Publisher: Books to Go Now
Release Date: November 7th, 2014
Genre: New Adult/Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 20k
Heat Rating: Spicy
Krista Hartley never expected the unrequited love of her life, the irresistible Derek Weston, to work as the groundskeeper at the apartment building she just moved into. They barely spoke in high school but now, three years after graduation, they tore at each other’s clothes and jumped into bed together at every opportunity. After all, how could a hot-blooded woman say no to a sexy man with an eyebrow ring, a dragon tattoo and a deadly swagger?
A Christmas miracle drew Krista back into Derek’s life. He kissed her for the first time under mistletoe, pampered her with romantic candlelight dinners and memorized every inch of her delectable body with his tongue. He refused to let his dream girl slip through his fingers again but then another woman threatened their whirlwind romance. Hurt once before, Krista broke off their relationship and then Derek made a drunken mistake that could destroy their love forever. With just days to Christmas, he vowed to win back her heart and trust, and prove his innocence once and for all.
Hurt filled her eyes instead of the hope and understanding he wanted. “You’re not as considerate as I thought. You should respect my feelings, not ignore them.” She turned her scowl toward his phone. “Go ahead and take care of business, Derek. I’m obviously not as important as the tenant in U3.” Krista pivoted away from him and grabbed her things from the floor.
Derek snatched her arm before she reached the door. “That’s not fair.”
Krista jerked away from him. “Leave me alone. I need distance for a little while.”
His heart pounded in his throat. “What the hell are you talking about? Everything’s fine.”
Tears welled in her eyes. “No, it’s not. I lost twenty-five dollars from my cash fund yesterday at work, and thirteen dollars the day before. Someone stole a necklace from my table last Sunday at the craft fair. I like you, Derek, but you’re a distraction. I think about you too much but that’s my problem, not yours.” She wrapped her arms around her chest. “I thought my life would make more sense once I moved out on my own, but I’m still confused. We’re moving too fast. I hate to say this, but let’s take some time apart.”
Anger, confusion and hurt burned through his veins. “So I guess I’ll tell my mom that dinner on Friday is a no-go since you want nothing to do with me. Is that slowing down enough for you?” He stomped to the door and opened it. Tears slid down her cheeks but he couldn’t let that bother him. He had no idea what just fucking happened and he was too angry to care. “Let’s go, neighbor. I have a call to make. According to you, my job is more important than my girlfriend so I better live up to that shitty standard.”
Krista rushed out of the apartment and Derek slammed the door behind her. He banged his fist against the steel barrier and cursed at the top of his lungs. Anguish washed through him like an acid wave and sorrow clogged his throat but he knew he’d done nothing wrong. He always acted considerate with her, always respected her feelings, but he didn’t want to talk about Delia. He’d rather stare into the eyes of a woman he cared for and listen to Krista talk for hours.
He fell back against the door and wiped his hands over his face as tears pricked his eyes. Derek breathed deep to swallow the restraining ball in his throat. He replayed the conversation in his mind and the anger in his veins burned hotter than his shock and sadness.
“Damn you, Delia.” Everything was fine before Delia messed with Krista’s head. The conniving bitch probably got exactly what she wanted—trouble in paradise.
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