She trusted him. He betrayed her. Is it too late for the truth?

Born and raised in England, Galen Carmichael grew up believing that his father died before he was born—because that is what his mother told him. But one phone call and an invitation to visit the United States from an American billionaire half-brother he never knew existed debunks that lie, and changes Galen's life in ways he never would have imagined.

The moment he walked into the exclusive boutique where she works, single mother of two, Mindy Marshall, fell hard and fast for the handsome Brit who tells her that his deepest desire in life is to please her. He proves it by treating her like a princess and doting on her young fatherless children. However, when Galen abruptly disappears from Mindy’s life for eight long months, she slowly comes to realize that what a man says, is not always what he means.

Can Galen and Mindy find their way back to each other, or will the malicious acts of another, and the shocking revelations of their parents’ pasts forever keep them apart?

Galen, Mindy’s mind screamed, as her body went numb.

“Hello, Mindy.”

At the sound of her name in his smooth English accent, Mindy flopped against the doorframe as a rush of fear, anxiety, and yes, excitement spun in her mind. How could she not be excited about seeing him? How could her skin not tingle at the memory of his warm hands roaming up and down her damp flushed body, the heady scent of his masculinity causing her to salivate in expectation, the thrusting of his tongue deep into her mouth and his licking at her, causing shuttering contractions deep within her belly? How could she not recall the intensity of their passion, night after night and day after day for the two and a half years they’d been together?

During the last couple of months, it had been easy for Mindy to pretend that he’d never existed in her world, or that she’d wished him into being. But now that he was here in the flesh, gazing at her through his seductive hazel eyes, she couldn’t pretend anymore. The little taste of heaven he’d given her had been real, not imagined. Now, she understood her nervous behavior from the moment she’d heard the first knock. Her foolish heart had leaped from recognition, but her wise mind had refused to acknowledge the possibility that he had returned.

“Mindy?” he said again, his lips parted in a smile of expectation, his eyes shimmering with hope under the porch light.

Still unable—or too afraid—to speak, Mindy scanned his ruggedly handsome face. He’d changed, she thought, detecting a commanding strength to his square jawbone and sturdy chin, and a firmness in his full rosy lips that she hadn’t noticed before. Even the outline of his broad shoulders beneath his black wool coat seemed to exude the kind of power and confidence she had come to recognize in the wealthy businessmen who frequented Hotel Andreas. His dark wavy hair, brushing the collar of his coat, along with the curl that was wont to fall casually onto his wide forehead, added to his astounding sex appeal.

He was definitely not the whipped puppy who had left Granite Falls eight months ago with his tail between his legs, nor was he the rebellious, hotheaded boy who’d fought his half-brother, physically, and in court. The man standing in front of her manifested success and an inherent commanding power—just like an Andretti male—the kind of man who simultaneously thrilled and frightened a girl, and in whose hands she might be tempted to place her heart, her faith, and her love, if she didn’t know him.

But Mindy knew him, and the one thing she’d learned from his eight-month silent absence was to never trust him again. She was no Reggie Lampert in Charade. She would not be fooled by this nascent air of superiority he’d picked up while he was gone.

“Mindy, let’s go inside. It’s cold out here and you’re shivering, love.”

She was shivering, but it wasn’t only from the cold air seeping through the uneven storm windows surrounding the porch. Her entire being was responding to his gaze slowly sliding down her body. She held her breath as she felt her breasts swell, her nipples harden against the soft cups of her bra, and the treacherous spot at the apex of her thighs pulsate with fire and need for him.

Afraid that he might detect her stupid vulnerability, she dropped her gaze to his brown crocodile-leather monk shoes. Stemar, an expensive brand and style she’d seen his brother wearing. He looked out of place amidst the rusted and broken-down yard furniture and other junk piled up on one side of the porch. He’d been Andrettinized. But how? When? She felt so under-dressed in her jeans, wool sweater, and white bobby socks—one with a hole. Embarrassment caused her to pull her foot with the peeping unpainted big toe behind the door.

“Mindy? Come on, love. You’ll catch your death of a cold. Let me inside for a few minutes.”
“No.” Mindy tightened her hold on the doorknob, knowing that if she let him into her home, or her head for that matter, it would take too much effort to get him out, or worse, she might not be able to get him out at all. “Why are you here? What do you want?” she asked, surprised that her voice was calm.

He frowned and tilted his head slightly to one side, as if he found her question absurd. “I came to see you.”

“Okay. You saw me.”

He braced his hand against the door to stop her from shutting it in his face. “I’m not leaving until we talk.”

Mindy was a bit taken aback at the level of depth and authority in his voice. The Galen she’d known had never asserted any kind of authority, especially with her. He was more of a sheepish complainer, always whining about the unfair way his father had treated him, and she had indulged him because she, too had been feeling the sting of rejection and unfair treatment from her mother, Virginia, and life in general. She and Galen had been two peas in a pod—feeding off each other’s insecurities. Well, she had grown up, and apparently, so had he.

She released her hold on the door and folded her arms across her chest, determined not to be impressed with his display of maturity. “Okay. Talk. But you aren’t coming inside. I can take a little cold.”

“Alright.” He gave her a smile, equally as charming as the one that had made Mindy’s heart tremble when she’d first met him. “But first, I have to say that you’re as beautiful as ever.”

“You sound surprised. Did you think I would shrivel up and die when you dumped me? If that’s what you thought, you don’t know me, Galen Carmichael.”

“I didn’t dump you. I’ve thought about you every moment of every day for the past eight months.
I’ve missed you so much, darling.”

“Stop your lies, Galen. And don’t call me darling. I am not your darling, or your love, or anything else to you.”

“You couldn’t be further from the truth. You mean everything to me, Mindy Marshall. You and Kyle and Britt.

”Mindy was thankful her children weren’t home. To raise their hopes about Galen’s return, only to have them dashed to pieces when he decided to leave again, would be negligent of her. Nobody was playing yo-yo with her babies’ hearts, or hers, ever again. “Well, you wasted good money on an airline ticket, and you’re wasting your time now. I don’t want you. Why don’t you do us all a favor and catch the next flight back to London?” She felt a measure of triumph when he winced.

“You have every reason to hate me. I’ve hurt you terribly. But there is a good reason for my silence.”

“What is it?” Mindy’s curiosity got the better of her. It was every woman’s right to know why she’d been dumped, especially from a man who’d claimed to love her. Perhaps none of it was love. Perhaps it was just infatuation built around both their needs to be wanted by someone else.
She straightened her back, ready to reject any excuse he gave her. There was none for what he’d done. “Why couldn’t you get in touch with me? Why couldn’t you even call me once to let me know you were alive and well?” She tried to keep her heart as cold and still as the night, but it fluttered away at the mere fact that Galen was here in Evergreen and standing in front of her and telling her that he’d come back for her.

His chest rose and fell on a deep sigh. “It’s complicated, and I—”

“Complicated? Is that the best you can do, man?”

“A lot has happened since I left, Mindy. A situation developed in London. It wasn’t something that could be explained via a phone call or text or even an email. It needed to be done in person.”

“You’re here now. Explain away,” she demanded with a shrug of her shoulder.

Also in this series

Pleasing Mindy: Galen & Mindy (Beyond Granite Falls Book 3)

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