Author: Jill Shalvis


“Yes!”


Ah, hell. Out of all the things she could have said, this was the one that got to him, and he stroked a hand over her jaw. “How’s that going?”


“Right now? Not so well, actually.”


“Tara—”


But she backed up and shook her head sharply. She didn’t want his help, or his sympathy. Fair enough. He didn’t want to get tangled up in this again anyway.


At least not outside of the bedroom.


“Tara?” Logan called from down the hall.


Ford tensed.


Tara closed her eyes. “Just a minute, Logan!”


“Remember my condition,” Ford said softly.


“Don’t ignore you.”


“That’s right. And another.”


“Ford—” She started to pull away but he grabbed her.


“Don’t pull what you did last time,” he said. “The running away thing.”


“We were seventeen and stupid.”


“I’ll give you the stupid part.”


Her mouth tightened. “I didn’t exactly just run off.”


“Bullshit.” He risked her temper by pulling her in close. He couldn’t help himself.


Her breath caught in panic. “Ford! I mean it, I can’t do this with you. The first time nearly killed me. Let’s just learn from our mistakes, and cut our losses now.”


Yeah. Excellent plan. Cut their losses. It made perfect sense, especially given that the last time Tara was here in Lucky Harbor things didn’t exactly work out for her—in no small part thanks to him. Chances were good that she’d get the hell out of Dodge sooner than later anyway. And that was okay. He knew she deserved a hell of a lot more than to be stuck in a place with nothing but bad memories.


Of which he was one. The biggest baddest memory she had, no doubt. He pulled on his clothes and without another word gave her what she wanted, what he told himself he wanted as well. He walked out the door and down the hallway, nodding as he came upon the man he recognized from the racing world.


Logan Perrish was just shy of six feet, dark-haired and dark-eyed. He was in more than decent shape and looked designer ready for a cover shoot. A good match for the elegant, sophisticated Tara, which made Ford want to shove the guy’s ass out the door.


Logan looked at Ford, then purposely switched his gaze to where Ford had come from, obviously the bedroom. “Are you… a guest?” he asked. “I didn’t think that the inn was open yet.”


Ford opened his mouth to answer, but Tara, coming from the bedroom as well, beat him to it.


“It’s actually going to be a B&B,” she said. “But no, he’s not a guest. And neither are you. You can’t just show up. Did you even knock before you broke in?” She wore her now-wrinkled dress, no shoes. There was a definite glow about her, one Ford took some pride in since he’d put it there.


“Yes, I knocked,” Logan said. “You didn’t answer.” He was staring at Ford. “I didn’t realize you’d have company. I was going to wait for you to get home.”


Ford stared back.


Tara let out a sound that was part disbelief and part irritation. Ford recognized the irritation since he tended to bring that out in her a lot.


“You didn’t realize I’d have company,” she repeated slowly. “Even though it’s been… what, months since we last talked?”


“We always go that long.” Logan looked confused. “Is something wrong?”


“No,” Tara said. “I’m only having flashbacks to why our marriage failed.”


Logan jerked his head in Ford’s direction. “Who is he?”


The guy who just did your ex-wife, asshole, Ford thought. Maybe he didn’t have a future with Tara, but it would appear he wasn’t a big enough man to want her to have a future with Logan, either.


Tara looked at Ford and opened her mouth. Then closed it again. Clearly she had no idea how to explain him. “Ford Walker,” she finally said. “Ford, Logan.”


Logan held out his hand. “I’m Tara’s husband.”


“Ex-husband.” Tara smacked Logan in the chest. “What’s the matter with you? And why are you here again?”


“I missed you.”


Tara shocked Ford by bursting out laughing. “Come on,” she finally said, still smiling. “Truth.”


Logan returned the smile with good grace and some chagrin. “I did miss you.” He stepped close, but Tara put up a hand and took a step back from him.


“Logan, when I left you, it took you a month to even realize I was gone. A month, Logan. So what’s this really about?”


Logan looked at Ford.


Then Tara looked at Ford, too. Clearly the public forum portion of the evening was over.


Fuck it. If she didn’t want to kick her ex-husband to the curb, it was none of his business, and he headed to the door.


Chapter 9


“Today is the last day of some of your life. Don’t waste it.”


TARA DANIELS


Tara heard the door shut behind Ford as he left and felt a quick stab of pain in her chest. What would it take for him to fight for her, she wondered. For him to take a stand and stick?


More than sex, apparently. But secretly she’d hoped for exactly that, for something, anything, to show her that this was more than just a good time in the sack, that…


That they deserved another shot.


“New boyfriend?” Logan asked.


She nearly snapped out a sarcastic answer, but as he’d asked quietly and utterly without judgment, she found herself being honest. “More like an old one,” she told him. It felt so odd to see him, fit and rangy and beautiful as ever. She waited for the inevitable heart pang at just the sight of him, but all she felt was the ache for what had once been.


And what hadn’t been.


“You once told you me that you’d only had one serious boyfriend before me,” he said. “From when you were young.”


“Yes.”


Logan’s eyes widened. “And that’s him? That’s the one you…?”


She grimaced. Logan knew about the baby. He’d been the only one she’d ever told, because she hadn’t wanted that kind of secret between them after they’d married. “Yes.”


“Are you together now?” Logan asked.


“No.” But as soon as the word left her mouth, she wished it back—she and Ford weren’t together, so why the little stab of regret and the uncomfortable feeling that somehow she’d just been disloyal? “I don’t really know,” she corrected.


“Okay,” Logan said, nodding to himself. “Unexpected detour.”


She shook her head, baffled by his presence here, so far from his world. “Why aren’t you off somewhere racing for fortune and fame?”


“I’m taking a season off.”


This made no sense. Racing was everything to Logan. Everything. Plus, it was difficult if not downright impossible to just “take a season off.” There were contractual obligations to owners and sponsors to deal with, pit crews and garage staff to keep on the books. “How can you just…”


Logan shoved the sleeve of his shirt back, revealing his arm. And the brace on it. “That last crash caused some serious ligament damage. I’m facing a couple of surgeries, which means I’m a liability right now on the course. They’ve hired a replacement for me. Indefinitely.”


“Oh, Logan,” Tara breathed, knowing how much racing meant to him, and what not racing meant, too.


“It’s okay,” he said. “I don’t mind the time off.”


“Why?”


“Because the racing world cost me something I miss. You, Tara. It cost me you.”


Tara stared at him. There’d been a time when she’d have given anything to hear him say that: her so-called career, her right arm, anything. But things were different now. She was different now. “Logan—”


He shook his head. “Don’t say anything. Just think about it. Think about me, okay?”


She let out a low laugh and sank to the couch, stunned. “It took me two years to get over you. I can’t just make all that happened between us vanish with a snap of my fingers.”


“I know, and there’s no rush,” Logan assured her. “I’m going to be here all summer, so—”


“All summer? What do you mean, all summer?”


He grinned. “To win you back, of course.” He knelt down in front of her and flashed the grin that had once been panty-melting. “No decisions now, okay? Like I said, we have all summer.”


Oh, God. “You can’t just hang around all summer.”


“Why not?”


“Because…” She had no idea. “What will you do with yourself?”


He leaned in and kissed her cheek. “I’ll figure it out,” he said. She kept him from moving in closer with a hand to his chest. “And,” he went on, looking amused at her boundaries, “it’s a busy time for you with the opening of the inn. I can help.”


The man had two personal assistants to do his every bidding. He didn’t do his own laundry, cooking, housekeeping, accounting… anything. “How exactly can you help?”


“Hey, I’m new and improved.” He shot her his most charming smile. “You don’t know this about me yet, but you’ll see.”


“Logan—”


“No rush, Tara. I’m a patient guy.”


And then, like Ford, he vanished into the night.


The next morning was damp and foggy. Tara got up at the crack of dawn to walk. Probably she should run, but she hated to run. Her carefully constructed life was going to hell in a handbasket, and she was already planning on inhaling crap food by the bundle. She needed to burn some calories as a preventative measure or she’d be forced to switch to loose sweats in no time.


Tara walked into town and down the length of the pier, waving at Lance, who was hosing down the area out front of his ice cream shop.

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