THE IDEA OF YOU
Ribbon Ridge #4
Releasing November 17th, 2015
Following a major tabloid scandal, movie star Alaina Pierce escapes to Ribbon Ridge. She’s immediately drawn to the quiet, picturesque town and the incredibly sexy—if a little quirky—Evan. He may be built like a Greek god, but he’s honest and straightforward… so different from the Hollywood types she normally dates.
Their attraction is undeniable, but Alaina can’t elude the paparazzi forever, and Evan has no interest in being in the limelight. When the secret she’s been keeping is exposed, the idea of Evan—of real love and a family like the Archers—could vanish in an instant.
“I didn’t sign up to have my life scrutinized and invaded.” Her tone had risen again. He tried to decide if that meant she was agitated, excited, or something else. Sometimes talking to strangers was like speaking in tongues. Sometimes? Always.
“Do you need any help with this?”
“No, I’ve got it handled. Thanks. But should you leave that battery out? What if there’s an actual fire?”
“Are you planning on making more bacon?”
She shuddered, and a lock of her dark blonde, wavy hair fell against her face. “God no. I’ll find something else to eat.”
He ought to invite her to the main house for dinner, but he was probably going to heat up a frozen burrito or make nachos. She wrapped her arms around herself, and for the first time, he registered the chill coming from the open windows.
He went and closed the window. “The smoke’s mostly gone.”
“I’ll go shut the one in the bedroom.”
“I’ll get it.” He turned and went into the single bedroom. The light was on, and he saw an array of clothing spread out over the bed. His gaze lingered on a lacy bra and a matching pair of panties. She’d look amazing in those.
He quickly spun around and closed the window.
“Thanks,” she said as he moved back through the living room toward the kitchen. “What about the battery?”
“Right.” He’d meant to put it back, but her underwear had totally distracted him. He retrieved the chair and replaced the battery in the alarm. “All set.”
“Thank you for rushing to my aid. Maybe I’ll see you . . . tomorrow. Or something.”
“How long are you staying?” It probably wasn’t his business, but the question was out of his mouth before he could censor it.
“Until my life gets back to normal.” She laughed. He recognized that laugh from her movies. It was full and sexy and utterly distinctive. “What a joke. My life will never be normal.”
“Why don’t you quit, then? If you hate the fame and you want a normal life, just walk away. I’m guessing you have plenty of money.”
“Yes, but I also love my job. Could you walk away from something you loved?”
Something he loved . . . What was that exactly? His family. His cat. His job? Not yet. But the potential was there. Finally. Yeah, he’d walked away from something he loved. After grad school, he’d moved away from home, from his family, whom he loved—to prove that he could. “Yeah, I could walk away. Maybe all the negatives associated with your job are telling you to leave. Sometimes you have to realize it’s time to move on.”
That had been one of the hardest lessons of all, in both big and small ways. It had taken him years to learn to walk away from an incomplete school assignment and accept he could finish it later. Or let go of a specific rule or idea.
“Thanks for the unsolicited advice,” she said.
More sarcasm? Probably. “I wasn’t trying to give you advice.” He walked toward the door but paused at the threshold. “If you want some beer, come over to the house and I can pull you a growler or whatever you want. You know my dad’s a brewer, right?”
She shook her head. “That was a bit of a non sequitur, wasn’t it?”
He was the king of non sequiturs, and as a result, he had learned a few defense mechanisms for when people noticed the oddity. “It’s part of my allure.”
She took the towel from her shoulder and laid it over the back of one of the barstools. “Sean told me you own a bunch of brewpubs.”
“Not me. My dad. Technically, Archer Enterprises, and he’s the CEO. My adoptive brother, Derek, is the CFO, and my brother Kyle is acting COO while my younger brother, Hayden, is in France learning to make wine.”
She crossed her arms over her chest, and her lips did that almost-smile thing again. “Also an encyclopedia, I see.”
He had a canned comeback for that, too. “The better to charm you with. Seriously, if you want the beer, just come over.”
“Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.”
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Darcy Burke is the USA Today bestselling author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily-ever-after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations.
A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids-who each seem to have inherited the writing gene in some form-and two Bengal cats. In her "spare" time Darcy is a serial volunteer enrolled in a 12-step program where one learns to say "no," but she keeps having to start over. Her happy places are Disneyland and Labor Day weekend at the Gorge.