Welcome to Mayhem, Minnesota, where the cats wear sweaters, the local priest dispenses dating advice, and you can find your fortune in the bottom of a pie pan.
When her family’s pub is threatened with foreclosure, Hennessy O’Halloran, along with her three sisters, is determined to raise enough money to keep it out of the hands of the L.A. real-estate developer trying to raze it and replace it with a—god forbid!—multiplex theater.
Bryan Truitt always gets what he wants. And what he wants is the sweet corner property on Mayhem’s Main Street where O’Halloran’s Pub sits. But his “quick business” turns into more than he bargains for when he meets the feisty Hennessy. Next thing he knows, he’s betting her he can outlast Mayhem’s punishing winter in time to make the pub his—or he’ll gift it to her for free.
Hennessy knows better than to flirt with the enemy. But suddenly Bryan’s not sure which he wants more…the property or the woman who owns it.
Hennessy O’Halloran is looking progressively more fidgety as I close the distance between us.
“I–I…I mean, considering our…you know…our arrangement…” she stammers.
“Which arrangement?” I ask innocently.
“You know…our wager…”
“Oh, that arrangement. Yes, you’d think things might be awkward between us. But they’re really not, are they?” I muse. She doesn’t reply—nor does she make a move to thwart my approach. “Quite the opposite, actually. It’s the damnedest thing, Hennessy. I just can’t seem to stop thinking about…” I let the sentence hang between us until, finally, she clearly can’t take it anymore.
“About what? What can’t you stop thinking about?” she asks quietly.
We’re only a foot apart now, and she has to look up to see my face. That means I get to look down into her perfect, milky complexion. I’m so close that I could actually count the freckles dotting the bridge of her nose. I wonder if she has them anywhere else…
Before I can stop myself, I lower my head close to hers, and for a split second, I know we both think I’m going to kiss her. But at the final moment, my mouth veers to her left ear. I’m sure she can feel the warmth of my breath as I whisper the single word.
Except it doesn’t sound like a word. It’s an exhalation—a sigh—and it floats from my mouth to her ear and heats the space between us for the brief moment before I turn and leave her looking after me as I walk back down the hall, self-satisfied smile on my face.
I am in so much trouble here.
L.E. Rico didn’t set out to be an author. In fact she’s made a name for herself as a classical music radio host—doing her best to make the music and the composers relevant by putting them into a modern context. It was just a few years ago that she discovered a passion for writing that blossomed into an entire novel. And then another. And another. And, while she still spends plenty of time on the radio, telling the stories of the great composers, she spends even more time composing her own great stories.