Get a Clue

By: Jill Shalvis

“What the hell are you doing?” he demanded, looking tough and clearly ready to prove it.

And that’s when her brain kicked back into gear and reminded her of her situation. She was in a strange house. In a strange bathroom, out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by rugged mountain peaks and more snow than she’d ever seen.

And she was staring at a furious, naked guy. “Um—”

“Who the hell are you?”

“I—” She glanced at the neon-pink vibrator in her hand and felt every single brain cell desert her.

“Get out.”

Yeah. On that, they were perfectly in sync, thank you very much. She might have a secret weak spot for an edgy, difficult bad boy, but she absolutely did not have a weak spot for being stupid.

Whirling, she dropped the vibrator and ran.



One



Never agree to marry a man because he has potential. Men are not like houses; they do not make good fixer-uppers.

—Breanne Mooreland’s journal entry





It took her a while, but eventually Breanne Mooreland realized she had a naked man in her shower. Normally that would be the icing on a double-fudge chocolate cake, but in today’s case, where she’d already had more failures than she could face, it felt like the last straw.

Consider her the camel, back broken.

In the interest of sanity—hers—she pretended to be fine as she dropped her small carry-on bag to the chair by the bed and stepped to the closed bathroom door. “Um . . . hello?”

Nothing but the sound of water hitting tiles. She glanced around the bedroom, exquisitely decorated in rustic wooden-log furniture and soft, fluffy, equally exquisite bedding with pillows piled higher than Mt. Everest. Just what she and Dean had ordered for their honeymoon.

That she was on said honeymoon alone caused her throat to tighten, but she’d cried bucketfuls on the plane and had promised herself no more pity parties.

But, of course, that had been when she’d merely been stood up at the altar in front of two hundred of her closest friends and family members. Before she’d gotten on the plane from hell all by her lonesome, where the turbulence had been so bad she’d had to stay seated between a three-hundred-pound Louisiana woman crying, “Oh, Lordy, Lordy, have mercy—save us, Jesus!” and an Alaskan fisherman who smelled as if he’d kept some of his daily catch in his pockets.

Thinking she’d hit rock bottom—oh, how wrong she’d been—she’d gotten off the plane to discover that the rest of her luggage had never made it from San Francisco. That landing in the rugged, unpredictable Sierras in the middle of a snowstorm was equal to being shaken and stirred. The storm had only increased in severity since, so that the Jeep that had driven her to her “secluded, exclusive, fully staffed manse on the lake” honeymoon house could barely even get down the narrow, windy roads.

Breanne had distracted herself on the terrifying drive by pulling out her Palm Pilot and opening her journal. There she had her life—her hopes, her dreams, her failures, everything. Her last entry, made on the plane: No more failures.

Ha! That was going to be tricky, as she tended to make bad decisions. Maybe she wasn’t enough of a giver. Maybe she just took, took, took. Maybe concentrating on others more would somehow turn the tide for her. Yeah, that’s what she’d do, she’d give back. Do favors. Perform public service. Try harder at work, where, granted, she slaved over the books for a large accounting firm, but with an attitude.

She knew being the baby of a large family allowed her to fly beneath the radar. Even with her older brothers looking over her shoulder, she’d sought out trouble like a moth to the proverbial flame, beginning back in elementary school, where her sharp tongue and naughty pranks had regularly gotten her into hot water. By middle school she’d switched from pranks to boys, having developed an early fascination.

Of course, her mother always put it more simply: Breanne was drawn to the wrong type—jobs, friends, it didn’t matter. Even men. Especially men. Hence, being stood up at the altar—for the third time.

On second thought, chances were she needed more direction than “no failures,” so she added: And especially, no more men.

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