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Annika Nilsen is a small-town girl, but she's got big-city dreams...
At twenty-eight, she's stuck in her hometown of West Loon Bay, Minnesota, population 397, with no boyfriend, no money, and no future. Life is boring and predictable until her best friend convinces her to take a road trip out west to see what they're missing. Everything is going according to the plan until her brother suddenly shows up with his bandmate, Alexander Lange. Annika's attraction to Alex is instantaneous, giving her second thoughts about leaving. She's faced with a choice--cancel her trip and betray her best friend or leave Alex behind. Someone must lose. Will it be her?
Alexander Lange has learned the hard way that fame and fortune don't always equal 'livin' the dream'...
After ten years on the road and multiple double-platinum hits, Alex and his band are burned out. They've come home to West Loon Bay to reunite with their families and reassess their lives. The last thing Alex needs is a girlfriend, but the moment he sees Annika, he's instantly drawn to her. The problem is, she's leaving town and while he's desperately trying to convince her to stay, it becomes apparent that someone else wants her permanently out of the way. Can he save the woman he loves or will he lose her to an unknown enemy?
Alex and Annika walked the rest of the way to the water’s edge in silence except for the soft tapping of their tennis shoes on the blacktop. When they reached the public boat landing, they gazed at the full moon lingering above the skyline with a dark silhouette of clouds floating behind it. The bright, silver-blue sphere cast a wide, V-shaped streak of moonlight glistening across the serene waters of the vast lake. Alex pulled back his arm and threw the stone, watching it skip across the water until it disappeared out of sight. He sighed, realizing how much of the simple things in life he’d missed out on in the last decade.
They talked about other subjects as they walked back to the café, but once they reached the back stairway to Annika’s apartment, they lingered at the bottom step in awkward silence.
“I enjoyed our walk, Alex,” Annika said at last, giving him the feeling she wasn’t ready for their time together to end. “I’m glad your band decided to come back home for a while.”
Alex smiled, taken with how fascinating he found the slight Scandinavian lilt to her voice. Everyone who was born in this area or lived here most of their lives had it, too. Not all the time; just in a certain phrase now and then or an occasional word. He’d probably sounded the same way to people on the road when he first left West Loon Bay, but it had faded from his voice long ago.
“The pleasure was all mine, Annika. I think it’s important for you and Erik to get together.” Meant as a friendly gesture only, he took her narrow palm in his, but the moment her smooth skin pressed against his calloused hand his pulse jumped.
“I—I’d better go call Erik,” she said, sounding flustered as she jerked her hand away.
He tried to give her back the flashlight, but she refused to take it.
“You’ll need it for the walk home. You can return it to me later.” She tried to back up, nearly stumbling on the stairs. Turning, she bolted up the stairway, but stopped at the top and spun around. When their gazes connected, she drew in a sharp breath and hesitated as though she wanted to say something else. She waved at him instead. “Good night, Alex!”
He watched her disappear into her apartment then he headed down the alley. It was at least a mile walk back to his cabin using the trail around the lake, but he needed the fresh air and the time alone to clear his head.
Annika Nilsen was a refreshing change from the women in his past. She wasn’t obsessed with her looks and yet he found her natural beauty more appealing than any woman who’d ever attracted him. She didn’t hang on him or flaunt her sexuality by wearing skin-tight dresses or tops exposing miles of cleavage. She didn’t need to make overtures like that for him to notice her. The fact that she didn’t even try was what got his attention the most.
Unfortunately, even though Annika was—amazingly—still single, she was Erik’s sister. That automatically made her off-limits; totally off the chart degree of off-limits. No way would Erik ever go along with one of his bandmates getting up close and personal with her, but Alex didn’t blame him. After the decadent, self-destructive lifestyle they’d lived on the road, Alex wouldn’t want any of his buddies getting within five miles of his sister, either, if he had one. Annika deserved better than to get swallowed up in the shadow of a burned-out rock star. Someone who’d been “Zander” for so long, he didn’t have a clue who he was anymore.
Alex sighed as he trudged across the city park toward the edge of town and the “Tremolo Trail” that circled the lake. He needed to get her off his mind and move on.
The image of Axl Rose flashed into his mind singing “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” The words made him realize how incredibly lonely he was—and had been for as far back as he could remember.
♥♥ Book one of the West Loon Bay series. Get your copy now! ♥♥
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