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Getting His Hopes Up

By:Erin Nicholas

Chapter One

“I love you so much!”

Jason Gilmore wasn’t expecting the gorgeous girl who had been sitting at the end of the bar for the better part of the last hour to declare her love for him so early in their relationship. He also hadn’t been expecting her to actually throw herself at him. But he was a very intelligent guy, and when he found his arms suddenly full of soft, sweet-smelling woman—whether he knew her name or not— he thought fast.

And kissed her.

Which she seemed totally fine with, if the way she kissed him back was anything to go by.

She might have intended it to be only a hug, but amazing opportunities were meant to be grabbed. Not that he was grabbing her. Exactly. But his hands did fit very nicely over the curve of her ass.

And she definitely wasn’t protesting. He felt her little sigh, he felt her run her hands into his hair, and he definitely felt her open her mouth under his and meet the stroke of his tongue with hers.

She smelled like buttercream frosting. He’d swear it. And he wanted to lick her from head to toe. And those two things were, actually, not related. He would have wanted to lick her from head to toe no matter what she smelled like. The kiss was that good.

Damn, he loved this town.

Nothing bad had ever happened to him in Hope Falls, California. Not one thing. Because of that, and because he’d found his passion for his life’s work here, Hope Falls held a special place in his heart.

Gorgeous women who smelled good and felt even better? Now Hope Falls was for sure his favorite place in the world.

Jason was still sitting on his barstool, but she’d stepped between his knees as if she’d been there before. She’d wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her body to his as if she really was madly in love with him. And she was now kissing him as if maybe she’d forgotten she had never done more than smile at him across a bar.

She seemed to remember a moment later.

She pulled back abruptly and stared up at him. “Holy crap,” she breathed.

Jason grinned. A reaction like that could fuel a guy’s ego for a while for sure.

“Tara?” A big guy with more tattoos than hair moved in behind her, a scowl on his face.

She looked into Jason’s eyes, licked her lips and whispered, “I’ll owe you.”


Blue eyes.

Soft brown hair to her shoulder blades.

Buttercream frosting.

Denim-covered ass that fit perfectly in his hands.

Yeah, he could handle her owing him.

He gave her a wink.

With a little inhale and a smile, she turned. “Oh, hey Curt.”

She was still standing between Jason’s knees and he decided that whatever he was playing along with required his hands to stay on her hips.

She seemed to agree. She leaned back slightly, settling that sweet ass against his groin.

He coughed and shifted slightly. Damn. She was cute and kissed like a wet dream and he was two beers in and in a great mood, but he was still surprised by how quickly all the blood in his body rerouted to the area behind his zipper.

“Hey.” Curt’s eyes went to Jason.

Tara pressed back more firmly and Jason’s body answered with a counter pressure that was less intentional.

He shifted again on the bar stool while also moving her slightly to the right. She put her hand on his thigh, resisting moving even an inch and making their pose look even more intimate.

“I didn’t know you were back in town,” she said to the other guy.

Jason didn’t even know her and he could hear the tension in her voice.

“Just rolled in,” Curt replied. “I came looking for you first thing.”

Now Jason felt the tension in her body.

“Why is that?”

She flipped her hair back, no doubt in an attempt to look casual, and the air around Jason stirred with the scent of sugary frosting.

Curt’s eyes narrowed. “Because I’d hoped you’d be waiting for me.”

Tara’s fingers tightened on Jason’s thigh. “I don’t know why you’d think that. We went on one date and it was a year ago.”

Ah, an ex. Kind of. A spurned lover. Or a spurned lover-wannabe. Jason got it now.

“The only reason we didn’t have a second was because I got arrested.”

A spurned-lover-wannabe felon. Great. What had he gotten into here?

“That wasn’t the only reason,” Tara told him coolly. “But yeah, that didn’t help.”

“It was just a misunderstanding. You know that.”

“You stole my car, Curt.”

Jason felt his eyes widen. Okay this was…interesting. It wasn’t assault or arson or a bank robbery. Could be worse. Still, he was a little less pleased now about her choosing him as her pretend-whatever to avoid Curt the Con.