Cybil Roe gave her heart away thirteen years ago only to have it wind up shattered. With painstaking determination, she has rebuilt her life into something to be proud of today. Yet all her future plans are upended when the only man she has ever loved returns to Echo Springs. Nor does it help that he seems bound and determined to draw her back into his life. Cybil vows to stay away from him, no matter what seeing him all the time does to her resolve.
Miles Keaton wiped the dust of his hometown off his shoes years ago, never expecting that life would lead him back to the place where he had begun. Coming home to Echo Springs, to Cybil, to start a new law practice and a new life is a risk he never thought he’d take. She hates him – with good reason. Years ago, he walked away when she needed him the most. But now is he back, and intends to argue the case of his life, one more important than any he has debated in a courtroom, because she is the one woman he cannot live without.
Can Miles convince Cybil to take a second chance on him, or will a secret she has kept all these years destroy any future they might have?
Echo Springs had grown a bit throughout the years Cybil had lived there. There were new fast food restaurants offering burgers and tacos, and new shops along Main Street with an eye toward luring tourists. New homes and subdivisions had been built as the township expanded, and another bank had opened off Main Street. But there was also a persistent resistance to change here in Echo Springs. It took time for anything new to take hold, if it took hold at all.
It was part of the town’s charm that she had grown to love over the years.
Once upon a time, she’d hated how stagnant—and, at times, how archaic—this town could be, with its entrenched traditions and beliefs. Families had lived here for generations. The biggest source of revenue were the tourism dollars. Most of the businesses that had developed and thrived catered more to out of town guests just passing through than to yearlong residents—with exceptions of course, like Fitzgerald’s Grocery Store and the post office. Many of the festivals and events had been designed with the intent of skimming some of the tourists’ cash before they made it to their final vacation destinations at the ski resorts, or camping in one of the nearby national parks.
But Cybil no longer considered Echo Springs as a mere stopover in her life. It was home. She might want to visit all fifty states, tour Europe, stand on the Great Wall in China, and touch the sky at Machu Picchu, but this was the place where she would always return. Now, as she neared her thirty-first birthday, she saw her hometown as a steady comfort instead of a prison.
Wrapping her arms in front of her chest to ward off the cold, she trudged the short distance from her duplex to her yoga studio.
A bright yellow school bus rumbled down the street, making its rounds to pick up kids and ferry them to class. She loved the sounds of the world waking up: the birds chirping as they scouted their morning meals; a dog barking from behind a privacy fence she passed. Lights were on in the windows of the Victorian style homes as people started their day.
She yawned and muttered a curse under her breath. Today was going to be a long day. She had picked up an extra shift at Smitty’s last night, and had worked until one. Smitty’s Bar and Grill was one of the local hotspots for the over-twenty-one crowd. They had a thriving business, mainly because most people didn’t like to drink alone. The job paid well in tips, even though the occasional dumbass tried to cop a feel on occasion. After being a waitress at Smitty’s for almost a decade, Cybil knew how to handle men who figured it was their god given right to grab things that didn’t belong to them. She had attended high school with the current owner, Burke Smitt, who’d inherited the bar and grill from his uncle Tim a few years back when he’d passed. Burke was a good boss. They were friends and had even dated for a time, until they realized they were better friends than anything else.
If there was anything wrong with Echo Springs, it was the lack of available, eligible dating material. Hence her fantasy man, Pablo with the great hands. Rarely did anyone new move to Echo Springs. Not on purpose, at least—with the exception of her newest friend, Abby, who had recently moved here from New Jersey and wound up falling madly in love with the town’s sexy sheriff, Nate Barnes. Pure circumstance had brought Abby to their town, as her great-aunt, Evie Callier, had willed her big old Victorian house to Abby. Falling for her neighbor, the town sheriff, had been a stroke of luck.
Cybil was thrilled for Abby, really, she was, but it had been longer than she cared to admit since she’d gotten horizontal—or anything else—with a guy. Her girly bits felt sorely neglected and downright testy lately. It was probably because Cybil knew Abby was getting all the sex—nightly, judging by the satisfied glimmer that seemed to glow from her friend, stating quite clearly for all and sundry to see that she was enjoying every blessed minute with Sheriff Stud Muffin.
Cybil wasn’t jealous—at least, not very.
The tiny smattering of jealousy made her feel a wee bit bitchy, as well as a side heaping of self-pity that there was no one special in her life who looked at her the way the sheriff did Abby.
Cybil’s pity party, table for one, could be the reason why she had lost her effing mind and signed herself up for the hottest new dating website, Matchmakers.com, a week ago. She was bound and determined to find someone to date. She missed male companionship, and sex. Maybe she wouldn’t find the love of her life or a keeper, but it would be nice to get taken out to meal she didn’t have to buy herself. And perhaps, if she was really lucky, she might experience a few good orgasms that weren’t of the solo-expedition variety.
She wasn’t desperate, by any means, but there were times, like now, when she felt lonely. When she would love to have someone to lean on, and not have to worry about every blessed thing, all the damn time.
After week one, the dating app hadn’t produced any winners—not that she’d expected a crown prince when she’d made the decision to join after a night of wine and a pint of her favorite ice cream, but she had hoped to find at least one guy with a little substance whose profile picture didn’t resemble a mugshot. She might be crazy but she didn’t think finding a halfway decent guy who was appealing to the eyes, gainfully employed, not an asshole, and didn’t live with his mother should be on the same level as the quest for the Holy Grail.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Maggie grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Maggie never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.
Maggie is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes erotic romance under the name Anya Summers. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the United States Midwest with her two furry felines.