A Sure Thing
by Marie Harte
Series: The Donnigans, #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Meet the Donnigans
With the eldest Donnigan brothers adjusting to civilian life, their younger sister constantly in trouble, and their little brother clueless about life in general, falling in love is the last thing on anyone’s mind…
Can this Bossy Badass Marine…
The Marine Corps was everything Landon Donnigan ever wanted in life...until a bullet sent him home with a medical discharge. Teaching a self-defense class at the gym is old-hat for a marine, but when he meets sexy Ava Rosenthal, his combat skills are useless for protecting his heart.
Be her Mr. Right?
Ava can take care of herself and likes quiet, bookish men—not muscular warriors who think women need to be coddled. But Landon is more than he seems, and when they come together, the results are explosive.
A glance around the gym showed the object of her nightmares still talking to Mac by the aerobics room. She wondered if she could leave before he caught her again. Would that be cowardly though? It offended her that he thought she’d been avoiding him. She had, because he confused the heck out of her. But he didn’t need to think that. She truly had been busy with work this week.
Landon saw her and raised a brow. Hey, that’s my move. She frowned. Mac saw her and smiled, then stepped away to talk to someone else while Landon stalked back to her side.
No doubt about it. The man moved with purpose. Walk in front of him and be mowed down.
He stopped in front of her. “Wonder of wonders. You’re still here. I thought for sure you would have hightailed it home by now.” Again with the smirking.
“Okay, buddy. Explain that crack.”
“We’re buddies now? I’m moved. Truly.” Landon put a big hand over his nonexistent heart.
“Why are you being so annoying today?”
“I’m never annoying. I’m honest, and, as I’ve come to find out, very few people can handle the truth.”
“I’m way too tired to deal with you today.”
Before she could add I’m leaving, he grabbed her by the arm and gently pulled her close. “It’s obvious you’ve been avoiding the gym. Because of me.”
“And you sound proud of that fact because…?”
“Because I’m getting to you.”
“Like salmonella. Yes, you’re pervasive in a germy kind of way.” She ignored his low laughter. “For the record, I have been extremely busy with patients this week. My not being here had nothing to do with you.”
“Your eye is twitching. Is that a tell?”
“Tell? I’ll tell you something, mister, I—”
“When are you going out with Charles again?”
O-kay. Change in subject. “What?”
He shrugged. “You know. Charles. The poodle of the finance world. Pat him on the head and he’ll roll over for you, might even beg.”
She wasn’t following. “I’m confused. You don’t like poodles?”
He crossed his eyes. “Are you going out with him again or not?”
“Why is that your business?”
He paused. “I guess it’s not. But I think it’s a little tacky of you to date me and this guy at the same time.”
She frowned. “We’re not dating.”
“Oh good. So it’s just me?”
“No. I meant, you and I, we’re not dating. And besides, dating doesn’t imply anything intimate. It’s okay to date more than one person at a time, if we were even dating, which we’re not.”
He gave her a sad look she didn’t buy, because his deep brown eyes were still filled with amusement. “Our bonding over jazz and your wussy date meant nothing to you? I’m crushed.”
Her lips twitched despite herself. “Are you done?”
“Ah. There’s that smile.” He tucked her hand in the crook of his massive arm and walked her back to the signup sheet. “Okay, I’m done harassing you. Mostly. So starting Friday evening, we run a three-part self-defense program. Come to the class. In all seriousness, the stuff we’re going to teach could really help if you get into a problem.” He gave her a look.
“Hell.” He blew out a breath. “I overheard you last week talking about some handsy guy. So I’m just going to say it. If you’re going out with Chuck again, make sure you meet in a public place.”
“Thank you, Dad.” She tried to tug her hand free from the rocks he called biceps and a forearm, but he gripped her fingers and wouldn’t let go. “His name is Charles,” she corrected. “But I’m so glad to have a big strong man around to tell me what to do. However have I managed myself for the past thirty years without you?” She batted her eyelashes, aware she was interacting with Landon in a way unlike the manner she typically used when speaking with men.
Not cut and dried or soberly attentive. She thought she might be actually…flirting.
To her bemusement, she hadn’t had such a fun conversation since the last time they’d traded barbs.
“Thirty, huh? Not bad, Doc. You have the legs of a twenty-year-old.”
“You’re a jerk, you know that?” Inwardly preening at his compliment, she still felt offended on behalf of thirty-year-olds everywhere. “I love being thirty.” And single. And childless. Sigh.
Caffeine addict, boy referee, and romance aficionado, MARIE HARTE is a confessed bibliophile and devotee of action movies. Whether hiking in Central Oregon, biking around town, or hanging at the local tea shop, she’s constantly plotting to give everyone a happily ever after.