In this classic love story from #1 New York Times bestselling author Tami Hoag, fire meets ice when a Yankee heartthrob falls for a resistant proper Southern belle determined to guard her heart.
Katie Quaid could never refuse a dare. It was the quality that had once made her a world-class equestrian. And it was the reason she'd been elected to introduce herself to Briarwood's intimidatingly gorgeous new resident. It took one week to make Nick Leone the focus of the Virginia town's rumor mill. So far he was a CIA agent, a male model, a fugitive--maybe all three.
Whatever Nick was, Katie learned one thing right away: she liked him. And that made him the greatest danger she'd faced since the accident that had ended her riding career. In the five years since, she'd buried herself in her business of restoring historic homes, afraid to share her scars with any man--scars that had destroyed more than one dream. Nick had disappointments of his own, but after meeting Katie, he sensed that fate had a better plan all along. And soon he would pose her with the greatest dare of all--to love again.
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January 26, 2009
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Excerpt from Rumor Has It by Tami Hoag
Chapter One "He can't be single," Mary Margaret McSwain said, adjusting the focus on her binoculars as she peered at the store across the street. "He's too good-looking. It's McSwain's Law: If a man's gorgeous, he has to be married, gay, or a serial killer." Zoe Baylor shoved a book of wallpaper samples out of her way and leaned across the oak table, bracing her long dark hands against the window frame as she tried to get a better look without benefit of magnifying lenses. "Mary Margaret," Katie Quaid called in a warning tone as she struggled in the back door of the store, her tiny frame weaving under the weight of books of drapery swatches. After the day she'd had, she wouldn't have refused a hand, but her friends seemed too preoccupied to offer. "I don't want to hear another one of your stories about serial killers. Mrs. Pruitt changed her mind again about the color of the guest room. If you describe to me one more brutal way to do away with somebody, no one is liable to find Mrs. Pruitt for a long, long time." Katie dropped the drapery samples on her desk with a horrendous crash. Neither of the women staring out the window so much as flinched. The tip of Zoe's nose dotted the plate glass in front of her like that of a hungry kid looking in a bakery window. Katie's business partner, known as Maggie to her friends, was kneeling on her chair, her well-rounded bottom sticking up as she leveled a pair of binoculars at some point across the street. "Maggie, what on earth are you doing?" Katie asked. She knew her friend already had a solidly established reputation for being a flake. Spying on people with binoculars was not going to improve matters. "I'm spying on the Adonis in the store across the street." Maggie sighed and moaned, never lowering her binoculars. "Haven't you heard? That old building was sold two days ago." "Who bought it?" Maggie sat back with her legs tucked under her and offered the binoculars to Katie, deftly untangling the neck strap from the ends of her bobbed red hair. The smile that tilted her mouth was challenging. "See for yourself." Katie rolled her eyes and propped a fist on her slender hip. "I will not stoop to window peeping." "Chicken." Muttering under her breath, Katie grabbed the field glasses from her friend and raised them to her eyes. Would she always be such a sucker for a dare? Probably. It had something to do with being only five feet one and seven-eighths inches tall. Being the first one to take a dare had always been her way of compensating for her lack of stature. That she was twenty-seven and had long since considered herself a grown woman had no effect on the trait. "If this isn't the silliest thing you've . . ." The rest of her breath washed out of her on the softest of sighs as she focused the binoculars. The dark T-shirt might have been painted on him. Even looking through the window of her store and the bay window of the store across the street, Katie could see the outline of his chest muscles, a wide expanse of hard, rippling pectorals. He was dancing as he washed the inside of the window. His breathtaking chest tapered to a narrow waist, and then to hips that were gently gyrating in time to the tune he was listening to on his headphones. He had the kind of body that was made for faded jeans—a flat belly, a perfectly rounded male fanny, slim hips, and muscular thighs. Before Katie could dwell on any other part of his lower anatomy, she jerked the glasses up to his face. She might have lost her breath again, except she hadn't been breathing. Inky black hair tumbled onto his forehead, lending his male beauty a roguish quality. Maggie hadn't been far wrong calling him an Adonis. His was the kind of face ancient Greek sculptors would have fought over t