Diana A. Hicks
Publication date: January 30th 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
Find out what happens when a college graduate meets a wealthy CEO in a coffee shop and discovers a chemistry that burns hotter than a steaming latte!
Life has never been much of a fairytale for Valentina, but she’s determined to make up for her past mistakes and bring her son home. Could an intimidating-as-hell coffee house stranger really hold the key to make that happen?
Derek didn’t set out to be anyone’s prince. He may have the riches of a king, but his divorce has made him feel powerless in the battle to keep the business he worked so hard to make a success.
He’s on the verge of losing everything while Valentina struggles to keep what little she has together. Can love over lattes help them build something new?
Author’s Note:Entangle You was previously published under Love Over Lattes.
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“I dropped my key.” God, I sounded like an idiot.
She nodded and scooted her chair back. I had an odd urge to grab her leg to stop her. Women normally didn’t run away from me. What the hell? I rose to my feet. Her eyes followed mine until her long neck and smooth collarbone were exposed. Sexy. Now it was my turn to take a step back. Distance felt like a good idea. I smiled at her and placed my hands on my hips to keep myself in check.
Our gazes locked, and I swallowed, feet glued to the wooden planks. “Hi, I’m Cole.” I offered her my hand. “Derek Cole.”
Valentina arched a perfectly-shaped eyebrow. She wore no makeup, but her skin was soft and radiant.
My fingers itched to touch her, to give in, and… “I mean, my name is Derek, but my friends call me Cole.” That usually came out a lot smoother.
“Nice to meet you.” She placed her hand in mine. Gardenias. She smelled like gardenias. “I’m Valentina.”
Her hand was small, but she had a firm shake. Here was a woman who knew what she wanted, who wasn’t afraid of anything. Why was she crying then? Like the first day I saw her, a smile pulled at the corner of my mouth, and a blast of adrenaline rushed through me. A feeling I only got when I wrote code. Suddenly, I released her hand as if it had turned into a piece of hot coal.
“Well, I gotta go.” I showed her my key. The universal sign for this is the only reason I came back. I had to go before I made a complete ass of myself and broke the only rule keeping my head above water right now—no attachments, especially of the female kind.
“Good luck with your list.” I turned to leave.
“I’ll need a little more than luck to get my house back,” she muttered, eyes brimming with tears again.
Through the window, a cloud rushed across the sky, covering the sun for a moment. The shift in lighting stopped me in my tracks. Shit. This was a bad idea. Just then I chucked any fantasy I’d ever had about Valentina from my mind before I walked to the condiment bar and grabbed a couple of napkins. When I walked back to her, I forced a slow gait, taking my time pulling out the chair next to her. I kept waiting for her to send me away, but she never did. Instead, she gawked at me as if I had suddenly grown an extra head.
“What happened?” I offered her the bunch of napkins.
I couldn’t get involved with her or drag her down with me into this never-ending divorce, but that didn’t mean I had to be an asshole. Five minutes, I could give her five minutes of my time.
“It doesn’t matter.” The unshed tears made her eyes look like a perfectly-brewed espresso. She reached for the napkins, keeping her gaze on my fingers, as if she were afraid I’d yank the napkins away. “I’ll find another one.”
The fake bravado tugged at something in my chest. I understood the desolation I found in her expression well. But as much as I wanted to help her, I wouldn’t know how. She’d be better off calling her mom back.
Tears rolled down her face again. When she tipped her head down to hide them, she disarmed me. A few drops had fallen on her flower skirt. Please don’t cry, I wanted to say, but instead, I glanced toward the door.
“I have to go.” She tore the page off her notebook and folded it.
The creases on the paper were even and neat. You could tell a lot about a person by how they handled their personal effects. Everything about her was tidy and organized. She was driven.
She rose to her feet and then stuffed her list in one of the outer pockets. “It was nice meeting you, Derek.”
“Please call me Cole.” I jerked to my feet, then winced.
I shouldn’t have said that. We weren’t friends. We couldn’t be. A year ago, maybe. But now I would just hurt her. And she obviously didn’t deserve that. I rubbed my jaw, tapping my fingers on my lips. Valentina spun and headed for the door.
My pulse raced, and something heavy settled in my stomach. She was leaving. If she lost her home, who knew when she’d be back at Cafe Triste? And I needed her here. I needed her to break up the days, to give me a reason to get up in the morning and leave the house. But she didn’t know that. To her, I was a stranger. We were strangers. She didn’t owe me shit, and vice versa. I pinched the bridge of my nose.
Let her go.
Biting my lip, I rubbed the back of my neck. “I have a rental you might be interested in,” I blurted out.
She spun around, frowning, mouth slightly opened.
Diana A. Hicks is an award-winning author of steamy romantic suspense and science-fiction romance.
When Diana is not writing, she enjoys hot yoga, kickboxing, traveling, and indulging in the simple joys of life like wine and chocolate. She lives in Atlanta and loves spending time with her two children and husband. Connect with Diana on social media to stay up to date on her latest releases.
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