Physical therapist Jennifer Wade is unable to put the pieces of her life back together again after her Navy pilot fiancé dies in a plane accident. Flyer Paul Davis, her fiancé's best friend, feels responsible for the tragedy. When Jennifer and Paul must work together two years after the accident, they are stunned by their mutual attraction. They share a pained past, yet their current chemistry is undeniable. But this is a relationship that cannot be. Jennifer needs stability for herself and her deceased fiancé's baby, and Paul must focus on getting fit and back in the cockpit. When Paul is offered the position of his dreams, they both need to decide if love can ever be enough.
Jennifer laughed as she reached the tree, spun around its trunk, and plopped to the ground out of breath. Paul followed her lead, but then leaned over, and playfully wrestled her until his body covered hers and her arms were pinned above her head. She was still laughing, until she looked up and they locked eyes.
The moment was fiery, intense, combustible. Her throat tightened as she held her breath. He’s going to kiss me again, and I want him to, she thought quickly, her heart pounding more rapidly than it had from the race. His eyes roamed over her face, going from her eyes to her lips to her hair. When his gaze fixed on hers again, she saw the incredible desire there.
Then, to her surprise, Paul rolled off her, and stood up. He brushed the dirt from his knees and offered her a hand. Jennifer sat up suddenly, perplexed then embarrassed. She took his hand and let him hoist her up from the ground.
Paul leaned forward as he plucked a piece of stray grass from her hair. “See what happens when you try to race someone who’s athletically your superior,” he said, his face now relaxed and composed. She would have paid a million dollars to know what he was thinking at that moment. His opaque eyes held no clue.
“Yes, but who taught you everything you know?” she said lightly, trying to figure him out. The New York Times crossword puzzle would have been less challenging and complicated.
“Good point. I think I’m in your debt.” He moved a slow arm across his damp forehead and wiped away the sweat. “Let me pay up.”
“Huh?” Her hands nervously hung into the thin pockets of her pale pink shorts. “I don’t think…”
He smiled as he leaned over to stretch the muscles in his thighs. “My intentions are honorable, I assure you. The canteen doesn’t close for another forty-five minutes. How about I treat you to a snack?”
Her stomach growled at the mention of food. It was strange that some days she couldn’t wait until lunch, and other times she missed the noon meal entirely. Today was one of those days. “Fine, but no more racing. Let’s take it slow this time.”
“Can’t take any more, huh?”
Her reply to the challenge in his sharp eyes was a quick dash up the hill and a sprint through the hospital building to the canteen at the back of the reception and records building.
Jennifer stopped when she landed on an empty redwood picnic bench and quickly sat down on the seat. “What took you so long?” She breathed deeply when he arrived moments behind her. “You sure you’re only twenty-eight? You were going so slow I would have thought you were twenty or thirty years older.” She laughed as he teasingly grabbed her shoulder.