By Barbara Longley
Ryan Malloy has lost it all. After his fiancée dies in a tragic accident, he enlists in the army, only to lose his best friend in a roadside bombing. Wracked with guilt and grief, Ryan finds life unbearable—until a job offer from his former commander gives him a glimmer of hope. And in the tiny town of Perfect, Indiana, the man who thought he had nothing left to live for meets the only woman who can tempt him into risking his battered heart one last time...
Paige Langford has it all: wealth, beauty, and ambition. But when her boyfriend’s betrayal leads to the loss of her job and her reputation, she retreats to her brother’s rural Indiana home to regroup. There she meets Ryan Malloy, a gruff, hard-drinking loner whose surly temper can’t hide the haunted misery in his eyes. He is everything Paige never wanted, yet he may be exactly what she needs—if only they can overcome their personal demons to forge a love strong enough to save them both.
Throwing her shoulders back, Paige knocked on Mr. Weil’s door.
“Come in,” he barked from inside.
Smoothing her face into a professional mien, she opened the door and strode in. One look at his expression, and she faltered. He looked serious. Seriously unhappy. What the hell?
“Have a seat, Langford.” He moved a pile of folders aside.
She took one of the chairs in front of his huge, imposing desk. “You wanted to see me?”
“Hmmm.” He scowled her way. “Meyer Construction needed our bid five business days ago. They never got it. They’ve gone with another supplier.”
An adrenaline shock hit her system, and her heart leaped to her throat. She gripped the arms of the chair. “That’s impossible! I sent that bid with a same-day courier two days before it was due.”
“Like I said—they never got it.” He leaned back in his expensive leather chair and fixed her with a baleful scowl. “I’ve also had two other accounts you handled complain that their bids were late, holding them up and delaying their contractors. If it weren’t for Anthony Rutger’s intervention, we would’ve lost those accounts as well.”
“Anthony’s…intervention?” Her mind spun with the implications. Anthony?
Her mind flew back to the day the courier had come to the lobby for the Meyer bid. She’d been in the middle of a phone call, and Anthony had offered to take the envelope down to the lobby for her. At the time, she’d thought it was sweet. Come to think of it, he’d also offered to put a few of her bids into the office’s outgoing mail bin for her. No, he wouldn’t purposefully sabotage her. Would he? They were a couple.
Heat filled her face. “I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”
“Damn straight it won’t. You’re fired.”
“Oh, no. There’s been a mistake. I had somebody else put the bids in the mail for me. They must’ve forgotten, or…” Shit. Shit. Shit. She glanced around the office as the reality of Anthony’s betrayal sank in. “I won’t let it happen again, Mr. Weil. I’ll get the Meyer account back somehow.” She sucked in a breath. “From now on, I will personally put things in the out bin myself, and—”
“Miss Langford, you’re done here.”
As a child, Barbara Longley moved frequently, learning early on how to entertain herself with stories. Adulthood didn’t tame her peripatetic ways: she has lived on an Appalachian commune, taught on an Indian reservation, and traveled the country from coast to coast. After having children of her own, she decided to try staying put, choosing Minnesota as her home. By day, she puts her master’s degree in special education to use teaching elementary school. By night, she explores all things mythical, paranormal, and newsworthy, channeling what she learns into her writing.