If there’s one thing Rye Holcomb hates, it’s small, tight-knit towns with high virtues and zero tolerance for outsiders. Fidelity is just such a town. And Rye is just such an outsider. So when he and his brother, Cash, take jobs in Fidelity, Rye decides not to get too comfortable. Which is why he is avoiding some rather confusing feelings for his new boss, Cora McKay.
Cora was born, raised, and baptized in Fidelity. She owns a thriving construction business, has a close circle of friends, and is the breadwinner for her mother and four sisters. The one thing she lacks is a sex life, something she’s never longed for until now. One conversation with Rye sparks her sexual awakening, and, in spite of his reputation as a man-whore, Cora can’t resist giving in to his advances.
As Rye enjoys initiating his virgin employer, and Cash experiences a relationship with a man for the first time in his life, they begin to think of Fidelity as home. But small towns have brought them trouble in the past, and it appears Fidelity holds trouble for their future. Can their newfound relationships be enough to overcome a past that relentlessly follows them? Can two men who have been burned by love learn to trust again?
He didn’t repeat himself. He hadn’t meant for the words to come out loud. What he asked instead was worse. “Why didn’t you wanna come fishing last night?”
For a moment, surprise and confusion clouded her eyes. She gave her head a little shake and said, “I believe I’ve answered that question. I prefer to keep my work life and social life separate.”
“In a town this size? Is that realistic?”
“It’s worked so far.”
“You were friends with Sam.”
“Sam didn’t flippantly screw every interested party who came his way.”
It wasn’t a literal punch to the gut, but Rye fell back a step anyway. “I’m just…” What? Lonely? Desperate? How was he supposed to finish that sentence?
“Listen, you should go,” she said. “The preacher’s heading this way.”
He blew out a breath, not at all sure of where he was standing. “If that’s the only thing you don’t like about me, we could still be friends. Nothing inappropriate about fishing together.”
“It sounds to me like we have very different definitions of fishing, and I have absolutely no desire to roll around on the river bank with you, Rye.”
That one hurt even worse. He shrugged, hoping the hurt didn’t show in his eyes. “Doesn’t have to be the river bank. We can roll around anywhere you want.”
Cora drew herself up tall, rolling her shoulders back. “Your employment history reads a lot like a rap sheet. Are you sure you want to add ‘sexually harassing your boss’ to the list of misdeeds?”
That was enough for him. The walls came right back up. He plugged the hole in that dam, no longer interested in entertaining someone else’s ideas of right and wrong. “Fuck it. Plenty of fish in the sea. Sorry for bothering you, Mrs. McKay.” He turned on his heel and left.
Carter Ashby is a hardworking housewife and homeschool mother by day, and a romance reader and writer by night. She lives in rural Missouri with her husband, three children, and two dogs.