“Five … four … three … two … one … Happy New Year!”
“Happy New Year,” Derek murmured, his gaze roaming over her face.
“And to you,” Eve whispered. She grew sad as she felt this sweet, unexpected moment coming to an end.
But instead of releasing her, Derek slowly lowered his head and touched his lips to hers. The caress was warm and gentle. He made her feel delicate and special. Before she could reason herself out of the impulse, Eve kissed him back.
With a sigh of relief or gratitude, he slid his arms around her again, only this time he brought her closer. Nevertheless, it felt as right as when they were dancing. Then he slanted his mouth over hers, seeking a deeper connection …
One of my favorite approaches to use for a story is when the hero and heroine are already acquainted, but have some wrong perceptions about each other. Enter Eve Easton and Derek Roland, former neighbors in Texas, who find themselves at the same New Year’s Eve party in Colorado. Eve remembered FBI Special Agent-In-Charge Roland as professional, serious to the point of intimidating, and virtually oblivious of her existence, although they share a simpatico for being the rejected parties after their spouses have an affair and marry each other!
The surprise of Eve’s life isn’t just learning that they’re neighbors again, or that neither she nor Derek are done dealing with their respective divorces, but that she’s finally met the man of her dreams—and that Derek hasn’t been quite as oblivious of her existence as she’d believed. Now, as the youngest sibling in her family, she has to figure out if she’s gained the independence and maturity to be the ever-after love of a man like Derek.
As always, I’m mixing some real locations with some created just for the story. JW Marriott Cherry Creek, and the boutiques at Cherry Creek North, as well as the restaurants at Larimer Square actually do exist, and if you check online, you can enjoy more visuals to help you enjoy Eve and Derek’s romance.
Thank you for your continued support, and know that you can always contact me through my website, www.helenrmyers.com.
With warm regards,
About the Author
HELEN R. MYERS is a collector of two- and four-legged strays, and lives deep in the Piney Woods of East Texas. She cites cello music and bonsai gardening as favorite relaxation pastimes, and still edits in her sleep—an accident, learned while writing her first book. A bestselling author of diverse themes and focus, she is a three-time RITA® Award nominee, winning for Navarrone in 1993.
of Her Life
Helen R. Myers
For dear friend, writer, horsewoman
M. Gail Reed who lost her beloved husband during the writing of this book. “Doc Mike” one of the finest, most respected veterinarians Texas A&M ever produced. “Death be not proud …”
Of course, she didn’t expect any. Eve Easton had come alone into the kitchen and was reaching into the commercial-size refrigerator with its double, glass doors to pull out the carved-crystal punch bowl, made heavier by pounds of chipped ice and boiled shrimp. But just when she turned toward the counter, the unwieldy thing had started slipping from her grasp.
Miracle of miracles, strong arms wrapped around hers in support, and a mellow, male voice assured her, “Got it.”
Too relieved to have avoided catastrophe to yelp from surprise that someone had actually heard her, Eve held her breath as, together, she and her mystery hero jointly hoisted the thing to the counter. Unfortunately, their combined momentum made it land with a sharp thud.
“Don’t shatter,” she entreated the bowl. “Glass shards aren’t a digestible garnish.” That was the problem with helping out here; everything in the place was genuine, gorgeous and breakable.
“Do you always reprimand inanimate objects?”
As her foolishness sunk in, she chuckled self-consciously—feeling increasingly so for their awkward positioning. “Oh, ignore me. I’ve spent most of my life either swimming upstream, ignoring logic, or otherwise trying to defy physics.”
“Eve? Eve Prescott … It is you.”
Already remaining stiff enough to shatter herself, Eve willed herself to faint. She was 99.99 percent sure she wasn’t dreaming, so there was no other escape from this moment. And the man who held her against the counter so tightly that they were as close as two people could get—short of sexual intimacy—sounded eerily similar to one of three people she’d hoped never to see again in this lifetime. The fact that he addressed her by her married name confirmed the impossible had happened.
God, leaving Texas wasn’t enough? In case you’ve forgotten, you don’t let Southwest fly to Mars yet.
Lifting her gaze to stare at their reflection in the glass cabinets at the end of the kitchen counter, she managed to eke out on a thin breath, “It’s Easton now, Mr. Roland. I took back my maiden name.” She didn’t dare turn her head what with him being so close, his breath already a lover’s caress against her ear and cheek.
“Of course. Sorry.”
It was then that his gaze lifted, seeming to follow hers, and they were staring at each other in the glass. “What are you doing here?” she asked him.
“I was invited—well—by a friend of an invited guest. Then by our hostess herself when my friend checked with her.”
Responding literally to her question also confirmed her conclusion—like she needed that. Derek Roland was nothing if not a stick-to-the-facts guy. What else would you expect from a government man? “I meant what are you doing in Colorado? Wait. First, would you mind—?” She bobbed her head to the right, signaling him to let go and give her some space. “If we get any closer, you’ll be able to describe my birthmark.”
With an understated clearing of his throat, he did exactly that, stepping around the kitchen bar to grasp the back of a brass-and-wood chair instead. “I live here now. Apparently you do, as well, or are you visiting relatives? You don’t resemble either of the Graingers.”
Wearing a new champagne-colored cashmere dress that felt like a second skin—something she intended to let Rae Grainger know was not her best wardrobe recommendation to date—Eve ran her hands over her hips where she could still feel his body heat. Yes, it was him—Derek Roland. Mr. Tall, Groomed and Stern. Even the perpetual frown between his eyebrows was exactly as she remembered; nevertheless, he was an attractive man, and she didn’t actually hold any resentment toward him. To be fair, she’d concluded him to be as much an injured party to what had occurred as she was. His offense was simply to be here and, therefore, was a reminder of the humiliation she’d fled Texas to forget.
“I’m not related to either Rae or Gus,” she replied, acutely aware of the visual study he was conducting of her. “Rae is my boss. Denver Events Planning.”
“From PTA fairy godmother and Booster Club organizer to events planner. That makes all the sense in the world and probably keeps you as busy as ever. You have to love the wardrobe upgrade?”
“It’s … different.” And keeping busy was the idea. She’d needed to stay as active as possible during her awake hours so she didn’t drown in a pity party for one when she should be sleeping.