WELCOME TO REDEMPTION
...a small town in Northeast Wisconsin where second chances don’t always come easy, but if you’re willing to try, anything is possible.
Charlie Russell lived with a secret for fourteen years, but now guilt has pushed him to the breaking point. He meets psychologist Dana McClain and feels an instant connection that has nothing to do with his Great Dane, Sugar, spilling coffee down her shirt.
Dana switched to counseling animals because she has a history of becoming too emotionally involved with her clients. She figures she’s safe helping Charlie with Sugar’s issues, until he reveals his secret and asks for her help. She tries to convince herself it’s all about the dog, not the guy, but history has a way of repeating itself.
She wanted his strong arms around her, wanted his hard chest pressed against hers, wanted all that and more—
Common sense reared its ugly head. Dana slipped a hand between them and pushed against his chest.
“Charlie,” she whispered.
He pulled back an inch, regarding her with passion darkened eyes, his breathing as labored as hers.
“I think it would be…in my best interests…to stop while I’m ahead.”
He pushed back to a sitting position, then ran a hand through his hair while staring across the yard. Dana eased herself up on the hammock, trying to think of something else to say, a way to explain her need for self-preservation without sounding crazy, but the ability to string together coherent words seemed to have deserted her. Worse, the effects of his possessive kiss had her fighting the urge to pull him back down.
“You have any plans for tomorrow?” Charlie asked with a sexy sideways glance.
He sounded like he was going to ask her out. She barely contained a teenaged grin and instead gave him a look of contrition. “Big plans. Lots to do.”
“Wanna come fishing with me?”
His head tilted. “Ever been?”
“Minnesota isn’t called ‘The Land of Ten Thousand Lakes’ for nothing.”
“That doesn’t mean you’ve been fishing.”
She’d grown up going fishing with her Dad—sad that she couldn’t remember the last time they’d gone, though. She met Charlie’s gaze and anticipation did a little dance along her nerve endings.
“I bet I can out-fish you.”
His lips twitched, but instead of the smile she expected, he sighed. “Too bad you have so much to do.”
“Oh. Yeah, well…I s’pose I could wash my hair and paint my nails tonight instead.”
That earned her a husky laugh that made her stomach flip. She tried to convince herself it was the fishing that had her excited, but then Charlie stood to leave and leaned in to brush his lips against hers—another soft, light kiss like the first unsatisfactory one. Only this time she knew what he was capable of, and disappointment was the furthest thing from her mind because spending the day with him tomorrow swept everything else aside.
Dana barely kept her hands in her lap and managed to keep the kiss sedate. A laugh threatened to escape as her heart pounded in her chest. Lord, she needed to be careful here, or she’d end up in a heap of trouble.