By: Delancey Stewart
Releasing May 22, 2017
Sometimes love speaks for itself…
After an accident in the line of duty, firefighter Roberto DeRosa’s life is turned upside down. His career fighting fires is over, and he’s left with an uncertain future and an injury that makes communicating difficult for him. The only time words flow easily is when they’re lyrics and he has a guitar in his hands. Talking to women is definitely out, especially if they have bright blue eyes that seem to see right into his soul.
Dani Hodge is on the brink of realizing her dream of opening a small combination wine and book store in San Diego’s funky Ocean Beach neighborhood. But before she can open the doors, there’s work to be done, more work than she can do herself.
When the tattooed guy who completely ignored her at a bar walks by and offers her a hand wrangling a tile saw, Dani can’t afford to say no—and why would she say no to Mr. Strong and Silent when his stare conveys more than words could?
“Are you going to go back?”
I couldn’t help it. The words flew out of my mouth of their own accord, giving voice to the fear that had been swirling in me since Mateo left.
He dropped his arms to his sides and looked down at me from the top of the ladder. “I haven’t decided.” He gave me a sad smile, and there was some unidentified weight behind his words, as if they were infused with a meaning I didn’t quite understand.
“But, I mean, how could you not go?” I asked, unable to help myself. “Your home, your family. It sounds like your dad’s finally come around.”
Rob climbed down and set the screwdriver on the ladder rung, his eyes narrowed as they found mine. “Haven’t thought that far,” he said.
I nodded, though it didn’t make sense to me. “Kinda seems like you have to go. Find out.”
Rob picked up the water bottle he’d set in the corner and nodded to some folding chairs we’d brought over from Trent’s garage. I sat, unable to keep myself from feeling a jolt of pure desire when he straddled the back of the chair and rested his arms, folded, across the top, the water bottle in one hand.
“I might,” he said finally. “Mateo’s right, my life here has changed.”
I watched him, my heart beginning to sink slightly at his words. Had I just talked him into going? I really was a moron when it came to men.
“But I left because I hoped for more.” He shook his head, took a drink from the bottle and then wiped his chin along the shoulder of his faded navy T-shirt. “I wanted to find something myself. Not just take what was given.”
“Things have changed, though.”
He sat back, taking his arms from the top of the chair, a mirthless laugh rolling from him. “Yeah.” He fixed his gaze on the floor.
He thought I meant his injury. “I mean with your dad,” I corrected quickly. “He’s changed his mind, wants to change his will. It sounds like there’s an opportunity there beyond building shelves.” I looked around at the work that had been finished in just one day. Rob was good at building shelves.
But I had no doubt he would be good at other things, too.
His eyes caught mine again, and a shy smile lifted one corner of his mouth. “Maybe,” he said. He held my gaze and the tension that danced between us began to buzz in my ears again. It was like the air shifted, taking on the electricity I felt whenever Rob had touched my skin. “Part of me wants to see what might happen here,” he said, his voice exquisitely low and rough. Something deep inside me tightened, coiled and hot.