Entrepreneur, Simone Edwards, did what any intelligent woman with a ticking biological clock would do: she asked her longtime boyfriend to marry her. Devastated when he turns her down, and fed up with dead-end relationships, Simone swears off men … and takes a vow of celibacy. How hard could it be? She soon learns it’s harder than she thinks when the most irresistible man in the world, Tim Hollister, shows up at her job. She hasn’t seen him in over ten years, and quickly realizes he is a temptation she doesn’t want to resist. But isn’t there some rule about dating your friend? Simone must decide if a romance with Tim is worth risking their friendship, and her reclaimed virginity.
Betrayed by his supermodel ex-girlfriend, who happens to be the mother of his child, Tim Hollister has placed a padlock on his heart. But when Simone, an old high school friend falls back into his life, he soon forgets his promise to stay clear of beautiful women. Simone was always like a sister to him, but he discovers that his feelings for her aren’t very brotherly. He’s captivated by the woman she’s become and wants to take their friendship to the next level – despite her resistance. Tim can’t avoid their new-found passion, and sets out to prove he’s the man for her.
God! Can this day get any worse?
Simone Edwards hobbled to a wall in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, dodging swarms of people in the ever-crowded terminal. She didn’t have to look down to know the left heel on her favorite pair of black pumps had broken. It had already been the day from hell. No. Make that the week from hell. So why would the trip home be any different?
She propped herself against the wall, pulled her suitcase close, and took off the shoe she feared was ruined. “Oh, this is just great,” she mumbled at the three-inch heel. Isn’t it enough I have to return home from the Bahamas still single?
Not only had Glen Wallace turned down her marriage proposal, he’d left the island two days early to attend some stupid “emergency meeting at work.” Most men would be flattered their longtime girlfriend asked for their hand in marriage, wouldn’t they? Not him. After spending all their free time together, he suddenly couldn’t get away from her fast enough. And the insensitive jerk left her with the hotel bill! How could I have wasted all those years on him?
Sadness hit her square in the chest. Of all her asinine ideas, proposing to Glen had to be the worst. Tears filled her eyes, and she blinked rapidly to keep them at bay. The last thing she wanted was to have an emotional breakdown in one of the country’s busiest airports. Spotting a bathroom a few feet away, Simone slipped on her shoe and limped toward it.
She passed a custodial worker near the hand dryers, who looked as if she’d rather be someplace else, and found a quiet corner where she could go through her carry-on bag. What I wouldn’t give to be at home in my bed right now. She was at the point of being afraid to do or say anything for fear of something else going wrong.
After finding another pair of shoes, she placed everything back in her suitcase and hurried out of the bathroom. She had barely made it out the door when she ran dead smack into a hard body, lost her balance, and came close to making a total fool of herself. An explosion of pain from the sudden impact shot through her shoulder, but thankfully, a large set of hands grabbed her around the waist before she hit the floor.
“Whoa, are you all right?”
“Oh my God, I am so sorry. I wasn’t paying attent—” she started, but stopped when she looked up and recognized the handsome man holding her. “Tim? Tim Hollister?”
He laughed as recognition showed on his face. “Yeah, it’s me. Simone, girl, I haven’t seen you in years. How are you?”
“Besides clumsy, I’m fine.” She chuckled and rubbed her shoulder. As she adjusted her clothes and righted her suitcase, a sense of calm surrounded her. Tim had always had that effect on her back in high school, before life got complicated.
“Wow, I can’t believe it’s you. It’s been, what, ten years since we’ve seen each other?”
“Yeah, something like that.”
They both noticed they were in the way, and Tim took her by the elbow and maneuvered them out of pedestrian traffic and into a waiting area where there weren’t as many people. Simone took that opportunity to get a better look at him. With the height of a basketball player, the brother was still fine. His smooth toffee skin and intense dark eyes were his best features, but those sensual lips accented by that smile could make a girl forget they were friends.
They’d hung out in high school, without crossing the friend line, and Simone was okay with that. She never wanted to risk their relationship for a temporary fling.
“So what’ve you been up to?” he asked.
Her disaster of a vacation came to mind, but no sense in boring him with the details. “Not much. Like everyone else, trying to survive. What about you? Are you still in New York?”
He nodded. “Yep, but I’ve been in Atlanta for the past few days on business. Of course, Milwaukee will always be home, though. As a matter of fact, I’ll be there in a few days to meet with a potential client. What about you? Where are you headed?”
“Home.” The one word almost made her cry all over again. This past week had not turned out as she’d planned, and emotionally she felt like balling up in a corner. She should be heading home with her fiancé, excited about getting married in the summer, but instead she was going back the way she came—single, with no prospects of getting married.
About Sharon C. Cooper
Bestselling author, Sharon C. Cooper, lives in Atlanta with her husband and enjoys reading, writing, and rainy days. She writes sweet and contemporary romance, as well as romantic suspense. Sharon is a Pro member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), board member and member of Georgia Romance Writers (GRW), and a member of the Page a Day Writers Group. To read more about Sharon and her novels, visit www.sharoncooper.net.