Just One Kiss

 

Advised by his son’s school to up his game as a single dad, arrogant ex-baseball star, Rusty Reisse, takes a hiatus from his broadcasting career to spend the summer with his son.

Rusty hopes to bond with Tommy in rural Pine Grove. His plan blows up when Meg Gunderson, a brainiac schoolteacher, shows up with her son, claiming the house is hers. When police compare receipts, they discover Rusty and Meg have rented the same house.

A widow, Meg, schemes to get Rusty out. He’s equally determined to send her packing. Although a war of words ensues, the boys become friends. Obligated to share the digs for the duration, they’re forced to declare a reluctant truce.

While no longer openly hostile, they still snipe at each other, too stubborn to admit their growing attraction. When their vacation ends abruptly, will their chemistry vanish, too, with the summer sun and corn-on-the cob?

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As Charlie tripped up the step into the house, the sound of barking, once faint grew louder. As the boy moved inside, the hound from Hell, snarling, teeth bared bounded into the room. Charlie and his mother screamed at the same time!

Seeking escape, Meg fled to the dining room, dragging Charlie behind her. The dog nipped at the boy. Using all her strength, Meg grabbed him by the waist and vaulted him onto the table. Then she scrambled onto a chair, then the table with the black dog close behind.

She and Charlie clung to each other screaming. The dog jumped, but Meg raised her foot and kicked its snout. The dog yelped.

“Hey! Don’t kick my dog!” came a masculine voice.

Meg looked up. “Call off your dog!”

“Come here, Coco. Did the bad lady hurt you?” A man dressed only in boxers, followed by a young boy in pajamas fussed about the dog. The animal calmed down for a moment before it snarled again at Meg and Charlie.

“It’s okay, Coco. I don’t think she’s armed.”

“Call off your dog!” she repeated, only louder.

“I will, if you tell me what you’re doing breaking into my house.” Despite his words, the man grasped the dog’s collar and held her at bay.

Slowly, Meg let go of her son. “You okay? Did the dog bite you?”

 “I don’t think so. She ripped my pants.”

Meg examined the boy’s leg. “Damn. She did. You’ll pay for new pants, mister. And by the way, what are you doing squatting in my house?”

“Your house?” His eyebrows rose.

“You heard me. Keep that beast away from me,” she said, easing her way down from the table.

“I paid to rent this house for the entire summer! So get out before I call the cops.” Rusty frowned.

“Cops? Please do! I paid to rent this house for the entire summer. This is thirty-five Pond Road, isn’t it?”

The man yanked open the front door and checked the number nailed there. “It is. I have paperwork.”

“You? I have paperwork, too!”

“I’m calling the cops,” he said, leaving the room.

“Fine with me.” Meg folded her arms across her chest. “And take the beast with you.”

“Come on, Coco. You don’t have to stay here and be insulted.”

“What kind of dog is it?” Charlie asked.

“Rottweiler,” the other boy replied.

“I’m Charlie.”

“Tommy. Wanna see my room?”

“Don’t leave my sight. The dog isn’t safe!”

“Aw, Coco won’t hurt you. You’re with me.”

Despite his mother’s words, Charlie went off with Tommy.

The man returned with his cell phone in hand.

“Come on, Coco,” the boy called, and the Rottie obeyed, following the boys into the back of the house.

“I’d like to report an intruder,” Rusty said into his cell.

Meg wound her arms around her middle and took a deep breath. She’d stopped shaking and turned her attention to the man in front of her. He was tall, and his mussed hair and scruffy face gave him an attractive bedroom look. She dropped her gaze to his chest. Impressive. The guy obviously worked out. In the dim light, she saw the planes of his pecs and the dusting of brown hair covering them. He even had a shadow of abs.

Remembering he stood in her house, Meg’s anger and hostility returned.

“They’re on the way.”

“You say you have paperwork? Good. Get it. Show it to the cops.”

The sound of a siren in the distance soothed Meg. She’d soon have her house back and this interloper would be tossed out on his, sexy, pushy behind.

READ ALL THE BOOKS IN THE PINE GROVE SERIES. FIND THEM HERE