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When her family’s pub is threatened with foreclosure, Hennessy O’Halloran, along with her three sisters, is determined to raise enough money to keep it out of the hands of the L.A. real-estate developer trying to raze it and replace it with a—god forbid!—multiplex theater.
Bryan Truitt always gets what he wants. And what he wants is the sweet corner property on Mayhem’s Main Street where O’Halloran’s Pub sits. But his “quick business” turns into more than he bargains for when he meets the feisty Hennessy. Next thing he knows, he’s betting her he can outlast Mayhem’s punishing winter in time to make the pub his—or he’ll gift it to her for free.
Hennessy knows better than to flirt with the enemy. But suddenly Bryan’s not sure which he wants more…the property or the woman who owns it.
Standing there, looking bedraggled and exhausted, is Bryan Truitt. He’s holding his iPhone up to the door, and I can just make out the tiny image of Peter Gabriel’s album So on the screen. Bryan doesn’t say a word. He doesn’t knock. He doesn’t ring. He just stands there, phone up, waiting for me to hear him and open the door.
“In your eyes, I see the doorway to a thousand churches…” Peter Gabriel sings just loud enough so as not to bother my neighbors.
“That’s my favorite line,” he says. “The doorway to a thousand churches line…”
“Yeah, that is a pretty amazing image,” I agree, playing along as he pretends this is a perfectly natural situation.
“I get it.”
“What?” I ask, neither of us budging.
“I get what he’s saying. Because I see that when I look into your eyes.”
I stare at him, my breath suddenly caught in my throat.
“You…you do?” I ask, sounding tentative.
“I do. And that’s why I’m here.”
Jeez, could I be any lamer?
He nods again.
“Can I come in?”
I step back and hold the door open so he can pass me.
I realize I’m dressed in only a terrycloth robe with my hair swept up in a towel turban. No clothes. No makeup. Not even a pair of slippers.
“Uh… Let me go put something on—”
“No,” he says sharply. The surprise must register on my face because he’s quick to jump in again. “I don’t want to let you out of my sight. Not for a second. I can’t.”
He sets his phone down on the breakfast bar and wraps his big, strong hands around my forearms.
“No, Hennessy. I let you go once, and I won’t do it again. Not ever.”
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