Series: Hearts of Stone #2
(can be read as standalone)
Author: Christine Manzari
Genre: New Adult Romance
For aspiring journalist Harlow Ransom, life is just a well-oiled machine, and if she plans well, all things will go accordingly. And that is exactly why Harlow lives her life by perfectly polished to-do lists that she refuses to stray from—even when she's celebrating her 21st birthday in Sin City.
1. Visit the Boom Boom Blues Lounge
2. See the water show at the Bellagio
Things can't possibly go askew if she crosses things off her list one by one. But after a night of celebrating leads to waking up in bed with a sexy stranger and a ring on her finger, Harlow realizes that in no point in time did she ever have "Get Married" on her trusty to-do list. Yet that's exactly what she did.
Professional snowboarder Trace Stone loves a good challenge—he's all about the win. And this time, he's going to find a way to win over the feisty, meticulous Harlow. The wedding may have been spontaneous and impulsive, but when he said "forever," he meant it. Now, the only thing he wants on Harlow's to-do list is him—from this day forward.
I settled in next to the register, sliding my Kindle onto the counter so I could read. We’d just opened up, and it was only ten in the morning. Sweet tooth urges didn’t normally strike until lunch time. The mornings were always slow as a result, aside from the occasional coffee order.
“Are you open?”
Startled, I glanced up from my Kindle to find the object of my interruption. I was pretty sure my heart dropped clear down to my knees when I recognized the person standing on the other side of the counter. I could feel my mouth opening and closing like there were words coming out, but all that I heard was complete silence.
In front of me stood one of the most attractive guys I’d ever seen in my life. The guy I met in Vegas. A guy I never expected to see again. How was it possible that he was here, thousands of miles from where we met? It had been a month since I’d seen him, and to be honest, my memories of him hadn’t done reality justice. Maybe it was my alcohol addled recollections, but I didn’t remember him being so freaking gorgeous. His dark hair stuck up haphazardly and was dyed blue at the tips. His eyes were a golden color, freezing me in place like he had some sort of mind-melding super powers. Tan skin, a scar on his chin, and a half-smile completed the package.
Trace. That was his name.
And he was the last person I expected, or wanted, to be standing in front of me. It had been weeks, and I was finally starting to breathe easily and forget about the morning after my birthday. What is he doing here?
“Can I help you?” I finally managed to ask.
“That depends,” Trace answered. “But I’m hoping you can.”
“What do you need?”
“I need to talk to my wife.”
Holy fuck. Did my heart just explode? I was pretty sure it did. I gripped the edge of the counter as what was left of my heart hammered against my ribs. I never expected Trace to come looking for me, and I had no idea how to make him go away. I looked behind me quickly to make sure Betty wasn’t within hearing distance.
“I think you have the wrong person,” I gritted out between my teeth.
The smile that creased his lips was nothing short of naughty. “You want to do this the hard way?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“I’m looking for my wife, Harlow Ransom. That’s you.” He pointed at me.
I stood up a little straighter, as if that could somehow deflect his words. “That’s my name, but I’m not your wife.”
“I beg to differ,” he replied, putting his left hand on the counter where I could see a silver band shining reproachfully from his ring finger. “I have a piece of paper that says you are. And if that’s not enough for you, we can go ahead and do the whole Cinderella glass slipper thing just to be sure it’s the right fit.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked. There had to be some way to make him go away. Forever.
Trace reached behind his back, sliding a messenger bag across his chest. He lifted the flap and reached inside. When he pulled out his hand, my missing bra was dangling from his fingertip. “Do you want to try it on to be sure? Because I’m fine with that, I don’t mind watching. I can guarantee you it’s a perfect fit, though. No matter how much I drank that night, my memory isn’t that bad.”
The first thing Christine does when she's getting ready to read a book is to crack the spine in at least five places. She wholeheartedly believes there is no place as comfy as the pages of a well-worn book. She's addicted to buying books, reading books, and writing books. She even turned her dining room into a library—reading is more important than eating. She also has a weakness for adventure and inappropriate humor. Christine is from Forest Hill, Maryland where she lives with her husband, three kids, and her library of ugly spine books.
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