His Hometown Girl by Karen Rock







He’d always managed to best her…

Jodi Chapman will do whatever it takes to get top care for her autistic son. If that means going home and convincing local farmers to sell their land, so be it. Even if her biggest opponent, childhood rival Daniel Gleason, is equally determined to convince farmers to buy into his co-op plan. And he’s not playing fair.

Facing off against Daniel is the last thing Jodi wants. The attraction that’s always fueled their competitiveness is as strong as ever and just as distracting. But with both their futures on the line, and years of distrust between them, how can they ever be on the same side?

 PREORDER

She felt her joints loosen and she relaxed against him. “So you’re okay with us being together, just for this summer?”

He tucked a curl behind her ear and the feel of his touch made her shiver. It was so quiet, she could hear every breath he took, felt it vibrate through him in the cramped bottom of the boat.

“Let’s enjoy every moment together until it’s our last.”

“But that moment isn’t today,” she said, so grateful that he’d agreed. She wanted to be with him until she couldn’t. It was that simple.

His hand smoothed the length of her hair as he gazed into her eyes, his expression tender and full of longing. “No. It’s not.” The words sounded so reverent they could have been a prayer.

His fingers trailed down her cheek to her lips, outlining the shape of her mouth. He bent down, his lips against her cheek, brushing it lightly. Shivers ran through her whole body, making her tremble. He brushed his mouth against the hollow of her temple then traced the line of her jawbone.

The aching anticipation for his kiss was suddenly too much and she reached up and pulled his mouth to hers. He kissed her gently, carefully, but it wasn’t gentleness she wanted, not when time was fleeting. She knotted her fists in his shirt, and pulled him closer. He groaned softly, low in his throat, and then his arms circled her, gathering her against him as the boat rocked beneath them. The small possibility of falling into the water vanished as soon as it occurred to her.

All that existed was Daniel. She could feel his warmth burning through his clothes and hers. She ran her fingers along his arm—soft skin over lean muscle, a scar like a thin wire on his biceps. It was an imperfection that made him seem even more perfect. He fumbled as he pushed her heavy hair aside to kiss her ear. She didn’t think she’d ever seen his hands unsteady before.

She trailed her nose across his jaw, inhaling the clean smell of summer countryside, of him. He released a pent-up breath, the sound like music. Her pulse tapped a fast beat and her breath quickened with it. She stroked his cheek and kissed every inch of his neck until he moaned again. Or maybe she’d made the sound; they seemed to share each breath, each heartbeat. It felt as if the universe disappeared and all that remained was the two of them, holding each other close.

“I forgot it was like this,” she said when Daniel pulled back and looked down at her. It seemed as if the stars hurtled down around her head like a rain of silver tinsel.

“It wasn’t.” He kissed her nose, then traced the line of her cheek with his fingertip, a dreamlike intensity in his gaze. “This is better.”

And she never wanted it to end. She felt feverishly alive, every nerve ending jangling as they watched the sky, enjoying the private moment.

“I agree,” she sighed, nestling against his side. “I wish we could stay like this forever.” When he toyed with her earlobe, she tried, unsuccessfully, to settle her heart back in her body. She watched the stars shimmer above and it also felt as though they were celebrating.

“Me, too,” he said softly in her ear. He captured her lips in a kiss so fierce and full of longing that it felt like a love song.

Karen Rock has adored romance since receiving Harlequin Presents books from her grandmother each summer. She formed her Young Adult writing partnership, J.K. Rock- pseudonym for the CAMP BOYFRIEND series, with her sister-in-law and Blaze author, Joanne Rock in 2011. When Karen heard of a call for submissions to Heartwarming, Harlequin’s latest line, she was inspired by the possibilities of writing unforgettable, deeply romantic, tender love stories that mothers would feel comfortable sharing with their daughters. When she’s not writing, Karen loves scouring estate sales for vintage books, cooking her grandmother’s family recipes, hiking the ‘high peaks’, and redesigning her gardens. She lives in the Adirondack Mountain region with her husband, daughter, and two Cavalier King cocker spaniels who have yet to understand the concept of “fetch” though they know a lot about love.

For more information about Karen’s upcoming books, check out her website at http://www.karenrock.com, Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/karenrockwrites or follow her on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/karenrock5 . She’d love to hear from you!

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