Lies. Betrayal. A blown undercover mission.
After ten years away, DEA agent Jarrett Brandt heads home to pay his respects to his deceased brother and hide out from the cartel kingpin who wants him dead. The last thing he needs is Marissa, his high school sweetheart, tempting him with her sassy smile and showing him the life he gave up. Add on his judgmental parents, and he’s ready to hit the road.
Widowed mom Marissa Reinn never had much luck with the Brandt boys. First Jarrett broke her heart, then she lost his brother—her husband—to a bullet. Vowing to uncover Jarrett’s secrets, she succumbs to the passion still burning between them instead.
When a team of assassins find him, Jarrett and Marissa will have to work together to survive and protect her son. How will they seize their second chance at love with their lives on the line?
Jarrett seethed. Fuck it. He’d make peace with Joel’s death in his mind—no need to see the damn tombstone. He trudged back through a few inches of snow and strode down the cracked sidewalk. Rock salt crunched under his boots.
His heart somersaulted. He flipped around as the woman who haunted his dreams hurried down the hill. Her curly, snow-flecked auburn hair cascaded around her shoulders like silken strands. The grin splitting her face sucker-punched him. She jumped into his arms, and the impact knocked him back a few steps. The sweet aroma of sugar cookies filled his nostrils. Had she been baking that morning? Or maybe she’d bathed with dessert-scented body wash?
Idiot! He better not think about her bathing—or her naked flesh. Period.
She grabbed his back and burrowed closer to his chest.
“Marissa.” A shudder rolled through him. How many times had he dreamed about holding her again? He should have married her, fathered children with her, and lived his life to make her happy.
Instead, he’d chosen something just as intoxicating and beautiful to his ignorant mind and abandoned her on the curb outside his family’s home.
She leaned back with tears shining in her puffy, dark-green eyes. “It’s good to see you.”
“Likewise.” Jarrett licked his dry lips and released her. “It’s hard to believe so many years have passed. You still look eighteen.”
Marissa hid a laugh behind her hand. “You’re still a charmer. God, I’ve missed you. So much has happened here. What—where do you live now? How are you?” She shrugged as if she didn’t expect him to answer. “I mean, how long will you be in town?”
“Probably just today. My parents weren’t thrilled to see me.”
She flicked a button on her gray pea coat. “Your mom was, but this time of year is hard for them, for all of us.”
His cheeks burned. “Their opinion of me doesn’t matter—never did. All that really mattered was yours.”
“It was always high, but you still didn’t stick around.”
He flinched and backed up. “Marissa, I’m sorry. You remember how it was, right? I always butted heads with my dad. I needed to live my own life.”
“Harold Brandt can be hard to handle sometimes. It’s his way or nothing. In your father’s defense, though, you needed a firm hand.” She stumbled but righted herself as something bumped into her from behind. A pair of little arms wrapped around her legs. She smiled and half twisted to ease the child out from behind her.
What the fuck? Jarrett normally saw everything and everyone around him, but he hadn’t seen the child coming toward them. After everything he’d been through, he knew better than to lose sight of his surroundings.
“This is my son, Jason.” She ruffled his dark, damp hair and grabbed the fuzzy blue hat from his hands to stuff it on his head. “Sweetie, I’d like you to meet your uncle.”
Tension dug into his lower back as the kid clung to Marissa’s black slacks. The boy—no, he had to call him by his name—Jason, would be his son if he hadn’t run away. He definitely saw his brother’s eyes and nose—his eyes and nose—in the boy’s face.
“Since you found the obituary, I’m sure you know Joel and I married. Jason was two when we lost him.”
He nodded. Even though he had no right to bitch about who she dated after him, why did she pick his brother? And why the fuck did Joel cross that line and marry her? Marissa should’ve been off-limits. Wasn’t that part of the brother code?
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