An impossible demand. A woman who hates him. He needs a miracle. Can he get it in time?
Expert animal trainer, Seth McGuire, has put everything into his animal rescue charity. With less than six months until his 35th birthday, his father completely blindsided him with an impossible demand. He must be married by his birthday, or lose the trust fund that finances his charities. Yeah, right—he will not lose his charity! Online dating sites, here he comes!
Noelle Combs is offered an opportunity to take her relationship coaching blog and turn it into a regular television show. And she has a decent chance, too—if she can figure out a way to take the stars of her blog—two, rowdy, uncontrollable Great Danes—and tame them enough to be manageable on the show. Good thing her agent finds her the perfect animal trainer. Bad thing –it’s the man who broke her heart several years ago.
When Noelle agrees to be Seth’s relationship coach, he can’t believe that he ever let this woman go. Sparks fly as they try to help each other attain their goals.
Now they are faced with a choice: forgive the past or walk away and lose the only true love they've ever had.
This book was recently released as Her Quiet Billionaire Groom
With a disgruntled sigh, Seth scanned the room like a cowboy entering a saloon for the first time. There was only one woman present. She sat alone at a cafe table near the window that overlooked the parking lot. She already had water beside her. A squished lemon was suspended in the liquid. Great, she was one of those kinds.He made his way over to the table, hating that he’d not checked on her name before he left. But he’d not realized he had a date this late in the afternoon when he was usually working with his animals or on jobs around the house.
Yanking off his Stetson, Seth gripped it tight in both hands. “Hello, I’m Seth McGuire. I believe we—”
“You’re late, Mr. McGuire.” She didn’t bother to look up at him. There was something familiar about the red-headed woman with the pursing, full lips. Her heart-shaped face was set in a scowl as she typed something into her tablet.
Had he already met her? Was this a second date and he’d not realized? Great, just great! He’d probably flub this one up, too.
“My apologies, ma’am.” He pulled out the chair, then stopped himself. “Can I interest you in something? A coffee, or—”
“I’ll stick with my water. Can we just get on with this?” She finally set her device aside.
Fine, if she was going to be that way. He sank into the chair across from her. Dare he ask her name? What if this was their second date? The more he looked at her, the more familiar she seemed. Sweat pooled along the back of his neck. He tugged at his shirt, trying to fan himself. “It is me, or is it hot in here?” Then he joked with a wink, “Or maybe it’s you.” His chuckle died when she glared up at him.
“Are you serious?”
“No, no,” Seth waved his hat, then perched it on his knee. “Just joshing to lighten the mood. Sorry.” He’d not even had time to change into something more appropriate. Dirt still clung to his sleeve from cleaning out the stalls. He tried to brush off the hay without being obvious about it. Tiny flakes drifted down around his muddy boots.
Seth gave up on his appearance and pulled a small notebook from the back pocket of his faded jeans. The notebook was filled with questions Mary suggested he should ask. Usually, he’d barely get through the first page before the woman got up in a huff and left.
“So,” he hedged, trying to collect his thoughts and flip to a new page. Maybe it was the kinds of questions he was asking that bothered them. He came across one that he thought would be important. “So, tell me,” he floundered, remembering once again that he didn’t even know her name. “Have you ever been married or in a long-term relationship before?”
That question had been his idea. He figured it would tell him a lot about the person. Such as if they hopped around from person to person, or sought dedicated lasting relationships.
“Excuse me?” She finally looked up at him and he scooted his chair back a couple of inches before stopping himself. He’d not let some little slip of a girl like her intimidate him.
“Well, I was…just interested in knowing about your past, that’s all.” He needed that coffee now, desperately. If only this coffee shop made them Irish, that would be perfect, but he knew that wasn’t possible.
“What does that have to do with—”
Seth held up his hands in defense. “Don’t get yourself in a tizzy.”
“I’m only trying to break the ice, that’s all. Admit it, these first dates are really uncomfortable, don’t you think? How long have you been using the service? I only joined a couple of weeks ago, so this is all very new for me.”
“What service?” Her indignation made her sit up straighter as she wrapped her hand around the water glass.
Clearing his throat, he stammered, “I…I apologize. I’m not sure if I got your name. I know that must sound horrible, but I…” Stop talking, McGuire! Just shut up, you’re only making this worse!
“You are serious, aren’t you?” Her cheeks reddened to a dangerous level of red. If they turned any darker, he feared flames would start shooting out of her ears.
Despite her rude behavior, she was a cutie. He’d like for this to work out, if only he knew how to get her to stop shooting darts at him with that hateful glare of hers. She had the prettiest green eyes he’d ever seen. The gold flecks reminded him of…oh, wait.
He shook the memories of the only woman he’d honestly ever cared about from his mind. This wasn’t the time, nor the place. “Seriously, what’s wrong with you, lady? You’re the one who contacted me, right? I—”
A splash of cold water that held a strong scent of lemon hit his face. He gasped, wiping his sleeve across his drenched face.
“What’s wrong with me? Have you lost your mind, Seth McGuire?” She stood and started to gather her belongings.
He gasped as the ice trailed down inside his t-shirt.
“Wait, I’m sorry,” He sputtered, also standing. “Don’t go. I truly am sorry. You’re not…I mean, you must be the appointment about dog training.”
Now he remembered… it had been on the calendar.
She nodded, her lips pressed so tightly together her chin trembled. He was almost sure the woman standing before him was a fiery blast from his past. Good Lord have mercy. Could it be? He needed to make a call. “Listen, don’t leave, please? I…I…need to grab a coffee. Will you excuse me for a second?” He bolted for the counter, chastising himself again for leaving his phone behind. Looking around, he spotted the manager coming from the back, hefting a large box of cups on his shoulder. “Hey, Terry,” Seth whispered. “Terry, can I borrow your phone, buddy? And a towel. Please, it’s an emergency.”
He needed to call Mary and find out who exactly he was supposed to be meeting. There was no way Noella Combs would enter his life again, was there?
That familiar glass of water in his face told him otherwise.
Jackie Castle is an author, artist and dreamer. She lives in Texas with her husband, two grown children and her dog, Banjo. She looks for the extraordinary in the ordinary in everything she experiences.