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Enjoy a sneak peek of Rafe!!!

Rafe narrowed his gaze on Holt and waited to see if he would look his way. When he did, he saw the instant recognition on the man’s face. Along with that wicked smirk he was famous for.

“Well, I’ll be damned,” Holt said in that rich bass of his. “I thought it’d be harder to track you down. After all, you won’t take my calls.”

“Because you didn’t call me,” Rafe countered before he could stop himself.

Holt’s response was a slight lift of his left eyebrow.

Forcing his gaze away, Rafe looked at Bailey, waiting until she acknowledged him. When her eyes met his, he tried to mask his emotions but wasn’t sure he did so in time. Instantly she glanced at the woman still clinging to Rafe’s arm before her lips pursed tightly, and she looked at him again. He noticed the way her chin tipped up just slightly, as though she was refusing to accept that it bothered her that he was with another woman.

Not that he was with another woman. It merely looked that way.

Of course, he couldn’t very well tell her that. Not without drawing attention to the fact that Rafe had feelings for Bailey. The last thing he wanted was for Ivy to get it in her little head that she should play matchmaker while she was hunting for her own love interest. He wouldn’t put it past her.

“You know each other?” Bailey asked, glancing up at Holt.

“Friends from way back,” Holt answered, then shifted his cup of colored ice to the other hand and thrust his right hand in Rafe’s direction. “Good to see you.”

Because it would’ve been rude to refuse, Rafe returned the handshake and steeled himself for Holt’s touch. As had been the case the last time he’d seen the man, heat blasted through him as soon as their palms touched. His brain flashed memories of a long, hot night by the beach. Based on the gleam in Holt’s blue eyes, he was reliving that very same night.

Rafe forgot all about Ivy standing at his side until she squeezed his arm and cleared her throat.

Right. Manners.

Pulling his hand from Holt’s clutches, Rafe nodded his chin toward the man. “Ivy, meet Holt Callahan. Holt, this is Ivy. She’s a waitress at Moonshiners.”

Holt shook her free hand, but Ivy refused to let go of Rafe’s arm.

“Your name’s familiar,” Ivy noted. “Have we met before?”

“Not that I know of,” he said easily, as though it wasn’t every day that women were trying to figure out how they knew him.

It was, Rafe knew. Men and women alike heard his name and realized they’d heard it before. And if they weren’t avid readers, addicted to Holt’s bestselling novels, they’d likely seen him doing interviews for the television series that spawned from those books. Over the past three years, life had been good to Holt Callahan.

Not that Rafe was tracking his career.

Definitely not.

“I’m from Dallas,” Ivy explained. “Maybe you and I crossed paths up there?”

As soon as she was distracted by Holt, Rafe attempted to pull away, but Ivy clung more tightly, a move that had Bailey frowning.

It’s not what it looks like.

When Bailey’s eyes met his, he saw the hurt in them even though she quickly hid it.

“So, what brings you kids out tonight?” Holt asked them.

Realizing Holt had steered the conversation back from himself, Rafe looked at his former friend.

Ivy answered for him. “Rafe was kind enough to show me around town. Not a bad venue for a first date, I must say.”

Not a date.

“I think the band’s settin’ up,” Bailey told Holt. “Maybe we could head that way?”

“What the lady wants, the lady gets.”

Bailey glanced Rafe’s way again. “It was good to see you. Have a good night.”

“You, too,” Ivy chimed, assuming Bailey was talking to her.

Holt put his arm around Bailey’s shoulders, and Rafe was tempted to punch him in the fucking face. In fact, it took every ounce of willpower he possessed to refrain.

“We’ll catch up later,” Holt said.

Not if Rafe could help it, they wouldn’t.

“Did you two have a thing?” Ivy asked when they were alone again.

Rafe’s head snapped around, his eyes slamming into her face. “What?”

“You and Bailey. Did you break her heart or something?”

His racing heart slowed when he realized what she meant. Or rather, that she hadn’t been referring to him and Holt. Because they didn’t. Have a thing. What they’d done that night … what Rafe had done … it wasn’t a thing. It was an experiment, that was all. Nothing more. And it would never, ever, ever happen again.

“We’re friends,” he said, hoping that would satisfy Ivy’s curiosity.

“I think she was hoping for more than that.”

“I don’t have more than that to give anyone.”

Ivy’s green eyes held a hint of skepticism as they moved over his face. A second later, a smile formed. “I’m making it my mission to change your mind.”

Oh, hell.

Someone tapped him on the shoulder, causing him to look back and see a kid pointing toward the shaved ice truck. Evidently, it was their turn. And not a moment too soon.


Releases September 26, 2023

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