Alaskan Nights by Nadia ScrievaWhen Brynne left Alaska, she promised herself she would never go back.
The day after graduation, she got in her beat-up Honda Civic and drove down the west coast to pursue her dream of becoming a Hollywood makeup artist. Growing up in a rural fishing village with dirty, rundown buildings, and dirty, rundown men, she longed for the glitz and glamour of the silver screen. She had no qualms about leaving behind her dysfunctional family and her nowhere-job at her mother's fishing tackle shop. She didn't even think twice about leaving behind the cute boy who came in to buy gear almost every day, shamelessly flirting with her and always leaving a generous tip. Well, maybe she thought about it twice; but she knew that a relationship with Callder Murphy would only be bound to lead her deeper into nowhere. She was sick and tired of being nowhere—and no one.
Brynne set out, determined to prove to the world that she was much more than just a fisherman’s daughter. Unfortunately, her luck and tip money ran out in Seattle when her car broke down. Exhausted from the stress of travel, she decided to take a waitressing job in the city for the time being. “For the time being” ended up being far longer than she would have liked. That was four years ago. Now, a call from home has alerted Brynne to some bad news. She needs to get back to Soldotna promptly, but she has been living paycheck to paycheck and can’t even afford a plane ticket home. Enter a ghost from her past as her knight in shining armor. Unexpectedly showing up outside her restaurant in a red Ferrari, Callder is determined to take her home with him, and keep her there for good.
* * *
Perpetually drunken playboy, Callder Murphy, is currently loaded. Of course, that’s only because he stole his big brother’s credit card. He was off in Vegas, doing what he does best (absolutely nothing) when he received the call from home. A name he hasn’t heard in years pulls him out of his mindless haze of stumbling from one wild party to the next: Brynne Ambrose needs his help. Pleasant memories of the rude, tomboyish, and completely adorable girl-next-door come rushing back to him with a vengeance. He drops all of his shenanigans and cleans up his act instantaneously. He uses his brother’s credit card to buy an impressive car, and sets out to win over the girl of his dreams. He knows he’s no good for her, but he can’t stay away.
Callder has been waiting his whole life for the opportunity to be her man, and he’s not going to let her slip away again.
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The tension in the car was thick. She felt the need to apologize, but she knew that no words would do the situation justice. She had abandoned and insulted Callder, but the moment that she had needed him, he had magically appeared to help her. She wanted desperately to make things right. Turning to her side, Brynne tried to force herself to speak. Instead, she leaned forward and pressed a kiss against Callder’s shoulder. She allowed her lips to linger there for a moment before turning her face to the side and resting her cheek against his bicep.
The sound of squealing brakes were heard as the car swerved suddenly into the unpaved shoulder. Brynne looked around in surprise, expecting to see an obstacle or dangerous situation on the road. But there was nothing around except the colors of the evening sky, which had bathed the mountaintops with crimson light. She was startled when she felt Callder’s hand slip around the back of her neck, pulling her face against his. His lips mashed into hers with a demanding and unyielding pressure.
It was nothing like the silly, theatrical kiss that he had given her back at the café. It was a real and meaningful touch, filled with unmistakable intent. It was both chastising and forgiving, all at once. It was also angry. Increasingly angry.
“Why?” Callder asked between kisses. He leaned forward, crawling over the console in order to pin her against the car seat with his weight. “Why didn’t you take me with you?”
“Mmm?” Brynne asked, a bit lost in the unexpected intensity of his attack
“When you left,” he said, smashing his nose against hers as he cupped the back of her head. “Why didn’t you take me with you?”
“Mmm,” she responded, focusing on his mouth more than the question. “I guess… I didn’t think you would want to come with me.”
“I did,” he told her, in between kisses. He pressed a hand against her stomach, sliding his fingers up under her blouse. “I would have gone anywhere with you.”
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