Single mom Daisy Sorensen doesn’t believe in fairytale endings—at least not for her. All she wants is to enjoy a much-needed, stress-free family vacation at a friend’s Lake Tahoe home. So of course everything that can go wrong does. Including a gorgeous man and his daughter showing up in the middle of the night.
Soon-to-be Governor Jack Harrison has had a crazy week, but he’s sure nothing can top arriving to find a bathrobe-clad, beautiful stranger in the home he’s staying in for the week. He’s wrong. When things spiral out of control the next morning, Jack makes Daisy an offer she can’t refuse. She’ll pretend to be his fiancée and he’ll help her open the bakery she’s been dreaming about.
But in between late-night campfires and days on the lake, Jack finds himself falling for the strong, stubborn woman for real.
Daisy didn’t know how long she’d been working when she was struck by how quiet and still the house was and, realizing the rain finally had stopped, she’d decided to take a break and stepped outside onto the deck to appreciate the beauty of Lake Tahoe, the open sky above her.
She might not have planned this vacation, but she was coming around to thinking this trip might be what she’d needed—no, they all had needed—after all.
It was in this relaxed state of mind that Daisy finally stepped back inside the house, ready to turn in.
At least until her gaze rested on the tall, strange man who bore an uncanny resemblance to the state’s lieutenant governor standing in the kitchen. If that hadn’t sent her heart racing, the sound of shattering glass a second later nearly had her heart bolting from her chest.
Every instinct called for her to scream at the top of her lungs and retreat back into the shadows of the deck. Only, upstairs the kids and her aunt were resting and safe—for now. And she meant to keep them that way.
Which meant she needed to get this guy out of the house.
But first, she needed something to protect herself with. She scanned her surroundings before resting on the bottle opener sitting on the kitchen counter. If only she could reach it before he—
“Wait. Just hear me out,” the guy said in a smooth, even voice, softened probably to offer her comfort—at least before he tried to stab her to death. He raised his empty hands in front of him as if to show her he was unarmed. “I’m Jack. Jack Harrison. I’m a friend of the Vaughns.”
Jack Harrison. It really was the lieutenant governor? The man who’d spoken at last month’s seminar at the women’s business center about starting up a small business? A seminar where she’d spent a good five minutes—okay, maybe ten—fantasizing about what it would be like to run her fingers across that strong jaw or through those waves of sandy brown hair.
What was he doing here?
“You know the Vaughns?” she asked more cautiously.
“I spoke to Emily Vaughn a couple of days ago, and she assured me the place would be unoccupied this week. I promise, I’m not here to hurt you. In fact, my own daughter is upstairs right now.”
She sighed in relief as the adrenaline and fear that had poured through her a moment before seeped away. He wasn’t here to kill her. Of that she was almost certain.
He glanced down to the loan forms she’d left sitting out on the counter that outlined her miniscule savings, nonexistent assets, and lack of references or contacts that would make the loan ever happen. “Are you Daisy? Daisy Sorensen?”
“Yes. But, if you don’t mind”—she snatched up the documents—“these are personal.”
“Daisy Sorensen,” he said as if testing the words. “I know Payton married a Sorensen last year—I’m guessing you’re related?” He returned those bright blue eyes to her again, and his sensuous lips slipped into an easy smile.
A smile that sent a ripple of sexual awareness through her. Something she thought she was incapable of feeling, at least for a very long time.
She glanced down. Oh, holy Mary, Mother of…
What am I wearing?
Was she really standing in front of the lieutenant governor in her old threadbare bathrobe? And socks. Fuzzy socks.
Ashlee Mallory is a USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and thrillers. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and two kids. She aspires to one day include running, hiking and traveling to exotic destinations in her list of things she enjoys, but currently settles for enjoying a good book and a glass of wine from the comfort of her couch.