Sometimes you’ve got to fake it ‘til you make it…
Stephanie Fitzpatrick wanted out of the spotlight after her pro-golfer husband was caught on camera cheating. But when she returns to Michigan for a job interview and some much-needed R&R, a fib told by her well-meaning sister has her looking for a temporary fiancé, or she can kiss her new start good-bye.
Desperate to hide the truth, she goes to the one man who can help—her former best friend.
Miles Masterson is relieved to see the Checkerberry Inn beginning to thrive once more. Not only does it ease his mind about his grandmother’s financial future, but also about his decision to finally escape town. But then one all grown up and sexy as hell friend from the past shows up needing rescue. Now the temptation to change the “temporary” arrangement into something more is making it harder to think about leaving.
Each book in the Checkerberry Inn series is a standalone, full-length story that can be enjoyed out of order.
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Stephanie froze. She knew those melted chocolate eyes nearly as well as she knew her own. Had laughed, cried, giggled, and shouted at them countless times when they were kids. But the boyish charm of the face around them was gone, replaced by strong cheekbones and a jawline dusted with a five o’clock shadow. Had they kept in touch over the years, his change in appearance might not have been as noticeable.
Strike that—had he kept in touch over the years. She’d made the effort a handful of times that first year after she and Liam had married and moved to Florida. Tried reaching out on his birthday and Christmas the year after. But the response she got from Miles was always the same—nothing. A decade of resentment at being blown off threatened to resurface, and she retracted her offered hand before it went and did something crazy all on its own…like smack the bejeezus out of him.
“Miles? W-what are you doing here?”
“Well, unlike some people, I was unlucky enough to grow roots in this lovely town.” Grimacing, he eased his way back to standing and pressed a hand to the small of his back. “Question is, what are you doing here?”
That was a good question…and one she planned to take up with her younger sister shortly. First the fib about her being engaged—something she wasn’t dealing with quite yet—then sending Stephanie here, knowing darned will she’d likely cross paths with Miles? What was that girl up to?
“I came up for a…business meeting…I have on Monday. My family talked me into a week-long visit.” She narrowed her eyes. “Had I known it’d be here, though, I might have passed.”
He flinched, and she almost felt bad about the jab. Almost.
“Well, had I known you were coming, I might have hired that exterminator after all.” His gaze shifted to the floorboards, then back to hers. “Don’t worry, though. The cockroaches are only big enough to eat infants and small children.”
Stephanie felt a smile tugging at her lips and was helpless to resist. That was Miles. Always able to break through her bad moods. But she wouldn’t give in. “Yeah, well, you’re still a jerk.”
“And you still look ridiculous in a ball cap, but who’s keeping score?”
She pulled off her sunglasses to throw him a dark look. He ignored it and pulled her into an impromptu hug. His body was firmer than she remembered, and he’d finally deviated from a daily regimen of Ivory soap, but otherwise he was the same old Miles. Stephanie tried to squirm free, and had as much success with that as she had the other hundred times he’d done it. Which was zero. She conceded with a sigh and leaned into him, hating that it felt as right as it did.
Like she was home again and never should have left.