She's camera shy. He's a big star. Is love worth the limelight?
Thirteen years ago, Chris McPherson drunkenly declared his love for Joy Albright … right in front of her husband. Though her angry rejection still stings, Chris, now a successful Hollywood actor, has never forgotten his feelings for her. When he returns to Silverweed Falls to direct a summer Shakespeare play, he is thrilled—and a little nervous—to learn that Joy will be managing the play.
Joy Albright’s marriage imploded in a public scandal a year ago when her husband was caught by the press with another woman. All she wants now is to avoid the limelight, but she can’t refuse the request of a dying friend to help save the local theater group.
Reunited, sparks fly. Joy is desperate to avoid more gossip. Chris comes trailed by the tabloids. But neither of them can deny the temptation to act on their impulses.
Hoping she didn’t look as self-conscious as she felt, Joy steered Chris to the Riverfront Café, letting out a breath of relief as they stepped over the threshold to the chime of the little bells over the door.
The café was crowded, but a couple of the smaller tables toward the back were empty.
“I’ll grab us a drink, you grab us a table,” Chris suggested. “Iced espresso?”
Against her will, she was impressed. “That would be lovely, thank you.”
She took a seat at a small table by the window that overlooked the river that flowed through the middle of town. A few minutes later he joined her, putting a frosty glass down on the table in front of her.
“I’m amazed you remembered,” she said.
“You were the first person I ever met who liked ice cubes in her coffee. It was the weirdest thing I’d ever encountered,” he said, sliding into the seat across from her. “It’s like how you never forget the first girl who asks you to do something really kinky.” He flashed her the cheeky smile that had helped make him famous.
There was the cockiness.
So this was how it was going to be. They were falling back into the flirty one-upmanship that had been the hallmark of their friendship thirteen years ago, him the comedian, her the straight man. It was fun, it was sweet, it was ... safe.
He wasn’t about to bring up their last encounter—possibly he’d been so drunk he didn’t really remember it. And she wasn’t going to bring it up because, after all ... awkward.
A relationship based on friendly banter—she could do that.
She met his remark with a condescending lift of her eyebrows. “You think regular ice cubes are weird?” She tapped her glass. “Here, the ice cubes are made out of coffee. Gives it an extra kick.” She raised her eyebrows suggestively and pushed her straw toward him. “Try it.”
“Whoa, mama!” He lifted his hands up in mock surrender. “Pretty sure that’s banned in at least thirty states.” He nodded knowingly at her. “You may look all straight-laced, but I always knew you had a freaky side just waiting to come out.”
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About Thea Dawson
Thea Dawson has lived in Rome, Tokyo and London, and spent much of her twenties traveling around the world. Eventually she met the love of her life and settled down in the Pacific Northwest, where she now lives with her husband and three children.
After a checkered career which included stints as an English teacher, librarian and editor, she now writes full time, telling tales of romance and adventure.