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BLURB: When Nell Moreno returns to her small hometown after a lengthy absence, she’s not too surprised no one recognizes her, she’s certainly not the overweight teenager she used to be. While hiding her true identity, Nell “wins” hunky fireman, Elijah Knight, at a charity auction and she’s determined to give the one-time bully a little payback for the misery he caused her when they were teens. However, over the next few weeks she discovers he’s changed a lot too and as they fall in love, Nell is left with the dilemma of how to admit she’s lied to him about who she really is.
“That was a pretty generous bid you made,” Eli said.
His gaze stayed locked with hers, a trait she approved of. Most of the men in her acquaintance tended to have wandering eyes. It was difficult to have an intelligent conversation with a man who was more interested in her cup size.
“It’s for a good cause. Besides, I have plans for you. I’ll get my money’s worth.”
Eli chuckled and shifted his feet. “What kind of plans? One thousand dollars is a lot of dinners.”
With a shake of her head, Nell smirked. “Actually, that’s not what I had in mind. You look like a strong guy and a good worker.” She reached out and touched the tip of her finger to his bicep. Just as she thought, hard muscles rippled beneath the dark blue fabric of his dress shirt. Flirting with him was good. She’d probably get more out of him if she came on to him.
Nell brushed away the wicked little thought and contained the smile pulling at her lips. “The truth of the matter is, Gwen needs help with her mom’s house before it can go on the market. You look like you’re good with a hammer and paintbrush.”
“That’s it?” Eli looked down at her fingers, which traced a fold in the fabric of his shirt. “You don’t want a home cooked meal?” He sounded rather relieved. “You know what kind of auction this is, don’t you?”
“Honey, I’m not looking for a date.” Nell dragged her gaze up and down his body.
“Though if I were, I’d definitely consider you. But I don’t plan on being in town too long.”
The way his dark eyes seemed to meld with hers heated her whole body up. He was good-looking, but she wasn’t prepared for the extent of the attraction she felt. Everyone else in the crowded gym faded away into an inconsequential, gray fog.
Get back in the driver’s seat, Nell, she thought.