Excerpt – Lori Wilde

Second Chance Hero

Wedding Veil Wishes: Book 2

**Formerly published as ONCE SMITTEN, TWICE SHY.

“We have to talk.”

“Now? You want to talk now? Two years ago I wanted to talk, but you clammed up. Now you want to talk?”

“Yes, now.”

“Where’s little Miss Sunshine?” Tish tossed her head, trying to stall, trying to identify her emotions and figure out exactly how she felt without letting it show on her face.

“Elysee went to tell the cook to set an extra plate for you,” he said.

“Aren’t you worried what she’s going to think when she catches us in here together?” Tish crossed her arms over her chest, both to stop her hands from trembling as well as putting up a barrier between them.

The room was claustrophobically small now with him in it. She’d forgotten just how masculine he was, with his big biceps and manly smelling cologne.

“She’s not going to catch us, because you’re going to go tell her that while you’re flattered by the offer, you just realized you have a scheduling conflict and can’t serve as her wedding videographer,” he said firmly.

“Don’t you mean ‘our’ wedding videographer?”

He looked startled. “What?”

“You said ‘her’ wedding videographer. You’re getting married too. Shouldn’t it be ‘our’ wedding videographer?”

“You’re changing the subject.”

“No, I’m not. I’m talking about your impending wedding.”

“You’re missing the point.”

“But not the irony.”

His eyes flared and her breath caught. She felt the old flutter in her chest. Divorced two years and with just one look he could still send her heart reeling.

But Shane had moved on with his life. He had someone else. A very nice someone else. Tish had absolutely no right to feel envious.

It sounded rational and well-thought out. Problem was her emotions weren’t having any of it. She was jealous and angry and hurt. She wanted to throw back her head and howl for everything she’d let slip through her fingers. No, no, she wanted to run right out and buy the most expensive pair of shoes she could find.

What? You expected he would pine over you forever?

No, no. Yes.

Honestly, secretly, she’d always held onto the hope that someday, someway they’d find their way back to each other. When they’d both achieved their dream jobs and worked through their personal issues. How naïve was that?

If growing up with her mother had taught her anything, it was that happily-ever-after was nothing but a romantic myth. So why did she want so badly to believe in it?

Tish’s eyes tracked over him. His shoulders were so broad they filled almost half of the wall behind him. Her gaze snagged on the scar running across his temple, unbidden fascination had her reaching up to touch it.

He grabbed her wrist before her fingers could graze his skin. “No,” he said sharply, “no.”

They stared into each other’s eyes, both of them breathing hard. Her heart slammed against her chest, pounding erratically.

Kiss me! She thought, crazily, wildly. As if a kiss would fix everything. She tossed her head and pursed her lips, mentally daring him to do it.

He looked hard into her eyes, as if assessing the depth of her soul. Their lungs moved in tandem, drawing in great hunks of ragged air. He stared with such raw hunger in his eyes she could swear she heard herself gasp. The look was naked, completely without guile, a mirror image of her heart.

He cupped her face with his left hand, tilted her chin up to look at him. This time she did gasp. The harsh sound echoed in the tiny room.

Was he going to kiss her?

She held her breath and waited. If she were to lay her palm against his chest would she feel the wild thunder crashing under her hand? She looked into his eyes and knew if she lived to be a hundred she’d never forget the starving look in his eyes at that moment.

He hungered for her.

Shane did not kiss her. In fact, he raised his head, let out his breath in quiet exhalation. Disappointment smashed down on her like a window pane shattering.

But his eyes blazed black as lump coal. Heated, sizzling, eating her up.

I can still make this man…burn, she thought and a powerful thrill rippled through her.

You could kiss him.

No. No way. Tish wasn’t going to be the one to step across that line. If he wanted her, he was going to have to be the one to come after her.

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