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Carrie Lowell swears off men for good after nearly losing her business in a bitter divorce settlement to her abusive ex-husband. She's on the verge of filing bankruptcy when handsome librarian Matt Jacobs walks into her shop and offers sound--if unwanted--business advice. Sure, financially he's a godsend, but emotionally he's a threat to the barricade she's built around her heart.

Heir to a vast fortune, Jacob Spalding flees L.A. for the tiny Midwest town of Redemption, Wisconsin to escape the scandalous nightmare his life has become. Now known as Matt Jacobs, he buys a little cottage and settles in to small town life. Soon, he finds himself infatuated with the owner of the coffee shop across the street. Too bad the infuriating woman is as contrary as she is beautiful.

* * *


Whistling, Matt strode through the swinging door that separated the kitchen from the dining area and headed straight for the counter. He seemed rather pleased with himself. "All fixed. Anything else I can do before I head over to the library?"

"No, thanks. I owe you for the air-conditioner. I have to admit, Jacobs, I'm impressed. You're a hard worker, and that's something I value."

His brow rose. "I'm sorry, did you just compliment me?"

She pursed her lips in an effort to hold back a grin, but lost the battle. "Don't get used to it." Her pulse sped up when he reached out and traced her jaw line with his fingertips, his gaze centered on her lips.

"Do you have any idea how beautiful you are?"

Carrie suddenly became lost in those gorgeous eyes and that handsome face. Words failed her. She swallowed hard and fought to keep from melting at his feet. He started to lean in and Carrie panicked. Did he mean to kiss her? Right here in the shop where anyone could see them?

The door opened with a tinkling sound and Matt snatched his hand back, looking like a guilty little boy. Talk about saved by the bell. Carrie cleared her throat and smiled as a couple of teenaged girls walked up to the counter. Her smiled faded when she realized they weren't there as customers. They both gazed up at Matt, their heavily made-up faces pathetically adoring.

"Hi," the curly-haired blonde cooed as her brunette friend clutched onto her arm, looking about ready to faint. Carrie rolled her eyes.

Matt met her gaze, amusement dancing in his eyes, before shooting the girls a wink. "What can I get for you ladies?"

"We were just wondering...what time does the library open?"

"In about two minutes. Come on, I'll walk you over." He glanced at Carrie. "Same time tomorrow?"

"I'll be counting the minutes," she muttered.

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