Rough Edges by Kimberly Krey Divorced mother, Allie Emerson, never imagined she’d be raising two teenage girls on her own. Between parenting and paying the bills, she hasn’t even thought about meeting a man. That changes once she hears local carpenter, Braden Fox, is in need of a secretary. Back in high school, Allie had done all she could to deny the sparks burning between her and Braden; perhaps now they could explore the possibilities. Braden has heard all about what Terrance did to Allie and the girls, has been planning to stop by and see how she’s getting along, but Allie beats him to it by showing up at his shop in search of a job. Her single visit reignites the old flame Braden used to torch for her; trouble is, old feelings of resentment return as well. Allie did choose Terrance over him, after all. And as much as Braden wants Allie in his life, he’s not sure he can open his heart again. With this second chance at romance, will the bumps in their relationship be too much to get over, or will this carpenter learn to smooth out the past?
Excerpt Their eyes met once more, and a shot of heat flooded his chest like a liquid bolt of lightening, forcing his pulse to rush. “I’ve missed you,” he blurted. Her eyes widened in response, and Braden wondered if he’d been too bold. He’d hardly meant to speak it. It’d been more of a thought. A longing, really. At last she nodded. “Yeah,” she said, her voice soft and low. “I … I’ve been wondering about you too. How you’ve been over the years. I kept asking Terrance who you were dating. If you were close to marrying anyone…” Her words drifted off for a breath, but then she spoke up again. “You admitted that you’d turned down our offers to come to dinner and catch up.” She studied him for a moment, a challenge presented in her gaze. “All those years. Why didn’t you just come?” “You know why.” He’d nearly spoken over her, but he couldn’t help it. “No, Braden, I don’t.” He nodded adamantly, taking a step back and folding his arms. “Think about it, Allie.” ... “I have thought about it –” “Not nearly enough, apparently,” he snapped. “I’ve thought about it all these years. It hurt my feelings. I thought we were friends.” ... Braden bit back his words and broke into a pace. “Braden,” she said, “I wanted you to stay a part of our lives. You were the best influence Terrance had and you just stopped being his friend? Why would you do that?” Braden froze in place. “I was a better friend to him than you’ll ever know.” Or possibly the worst, he realized. He strode back, his gaze set on her. “And I didn’t want to be your friend, Allie. I wanted more than that and you know it.” Her face fell flat. Her lips parted. But no words came. She cleared her throat, casting her eyes to the floor. “Yeah,” he said. “Don’t pretend that you don’t know. I made it clear. And as soon as I did you started setting me up with every friend you had. Including Kayla.” “That’s not…” Her face flushed red. Her lips tightened. “That’s not how it went, Braden.” The silence that followed was painful. The tension wedged in each passing second pressed at Braden’s last nerve. “Well,” he said, “this has been a nice trip down memory lane, but if you don’t mind I’ve got to get back to work. Come on out when you’re ready.” He turned away from her in one quick jerk and walked out of the kitchen, one long stride after the next.
Author Kimberly Krey Writing Romance That's Clean Without Losing the Steam! I'm a reader of good, clean romance, a lover of family time and Diet Coke, and the ultimate hater of laundry. I'm not patient enough to enjoy yoga, or tall enough to be great at basketball, but I do love to run - anywhere but on a treadmill. I love the sound of a rainstorm when I have no place to go, the feel of Soft Lips chap Stick on my lips, and the first peek of blue water as we round the mountains toward our favorite getaway in Bear Lake.
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