When Jack Bloom ditched Ann Weaver for her hated rival in high school, she’d told herself it was for the best. He’d be her first, but certainly not her last. At twenty-nine, she’s way over him. Until one of her friends spots him in town, and she learns he’s back to stay. A night spent talking about regrets—over too many bottles of wine—has Ann and her friends pledging to fix their pasts. Step one in her road to self-recovery means confronting those who wronged her and taking them to task.
For Ann, that’s making Jack own up to his role in treating her like dirt. Especially since he’s acting like their past doesn’t matter, like they should pick up right where they left off before he broke her heart. Not this time. No way.
But Jack is older, wiser, and a hell of a lot more experienced now. For a chance at a future with this grown up, gorgeous Ann Weaver, he’ll do whatever it takes. He’s never forgotten his first crush; she’s always been the one for him.
Ann is having a hard time remembering she’s trying to get revenge. Jack is sweet, kind, and amazing in the sack. He acts like he really likes her, might even love her. What can she do but accept his feelings, especially when a hidden truth about the past is revealed which changes how she once perceived him?
But when her true motive for rekindling their romance is revealed, can Jack be the bigger man and forgive and forget so easily? Can their love push through the lie?
This book has been previously published.
Be calm. Be cool. She slowed her pace and reached the car at the same time Jack got out.
Good Lord. He’d gotten even better looking in the twelve years since she’d last seen him. Proof positive that life was not fair.
He still towered over her at more than six feet to her five-four. Short brown hair framed a handsome face, from which his bright blue eyes blazed. Had luck been on her side, he would have gotten slovenly and out of shape. Instead, he looked muscular even under jeans and a blue sweater.
“Well, well. When Josh told me Ms. Weaver was his teacher, I was hoping it was you.”
To her shock, he enveloped her in a bear hug that took her off her feet.
Familiar warmth, desire, and a need to be closer caught her off guard. She hadn’t expected him to be friendly—or that she’d be so receptive.
Before she could struggle to be put down, he set her back on her feet. “Still as pretty as ever.”
She felt as if she’d stepped into an episode of The Twilight Zone.
“You used to know Ms. Weaver?” Josh asked through the open car window.
Jack had the nerve to slide a finger down her nose. “Know? We used to date.”
His teeth were so white and straight. She wanted to punch a hole through them. Instead, she forced a smile. “That was a long time ago. How are you, Jack? You look good.”
Amazing, to-die-for sexy, hotter than any man had a right to be. Why did you just tell him he looked good, dumbass? This is not the time to be nice. Remember what you did to the sugar cookie.
Yet she didn’t think she could take a bite out of his groin, even if Josh hadn’t been staring at them.
“I’m good,” Jack was saying. “I transferred from Washington to teach at the OSU satellite campus here. The school is transitioning to a four year program, you know.”
“I read that.” Great. No way he’d be jobless and move anytime soon. The state-funded project had been given the green light.
“Just the excuse I needed to come back home. I sure missed Bend.” And her, by the way he seemed to stare at her. She recognized carnal hunger in that gaze.
What. The. Hell?
Twelve years ago, while he’d had an arm draped over Selena Thorpe’s shoulders,he’d announced they were done. Just like that, in front of the entire cafeteria. No explanation. No concern about breaking her heart in two. She’d erupted into embarrassing tears, and he’d looked bored by it all. After a minute or two, he’d asked when she thought she might be done crying, then walked away laughing with Selena.
She’d been the pitiful laughingstock of the school for two solid weeks before Bethany James ran off with Carl Longtree and became the new talk of the town. Then things had gotten mostly back to normal. But not this normal.
As if reading her mind, Jack said, “The past should stay in the past, right?” He smiled.
“We’re old friends, aren’t we?”
He laughed and hugged her again, and she was torn between wanting to slap him and wanting to kiss him—which horrified her.
“Of course we are,” he said as he let her go. “I think Josh might have told you, but I’m taking care of him until Dan and Julie get back. They’re away on business.” He caressed her cheek until she stepped back.
He sure had turned into Mr. Touchy-Feely. She wanted badly to tell him what she really thought, but with Josh hanging on their every word, she swallowed her wrath. For now.
“Nice seeing you, Josh.”
“You too, Ms. Weaver.”
She looked at Jack and let him see the frost in her eyes. His lips curled, and she gripped the strap of her bag with a tight fist. Punching him in the face would not set a good example for the little one waiting for his uncle. “Jack.” She nodded and stepped around him and his expensive car, then walked up the steps to her porch and let herself in the house.
She shut the door behind her and slumped against it, shaking from the confusing mix of rage and desire coursing through her. Tears pricked at the backs of her eyes, the need to go back to a happy past conflicting with the pain she still felt, even after all these years.
The past is gone. Let it go, she tried to tell herself. But she couldn’t convince herself not to care. It’ll go away as soon as I get some ass-kicking closure with Jack Bloom.
Now that she believed.