Spotlight: Hot and Bothered by Jennifer Bernard

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Ben, the most romantic of the smoking hot Knight brothers, knew from the moment he met his high school sweetheart, Julie deGaia, that she was the one for him. Marriage, kids…he wanted forever with Julie-until the moment she skipped town without a word. Then Ben's father was murdered, and his life was irrevocably changed. Now, after twelve years, Julie's back. Ben's over her, of course. They're completely different people now. 

Right. If they're so different, why do his feelings for her seem so damn familiar?

And how, after all this time, can she still make Ben so hot and bothered?

Julie was never supposed to return to Jupiter Point. It's only by staying away that she's ensured her safety. But she owes a huge debt to the wealthy and demanding Reinhard family, who took her in as a child. What the Reinhards want, they get, so here she is, dodging a handsomer-than-ever Ben Knight. Her former sweetheart has turned into a hunky pilot who aims that sexy smile at everyone except her-until he learns the truth about why she left in the first place. 

If the past can't keep Ben and Julie apart, a deadly threat in the present might. As for that idyllic future they always dreamed about? It might take some Jupiter Point magic to put this star-crossed couple on the road to happy ever after. 

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Excerpt

Julie was thrilled to take Felix to the ice skating party. This was what he needed—a chance to connect with the kids here, to find out how different life was in a slower-paced town like Jupiter Point.

It was the last place she would have expected to see Ben.

But of course, with her luck, there he was, helping a dimpled little blond girl skate for the first time. The girl was younger than the kids at the party, and she and Ben were at the opposite end of the rink. Julie shrugged it off and focused on helping Felix with his skates, then assisting the birthday boy’s mother in the snack room.

As she blew up balloons and taped up streamers, she kept an eye on Felix inching around the rink. When he drew close to Ben, the little girl spotted him. Smiling incandescently, she tried to skate toward Felix. Halfway to him, she fell on her butt and burst into tears.

Ben skated after her, then helped her up and brushed ice crystals off her snow pants. Felix watched the entire episode patiently. As soon as the girl stopped crying, he showed her his method of staying upright on skates.

Ben straightened to his full height and watched, arms crossed over his chest. From the snack room, Julie feasted her eyes on him. She didn’t care about the vanilla buttercream cake or the birthday snacks. All she wanted was to watch Ben on the ice, the way he glided close to the two kids, dropping an instruction now and then, the way his wool sweater clung to his muscles, the way his jeans cupped his ass.

Her heart ached and she realized, crystal clear, that she was not over Ben. Not even close.

The birthday boy’s mother—Candy—caught her looking. “That’s one of the Knight brothers. I’m pretty sure he’s the single one, too. I can handle things here if you want some rink time.”

“No no. I’m good here.” She picked up another balloon and blew air into it. Stare at the red latex, not at the hot guy on the ice. Don’t think about how adorable he is with that little girl.

This was a serious problem. If she kept running into Ben like this, she’d be in love with him all over again in no time. These little glimpses of him in his real life, relaxed and casual, were torturous. In another world, he’d be giving their child skating lessons. It was the kind of life they’d always known they wanted, filled with ordinary, everyday joys.

But that world never came to be. Instead, she lived in this world, where she and Ben circled each other like planets whose orbits kept colliding.

Ugh. Gah. Why was this so hard?

She blew a little too hard on the balloon and it burst out of her hands. Zooming across the table, it narrowly missing the birthday cake. The air fizzed out of it with a high whine until it landed in a pile of red limpness on the floor. Honestly, she couldn’t think of a better visual metaphor for her and Ben.

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About Jennifer Bernard

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Jennifer Bernard is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. Her books have been called "an irresistible reading experience" full of "quick wit and sizzling love scenes." A graduate of Harvard and former news promo producer, she left big city life in Los Angeles for true love in Alaska, where she now lives with her husband and stepdaughters.  She still hasn't adjusted to the cold, so most often she can be found cuddling with her laptop and a cup of tea. No stranger to book success, she also writes erotic novellas under a naughty secret name that she's happy to share with the curious.

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