Title: Mike’s Way Back
Author: Amy Gregory
September 30th, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Tour: Irresistible Reads Book
Detective Mike Sterling walked away from his dream job telling himself it was to honor the promise he’d made his mother, while lying in a
emergency room. A year later, he’s
still fighting the demons that followed him back to his boyhood town. Chicago
Taryn Watts is an award-winning designer, going from project to project, living from a suitcase. Her plan for Renlend
Mike is drawn to Taryn, her passion for her work and her stunning beauty left him breathless, but what surprises him most is the peace he feels when he’s near her. Maybe it’s because Taryn is a temporary addition to his town and his secret is safe, or maybe it’s because she makes him feel safe. Mike knows he can’t keep up this charade and when Taryn moves to Renlend for an extended stay he can’t hide the truth any longer.
Can Taryn forget he’s a cop and give him her heart, or will his demons drive them apart?
“Of-freaking-course he’d be a cop.” Taryn muttered to herself as she made her way toward the rear of the bar, her heels clicking on the old wood floor. Passing a high top table, she gave the two men grinning at her a forced, tight-lipped smile and kept walking. Her destination, now known to Mike the cop, wasn’t at all awkward or embarrassing. With a frustrated huff she pulled open the ladies room door and rolled her eyes.
When she made the decision to stay and eat at the pub, Taryn just wanted to avoid the solitude of her hotel room. She had a hundred ideas running through her head for the project she was working on and wanted to lose herself in her work—something she loved and was comfortable with.
Always one to be aware of her surroundings, as she made her way to a table, she had noticed him instantly. His presence demanded attention and respect. It was something some men were born with. That she knew all too well. It was a quiet power associated with authority figures. It was something she could prove through personal experience.
As hard as she tried to ignore him, every so often a wave of tingles danced over her skin. She knew, not in the obvious way but in the feel it sort of way, his eyes on her. She did her best to keep her own eyes on her work, every now and then though, her gaze drifted over just to sneak a peek.
The man was undeniably good-looking, tall and broad shouldered, with muscled forearms that flexed every time he reached for a fry or his drink. Snaking out from underneath his short-sleeved t-shirt were bits of a tattoo that banded around his upper arm. It was when he held his hand out to her, that she’d gotten the first look at his eyes.
The strong jaw, marked with the day’s shadow, made him look almost rugged. The clean-cut of his light brown hair reminded her he was a cop. It was those eyes though that grabbed her and wouldn’t let go. They were so sharp, she felt almost as if he could see deep into the depths of her soul. The blue so clear, her first thought was of sea glass—the same blue as the sea along the beaches she’d once combed back in college.
She’d had enough overbearing protectiveness that came with being a cop’s daughter to last a lifetime. It only became worse when her two older brothers followed in their father’s footsteps. That made being the baby of the family by ten years, the equivalent to living in a prison, at least in Taryn’s mind.
Their small home in Boston was quiet, and her mother was the perfect throwback to a fifties housewife—minus vacuuming in heels and pearls. Deep down, Taryn knew her family loved her and that they wanted to keep her safe and sound. As a child, she was blissfully naïve to the lengths her father would go to just to keep his baby girl safe. As a teenager, the warm fuzzy feelings, she once had toward her childhood home, gave way to being stifled. When her brothers were added to the mix, she felt suffocated.
The instant her diploma hit her hand, she moved to California for college. The University of Southern California had been about as far away as she could get from the men in her life. Taryn felt bad about leaving her mother to worry about them all during their shifts…just not bad enough to stop her from escaping.
Making her way back to her table, she expected to politely thank Mr. Handsome with a Badge for his good deed and have him return to his own table—or better yet, maybe just leave. He, however, had made himself quite comfortable at her table, and as she got closer she saw he’d ordered them each a second beer. With her laptop running, her notebook and sketchpad all open, it wasn’t as if she could just pretend she had somewhere else to be. He already knew she wasn’t from around there, so she could only assume he knew she had no other plans.
Damn her parents for raising her to be Miss Mary Manners.
The real problem, she realized was her pulse. As she approached Mike, her heart started beating faster. How could she be so drawn to a stranger, pulled out of her control. But more, this was the first time she’d had an instant reaction to any man. Sure, there had been a couple of fairly serious relationships in the past. One in college and one shortly after moving back to the East coast. This was the first connection in which she felt so out of control. It was bad enough he was a stranger, and they lived nowhere close to each other, but to top it all off…the man was a cop.
It was a heroic profession to most everyone in the world, heroic to her—as long as she never had to live with another one under the same roof ever again.
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