Dr. Maxwell Ellis Buchanan IV had wealth and privilege, a flourishing career, and perfect parents. Then his life suddenly skidded into a tailspin, and his lead foot landed him in hot water. Too many speeding tickets means Max must volunteer his time at Merritt’s local arts center. Even worse? He’ll report to Audrey Evans, the gorgeous new woman in town who just flat out turned him down for a date.
Audrey’s fought hard to rise above her rough childhood and achieve her dreams. When a terrible attack robbed her of her job as an ESPN reporter, she retreated to Merritt, with its slower pace and kindly townsfolk, to figure out her next path. The last thing she expects is for it to lead to an arrogant golden boy like Max.
Yet as they work together to support their new community, Max and Audrey find surprising common ground and a chemistry that leaves them breathless. They soon discover that starting over might just be the best way to get to where you always belonged.
by Alicia Hunter Pace
Sensuality Level: Sensual
Alicia Hunter Pace is a writing team who live in North Alabama, where they share a love of football and old houses while having a lot of fun writing romances together.Find Alicia Hunter Pace at www.aliciahunterpace.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter @AliciaHPace.
An excerpt from Misbehaving in Merritt:
The doorbell pealed again, and Max smiled. For the life of him, he couldn’t understand what Luke had found not to like about Junior Leaguers showing up smelling like an upscale department store with food offerings. Of course, it could be Miss Caroline or her housekeeper, Evelyn, from up at the big house checking to see if he needed anything.
He loved that phrase—up at the big house. He might have moved in here just so he could say it even if Miss Caroline hadn’t redone the carriage house top to bottom for her grandson Brantley Kincaid. Brantley hadn’t lived here long before getting married and moving into his wife Lucy’s house. Brantley was also Missy’s oldest friend, and she’d been thrilled when the two of them had ended up fraternity brothers. All this marched through his head like gossip at a sorority meeting. It was a little alarming how much he’d absorbed about Merritt in the three days he’d been here.
The bell sounded again. If not Junior Leaguers, Miss Caroline, or Evelyn, it would be Missy, coming to give him hell about something. Come to think of it, it probably was Missy. She was the only one he knew who would ring the bell again after only fifteen seconds.
He rushed to the door because—to tell the truth—he was feeling a little isolated and lonely.
But it was none of them. Though, while he couldn’t swear in a court of law that this woman wasn’t in the Junior League, it was highly unlikely—at least, she wasn’t dressed like any Junior Leaguer he’d ever seen.
Though it was forty degrees, she wore knee-length, gray athletic shorts with a bright blue Merritt Bobcats nylon jacket, white running shoes, and—worst of all—a baseball cap. There were few things Max understood less or hated more than a baseball cap on a woman. As far as the white blonde ponytail that sprouted out the back above the cap’s adjustment strap—it was not unlike a hank of hair on a Hare Krishna bald head, and that was about as attractive as a leisure-suit-wearing, disco-dancing, mullet-having man of the seventies.
Not that he remembered the seventies, but he’d seen pictures.
She carried, not a Pyrex pie plate, but a large manila envelope. Maybe it contained cookies. She met his eyes straight on. Brown-eyed blondes were rare, which probably meant the hair wasn’t natural.
Usually after finding a woman’s trappings wanting, he didn’t bother to evaluate whether or not she was attractive, but he wasn’t himself today.
She wasn’t tall—no more than five feet four—but it took a bit to notice that. She carried herself like an Amazon warrior who was proud of every inch of her six-foot frame. If her nose was a little larger than ideal, it suited her. Considering the size of her eyes and fullness of her mouth, she might have looked a little porcine with a small, turned-up nose.
But her best feature was her skin. And he knew skin, knew it better than anyone in the medical profession with the possible exception of a dermatologist. It was smooth, dewy, and, though it seemed impossible, fair and rosy all at the same time. He fought to keep his eyes off her breasts, but they had to be all silk snow and velvet roses, with her nipples being the rosiest parts of all.
His mouth went dry; his cock came to life; he wanted to screw her right here on the front steps, in broad daylight, Miss Caroline’s kitchen window be damned.
“Dr. Buchanan?” If he had thought about it, Max would have expected a cool, soft voice so the raspy tones that emitted from her were a surprise. Maybe she had a cold or was a smoker. Either way, she could easily have a career in the phone sex industry.
He leaned toward her and discreetly sniffed. Not a smoker.
Come on in, darling. Let’s play doctor. I can take care of that cold for you. Oh, you’re not sick? Then let’s have phone sex, only without the phone.
She frowned and took a step back. “Dr. Buchanan? Are you Dr. Buchanan?”
“Max.” After all, he couldn’t bury himself in someone who called him Dr. Buchanan. Not that he was really going to do that. Of course not. He had never had sex on a first date. But, really, what was a date? Could this count?
She extended her hand. Her handshake was firm, and he couldn’t help but run his thumb over the back of her hand. Improper, for sure, but no more improper than this thoughts.
“I’m Audrey Evans.”