Single mom Daisy Sorensen doesn’t believe in fairytale endings—at least not for her. All she wants is to enjoy a much-needed, stress-free family vacation at a friend’s Lake Tahoe home. So of course everything that can go wrong does. Including a gorgeous man and his daughter showing up in the middle of the night.
Soon-to-be Governor Jack Harrison has had a crazy week, but he’s sure nothing can top arriving to find a bathrobe-clad, beautiful stranger in the home he’s staying in for the week. He’s wrong. When things spiral out of control the next morning, Jack makes Daisy an offer she can’t refuse. She’ll pretend to be his fiancée and he’ll help her open the bakery she’s been dreaming about.
But in between late-night campfires and days on the lake, Jack finds himself falling for the strong, stubborn woman for real.
Now it was her turn to do what she’d spent the better part of the last twenty minutes convincing her daughter to do. This whole trip was about experiencing new things, right?
So why wouldn’t her legs take the step forward they needed to?
She didn’t know how but she was suddenly aware of Jack’s presence next to her. He must have climbed the ladder, but it hadn’t been long enough for him to get here…or had it?
“You don’t have to do this if you’re that scared.”
“Of course I do,” she snapped. “I just told my daughter how she shouldn’t let her fears control her life.”
He grinned. “I know. Now prove it to them and yourself that you’re not going to let your fears get the better of you. Take that step.”
He placed his hand on her shoulder, something that shouldn’t have felt as good as it did. Especially not right now when she was a million feet up in the air possibly about to step to her death.
“How do I know the system is equipped to hold my weight and size?”
He smiled at her indulgently. “Because I just did this same line not fifteen minute ago and I easily outweigh you by two.”
That earned her own smile. “How much do you weigh?”
Cute the way he thought she weighed only ninety pounds.
“Now,” he continued, “if it can hold me, it can hold you. I promise.”
She nodded, somehow finding the courage to take the tiniest step forward so her toes were past the ledge. Then stepped right back.
“Hey. Look at me,” he said. She glanced over her shoulder, meeting his steely blue gaze. “If it’s one thing I know about you, Daisy Sorensen, you will take that step one way or another. You’re not going to let your kids see you give up. Whether it’s now or in twenty minutes or in one hour. Because you don’t walk away from a challenge. You’re a fighter and no matter what obstacles have been put in your way, you’ve pushed past them to be the amazing mom and woman you are. This”—he nodded toward the empty air—“this is nothing compared to the last two years of hell your ex put you through. What your life put you through. Here’s a chance to embrace the unknown. You can—and will—do this.”
Something in his tone told her he meant every word he’d said. And despite her fear, she found his belief in her…empowering.
She looked down at her kids waving. Up ahead she could hear Jenna and Lily calling for her to go.
The only one stopping her right now was her.
Everyone else knew she could do this.
Taking a deep breath, she took that step and lifted her other leg, and felt her body falling forward.
About the Author
Ashlee Mallory is a USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and thrillers. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and two kids. She aspires to one day include running, hiking and traveling to exotic destinations in her list of things she enjoys, but currently settles for enjoying a good book and a glass of wine from the comfort of her couch.
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