The people of Vista del Mar were about to pay. Now that Rafe Cameron had made his fortune, he was out to settle old debts. Except he hadn't counted on running into Sarah Richards--his feisty ex-flame who was determined to put an end to his feud with their hometown.
Secretly amused that Sarah had turned into such a do-gooder, Rafe allowed himself to consider her pleas. But nothing, not even the thawing of his own frozen heart, would make this CEO amend his plans. Until one revelation changed everything.
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May 31, 2011
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Excerpt from Acquired- The CEO's Small-Town Bride by Catherine Mann
A veteran waitress at the Vista del Mar Beach and Tennis Club, Sarah Richards knew the number one rule for servers: never spill hot coffee on a man's cojones.
For the first time in fourteen years, she was tempted to risk her job.
Sarah tucked a signed receipt into the register while her gaze tracked along the lunch crowd to a table by the window. Where he sat. Her old high school boyfriend.
He settled into a chair across from his stepbrother, Chase Larson, seemingly oblivious to everyone else whispering about him even five months after his fateful homecoming. Why couldn't he have turned into a troll? Instead, the years had been so very kind to him. He looked even better than when they'd dated during their senior year. And he'd been mighty fine, unforgettable eye candy even then.
Rafe's blond hair had darkened to more of a tawny shade, his blue eyes icy-sharp even across the bustling dining room. Thick muscles roped his frame with a maturity that had only been hinted at during their teenage years when she'd wrapped herself around him in the back of his El Camino. Her traitorous body turned warm and tingly now, as it had then.
Apparently she hadn't made as large an impact on him. In all the time since he'd come back, Rafe Cameron hadn't spoken to her even once. At some point the man could have at least stuck out his hand for a "Hi, great to see you again" kind of greeting. She might have thought he was going so far as to avoid her. But it appeared she had become an insignificant part of his past.
The self-absorbed jackass deserved a pot of coffee in his lap.
Even worse than thumbing his nose at her, he'd stomped on the dreams of everyone in Vista del Mar. When the hometown poor boy returned as a mogul, everyone had hoped he would save the microchip factory, the small California community's lifeblood. But no. Last month, the Seaside Gazette had run an article announcing Rafe's plans to halt operations at the plant.
Just thinking about that expose in the newspaper... Anger steamed to life hard and fast at the prospect of her hardworking parents losing their jobs. She slammed the register drawer with extra oomph. And in seconds she would speak to Rafe "Judas" Cameron since bad luck had placed him at one of her tables.
Eyes off the coffee, sister.
She needed this job. She didn't have a family trust fund cushion like the patrons dining here.
A quietly cleared throat interrupted her thoughts. Heaven forbid somebody would catch her gawking at Rafe and mistake her curiosity for rekindled interest. Expecting her boss or another waitress, Sarah spun around to find her grandmother, arms crossed and brows high.
Busted. Nobody got jack past Kathleen Richards. Best to play this cool though.
Sarah met green eyes the same shade as her own. Looking at Grandma Kat was like peering into a fast-forward mirror of herself a few decades from now, with the help of a little auburn hair dye. They even shared fiery natures, impulsive to the end. Although Kathleen edged closer to the flamboyant side as years went by. Sarah adored her, this woman who'd known the secret wishes of a preschooler that wanted roller skates rather than a china doll.
"Hi, Grandma Kat. Are you here for lunch?" She sidestepped a waitress balancing a tray. The scent of chlorine wafted in through the open French doors where some patrons ate lunch outside under sleek black umbrellas.
Kathleen had come to the exclusive club often during her tenure as personal assistant to Ronald Worth, prior owner of the microchip factory. "I think not. It's more than a little out of my price range now that I'm retired on a fixed income...