Appearing in a benefit calendar may have been the dumbest thing veteran Sig Nowicki ever did. Suddenly, he’s become his small town’s golden boy, and he doesn’t much like being in the spotlight. Mostly he needs a job, now that his military career was ended by a grenade.
Pet shop owner Elsie Jordan came to Michigan to start over. She’s attracted to Sig and doesn’t give a rip about his scars, but the ones she carries inside her heart are the real hurdle. She just isn’t sure she has it in her to love and trust, ever again.
Elsie and Sig set out to boost each other’s confidence and finally give in to their explosive passion. The entire town seems happy to help. But both of them need to come to grips with their imperfections and accept that they might just be perfect for each other.
“Sig, I tell you every week that I don’t date. It isn’t you, honestly. It’s just that…I don’t think I can do it.”
He held out a hand, palm up, and waited until she tentatively took it. “Look, Elsie, this isn’t a ploy to get you to go out with me. I promise. I’m not expecting anything here. I’m bright enough to recognize a fellow survivor when I see one. Your scars may not be on the outside, but they’re there all the same. I figured that out the first time we met. This doesn’t have to be a real date. I desperately want someone sitting next to me at that head table and I have no idea who else to ask.”
Elsie caught her breath and looked into his eyes. How had he seen that far into her soul? She’d always assumed her happy-go-lucky mask was impenetrable. She tried another tack. “Sig, there have to be plenty of women in town happy to go out with you. You’re the town hero, for goodness’ sake.”
“Exactly.” He quirked one corner of his lip. “Yeah, there are a few women, even here in Haven, who want to see what it’s like to screw the freak. Been there. Done that. Not wearing the T-shirt.”
“That isn’t what I meant.” Fury welled in her throat at the heartless witches who would use such a lovely man. “I meant that you’re a great guy. Surely there are some women out there who see that, regardless of the scars.”
Sig shrugged. “If there are, I haven’t found them. Honestly, after the first few months I was home, I quit trying.”