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Why did his voice have to be so sexy?

Why did his voice have to be so sexy? I put the phone on speaker, pulled my covers over me while I settled back on the pillows and closed my eyes.

“What can I do for you, Tanner?” My voice sounded husky.

He chuckled and the sound skidded over my skin. Goosebumps erupted in its wake. “Nothing. I was calling to talk about what I can do for you.”

If he were here, I’d ask him to touch me, to kiss me, as he whispered those same words into my ear. I quivered at the thought of his fingers on my body, his breath on my neck, his lips on my ear. I couldn’t answer him because suddenly I wanted everything from him.

“You intrigue me,” he said.

I sighed, the intimate moment broken. He wanted what everyone wanted—facts, information, a peek into what I was hiding. Ten years had passed, but people still wanted to know what had happened that night—even now I heard whispers in the studio’s waiting room and the grocery store, especially when I first returned home. But telling the truth wouldn’t change anything—not for me. “I don’t want to intrigue you.”

He chuckled again. “Trust me. I got that.”

“So, why are you bothering?” I didn’t want him asking questions. I didn’t want him concerned about me, but at the same time, it was addictive. My heart clenched at the idea of pushing him away.

“Something tells me you’re worth it.”

I snorted. I bit my lip before I said anything more because my reaction was revealing—I didn’t think I was worth it. He seemed to be in tune with my thoughts and feelings in a way no one had before.

“You are.” His tone was confident and sure.

His words flowed through my body—leaving lightness and hope. The fact that he thought I was worth it made me want to open up to him. To give him a piece of what he was asking. I closed my eyes and tried to remember a time when someone was there for me—a time when I felt worthy.

Tanner was silent as if waiting for me to continue.

“It would be nice to have someone in my corner.” I missed that with a yearning so strong my chest ached. Tanner was making me want things I didn’t deserve. When he found out the truth, he wouldn’t want anything to do with me.

“You have me.” He cleared his throat as if the weight of that statement had gotten to him too.

My mind fixated on those three words—you have me. Did I? Tanner was slowly cracking open my chest, my heart, and asking me to let him in. But what would be the result? Did he want a friend, another person who cared for his daughter, someone he could trust, or did he want all of that and something more?

“Thank you for helping me with Rylan today.”

“It was nothing.”

“It wasn’t nothing. I think you understand how important it is to have people to depend on. You said you take care of yourself and you don’t need anyone, but what you didn’t say speaks volumes.”

The words I wanted to say stuck in my throat. How did he see me when no one else did?

“Why did you stay in town—you know, after everything that happened?”

A chill ran through me and my tone was short and clipped. “I left for college, but I came back because my mother needed me.”

“Ah.” When I didn’t offer any more information, he said softly, “You can let me in. I won’t betray you.”

“You can’t promise me that.” My voice was resigned because everyone did. He was no exception. No matter how attractive. No matter how silky smooth his voice. No matter how he affected me. I couldn’t trust anyone—not entirely.

Meet Cole & Sarah—high school sweethearts who see each other again six years after their breakup. This is a second chance, holiday steamy romance set in Vermont.

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