad you’re back,” Lizzy says before taking a sip of her coffee.
I look around the café, the bustling street outside, and the gray rain lashing down. “It doesn’t look so different from England today.”
Lizzy grins. “I contacted the weather gods and told them to make you feel right at home.” Her grin falters as she places her coffee down. “How are you feeling, anyway?”
I shrug. “It’s not like Mom kicked me out. She made her decision, and she asked me if I wanted to come with her.”
I try to keep the bitterness out of my voice.
Mom has suffered a lot since Dad’s passing ten years ago, so when she found the man of her dreams, she wanted to settle down. The only issue is they wanted to move from London – where I could work and study – to a tiny village in Scotland, an hour’s drive from the closest town.
“I think it’s great she decided to move to Narnia,” Lizzy jokes. “Now I get my bestie back.”
I smile, not having to force this one, a warm glow touching me. “Thanks for letting me stay.”
She waves a hand. “We’ve got plenty of room.”
The we being her and her dad.
His name is Dominic Duke, once a dog handler in the military, now a real estate businessman, and the owner of several dog shelters.
I try not to think about his tall, broad body, thick arms, deep blue eyes that seem to stare through everything and his twitching lips as though always ready to smile but only ever getting as far as a smirk.
Instead, I look at Lizzy. She’s got the same intense eyes with black hair. The color Dominic’s was before it turned tempting silver.
She doesn’t know how badly I’ve crushed on her dad, doesn’t know how difficult it is not to fantasize about him, to fall in love in my mind….
Even if it could never work.
I was sixteen when I left, just a kid.
Would he be more interested now that I’m nineteen?
But he’s forty-one, handsome, strong, confident….
Any woman would be lucky to have him.
They probably are, though I’ve never seen him with any girlfriends. But that could be because he wants to keep that side of his life away from Lizzy.
“I am happy for Mom,” I say after a pause. “We spoke when my plane landed. And she’s right. I’m an adult now. It’s not the end of the world, moving home.”
Lizzy nods, smiling. “I think that’s a mature way to look at it, but if you want me to go over there on a rampage, I will.”
I laugh, shaking my head. “I think the free room is enough, honestly. But once I get on my feet, you have to let me pay rent.”
Lizzy shrugged. “It’s Dad’s decision, but I doubt he’ll want your money. We have enough. Plus, it means you can save for college.”
I think about the day I can work as a veterinarian, or an assistant to one…or anything in that field, making animals’ lives better, caring for them.
“That’s the worst part,” I mutter.
I nod, thinking of the Golden Retriever, so patient and with a boisterous nature.
“He was always Greg’s dog,” I say. “I only knew him for three years. But I’m going to miss him.”
“Dad might have a job for you,” Lizzy replies. “Well, not a job. He’s put out a call for volunteers.”
My voice tries to waver, to tremble as though telling Lizzy all the feelings clashing inside. It’s like some traitor part of me wants to scream about all the times I wrote in a secret notebook my name and Dominic’s enclosed in a love heart.
Or all the silly fantasies, ones I should’ve left behind when I was an innocent kid. I think about standing at the altar with him, my man looking down at me, a gentle smile on his confident lips, his intense eyes a tiny bit softer, brimming with love.