Resisting Her Rival

By: Sonya Weiss

Abby raised her eyebrows and swung her legs around the side of the desk to cross them. She swiveled back and forth in the chair. “That’s an expensive risk for you.”

His gaze dropped to her legs. She has great legs.

She cleared her throat and put her hand on her leg.

Risk…right… Nick shrugged. “A risk that I can take because I have no intention of losing.”

Abby opened her mouth to speak, and Nick sensed he was about to get the don’t-let-the-door-hit-you-on-your-way-out speech. “Wait. Think it over. You can’t make enough money in thirty days to buy a more expensive building, let alone pay for renovations too.”

She narrowed her eyes. “Let me get this straight. I win, I get to buy the building, and you toss in the renovations?”


“And if you win?”

“I get the building, and you and I start dating. We pick right back up where we left off in Florida,” he said in a soft voice, watching the play of emotions on her face.

She stared at him. “This is crazy.” Blinking, she looked away.


Her gaze returned to his. “When I win, there are no strings attached to the renovations?” Abby asked with a trace of suspicion in her voice.

“If you win, agreed.” Like that was going to happen. He’d give this bet everything he had. Get to date Abby, get the building, get his reputation repaired. His business would grow. It was perfect.

“And if I lose…”

“We’ll start by going away for a weekend and take it from there.” He held out his hand, waiting for hers. “Take a chance, Abby. What do you say?”

When she slid her hand into his after a long moment, Nick swallowed hard. He couldn’t believe he’d actually talked her into agreeing. Sliding his thumb across the back of her hand, he felt the shiver that ran through her. He didn’t understand why she kept denying the awareness between them.

She quickly pulled her hand free and rose to open the office door. “You’re going to lose, Nick. Other than tangling some bedsheets, you and I have nothing in common.”

Nick stood, slowly stretching to his full height. “That’s a damn good start.” He moved to the doorway, so close that he could inhale the sweet perfume she wore. The same perfume he remembered sleepily noticing on his own skin in the early hours. “So thirty days starts today.”

She propped a hand on the doorknob and frowned. “What are we going to tell our family and friends? That we had a one-night stand and now we’re spending time together because we’re at war over a building?”

He put two of his fingers up to her lips to silence her. They felt warm against his skin, and memories dive-bombed him like hungry seagulls at the beach. “What was, is, and will be between us is no one’s business but our own. We don’t have to tell them a damn thing, and they can draw their own conclusions.”

She frowned. “My family means well, but they can be…intense.”

“I can handle intense.” He took a chance and smoothed a strand of hair that had come loose from her ponytail, liking the way the silkiness of it felt against his hand. He brushed the side of her face, reacquainting himself with the contours. Encouraged when she didn’t pull away, he asked, “What time are you finished here?”


“I’ll meet you then.”

She didn’t look happy at the thought, but shrugged. “Okay.”

“I’ll pick you up. We’ll have dinner together.”

She folded her arms and leaned against the doorframe. “Anything else, bossy?”

“Yeah. This.” Nick bent his head and kissed her, lightly at first, and then deciding he might as well go for broke, he deepened the kiss.

Chapter Three

That evening, Abby rubbed the back of her neck, feeling the strain from the day’s events. She’d meant to push Nick away immediately when he’d kissed her. Instead, who knows how far it would have gone had the cook not signaled his presence with a discreet cough.

She hadn’t wanted Nick to stop, even though it was the wisest course of action. Sometimes she got so damned tired of being the cautious one, but she’d learned the hard way what throwing caution to the wind could do to a heart.

However spine-tingling Nick’s kisses were, she couldn’t dare change her mind about getting involved with him. Everything about Nick pointed to him being a good man, but at some point, he’d want more than she was capable of giving.

Pressing a hand to her stomach at a memory she quickly banished, Abby opened the rear door of the diner and set out a bag of trash, then turned to grab the second bag. She’d take these to the Dumpster and then head home to—

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