Erin Nicholas, June 23rd, 2015
Sapphire Falls Book 5
TJ Bennett knows one thing for certain—being in love isn’t for him. Been there, done that, has the scars to prove it.
But that’s before he meets colorful, sweet, slightly-kooky Hope Daniels.
Hope is only in town temporarily. She wants to have a cup of coffee with the father she’s never known. That’s it. She doesn’t need to buy any Father’s Day cards or have a date for any Father-Daughter dances. She just wants to have a conversation with the man who stole her mother’s heart twenty five summers ago in Sapphire Falls.
But when her directions lead her to TJ’s house instead, everything becomes a lot more complicated… and a lot more interesting.
Because there’s nothing like a big gruff introvert to push this extrovert’s let-me-make-it-all-better buttons.
All of TJ’s hopes of staying uninvolved and out of her way evaporate quickly and before he knows it Hope’s got him thinking about all kinds of things—family, home, heartbreak and maybe, just maybe, the fact that he’s never actually been in love... before now.
© copyright Erin Nicholas, 2015
Her bare feet had bright-pink nails and multiple toe rings. Her long, tanned legs stretched out beneath the flowing multicolored skirt that had been hiked to mid-thigh to expose the smooth skin to the sun, and various bracelets circled her ankles. Her midriff was bare below a white blousy top that was filled with a pair of luscious, firm breasts. Her silky blond hair was so light it was almost white—which made the vivid pink tips all the more noticeable—and curled tantalizingly against the one shoulder left bare by the top. A variety of bracelets wrapped around delicate wrists, multiple rings adorned slender fingers and a line of six earrings sparkled from the sexy curve of her ear.
Sexy curve of her ear?
What the hell was that?
She looked like a damn hippie.
TJ completed the inventory of the woman who was reclining on the hood of a little yellow car attached to the tiniest camper he had ever seen. Her eyes were hidden behind a humongous pair of sunglasses, the frames also bright pink—to match her toenails and hair, evidently. Her lips were parted slightly and he thought she was maybe dozing.
Dozing on the hood of the yellow car that was parked in the half-circle drive in front of his house, under his favorite tree.
He’d been distracted by the legs and breasts and, apparently, her ear, but now TJ felt his frown forming. Who the hell was this and why was she parked under his tree?
There was a lot of…color here. He preferred brown. Maybe green. Like dirt and grass. Women with pink streaks in their hair, who wore multicolored skirts and drove yellow cars, were not his type.
He liked farm girls. Girls who wore boots and blue jeans and knew that all those bracelets and rings could be downright dangerous on a farm. There were too many things for them to get caught on, and serious injuries could occur.
So he was not going to be attracted to this woman. Whoever she was. Period.
“Can I help you?” He knew it sounded less like a question and more like a demand.
The woman rolled her head to look at him, a smile in place. Then the smile died, and she slowly pushed her sunglasses to the top of her head as she came up to a sitting position.
She looked stunned. Or something. “Holy crap.” She said it softly, almost to herself.
“Are you okay?” He put his good hand on his hip, annoyed by the arm sling yet again. He wasn’t exactly concerned about her mental health. He was concerned about getting her and her car and her camper off his property before that mental health, or possible lack thereof, became his problem.
She turned to face him and tucked her legs under her like kids did. The move made her plethora of jewelry tinkle like little bells. It also shifted the skirt over most of her legs, and TJ worked on not being disappointed about that.
Then she smiled at him. And he promptly forgot even the color of the car she’d parked under his favorite tree.
“I’m looking for Thomas John Bennett.”
“What for?” He didn’t have to be polite. She was on his property uninvited. And when she’d moved, the skirt had pulled down and her top had pulled up, and he’d noticed there was a tattoo running along the side of her torso. If his neurons weren’t firing perfectly, surely he could be forgiven?
The tattoo was a swirling pattern that, from where he stood, could be a design of some kind but could also be words in a script font. He wanted to find out which it was. Personally, up close, with his own two eyes.
He didn’t have time for this.
“It’s personal, actually,” she answered.
His gaze snapped back to her face. Which was just as distracting, frankly. She had a cute nose that went with the cute ear he’d already noticed, and she had the biggest, roundest eyes he’d ever seen. He wasn’t close enough to see the color. But he really wanted to be.
She looked like a pixie. And if that was the damnedest thing he’d ever thought, he didn’t know what was.
He wasn’t a romantic, whimsical kind of guy. Which was exactly why her jingling bracelets and flimsy skirt and pink toes and hair did not do it for him.
Not at all.
But she was looking for him for a personal reason? That was interesting.
And interesting was the last thing TJ wanted this woman—or any woman—to be.