Love on the Free Side by Mariah Ankenman

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  • Peak Town, Colorado 5

    Psychologist Jamie Thompson comes home to Peak Town, Colorado to follow her dream of opening an equine therapy ranch. She’s stayed away for years because of the boy who broke her heart. But he’s long gone. Or so she thought.
    Chef Tony Ortiz has come a long way. With two successful New York restaurants, he should be on top of the world. But something is missing. When he gets called back to Peak Town to help his uncle, he wonders if the small town and its charming people are what his life has been lacking.
    Trouble hounds Jamie’s new business, including her chef up and quitting.  Lucky for her there’s a renowned chef in town offering his services. But working with her ex provides a whole new set of problems…especially when an unknown threat becomes apparent.
    Can Jamie and Tony free themselves from the past and give love a second chance…or will it be taken away forever?

    Rating: Hot
    Page Count: 264
    Word Count: 64360
    978-1-5092-1921-6 Paperback
    978-1-5092-1922-3 Digital


    Dousing a cotton pad in the alcohol, she swiped it over both palms, blowing gently to help it dry.

    His soft groan caused her to raise her head in alarm. “I’m sorry. Did that hurt?” Alcohol could sting like a son of a gun, but his gaze didn’t reveal pain, but heat. She couldn’t help her eyes widen with shock. That same raging fire she remembered from so long ago burned from his dark brown eyes. All of it aimed right at her.

    Oh no. No, no, no, no!

    “Th-there. You’re all set.” Ducking her head, she busied herself with putting away the first aid supplies, hoping he’d leave without saying anything.


    So much for hoping.

    “We need to talk about—”

    “No.” She cut him off, raising her head to glare. “We don’t need to talk. About anything.”

    His brow furrowed, gaze darkening. “Yes, I think we do. What happened between us—”

    “Is in the past,” she interrupted once again. “Let’s leave it there.” Heaven knew she sure as heck didn’t want to wade through that heartbreak again. “I’m your boss, and you’re my employee. For now, we’re just coworkers.”

    His jaw clenched, battered hands curling into fists. Rising from his chair, he leaned down until he was inches from her face. Warm, coffee-scented breath caressed her cheeks, teasing her lips, making her ache to feel his mouth on hers again.

    “Fine, you are the boss, but we are more than just coworkers. We have a past, Jamie, and you can’t pretend it never happened. Pretend we never happened.”

    He rose then, and she could finally suck in a deep breath.

    “Here’s a list of the things you need for the minor repairs I found.” Pulling a slip of paper from his back pocket, he placed it on her desk.

    She didn’t reach for it, couldn’t. Not with his fingers still on it. She couldn’t risk touching him again. Her body and mind might shut down if she did.


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Love on the Free Side

Love on the Free Side

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