Christmas with his real family…
And his fake fiancé!
Developer Tate Duncan has a family he never knew, and only the sympathy and sexiness of yoga instructor Hayden Green offers escape. So he entices her into spending Christmas with him as he meets his birth parents…posing as his fiancée! But when they give in to dangerously real attraction, their ruse—and the secrets they’ve been keeping—could implode!
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Book 4, The Bachelor Pact
Featuring Tate Duncan & Hayden Green
Watch an Excerpt
*giveaway ended 8/11/19
Read an excerpt
She tilted her head, sage interest in whatever he might say next. Wavy dark brown hair surrounded a cherubic heart-shaped face, her deep brown eyes at once tender and inviting. Inviting. There was that word again. Unbidden, his gaze roamed over her tanned skin, her V-necked collar and delicate collarbone. How had he not noticed before? She was alarmingly beautiful.
“I’m sorry.” Her palm landed on his forearm. “I’m prying. You don’t have to say anything.”
She moved to pull her hand away but he captured her fingers in his, studying her shiny, clear nails and admiring the olive shade of her skin and the way her hand offset his own pinker hue.
“There are aspects of my life I was certain of a month and a half ago,” he said, idly stroking her hand with his thumb. “I was certain that my parents’ names were William and Marion Duncan.” He offered a sad smile as Hayden’s eyebrows dipped in confusion. “I suppose they technically still are my parents, but they’re also not. I’m adopted.”
Her plush mouth pulled into a soft frown, but she didn’t interrupt.
“I recently learned that the agency”—or more accurately, the kidnappers—“lied about my birth parents. Turns out they’re alive and living in London. And I have a brother.” He paused before clarifying, “A twin brother.”
Hayden’s lashes fluttered. “Wow.”
“Fraternal, but he’s a good-looking bastard.”
She squeezed his fingers. There for him in spite of owing him nothing. That should’ve been Claire’s job.
“I was certain that I was the owner/operator of Spright Island’s premier, thriving wellness community,” he stated in his radio-commercial voice. “That, thank God, hasn’t changed. SWC is a sanctuary of sorts. There is a different vibe here that you can’t find inland.”
“I know exactly what you mean. I stepped foot in my studio downstairs that first time, and it had this positive energy about it. Does that sound crazy?”
No crazier than being kidnapped in another country and having no memory of it.
“It doesn’t sound crazy.” He took pride in what he’d built. He’d poured himself, body and soul, into what he created, so it wasn’t surprising some of that had leaked into the energy of this place.
“I was also certain I was going to be married to Claire Waterson.”
At the mention of a fiancée, Hayden tugged her hand from his and wrapped her fingers around her mug. He didn’t think it was because she was thirsty.
“When I found out about my family tree, she bailed on me,” he told her. “I didn’t expect that.”
He raked his hands through his damp hair, unable to stop the flow of words now that he’d undammed them. “You invited me in for tea thinking I had something on my mind. Bet you didn’t expect a full-blown identity crisis.”
Her eyebrows dipped in sympathy.
“I just need… I need…” Dropping his head in his hands, he trailed off, muttering to the floor, “Christ, I have no idea what I need.”
He felt the couch shift and dip, and then Hayden’s hand was on his back, moving in comforting circles.
“I’ve had my share of family drama, trust me. But nothing like what you’re going through. It’s okay for you to feel unsure. Lost.”
He faced her. This close, he could smell her soft lavender perfume and see the gold flecks in her dark eyes. He hadn’t planned on coming here, or on sitting on her couch and spilling his heart out. He and Hayden were friendly, not friends. But her comforting touch on his back, the way her words seemed to soothe the recently broken part of him…
Maybe what he needed was her.
He leaned forward, his eyes focused on her mouth and the satisfaction kissing her would bring.
“Tate.” She jerked away, sobering him instantly.
“Sorry. I’m sorry.” What the hell was he thinking? That Hayden invited him in to make out on her couch? That sharing his sob story would somehow turn her on? As if any woman wanted to be with a man who was in pieces.
He stood to leave. She stood with him.
“I shouldn’t have come here.” He shoved his feet in his shoes, grateful for the leather slip-ons. At least there wouldn’t be an awkward interlude while he tied his laces. “Thank you for listening. I’m really very sorry.”
“Wait.” She arrived at the coatrack as he was stuffing his arms into his still-wet leather coat.
“I’m going to go.” He turned to apologize again, but was damn near knocked off his feet when Hayden pushed to her toes, cuffed the back of his neck, and pulled his mouth down to hers.