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Authors: Coleen Kwan

Unexpectedly Yours

BOOK: Unexpectedly Yours
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He wasn’t what she was expecting…

Derek Carmichael has harbored a secret crush on his best friend’s older sister for years, but she’s always been out of his reach. Now that Hannah is back in their hometown and newly single, suddenly the five-year age gap doesn’t seem so huge. But convincing her to see him as more than just the kid she used to know is another story.

Hannah Willmett can’t believe how grown-up Derek Carmichael has become. The troubled kid from her youth has turned into a sexy, successful TV celebrity, but Hannah’s wary of his player past and the rampant rumors connecting him to beautiful socialites. Still, she can’t help but give in when their attraction reaches a boiling point.

Trying to keep their fling a secret from her overprotective brother is one thing, but when Hannah finds herself unexpectedly expecting, her life is thrown upside down. She and Derek may be becoming parents together, but that’s no basis for a happily-ever-after.

Table of Contents

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Copyright © 2016 by Coleen Kwan. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.

Entangled Publishing, LLC

2614 South Timberline Road

Suite 109

Fort Collins, CO 80525

Visit our website at
www.entangledpublishing.com
.

Bliss is an imprint of Entangled Publishing, LLC. For more information on our titles, visit
http://www.entangledpublishing.com/category/bliss

Edited by Stacy Abrams and Lydia Sharp

Cover design by Louisa Maggio

Cover art from iStock

ISBN 978-1-63375-517-8

Manufactured in the United States of America

First Edition March 2016

Chapter One

The police officer tapped on Derek’s car window.

Blowing out a breath, Derek lowered the window. “Evening, Officer.” Damn. A cop pulling him over. Just what he needed on his first day back in Pine Falls.

“Driver’s license, registration, and insurance, please.”

Derek handed him the documents without a word.

“Well, well, if it isn’t Derek Carmichael.” The cop leaned in closer. He didn’t exactly look pleased.

Derek sighed. He thought he’d recognized the dour, grizzled cop. “Officer Grady. So what’ve I done this time?”

The officer frowned at him. “You ran a stop sign back there.”

“I did?” Derek blinked. “Sorry, I had a lot on my mind.”

“That’s no excuse.”

Derek’s frustration rose again. Why had he let his crotchety grandpa get to him? Grandpa Otto had never welcomed his presence, not back when his mom had dumped him here at the age of fourteen, and not today when Derek had arrived after a long drive from L.A. Otto had recently broken a bone but insisted he didn’t need Derek, that he could take care of himself just fine despite his right leg being encased in plaster. Then he’d proceeded to criticize everything Derek attempted to do for him.

“So what’re you doing back in Pine Falls?” The police officer eyed him suspiciously.

“Visiting my grandfather,” Derek said.

He’d held his tongue when his grandfather complained that he’d heated the soup all wrong, that he made too much racket in the kitchen, that he took up too much space on the couch. He’d gritted his teeth when Otto had criticized Derek’s sneakers, haircut, shirt. But then he’d started a rambling snark over Derek’s “fancy-schmancy” L.A. lifestyle now he was a TV star. That was when Derek had left the house, on the verge of losing his cool, and gotten into his SUV, hoping a drive would calm him down. Unfortunately his ride had only lasted five blocks.

It seemed fitting that the cop had pulled him over right outside the Willmetts’ house. He and Caleb Willmett had become friends in junior high when they’d both been busted for smoking behind the gym sheds. Derek soon discovered a haven at the Willmetts’, but this evening the neat, three-story house was dark and clearly no one was home.

The police officer glanced at Derek as he wrote on his pad. “You’re on that home renovation show, aren’t you? My wife watches it all the time.”

“Yeah? That’s good to know.”

“She can’t believe you’re the same teenage punk I hauled home to your granddaddy more’n a couple of times.”

Derek kept his mouth shut. He hadn’t broken the law in a while, but here in his rustic hometown in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, people had long memories.

A car coming from the opposite direction slowed as it drew level with Derek’s.

“Derek?” A shocked female voice rose in the warm summer evening.

His heart jolted as he stared at the woman in the other car. “Hannah.”

Holy Christ.
Hannah
. Caleb’s older sister. He hadn’t expected to see her in Pine Falls; he’d assumed she was still in Florida. But here she was in the flesh, just a few feet away, so close he could almost touch her. And he’d heard through Caleb that she wasn’t married to that jerk anymore. Something restless churned in him at the thought.

“What’s going on?” Hannah asked, still sounding faint with shock.

“Ma’am, you’re blocking traffic,” the officer grumbled, though there wasn’t another vehicle in sight.

Hannah swung her car into the driveway of the Willmetts’ house, got out, and hurried over just as Officer Grady finished writing out the citation and passed the pad to Derek for his signature.

“Have a nice day,” the officer said as he handed Derek his copy.

Yeah, right
. Derek tossed aside the piece of paper as soon as the officer had walked back to his cruiser.

Hannah leaned in at the driver’s window, her eyes wide with disbelief. “Oh my God, it really is you.”

“Looks like it.” His nerves were jumping all over the place as he got out of his SUV.

She clapped a hand to her cheek. “Oh, wow. I can’t believe it.” Her bright gaze darted over him. “You look so different. So…grown up.”

He was twenty-four. He sure hoped he’d grown up. But seeing Hannah for the first time in six years, he suddenly felt like the gangly, monosyllabic teenager he’d once been around her.

The first time he’d met Hannah, she’d breezed into the kitchen like spring sunshine, wisps of dark blonde hair escaping from her ponytail, face fresh and glowing. She’d opened the oven and pulled out a freshly baked pecan pie as if by magic, and just like that he was a goner. At nineteen, she was five years his senior, in charge of the Willmett household—that consisted of Frank, her divorced dad; Caleb; and Grandpa Joe—and dating a pre-med student while holding down a job as a nursing assistant. She was way out of his league. But that hadn’t stopped him from crushing hard on her. A crush he’d kept buried all these years.

He cleared his throat. “Thanks, I think.”

She laughed. “I meant it as a compliment, silly.” She peered at him more closely and tapped her chin. “Wow, that’s some serious designer stubble you’ve got going there. Or are you trying to grow a beard?”

Trying
to grow a beard? Jeez, she sure knew how to make him feel fourteen again.

He stuck out his chest. “Hey, this stuff sprouts out every day like ragweed. It’s tough keeping it under control.”

She smiled, her eyes radiant. “Well, it’s great seeing you again.”

He drank in her smile. They could have met in better circumstances, but she was
here
, not thousands of miles away. For the life of him, he couldn’t stop staring at her. It appeared the secret crush he’d had for her had never died, only grown stronger.

“You look good.”

She shrugged, self-deprecating as always. “So what’s with the police pulling you over?”

He ran his fingers through his hair, reluctant to tell her. “I, uh, ran a stop sign. I was kind of preoccupied.”

“I didn’t realize you were back in Pine Falls.”

“Just got in this afternoon. My granddad broke his leg last week and refuses to go to a rehab center, so I’m here to check up on him.”

“Sorry to hear that.” Crossing her arms, she studied him for a moment. “Knowing Otto, I suppose he didn’t like you trying to help. Is that why you took a drive and didn’t notice the stop sign?”

He nodded. No need to explain his grandfather to Hannah. He’d never talked about his granddad or his home life to anyone, not even to someone as sympathetic as Hannah, and she’d never tried to pry. She’d just let him be and treated him as part of the family, which was all he’d wanted.

“Do you want to come inside?” she asked. “You know my dad remarried, don’t you? He and Rosalind are away on vacation, so I’m all on my own here.”

“Yeah, sure,” he said quickly, trying not to sound too eager.

As Derek followed Hannah inside, he reflected that she sounded lonely about being in the house by herself. Well, if she wanted company tonight, he was more than happy to oblige.

She led him into the large, old-fashioned kitchen, where he automatically parked himself at the familiar pine table. This was where he’d spent a large amount of his teenage years, both he and Caleb wolfing down the food Hannah prepared for them.

She washed her hands at the sink, then headed for the refrigerator. “I’m making myself a turkey sandwich,” she said. “Want one too?”

He hadn’t eaten since midday; his grandfather’s antics had irritated his appetite away, but now he was starving. “That’d be great.” He rose to his feet. “But let me help you.”

She blinked up at him. Now that he was six foot three and one eighty pounds, Hannah seemed smaller and fragile, and he felt like a lumbering giant next to her.

“Uh, that’s okay,” she said. “You sit down. It won’t take me long to put two sandwiches together.”

He reseated himself. At least sitting at the table gave him an opportunity to study her freely. She had definitely lost a few pounds. Her loose-fitting lavender scrubs revealed a slender figure. Her wavy, mid-length, honey-colored hair was caught up in a casual ponytail, a few stray tendrils curling against the delicate curve of her nape.

She wasn’t a girl anymore, but there was a softness to her, a vulnerability that made her seem younger than before. Maybe that was because he’d grown and matured, and the five-year gap between them didn’t seem as big as before. They were both adults now, both single, and he couldn’t keep his eyes off her.

“No horse feed in your sandwich, right?” Hannah tilted her head at him.

“Huh?”

“Alfalfa sprouts. You always hated them.”

“Oh. Yeah, but I eat ’em now.”

“You do?” She raised her eyebrows. “Wow, you’ve changed. You used to think they were disgusting.”

“Hey, I even drink wheatgrass these days.”

“That’s L.A. for you. Okay, I’m putting horse feed in yours.” A minute later she set the sandwich before him. “Here you go.”

“Thanks.”

She placed a tall glass of milk next to his plate and turned away.
Christ. Milk?
Didn’t she realize he’d been legal to drink for years now? But then he saw her sitting down with her own sandwich and matching glass of milk.

“I’m starving,” she said. “I just got off my day shift at the nursing home.”

He bit into his sandwich. It was stuffed full of turkey, avocado, lettuce, alfalfa—all the trimmings that made Hannah’s sandwiches so memorable.

“I didn’t realize you were back,” he said around his mouthful. “The last time I spoke to Caleb, he said you were still in Florida.”

She concentrated on her plate, dabbing at the crumbs. “Yeah, I had to take care of a few things before coming back.”

He was treading in a minefield, he knew, but how could he ignore the facts? “The divorce?” he asked, keeping his expression neutral, though she wasn’t even looking at him.

“No, that went through a few months ago.” She frowned at her sandwich, and all the light in her face seemed to go out.

A knot formed in his gut. “I’m sorry about you and Rick.” He was only saying what was expected of him. He was glad they’d split up, because Rick had always been a selfish jerk, and he was only sorry it had taken her this long to realize it.

She licked a stray crumb off her fingers, her expression growing defiant. “I’ll get over him.”

He relaxed at her upbeat tone. “Yeah, that’s for sure.”

But then her bottom lip wobbled, and suddenly his throat closed up in panic. Was Hannah going to cry? One look at her woebegone face had him longing to wrap her in a great big bear hug. But if he got her in his arms, what would he do next? It was one thing to be a teenager fantasizing about his best friend’s older sister, but he’d never expected a situation like this.

He’d never opened up to anyone about his crush on Hannah. When he was eighteen, she’d gotten married and moved thousands of miles away. Derek had left for Los Angeles and started a successful furniture-making business, and now he had a TV career too. Their lives had diverged, and their visits to Pine Falls had never coincided. Six long and eventful years had passed.

Now, he wanted to touch her so badly. Wanted her to see—really see—him for the grown man he’d become. He stretched an arm across the table, reaching for Hannah—

The back door swung open, and a tall, fair-haired man sauntered in.

“Caleb!” Hannah called out.

Derek pulled his hand away from Hannah. Her younger brother—his best friend—had just walked in.

“Hey, Derek! Great to see you, dude!”

“You too, man.”

Hannah watched as Caleb and Derek did that bro-hug thing.

She was kind of glad that her younger brother had interrupted. It had felt so strange to be alone with Derek. Of course she’d been alone with him lots of times in the past, but after not seeing or hearing from him in six years, he’d surprised her by appearing out of nowhere outside the house with a cop in tow.

God, he’d changed so much since she’d last seen him. She watched him surreptitiously as he stood next to Caleb, topping her younger brother by a couple of inches.

Derek was a
man
now. His lanky adolescent frame had filled out, and his shoulders were broad, his chest was muscled, and his jaw was square and evenly covered in stubble. The soft gray T-shirt he wore, that looked like one of those simple but expensive brands, clung to his firm torso, revealing developed biceps and forearms dusted with fine, dark hairs. His hands were large and blunt and rough—hardworking carpenter’s hands. His dark brown hair, which used to flop across his forehead, was now slickly cropped, revealing eyes that had changed over the years, still crystalline blue and intelligent, but shrewder, more experienced and direct.

Derek was…seriously hot.

And that made her very uncomfortable. This handsome, sexy guy had once been the smooth-cheeked teenager she saw in her kitchen every day. The Derek she had mothered along with her own kid brother. Sheesh, that was a weird thought.

“I can’t stay long,” Caleb was saying. “I just stopped by to pick up Dad’s fancy spanner set. A friend of mine needs help changing a tire.”

“Have you had dinner yet?” Hannah asked automatically. “I can fix you a sandwich to go if you like.”

“That’d be great, sis.” Caleb took a seat at the table. “Ah, just like old times, huh?” he said to Derek. “You, me, and Hannah. Eating here at my old man’s table.”

Hannah smiled as she got up and reached for the loaf of bread. “Elbows off the table, and mind those muddy shoes of yours.” Yes, she’d missed this, the three of them hanging out doing nothing in particular. Marrying Rick had taken this and much more from her yet given her so little in return. She’d felt off kilter alone with Derek, but Caleb’s presence seemed to restore the balance.

“Hannah’s sandwiches are the best,” Derek said. “I’ve never tasted any better.”

Why did that sound vaguely sexual?
Hannah squirmed and tried to push the thought away. She was reading too much into Derek’s comment.
He’s just complimenting my food, nothing else, dope.

“Are you okay, Hannah?” Caleb peered at her. “What’s with that face you’re making?”

BOOK: Unexpectedly Yours
4.01Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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