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Authors: Allison Leigh

One Night in Weaver...

BOOK: One Night in Weaver...
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A Night To Remember?

One night was all they’d had…or had they? Hayley Templeton prides herself on keeping a level head in life and love. But her recent passionate encounter with Seth Banyon turned her world upside down. Hayley knows she planted a kiss on the sexy security expert, but she can’t even remember how much further that lip-lock went. This is one dilemma the psychologist can’t analyze her way out of...

Seth has plenty of secrets that he doesn’t need Hayley prying into—least of all, what he’s really doing in tiny Weaver, Wyoming. So he’s got to get the irresistible woman out of his system...before he is tempted to make himself at home right there in her arms...

“We don’t have a relationship.”

His eyes sharpened. “You sure about that?” Seth’s expression was tight. “I need to stay away from you. Until this thing with McGregor is done with. For everyone’s sake.”

She swallowed the knot in her throat. She was shaking from her head to her toes. “Then stay away.”

A muscle in his jaw flexed. “Believe me,” he said. “I have tried.” He slowly moved around the island until he stopped in front of her, trapping her in the corner where she stood near the sink.

She couldn’t seem to look away from his blue, blue eyes.

“And I can’t,” he finished in a low voice.

Her lips parted.

His head dipped toward hers, his lips grazing hers, lighter than his whisper. “Don’t trust me, Hayley. Be stronger than I am.”

A sound she didn’t recognize slid from her throat. Her hands curled into fists against the counter on one side of her and the cool edge of the old-fashioned apron sink on the other. “I’m not strong.”

* * *

RETURN TO THE DOUBLE C: Under the big blue Wyoming sky, this family discovers true love.

Dear Reader,

Secrets, secrets, secrets. Where would fiction writers be if their characters held no secrets? Fortunately, in my case, the good residents of Weaver, Wyoming, have secrets by the dozen!

Her entire adult life, Dr. Hayley Templeton has had her attention buried in her psychology practice, but a troubling estrangement in her very own family makes her look up one day to find an unexpectedly attractive man in her sight. A man who makes her remember that beneath her PhD is a woman. Seth Banyon plays a security guard on the surface, but beneath he’s a whole lot more. Even though he’s mighty attracted to the beautiful psychologist who he knows is out of his league, will she forgive him once his professional secrets come to light?

Whether or not this is your first encounter with Weaver and the sometimes secretive families who live there, I hope you’ll enjoy the visit and want to come back again!

One Night in Weaver...

Allison Leigh

A frequent name on bestseller lists,
Allison Leigh
’s
high point as a writer is
hearing from readers that they laughed, cried or lost sleep while reading her
books. She’s blessed with an immensely patient family who doesn’t mind (much)
her time spent at her computer and who gives her the kind of love she wants her
readers to share in every page. Stay in touch at
allisonleigh.com
and on Twitter,
@allisonleighbks
.

Books by Allison Leigh

Harlequin Special
Edition

Return to the Double
C

A Weaver Christmas Gift

A Weaver Beginning

A Weaver Vow

A Weaver Proposal

Courtney’s Baby Plan

The Rancher’s Dance

Montana Mavericks: 20 Years
in the Saddle!

Destined for the Maverick

Men of the Double
C

A Weaver Holiday Homecoming

A Weaver Baby

A Weaver Wedding

Wed in Wyoming

Sarah and the Sheriff

The Fortunes of Texas:
Welcome to Horseback Hollow

Fortune’s Prince

The Fortunes of Texas:
Whirlwind Romance

Fortune’s Perfect Match

The Fortunes of Texas: Lost
and Found

Fortune’s Proposal

Visit the Author Profile page at
Harlequin.com
for more titles.

For my family.

Prologue

H
e really
was
exceptionally good looking.

A good six feet tall. Probably more. Dark brown hair that she suspected he kept cut short because it might have the tendency to curl into girlish prettiness if he didn’t. Bright blue eyes that seemed startling in contrast to the dark hair.

The first time she’d seen him was at least a year ago, in the Weaver Community Park. Running and looking far more natural at it than she did. After that, the chance of catching a glimpse of him provided a major incentive for Hayley to drag herself to the park a few times every week, where she would meet up with Sam Dawson, her running partner and one of her best friends.

Sam ran every day. And trained with weights. She was a fitness fiend; she claimed it was because she needed to keep up with the guys in the sheriff’s department, where she was the only female on the force. Hayley figured that even if Sam worked behind a teller’s window in a bank all day long, she’d still be in the park every morning, snow or shine, doing her thing. Hayley was thirty-five. Too old to kid herself that she ran for the pleasure of it. No. Hayley joined Sam a few times a week because she liked being able to fit into her suits and still indulge in her favorite cinnamon rolls from Ruby’s diner.

And she liked catching glimpses of
him
.

The man—she knew his name was Seth Banyon because she’d heard it around town—obviously subscribed to Sam’s methodology, though. The man was a walking advertisement for the benefits of physical fitness.

She’d also seen him around town. Often at Shop-World, where his grocery cart tended to be more heavily loaded than hers. He always seemed to buy the same things. A six-pack of beer. Giant loaves of bread. Steak. Bacon. Eggs. Several packaged frozen meals.

Her cart, on the other hand, contained fresh vegetables and fruit. And never a steak, despite Weaver, Wyoming, pretty much being located in the center of the beef universe. The only item their carts ever had in common was coffee. Same brand. Hers, whole bean. His, already ground.

“Bring you another cosmo, Dr. Templeton?”

Hayley gathered her wandering thoughts and blinked once, focusing on the cocktail waitress who’d stopped next to the small high-top that Hayley was hogging all to herself.

She didn’t ordinarily drink cocktails; usually she stuck with a glass of white wine, which suited the expectations the citizens of Weaver had for their local psychologist, Hayley Templeton, PhD. And she certainly never drank alone.

Nor did she ogle men bellied up to the bar of Colbys, no matter how nicely they filled the rears of their faded blue jeans and the shoulders of their long-sleeved T-shirts, or how long it had been since she’d had a man’s arms around her.

One who wasn’t related by blood, at any rate.

She pushed aside the thought of her family. They were the reason she was there in Colbys, alone, trying her hand at the age-old practice of drowning her sorrows in alcohol.

“Yes, please.” She offered up the two glasses that she’d already emptied, surreptitiously steadying her hands by propping her elbows on the tabletop. If she’d had anywhere else to go to wallow in her liquor-glazed misery, she would have.

But tonight, Colbys was going to have to suffice.

All around her, people were knotted together in clusters, still celebrating the passing of the old year and the arrival of the new, even though New Year’s Eve was two evenings past.

She’d expected to still be celebrating, too. At home in Braden, some thirty miles away, with her family.

Celebrating not just the fresh new year. But a fresh, new beginning for the Templeton family.

The
entire
Templeton family.

She was a good therapist. But obviously not good enough to heal the rift in her own family. A rift that—according to her father—she was actually
causing
by continuing to harbor the enemy. His words.

She sighed and let her gaze drift back to Seth Banyon. One foot was propped casually on the metal rod that ran the length of the bar near the floor. He was leaning on his forearms, which rested atop the glossy wooden surface.

Unlike ninety percent of the men—and women—in here, who wore cowboy boots on their feet and cowboy hats on their heads, his head was bare and he wore sturdy black work boots. They weren’t exactly shined.

But they weren’t covered in the ranch dust that was typical of the boots around Weaver, either. He was a security guard out at Cee-Vid, the consumer electronics and video gaming company located on the edge of town. She knew that about him only because her other best friend, Jane Cohen, had once mentioned it.

The waitress set Hayley’s fresh cocktail on the table, nearly making her jump. Fortunately, the girl—Hayley knew her name, but she was having the hardest time remembering it—didn’t seem to notice. Instead, she just hovered there for a moment, asking if Hayley was
sure
she didn’t want to order some food.

Hayley knew Colbys’ menu like the back of her hand because Jane owned the place. And just to keep Olive—
that
was her name!—from asking this same question for a sixth time, Hayley ordered a grilled chicken sandwich even though the thought of food on top of all the alcohol was vaguely nauseating.

But Olive beamed, obviously satisfied that she’d done her part to keep the good town therapist supplied in food as well as drink, and headed back behind the busy bar, where she punched in Hayley’s order.

Hayley’s gaze drifted back to Seth. He’d turned around so that he was no longer leaning over the bar but leaning back against it and facing her.

And his blue, blue gaze collided with hers.

Flushing a little, she quickly looked down at her drink. She took too hasty a sip and couldn’t stifle the choking cough that resulted.

She recovered quickly enough but felt her cheeks grow even warmer at the sight of the faint smile hovering around Seth’s lips. Obviously, he’d seen.

She was glad when Olive returned with her sandwich and a glass of water, and Hayley had a valid reason to stare down at her table; she felt as if she was still an awkward sixteen-year-old in the Braden High School cafeteria, where she’d always been too shy to do anything else. Such as participate in an actual conversation with those around her.

She cut the thick sandwich in half and took a bite, chewing determinedly even though her stomach rolled dangerously as she swallowed.

She definitely should have stuck to wine.

She set the sandwich back on the thick white plate and reached for her water glass, only to knock her knuckles into it and send it teetering. Stifling an oath, she tried to right the cup but only succeeded in finishing the job of tipping it on its side, sending ten ounces of water and ice right into her lap.

“Sugarnuts,” she hissed under her breath as she grabbed napkins from the dispenser on the table and swabbed futilely at the cascade.

“Here.” A white bar towel appeared in her peripheral vision. She glanced at the long-fingered, square hand holding it and, realizing who’d come to her rescue, reluctantly looked up.

Wanting to sink through the floor, she avoided Seth’s gaze, snatched the towel from him and sopped up the water in her lap. It was dripping off the padded chair onto the scuffed, wooden floor and he smoothly dropped a handful of paper napkins on the puddle before it spread any farther.

“Thanks,” she muttered.

Without invitation, he pulled out the other chair tucked against the small table and sat, placing his beer bottle next to her cosmo. “You going to eat all those?”

He had a drawl that wasn’t from Wyoming. And while she was busy noticing that, he’d already dived in to her French fries.

“Help yourself,” she said in a dry tone.

His lips tilted and his gaze drifted over her face as he reached for another sliver of crispy, fried potato. “Thanks. You’re not usually here by yourself.”

“Ummm...no.” The bite of chicken sandwich sat heavily somewhere in the middle of her chest. Because the contents of her water glass were soaking through her jeans and the pile of napkins on the floor, she reached for the cosmopolitan again, even though her head was already swimming.

She didn’t dare make too much of his observation about her being here tonight. Sooner or later, everyone came through Colbys. It was a mainstay in Weaver. Just because he happened to notice something about her didn’t mean diddly.

He studied her for a moment. Then he swallowed another one of her French fries, wiped his salty fingers on his jeans and reached across the table, his hand extended. “Seth Banyon.”

She automatically shook his hand. “I know.” The admission escaped and her face turned hotter than ever. She pulled her hand quickly away from his and managed not to rub her palm on her own jeans even though the temptation was strong. “Hayley Templeton,” she said abruptly.

Why was it that she only felt truly confident with strangers when they were her patients? If
she
were her patient, she’d assign herself some homework about that. Small steps designed to increase her comfort in an area always outside her comfort zone.

“I know.
Dr.
Hayley Templeton.” He wrapped his long fingers around his beer bottle and tilted it to his lips. “The shrink,” he added when he set the bottle down again.

“The psychologist,” she corrected.

If anything, he looked even more amused, a faint dimple appearing in his lean cheek, though he managed not to smile outright. “Heard Jane was off visitin’ someone for the holidays, but where’s your other friend? The blonde without a lick o’ Christmas spirit who gave me a ticket the other day?”

Despite her woozy head, she instantly knew who he was talking about. “Sam has plenty of Christmas spirit,” she countered defensively.

“Well,
Sam
still wrote me a speeding ticket on Christmas Eve. Probably gonna cost me a couple hundred bucks.”

“Probably because you shouldn’t have been speeding.”

His lips twitched slightly. If he was concerned over the ticket or the ensuing cost, he didn’t particularly look it.

He knew Hayley’s name but not Sam’s?
Being the only female deputy sheriff around, she stood out even more than Hayley, the psychologist.

She pushed aside the thought and picked up her sandwich, only to set it back down again. She plucked a French fry from the pile and nibbled on the end instead. They were crispy. Salty. Still hot and exactly the way she liked them. But her stomach still didn’t seem thrilled at the prospect of food. She forced down the rest of the fry anyway and wiped her fingers on a fresh napkin. It was the last one in the dispenser. The rest were on the floor performing sop-up duty.

When a burst of laughter came from one of the nearby tables, she made herself meet Seth’s eyes because she
was
a grown woman and no longer a socially awkward teen. “What are
you
doing in here alone?” Unfortunately, the question came out more blunt than flirtatious, and she wished the floor would just swallow her whole.

He didn’t answer. Merely lifted his beer bottle and finished off the contents. Then he set the bottle back down alongside her cosmo, and his knuckles grazed hers. She went hot in spots that didn’t show from the outside and was glad for that. He reached for his wallet, pulled out a few dollars and left them on the table and filched several more French fries, which he ate in one gulp as he stood.

Maybe if she’d spent more time developing a social life instead of her career, she wouldn’t get all hot and bothered by the briefest, most unintentional contact imaginable.

“You have someone to drive you home?” he asked in his deep voice. Drive sounded more like
drahve
. He was looking at her cocktail glass.

She managed, somehow, to loosen her tight fingers from around the stem and blood reentered her fingertips. “I’m walking.” She lifted the sandwich again, but her roiling stomach kept her from taking the charade of hunger any further.

“It’s snowin’ outside.”

“It often does around here this time of year,” she said with such blitheness she was actually impressed with herself.

“I’ll drive you.” He lifted the sandwich out of her suddenly lax fingers and set it on the plate. Before she could gather her wits, he’d grabbed the towel from her lap and cupped his hand around her elbow. “Come on.”

She stood, because, well, what else could she do considering the way he was tugging her off the barstool? “I don’t want to go home,” she blurted, the fake blitheness beyond her reach again. Her grandmother, Vivian, was staying with her. And facing her would mean admitting what a disaster Hayley’s latest attempt to visit her parents had been. Avoiding that embarrassment was the very reason why Hayley had been warming the barstool in Colbys in the first place.

Seth dropped the towel on the table. “Then we’ll go to my place.”

She stared at him. She couldn’t help it. “And do what?”

His gaze drifted over her face. “I think we can find something to entertain us. Don’t you?”

Her belly lurched. There was no mistaking his meaning.

His lips twitched slightly as he looked pointedly at the table. “You going to pay your check? Or does your friend let you eat and drink for free?”

Truth be told, Jane never wanted Hayley to pay for anything in Colbys, but Hayley always insisted. Flushing darker than ever, she snatched her purse from the back of the barstool and left a wad of cash on the table to cover her tab plus a tip.

“All right, then.” His faint smile widened a bit as he held out her coat for her.

Swallowing hard, Hayley slid her arms into the sleeves. Seth’s hands lingered on her shoulders for a moment. Something was going wrong with her breathing. “My jeans are wet,” she said stupidly.

His smile widened. His teeth were white and very straight, except for the faintest gap between his two front teeth.

“I think we can do something about that, too,” he said leaning forward near her ear.

Then he spread his palm across the small of her back and nudged her gently toward the door.

Head spinning, not knowing what else to do and not wanting to do anything else anyway, Hayley mindlessly put one foot in front of the other and walked out of the bar with him.

BOOK: One Night in Weaver...
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