ABOUT THE BOOK
After a bitter divorce, Shelby Johnson is looking to rebuild a life for herself and her daughter, Hannah, while avoiding the thing she mistrusts most: men. Her resolve is tested, however, when her brother’s best friend, Mark, moves in across the street and her long-buried feelings for him rise to the surface. Can she open up her heart again? When someone threatens her life, she realizes that her heart isn’t the only thing on the line. She turns to the only man she feels she can trust.
Mark Daniels returns to his hometown to solve a crime committed in the military. When he gets caught up in Shelby’s troubles, he knows she needs someone to protect her, but can he be that man? Being around her again is forcing him to face the way he feels—something he’d rather not do. When his past comes to haunt him, he vows to protect Shelby and her daughter until his last breath.
Through God’s love, Shelby and Hannah find their way into Mark’s heart. Will there be room for God too?
“The house is all clear.” He took a step closer to her, pressing a hand against the wall.
Mark tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. She looked up into his gaze. Beautiful. Her eyes held fear and so many questions. He knew from what she’d said, and from what her brother and his mom had relayed to him, that she didn’t trust men anymore. She’d locked her heart away. Yet he wanted her to open up to him, to trust him. For a moment, Lisa’s face came to his mind. His fiancée had trusted him and look where it got her. Dead.
No! he shouted at the nasty voice inside his head. I will protect Shelby. I won’t let anything happen to her.
Walk away, Daniels. Walk away and stay away.
The light from overhead reflected in her eyes and he could feel himself drowning. I can’t.
Mark pulled her into his arms, to cover her mouth with his. Sweet, sweet heaven. She tasted like vanilla pudding. Her lips were soft like flower petals. He groaned from the onslaught of sensation. His arms tightened and he drew her closer against his body. After all these years, she was in his arms and he had no intention of letting her go. Back in high school, he let her slip through his fingers—not this time. He wouldn’t move out of the way. Mark wanted to be in her life, in Hannah’s life. They’d woven their way into his heart.
She fit perfectly in his arms, as if she’d been made just for him.
Maybe she had been.
Shelby’s hands groped at his shirt and he felt her tremble. Pastor had talked about how every man had a helpmeet made just for him. He didn’t know if it was true, but in this moment it felt like it. There had to be a way to show her that not all men were the same. Game on. He’d show her no matter how long it took.
Their tongues did a slow, sensual dance. His thumb caressed the back of her neck, making her melt against him. Electric heat, as hot as the Carolina summer, flowed between them.
Finally, when the hunger for her had been slightly abated, he lifted his head. He grinned. She still had her head tilted up, mouth parted, and eyes closed. He used his teeth to tug at her full bottom lip.
“Mark?” Her voice came out on a soft breath.
Did he just call her “baby”? He’d never called anyone that before. Lisa didn’t believe in silly endearments or nicknames. With Shelby, this all seemed like a natural thing. He heard the ragged catch in her breath at the name. He also saw the fear and wariness return and take over the soft feminine pleasure of the moment. Mark let her pull back from him.
“I…um…need a drink.”
“Shelby, you know it’s okay to trust me, right?”