Abby Snyder finally has the opportunity to expand her diner now that the building next door is available. Unfortunately, she must compete with Nick Coleman to get it. Abby—usually über-responsible—shared one night with the playboy, and she's been trying to forget it ever since. But then he makes her a bet she can’t refuse… and the winner gets the building.
With his reputation ruining his chances at gaining some big clients, Nick needs a way to prove to everyone that he's reformed. Dating Abby, the most respected girl in town—and the only one he wants—is the perfect solution. Unfortunately for Abby resisting Nick is harder than she thought.
Each book in the Stealing the Heart series is a standalone, full-length story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Book #1 Stealing the Groom
Book #2 Resisting Her Rival
Book #3 Stealing the Bachelor
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About the Author
From the time she was a child, Sonya knew she was destined to be a writer. If she didn't like the ending of a book or movie, she would write her own ending. When her children were young, she often wrote stories to entertain them. At the urging of one of her daughters, she submitted a short story and to her surprise and delight, it sold.
Sonya loves writing all things romance whether it's writing contemporary adult or teen fiction and still hasn't lost the wonder that she gets to do what she loves.
She enjoys reading, movies, chocolate, and laughter and credits her daughters as being the sweetest blessings in her life.
Read an Excerpt
Resisting Her Rival
A Stealing the Heart Novel
By Sonya Weiss, Alycia Tornetta
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2014 Sonya Weiss
All rights reserved.
"Of all the sneaky, ratty things to do, this ranks as the worst, Nick Coleman," Abby Snyder said, exhaling slowly as she made the announcement in front of the mirror. Running the brush through her dark hair, she caught the angry flush on her cheeks and took a breath.
She didn't normally have a problem keeping her temper under control. Calmness had been her goal ever since she'd heard the news, but so far she hadn't been able to achieve it. It wasn't that she couldn't handle tough news or rough situations. She'd had more than her fair share of hard knocks.
Starting with the car accident that had claimed the lives of both of her parents when she was seventeen, followed by her short-lived, awful marriage, she'd learned that life didn't play fair. That heartache was an equal opportunity emotion.
It had fallen on her shoulders to keep the family going. She hadn't always known how to handle things after having such a big responsibility thrust on her, but she'd always tried to do right by those in her life. For her younger sisters, her biggest desire had been protecting them from anything that might cause them more pain.
When her sisters were teenagers, she'd warned them not to fall for any lines boys might give them. Over and again, she'd told them not to get tangled up thinking a boy with a reputation would ever change.
Yet here she was, her life turned upside down by a boy with a reputation. Except this wasn't high school and Nick wasn't a boy anymore.
At thirty-two, she definitely wasn't that teenage girl she'd once been, either. But had she heeded the lecture she'd given her sisters, she wouldn't have ended up having a one- night stand with the last man she'd ever pictured herself kissing much less doing the birthday suit tango with.
"And what a suit he had," Abby muttered out loud.
Images of him whispered through her mind with breath-catching attention, and Abby shivered again. His dark hair and dark eyes. That easy smile. That rock-hard body he still kept in Marine-ready condition. She hadn't really spent time around him when he was in the service, but she could picture him with his dog tags hanging around his neck as he pushed his body to the limit and beyond.
Abby shivered. He had a way of leaning close, intently gazing at her as if she were the only woman he'd ever seen in his life. That night, his lips had curved with a promise he'd more than delivered.
In high school, she'd catch his eye, and the intensity she'd seen in the depths of his had caused her to entertain thoughts that took her pulse from zero to a hundred. She'd suspected getting close to him would shake her much-too-fragile life back then, that he could be the kind of guy to make her forget she had to be strong, so she'd avoided him.
Until that night three months ago.
Him pressing her against the wall had given new meaning to the phrase "between a rock and a hard place." He'd touched the side of her neck, making her pulse zip along like an Amtrak at full throttle, but there was no way she would board that train. Again.
She could still recall the taste of the salt from the ocean breeze on his skin. Music had wafted in from somewhere across the sands, the melody so beautifully haunting it had made her heart swell.
If she closed her eyes and pictured the scene, she could almost smell the scented candles flickering by the bed, the vanilla tangled with cinnamon. Sweet and spice, a reminder of it all. His whispered, "Look at me, Abby," as his need had collided with hers reverberated in her mind.
Breathing hard, Abby turned away from the mirror and fanned herself with her hand, not wanting to see the emotion clearly displayed on her face. The fear and the longing.
Nick was tough enough to fight through the walls she'd erected to keep her heart safe, and she'd promised herself she'd never go down that road ever again. Never be vulnerable. Ever.
Tossing the brush onto the neatly made bed, she scooped her hair into a short ponytail. Though her life no longer felt as fragile as it once had, she'd been right in believing Nick would shake it up.
She held herself just as responsible for that night as Nick. No matter how much he'd blown her preconceived notions about sex all to hell, she shouldn't have lowered her guard. But she had and he'd stabbed her in the back. Damn him and those images of his flexed muscles that wanted to stay on instant replay in her mind.
Nerve endings tingling with the mental awareness, Abby avoided making eye contact with the mirror. Picking up the brush, she put it neatly on the antique dresser that once belonged to her grandmother and left her bedroom. She walked down the stairs she'd been meaning to refinish to search for her constantly misplaced car keys.
To get this situation over with, more than anything, she wanted to call Nick and let him have an earful, but that would be too easy for him. He'd try to weasel out of what he'd done, and she wasn't going to have that. Sex was one thing. Her business was another. How could Nick even think of standing in the way of her diner expansion by trying to take the building she needed?
Over my dead body.
She wasn't about to give an inch in this matter. She wanted to see him face-to-face when she confronted him. He was going to look her in the eye and explain why he'd screwed her over.
Her new summer sandals sounded out quick, sharp bursts from the low heels as she made her way across the hardwood flooring and outside onto the front porch. She locked the door and paused for a moment to take a deep breath. The sweet aroma of the flowers in several hanging baskets surrounded her.
Growing things always helped her to de-stress. She liked the simplicity and order that came with gardening. Right now, she had anything but that. Her gaze drifted across the yard.
She'd completed the mowing and edging yesterday right before a cleansing summer rain had fallen. The lawn looked good except for a stubborn group of weeds that sprouted up near the rosebushes she'd planted in memory of her parents. Those weeds needed to be uprooted and tossed, just like the memory of Nick.
But there wasn't a container of weed killer big enough to erase what had happened that night. Damn him—and damn her for falling for his lies.
Angry with herself that her thoughts kept returning to him, Abby marched decisively from the porch and across the red brick pavers to her aging station wagon.
When one of her next-door neighbors called her name, Abby responded with, "I haven't forgotten about giving you the cake recipe. I'll email it to you while I'm at the diner."
Her neighbor grinned and waved as Abby slid into the driver's seat, avoiding the broken spring. She grimaced when she touched the steering wheel. The end of June in South Carolina wasn't the time to forget to put up the sunshade, and she wouldn't have forgotten had she not been so distracted. Steering with her palms, she backed the car out of the driveway of the home she shared with her grandfather, Noah.
She hadn't told anyone in her family about Nick's ploy because she'd been afraid what had happened in Florida might accidentally slip out. That could not happen.
While she loved her grandfather and sisters deeply, they would want to know things Abby wasn't ready to examine.
Plus, she felt a little embarrassed after all the plans she'd made for the expansion, at how sure she'd been that everything was finally going to fall into place for her. She'd told everyone as much. Had already toasted to her future success.
Didn't look like that was going to happen now and she looked and felt like a fool.
Damn Nick all over again. What right did he have to think he could swoop in and change everything? Well, she'd just change it right back. That building was as good as hers, and she wasn't letting it go without a fight.
Since it was Saturday, Nick wouldn't be at the office where he ran a business renovating homes. He'd rented a tiny space beside the post office for the last three years. Before Florida, every time she'd looked at the swinging black iron sign above his door, she'd wondered what she might have missed out on by ignoring him in high school. By cutting him off every time he flirted with her.
Now, seeing the sign made her think about Nick, and thinking about him was ten times worse. Because now she knew what she'd missed out on all these years. No wonder his business was successful. She could testify to how good he was with his hands.
Thinking about his hands made Abby recall the rest of him. How fit his body was, with taut six-pack abs and biceps that had easily lifted her. She'd experienced a momentary stab of fear when he closed his arms around her, but she'd quickly learned that he was in no way the bully her ex had been.
Guiding the car onto the street leading to Sweet Creek's only auto repair shop, where she knew Nick would be hanging out with his cousin, Abby mentally wished for the car to go faster. She couldn't wait to tell Nick exactly what she thought of him and his underhanded way of trying to steal what was supposed to be hers.
But no matter how hard she pressed on the gas, the car simply didn't have any get-up- and-go left in it. It was one more thing on her take-care-of list. She couldn't buy a new car until she found a building she could use to expand the diner. She wouldn't know how much money she'd have left over until then. If she had to buy a more expensive building, the expansion was off. There was no way she'd get that kind of financing. All the buildings she'd looked at were way outside her budget.
Except for the one next to her diner. That one, she could afford a down payment on. The exact one Nick was trying to take.
He'd approached the owner to tell the guy he wanted to buy it. The same day she had. They'd missed each other by fifteen minutes.
Because Oscar, the elderly owner, had known both of them since, in his words, "Y'all were knee-high to grasshoppers," he wouldn't sell to either of them unless they could work something out amicably between themselves.
Abby reached over and pushed the button for the air conditioning. With a sputter, hot air halfheartedly spewed from the vents, making the heat inside the car worse. Giving up, she shut it off and rolled the windows farther down. The sweet scent of freshly made cinnamon rolls assailed her as she passed the bakery, but her nerves were stretched too tight to think about stopping to get one.
A knot of desperation curled in her stomach. Something had to work out in her favor. She needed a car. She needed that building. She needed a one-night stand do-over so she could erase the fact that it had happened.
Since she couldn't have the latter, Nick would have to back off the building. Once he did that, Oscar would be willing to sell to her, and she'd be on track. She'd move on with her life and that night would become a distant memory and—
Her thoughts abruptly screeched to a halt when she rounded the curve in the road and spotted Nick.
She sucked in a breath. Holy ooh rah.
Nick was bent slightly forward at the waist, one hand on the raised hood of an old Dodge Charger while he looked at the engine. His faded blue jeans hugged him as if he were a lifeguard that had just rescued an exhausted swimmer from a riptide. His dark T- shirt pulled across his chest, paying homage to the muscles visibly defined beneath it.
Abby gulped. She eased through the four-way and slowed the car until it coasted to a stop.
The sun touched the skin on the back of his neck above the T-shirt collar, and she remembered the light sunburn he'd had the night they'd spent together. How warm his skin had felt beneath her fingertips as she'd rubbed soothing lotion on him.
If she wasn't careful, between the anger at Nick and the unwelcome desire she felt at seeing him, she was going to spontaneously combust.
After shoving the gearshift into Park, Abby opened the door. She stepped out and straightened her shoulders. Mustn't drool over the enemy or I'll short-circuit my brain.
She recalled the last time she'd felt this cheated, and once again, a man had been involved then, too.
Whatever Nick said, however he tried to defend himself, he had no excuses. He'd undermined her. Still, she wouldn't let him or his sneaky, underhanded behavior impact her life a second longer. She'd become accustomed to going around obstacles when her family needed her. Buying that building was her chance to finally do something for herself, and she wasn't about to let Nick Coleman stand in her way.
* * *
When he heard footsteps approaching, Nick looked over his shoulder and saw Abby. The day came abruptly, sharply into focus and all of it on her, the one woman he'd never been able to get out of his mind.
He liked the way her hips swayed oh-so-gently as she moved, but he especially liked the way the hot sunlight streamed through her skirt, outlining a figure he knew too damned well. The sight put his body on high alert, and he shifted, his heart beating like he'd just out-skied an avalanche. Down, boy.
He'd seen her a few times since the night they'd spent together in Florida, but she'd brushed him off each time. There was a definite challenge in her eyes when she stopped in front of him. His gaze roamed her face.
She had girl-next-door beauty combined with a down-to-earth personality that had caused more than one guy to chase after her. As far as he knew, she'd refused them all.
When he continued to observe her, she crossed her arms defensively. He couldn't help but think of the balcony where she'd rested her head against his bare chest. She hadn't been defensive then. Hadn't kept him at arm's length. He'd covered the both of them with a sheet from the bed, positive that he'd rocked her world as much as she'd rocked his.
The next morning, he'd planned to tell her that he wanted to keep seeing her, but the bed had been empty, her tantalizing perfume lingering like a sad, regretful sigh on the empty pillow beside him.
So much for rocking her world.
He tensed at her current expression. She certainly didn't look welcoming, and there was only so much rejection a man could take.
Looking past her at the car that he knew had to be held together by hope and not much else, he said, "Are you here to have the station wagon looked at?"
Abby followed his gaze to her car and took a deep breath, the action causing the thin fabric of her shirt to pull against her breasts.
Nick swallowed hard and forced his eyes upward from the sight. She had an eyebrow lifted, and he knew he'd been caught thinking with a part south of his belt buckle. "Don't expect me to apologize for looking—or remembering," he said. Boy, did he ever remember. Often at the most inopportune times he recalled the silkiness of her skin, how soft she'd felt under his hands.
To distract the direction his thoughts were going, and keep southern things from going north, he moved around the car and leaned his back against the driver's side door. "I'm surprised to see you here. You usually run the other direction any time you see me coming."
She looked like she'd taken a mouthful of bitter lemonade and needed to spew it out.
He held out a hand when she opened her mouth, his pride still feeling the sting of her prior rejections. "Let me guess. You realized how good we were together, and you want to give it another shot. I might be agreeable, but just so you know, after cold shouldering me as long as you have, it's going to take more than an apology."
She looked even madder now. He could practically see the anger simmering off her. Maybe she'd gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. He knew what would relax her, hell, relax the both of them, but he had a feeling it wasn't the time to mention that.
"I always knew you were arrogant," she said, curling her fingers into fists.
"Really? You seemed to like me well enough when we were together."
"Nick, you are so full of—"
"Confidence? Yeah, I know."
"I'm not here to tell you I want another shot at whatever it was we had."
Excerpted from Resisting Her Rival by Sonya Weiss, Alycia Tornetta. Copyright © 2014 Sonya Weiss. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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