Denver real estate mogul, Liam Archer, has always been a thrill-seeker, and the loss of his identical twin brother has only intensified his reckless behavior. Sky diving, heli-skiing, motorcycle riding…he’s tried everything once. Except falling in love. Liam doesn’t do relationships, but a no-strings fling with Aubrey Tallinger-the smart, gorgeous lawyer handling his brother’s estate-is totally his speed.
At first, hooking up with Liam whenever he’s in Ribbon Ridge is perfect; but Aubrey fears she could fall hard for the sexy daredevil, if he’d only stop refusing to acknowledge the demons he’s trying to outrun. To protect herself from heartbreak, Aubrey ends their affair. But this time, Liam isn’t leaving town and instead of seduction, he wants to be…friends.
The white hot attraction between them still sizzles but Liam knows that winning Aubrey back won’t happen in his bed. He’ll have to convince her that he’s more than the careless, adrenaline junkie she believes him to be. Because when they kiss, Liam feels whole again… and he isn’t ready to give her up without a fight.
Liam was coming here. To her house. Where they’d had sex on more than one occasion. Smart move, Tallinger.
Why hadn’t she texted any of the other Archer men? Dylan would’ve come over in a heartbeat. As would’ve Derek. Or Sean. Or Kyle. But no, she’d texted Liam. So she could talk to him about his extreme sports.
Aubrey went inside to wait and further deride her foolish choice. A short while later, the sound of a motorcycle drew her to the front bay window. Liam parked his bike in the driveway and whipped off his helmet. His dark hair was tousled in an impossibly sexy way. No one’s hair had a right to look that good without effort.
Aubrey crossed through the entryway and did a quick check of her own hair in the mirror in the dining room. A basic high ponytail was hard to screw up, but it was good to see she didn’t look as anxious as she felt. What had she been thinking inviting Liam Archer to her house? Alone.
She heard his boots on the porch. Too late to do anything about her panic now, except swallow it. She pasted a smile on her face and opened the door. “Thanks for coming on such short notice.”
He pulled his lightweight leather jacket off. “It’s no problem. Glad I could help.” He flashed her his trademark smile that never failed to melt her knees—as well as points north of them. “Where’s this new TV?” he asked.
“It’s, uh, in the back of my car.”
He dropped his coat on the teak loveseat her aunt and uncle had bought her as a housewarming present two years ago. Aunt Cyndi had said the porch needed a loveseat and hadn’t wanted Aubrey to have to wait until she could afford one.
Liam walked to the end of the porch. The sound of his footfalls prompted her to look down at his black motorcycle boots. Hot. She let her gaze slowly travel up his worn jeans. Sexy. And briefly linger on his ass. Sexier.
“Why didn’t you have it delivered?” he asked as he went down the stairs to the driveway, jarring her from her embarrassing thoughts. She was supposed to be over this guy. Or at least trying to be.
He just made it so damn hard when he looked like that and when she knew how he could make her feel.
“I needed it right away—my TV died last night.” Her voice trailed off as she realized she sounded like an addict.
He turned to look at her. “Important television event tonight?”
“Tomorrow, actually. Game of Thrones is on, and I’m not watching it on my laptop screen.”
His answering laugh heated all of her darkest places. She followed him toward her car, then passed him to open the hatch.
“I didn’t know you watched Game of Thrones,” he said.
She looked at him over her shoulder. “There’s a lot you don’t know about me.”
He stared at her a moment before dragging out the word true to twice its normal length. He stepped forward and tugged at the box. “This is going to be heavy. You sure you can manage it with me?”
He sounded legitimately concerned, so she didn’t take offense. “I helped the guy at Costco get it in here. I figure I can help you into the house with it.”
“I’m sure you can. One thing I do know about you is that you’re a kickboxing machine, and you could probably thrash my ass in a sparring match.”
He cracked a smile. “I’ll pull the box out, and you grab the other end. I’ll go backward into the house.”
He slid the box out of the car, and she picked up her side. They moved quickly, tilting the TV as they walked up the three steps to her porch. She’d left the front door open, and they brought the box fully vertical to cross over the threshold.
He paused in the entry. “I forgot to ask where we’re going.”
“To the right. Rather, your left.”
He nodded. “Now I vaguely remember where your TV was installed. Did we even watch TV last time I was here?”
His recollection of the night he’d brought takeout during Thanksgiving weekend brought a flush to her cheeks and a rush of lava-hot desire to her core. She was better off not thinking about that.
He went to his left and backed through the small front sitting room into what she called the TV room.
“Go ahead and lean it here against the wall.” Using her elbow, she indicated to the right of the television stand, where her old flat-screen still sat.
Together, they lowered the box to the floor.
“Should I not have mentioned the last time I was here?” he asked, reminding her again of that November night when he’d stripped her clothes off with agonizing slowness. Or the bath they’d taken after eating their dinner. Or the midnight snack that had resulted in ice cream being used in ways it most certainly wasn’t intended. Yeah, definitely stop thinking about that.
“Maybe not.” She wanted to ask how the memory affected him or if it even did. She couldn’t tell. He was cool, collected, self-assured Liam. The total alpha who never let you see him sweat. Maybe he was a cyborg. She almost laughed. He was physically perfect enough to be a model for one, but he wasn’t quite a machine. She recalled wearing him out pretty good, particularly with the ice-cream episode.
Really, Aubrey, knock it off. Think about something benign, something tame. Stuart popped into her head.
Their date earlier in the week had been fun. In the hang-out-with-your-buddy sort of way. The good-night kiss had been nice, but what was nice when you’d had earth-shattering?