Book 9 in the USA Today bestselling Romancing Wisconsin series--and yes, Santa Butch is back!
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Tessa Sullivan figures she can handle a no-strings-attached fling with the handsome stranger she meets at her sister’s Spring wedding. After all, she doesn’t believe in love. Or so she tells herself.
Trevor Jackson’s painful past leaves him adamant he’ll never open his heart again. But a week of uncomplicated fun with the beautiful bridesmaid? Now that’s an arrangement he can work with.
All’s well that ends well—a mutually enjoyable relationship that will end as simply as it started—until someone breaks the rules and falls in love.
Gesturing toward her empty glass, Trevor asked, “Can I buy you another?”
“It’s an open bar, but no, thank you.” Red-gold curls bounced as she gave a quick shake of her head. One of the daisies came loose and tumbled past her shoulder. He caught it as she added, “I should’ve stopped at one.”
“Why didn’t you?”
“The first went down so smooth, I figured a second might carry me through to the end of the night.”
Brushing his thumb over the petals of the flower in his hand, he imagined her skin would feel equally soft. “Are you in love with the groom?”
“No.” Her shocked gaze collided with his, then she laughed again. “God no. I barely like him.”
He arched his eyebrows. “Couldn’t tell from your toast.”
Speculation filled her eyes. “What was wrong with my toast?”
“Nothing.” He placed his hand with the daisy against his chest, and her attention dropped to the flower as he added a touch of drama to his voice. “It was very touching. Inspiring. Heartwarming.”
This time the roll of her eyes was accompanied by an unladylike snort.
“If you didn’t mean it, then that was an Oscar-worthy performance.”
“Oh, I meant it.” She glanced toward the reception where the festivities were still in full swing. “But it certainly did not make it sound like I was in love with Nash.”
“And yet you’re out here drinking for a reason. Is it because you don’t like him?”
She shook her head. “I misspoke a moment ago. I like Nash. Now, anyway. Six months ago, not so much.”
Her gaze met his once more. “You don’t know the story?”
“No.” He did his best not to get lost in the rich blue of her eyes. It was hard with the way they stood out against her fair, lightly freckled skin, framed by long, frosted lashes and shimmery shadow that complimented her spring dress. Up close, the whole combination made her look somewhat like a fairy.
A sexy fairy whose daisy-laden, disheveled, reddish-gold locks suggested she’d been rolling around in May flowers, even though it was only mid-April. He knew the tumbled curls were a result of her enthusiastic dancing earlier, but he much preferred the alternative image his imagination provided.
Suspicion replaced speculation when he didn’t answer her question. “You’re not a friend of the groom?”
“And I know you’re not a friend of the bride. So, how did you hear my toast?” Blue eyes narrowed for a second before she accused, “Did you crash my sister’s wedding?”
He grinned, dropped the daisy onto the bar, and lifted his watered down scotch for a sip. The fairy was very protective of her family.
“Wow. Not even a hint of remorse.” Indignation filled her expression as she slid off the stool. “You need to leave.”
“Relax.” His grin widened as he set his glass down. “I promise I won’t steal the gifts.”
“Damn right you won’t.”
She snatched her handbag and spun toward the dance floor, presumably to go round up the cavalry. Trevor caught her arm before she could storm away. “Now, hold on. I was invited, just not by the bride and groom.”
He hesitated, distracted by the feel of her beneath his fingertips. Her tense posture revealed strength, yet her skin was soft as velvet. Like the daisy petals. Would the rest of her be as silky smooth?
That thought sent his heated blood rushing south, and he reluctantly released her when she pulled free. She crossed her arms over her chest, waiting for an answer.
“I’m in town doing a bit of, ah, research, and the lodge owners invited me to check out the facilities while in use.”
“Mark and Janelle?”
Her fingers rubbed at the spot where he’d touched her, but her chin lifted in clear challenge. “What’s their last name?”
“Riley. The groom is a cousin, I believe.”
Her stance relaxed at his ready reply, and she nodded. When she moved back toward her seat, he shifted out of her way. That one step bumped him into someone behind him. He murmured an apology, turning to see the blond man who’d been watching them earlier from across the bar.
A sideways step put some space between them, but the guy only had eyes for the woman in the sage dress. “Hey, Tessa.”
“Mike,” she replied. Her lips were smiling, but Trevor noted it didn’t reach her eyes or her voice.
“I was wondering if—”
“Sorry, but we were just going to dance.”
Trevor blinked, but otherwise managed to hide his surprise. He couldn’t control the slight jolt when her fingers linked with his, locking their hands together. Her skin was warm against his, spreading heat up his arm and beyond.
The guy glanced toward the reception hall, eyebrows raised in disbelief. “To the Chicken Dance?”
Trevor’s brain registered the obnoxious music as her blue eyes flickered. Her smile dimmed, and her fingers tightened.
Well, shit. I’m going to regret this in about thirty seconds.
“Of course,” he said to Mike. “Who doesn’t love the Chicken Dance?”
He turned for the dance floor, tugging his spring fairy along in his wake.