Title: The Wedding Dilemma
Author: Mariah Ankenman
Genre: Contemporary romance/Romcom
My life has always been pretty predictable. Run into burning buildings, save those in distress, be a hero. Shoot the shit with my fireman buddies, come home, and do it all again tomorrow. Little did I know that a random SOS call from a woman stuck in a plaster cast with nothing underneath (I swear I only caught a flash of her smokin’-hot body) would throw me for a complete loop. Until I see the flighty artist again. At my mom’s engagement party. To her dad. Suddenly the unpredictable woman I couldn’t stop thinking about is my soon-to-be-stepsister. Yeah, the same one I mortified when I accidentally saw her a tiny bit naked. This should make family gatherings way more interesting. Except when your mom’s as loaded as mine is, you can never fully let your guard down when a guy comes sniffing around. So I can’t help but be suspicious, even though his daughter’s the perfect blend of beautiful and wild. The more time we spend together, prepping for our parents’ wedding, I start to wonder if there’s nothing wrong with having a little bit of fun in the meantime. But if she knew I was investigating her dad on the side, she would never forgive me…
“Crap. I think I’m stuck.”
“Again?” a deep voice chuckled from behind her. “We have to stop meeting like this.”
Tamsen turned her head to gaze over her shoulder and, yup, sure enough, there stood Parker with a few of his buddies.
“Hi, Parker.” She tried for a laugh that fell flat.
“Tamsen.” He nodded. “Need a little help?”
What she needed was disaster insurance to save her from all the embarrassing situations she kept putting herself in around this man.
“It appears I’ve gotten my shoe stuck in this grate.”
“I can see that.” He rubbed a hand over his mouth, smothering his smile.
She’d give him points for trying to hide his laughter. It would be a pretty funny situation. If it wasn’t happening to her.
He turned to his friends, “Why don’t you guys go grab a table. I’ll be in in a minute.”
“It seems like Parker has this well in hand. I’ll leave you to your hero, Tam.” Cora gave her a little wave. “See ya inside.”
He sure had something in his hand. Currently it was Tamsen’s calf as he bent down to inspect the latest disaster she’d gotten herself into. Warmth seeped into her skin and at the same time chills raced up her spine as his rough palm skimmed down her leg to gently grasp her ankle. She bit her lip to hold the moan of pleasure back.
One embarrassment at a time, please.
Parker glanced up. “Think you could take your foot out? It might make it easier to wiggle the heel free.”
She could, except…
“I have to unbuckle the ankle strap, and this sidewalk is filthy and I’m not wearing any pantyhose.” Bare feet on the streets of Denver? Yuck, no thank you.
“Yeah, I noticed.”
His eyes blazed with desire and…was he stroking her ankle with his thumb? A zing of pleasure shot straight up between her legs. Now if only they were somewhere a little more private so he could move that stroke a few feet higher and to the center.
No, naughty body. We came to play trivia.
Who was she kidding? She totally came all dolled up tonight to drive Parker wild. Was she playing with fire? Probably.
“Here.” He undid the buckle and slipped her foot free of the shoe and placed it on his thigh. “Keep your foot there while I rescue your shoe.”
She sighed dramatically, raising her voice an octave. “My hero.”
He chuckled and began jiggling her shoe out of the tiny grate hole. She tried her best to focus on watching his task and not on how warm and firm his thigh felt under her bare foot. Right now she wanted to glide it up his leg.
Good grief, what was this man doing to her?
Parker popped her shoe free, turning it in his hand as he inspected it.
“Doesn’t seem to be any damage.”
Good, because as much as she regretted wearing the shoes tonight, they were her favorite pair, snagged on sale at the outlet mall.
He gently lifted her foot from his leg. She tried not to sigh in disappointment at the loss.
He grinned up at her as he slipped her shoe on like some kind of fairy tale prince. “There you go, Cinderella.”
He stood, and she found herself taking the tiniest step back. Not because he towered over her—which he did—but because she was afraid if she let herself get too close to him, she might thank him in a way that would have more than her shoe coming off.
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Bestselling author Mariah Ankenman lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her two rambunctious children and loving spouse who is her own personal spell checker when her dyslexia gets the best of her.
Mariah loves to lose herself in a world of words. Her favorite thing about writing is when she can make someone’s day a little brighter with one of her books. To learn more about Mariah and her books, visit her website https://mariahankenman.com/ follow her on social media or sign up for her newsletter.
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