ONE LITTLE LIE. A WHOLE LOTTA TROUBLE.
Moments after meeting the most gorgeous guy ever, Gabby Winters promptly gets stung by a zillion yellow jackets and falls-not gracefully-into a stream. Yup, Ethan Hunter is trouble with a capital “hot,” and Gabby definitely needs to keep her distance. Except in the small town of Haven, there’s nowhere to hide from Ethan’s sexy, infectious grin . . . and all the residents are conspiring against her.
At the center of the town’s matchmaking is Ethan’s grandmother, who’s convinced their relationship is a done deal. Rather than break her heart, Gabby and Ethan find themselves cornered into pretending to be falling in love. The problem: there’s serious sizzling attraction between them. And if this charade continues, they won’t fool just the entire town – they might fool themselves too . . .
“I’m glad you brought me out here.” Gabby stepped over a tree root, lifting her skirt with her free hand so that she didn’t trip.
Ethan squeezed her left hand. “Me, too. The rock face is right up this way.”
They came around a corner and the path opened up to a big rock looming at least thirty feet into the air. There were some creases and cracks in it, but how anyone could scale it with only their bare hands—or why they would want to—was completely beyond her. “You can seriously climb that?”
“I can climb it. Ryan can kick its ass, though.”
“Okay then. Show me.”
With a cocky grin, he reached up and hooked his hand into a crack in the rock. He pulled himself up, his biceps flexing most impressively as he climbed. Holy shit, that was sexy. Soon she was left with nothing but a view of his very fine ass. And by the time he’d reached the top, she was so turned on, she could hardly stand it.
“So?” he called from the top. “You going to join me or what?”
“Not a chance. But I will enjoy watching you climb back down.”
“Gotta give the lady what she wants.” His fine ass reappeared over the edge as he started back down. He took his time on the descent, and if she wasn’t mistaken, he might have reached for a few hand and footholds that made him flex his muscles a little more than was strictly necessary.
“You’re a show-off,” she said when his feet were back on solid ground.
He was a bit out of breath, his bronzed skin glistening with sweat, trademark smile still in place. “No clue what you’re talking about.”
“No? You really needed to reach all the way to that notch?” She gestured above them. “Instead of the one closer to your shoulder that maybe wouldn’t have shown off your lovely biceps quite as well?”
He flexed for her. “What, these old things? And for the record, I totally needed the leverage.”
“Mm-hmm.” For some reason, she put her hand on his biceps, and oh crap, that was a mistake. His skin was hot beneath her fingers, and his blue eyes blazed into hers.
“Killing me, Gabby,” he murmured. “Killing me.”
His words sent a bolt of red-hot desire right through her, and she must have made a sound because Ethan sucked in a breath, his gaze locked on her lips. His hands settled on her hips, burning into her skin through the thin fabric of her skirt.
A quick, sweet read!
Run to You is the first book in the Risking it All series after a prequel short story, Rock with You –though the couple from that one is in this story briefly, it’s not necessary to have already read their book to enjoy this one. It takes place in the small town of Haven, North Carolina, where we are introduced to Ethan Hunter and his best friends and business partners, Ryan Blake and Mark Dalton, the soon-to-be owners of Off-the-Grid Adventures.
Ethan and Gabby, a software designer who has come to Haven looking for a temporary escape, have a horribly painful (for Gabby) meet cute, and feel an instant attraction. Neither of them are looking for a relationship, though–Ethan has major hangups in that arena thanks to a less-than-ideal parental experience, and Gabby is fresh out of a bad relationship with an abusive and controlling ex and wants zero romantic entanglements until she feels more confident in her ability to take control of her own life once again.
Fortunately for us, fate–and Ethan’s grandmother–have other ideas!
Ethan and Gabby embroil themselves in a fake relationship–it’s pretty standard stuff where the troupe is concerned–and of course it ends up leading to the real thing. Naturally it takes both of them a while to 1) realize what’s going on and 2) actually admit it to each other–otherwise we wouldn’t have much of a story, right? (One of them nearly waits until the last page of the last chapter–grrr–fortunately, there’s an adorable epilogue added on to make up for that character’s total and utter cluelessness. 😉
There are a few threads left hanging in the story–Gabby’s parents’ attitude about Ethan, for example–but it’s hard to get too worked up about them. Basically this is a cute story peopled with interesting characters in a world I’m looking forward to visiting again and again. If you’re looking for a light and sweet story with plenty of series potential, look no further!
Rating: 4 stars / B+
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Rachel Lacey is a contemporary romance author and semi-reformed travel junkie. She’s been climbed by a monkey on a mountain in Japan, gone scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, and camped out overnight in New York City for a chance to be an extra in a movie. These days, the majority of her adventures take place on the pages of the books she writes. She lives in warm and sunny North Carolina with her husband, son, and a variety of rescue pets.