Candis Terry returns to Sweet, Texas for the last time when former Marine Jake Wilder discovers how truly sweet love can be.
When the one you’ve always wanted
At sixteen, Annabelle Morgan hoped her crush on Jake Wilder was just a passing phase. Now she’s twenty-nine and nothing has changed except Jake. The once-carefree marine has come home with a giant chip on his shoulder. He insists a single mom like Annie deserves more than he can offer. Yet no matter how gruff his gorgeous exterior may be, Jake s toe-curling kisses convince her that this attraction is definitely mutual.
Becomes the one who wants you back
Butting heads with feisty Annie was always a thrill. Add other body parts to the mix, and Jake is in serious trouble. He can’t be a forever-and-family guy and Annie s not a friends-with-benefits kind of woman. But love has a way of changing the best-laid plans, and surrender has never been so tempting.
The outcome is truly sweet.
While Jake made his way to a booth, he got a two-finger salute from Bill McBride, a Vietnam vet, and a chin lift from Ray Calhoun who were sitting at a table playing a game of checkers. At the big round table in the back, the Digging Divas Garden Club looked up in surprise. Instead of their usual exuberance, most just smiled as though they realized he might need some space. The tear sliding down Arlene Potter’s crinkly cheek could have been from allergies. Or it could have been because, even at her advanced age, Arlene loved a man in uniform. Not that he was wearing one. But that really didn’t matter to Arlene. She had a vivid imagination.
Jake tried to relax. He hadn’t known exactly what he’d be walking into here, but the silent acknowledgements worked just fine for him.
With his favorite booth vacant, he eased over to the middle of the red vinyl seat and stretched out his leg. As he looked out the window at the passersby on their way through their daily routines he took a breath to ease the ache slicing down his thigh. Moments later a menu sailed onto the table in front of him and a cup of ice water landed without a splash.
His head instantly came up.
Blue eyes focused, Annie Morgan stood there, weight balanced on one hip while she tapped the eraser of her pencil against the order pad.
In the past couple of years the Wilder family had expanded with three of his brothers having said the I do’s. Thanks to his brother, Jackson, and her sister, Abby, he and Annie were now related by marriage. Before that they’d been adversaries for as long as Jake could remember. Always outspoken and not a stranger to butting in where she didn’t belong, they’d gone head-to-head on many outlandish subjects. If he said the sky was blue, she’d argue it was turquoise. If he said a steak would take seven minutes to grill, she’d say five. If he said the Rangers would win by a homerun, she’d bet they’d lose with a strike-out. It seemed like the girl just liked to argue. More often than not, he’d rise to the bait. Just as he always did with his brothers. One of these days he’d learn to just sit back and smile.
Today probably wasn’t that day.
push and pull in the search for love, and the security one finds in their own happily ever after.