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He’s back home to record the band’s next album and looking for a soft place to fall after a devastating break-up. She runs the small town bookshop in Coral Canyon and needs a new boyfriend to get her old one out of her life for good. Can Georgia convince Otis to take another shot at real love when their first kiss was fake?


Georgia nodded, though Abby couldn’t see her. “Remember that mystery cowboy I kissed last fall? The one who helped me get CJ out of my life for good?”

“Yes,” Abby said, and then she sucked in a horribly loud breath. “Georgia, tell me that wasn’t Otis Young.”

Georgia shrugged one shoulder, her voice weak and mouse-like as she said, “It was Otis Young.”

“By the Dewey Decimal System,” Abby said, her voice shocked and full of air. “Georgia. Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because,” Georgia said. “Then you’d start swearing in Librarian language instead of helping me figure out what to do.”

Abby remained silent for a moment, and Georgia didn’t like that. A silent Abby meant a thinking Abby, and Georgia didn’t need her thinking too hard about this. “Why do you need to figure out what to do?”

“Because,” Georgia whispered. “I liked kissing him, okay? I liked it. I like him. But then I start dating this other guy—who was a total idiot and so not right for me—and then months later. Months, Abs, I pass out and who’s there? Who’s the only person in my shop?”

“I’m back,” Otis said, and Georgia looked up at him, her eyes wide and every organ in her body storming at her to hang up and hang up now.

“Otis,” she said at the same time she lowered the phone, answering him and her own question. 

“Georgia!” Abby cried. “Don’t you dare hang up on—” Her voice cut off as Georgia ended the call.

Otis looked at it and then her as he came closer. “Everything all right?” He got down on the floor and parked himself right next to her, his shoulder touching hers and everything.

“Yes,” she whispered.

He nodded to the phone, which still showed who she’d been talking to for the past four minutes and thirteen seconds. “Talkin’ to Abby, I see.” He handed her a warm plastic container that smelled like heaven in mashed potato form.

She didn’t have to say yes. The evidence stared them both in the face. 

“I called her,” Otis said. “To make sure you didn’t have any food allergies.” He popped the top on his barbecue container, the spicy scent of Bam Bam’s signature sauce joining the party on the floor in her office.

“Ah.” Georgia nodded. “Makes sense.”

“You didn’t tell her about us…you know. Kissing last year. Did you?” He looked at her, something scared in his expression.

“No,” she said, her stomach heavy though she hadn’t eaten since last night. He nodded and went back to his food, but she had to tell him. Abby could be relentless, and now that she knew the mystery cowboy was Otis…. Georgia didn’t want him walking into a war zone out at that ranch where he recorded music with his brother, Abby’s husband. 

“I didn’t tell her about that until just now.”

Otis made a slight squeaking noise and yanked his attention back to her. “Why would you do that now?”

“Because,” Georgia said, emotions streaming through her like kite tails caught in a strong wind. She stirred her pulled pork into her potatoes and lifted a bite. She wouldn’t take it until the words inside her mouth made room for the food. She offered Otis a tiny smile that fled as soon as it touched her lips.

He searched her face, alarm and resignation mingling there. Georgia drew from his strength and reminded herself that just because she’d fainted didn’t mean she was weak. “I told her now, because once we start dating, she’ll find out anyway.”

Otis blinked at her rapidly. “We’re gonna start dating?” She wasn’t sure if he was intrigued or horrified.

Georgia shrugged that same single shoulder she had while on the phone with Abby. “Maybe,” she said. “If you play your cards right.” With all the words—flirty words too, which made Georgia smile internally—out of her mouth, she could finally take a bite of her lunch.

Otis remained quiet for several long seconds while they both ate. Then he said, “I’m pretty good at cards. The best out of anyone in the band.” He looked at her, and she looked at him, and this time, there was no doubt in her mind that his eyes fired desire and attraction at her. 

“Great,” she said. “Let’s see what happens then.”

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