Gavin Donnigan left the Marine Corps a shell of a man, hounded by guilt for deaths he couldn't prevent. But teaching a self-defense class at the local gym brings some stability to his life―along with a gorgeous leggy blonde who won't give him the time of day.
Zoe York lost her twin sister to a freak car accident a few months ago. She's been struggling to bury her grief, but it isn't until she signs up for a self-defense class with its distractingly hot instructor that she begins to come out of her shell again. With the memory of her sister telling her to live a little, Zoe decides a fling with buns-of-steel Gavin Donnigan might be just the thing.
Soon they're sparring both in and out of the gym. And for the first time in a long time, each is looking forward to tomorrow.
"A blazing hot, emotionally intense love story...from an author on the rise."―Kirkus for A Sure Thing
She had her long, black hair pulled back in a ponytail, and it swayed as she ran. He stopped next to her, answering a question for one of his clients about the new kettlebells Mac had ordered.
“Yeah, they’ll be in Friday, Jim. No, none of them are pink.” Gavin chuckled, then turned to Zoe, only to see her watching him, her gaze intense. “What?” She looked like she either wanted to run him over, punch him, or—dare he hope—kiss him.
“I’m just waiting for one of your incredibly fascinating comments about pink pants, small biceps, or fine form.” She didn’t sound too winded, yet she’d been on the machine for a good ten minutes at least. She was in phenomenal shape—those yoga pants didn’t lie.
He frowned. “Hey now, your biceps are just fine. Nothing small about them.” He didn’t recall ever criticizing her shape.
“I meant yours,” she said drily.
“You really are mean.”
She scowled. “I am not.”
“You are. That’s why I like you.”
“That’s a terrible thing to say.” Her lips curled, and his heart raced.
“Yet true.” Before a nearby musclehead could jump on the machine that opened up next to her, Gavin stepped in front of him, blocking the way. “Sorry, man. I’m training her.” He turned around, searching for a free machine. “There you go. That one just opened up.” He pointed out a machine in front of them before facing Zoe again.
The guy gave him an odd look and shrugged. “Well, I’m not gonna kiss you, but I get it. Poor bastard.” He chuckled and walked away, no harm no foul.
Before Gavin could ask what the guy was talking about, Zoe cut in, “Training me? Liar.” She slowed her machine to a walk.
Gavin put on a hurt look. “But I am training you. To smile. Slowly but surely, I’m working on that last nerve. The same one I’m constantly rubbing the wrong way on everyone else, according to my siblings. They, like you, have no appreciation for my sense of humor.” He bent over to touch his toes, luring her with his flexibility. When he straightened, he noticed the strange look she gave him.
Zoe glanced at him a moment more before grinning. Man, she had one sexy mouth. “Oh, I don’t know. I appreciate humor as much as the next gal.”
“Yeah?” He stared in awe. Her bright eyes were so…blue.
“How about this?” She added a husky laugh that shot sparks through his chest and radiated all over his body.
“You have a great laugh. You should do it more often.”
“Oh, I will.” She chuckled some more. “Thanks, Gavin. You really made my night.” Then she shocked the hell out of him when after getting off her machine, she leaned close to kiss him on the cheek.
“Th-thanks.” God willing, he would manage not to pop an erection in his thin athletic shorts in front of her and everyone else at the gym. “Not that I don’t deserve that, but what made you kiss me? Uncontrollable lust? Finally owning up to your feelings? Realizing you’re in love with my charming self?”
She looked on the verge of exploding with mirth. “You sure you want to know?”
“Well, yeah, before we set our wedding date, at least.” He grinned at her. But she laughed again, and he had a feeling it was at—not with—him. He frowned. “Okay, what?”
She cleared her throat, her humor still plain to see. “Well, Smoky, there’s a sign on your back that says Kiss me if you pity men with small brains.”
He blinked. “What?”
“I feel for you. It’s not your fault size really does matter.” She snickered again before leaving him busy staring over his shoulder at the mirrored wall behind him.
Son of a… Gavin saw the marker inked into his T-shirt. No doubt why he hadn’t caught it earlier. One of his idiot brothers or sister had written in black marker on his dark-blue shirt.