By Elizabeth Grace
At seventeen, the small town of Saltwater Springs had been everything to Scarlett Devereaux—as had her boyfriend Luke. Never had she imagined she’d have to leave them both behind—until the night that changed everything. A decade after skipping town Scarlett returns to start over in the only place that ever really felt like home. But when nothing goes as planned, she’s forced to turn to Luke for help.
With a drunk for a dad and a mom making pocket change at the local diner, no one ever thought Luke Garrity would amount to anything. After building a successful contracting business he’s proven everyone wrong professionally, but things in his personal life are upside down. Making it the exact wrong time for Scarlett to return to Saltwater Springs.
With a history of devastation and heartbreak between them can Scarlett and Luke make amends, or will secrets from the past threaten the foundation of Scarlett’s new life? Were Luke and Scarlett really built to last?
“Place your left hand on the piece of wood away from where you’re cutting, but close enough that it’s comfortable.” She did as he instructed. “Good, just like that. Now you’re ready to cut.”
Luke moved to stand beside her. Scarlett was nervously biting her lip. “I don’t know if I can do this.” She glanced up to him, her eyes almost pleading with him not to force her.
He couldn’t help but wonder what had happened to the spitfire of a woman she’d been blossoming into before she left town. Not only had she lost some of her Southern accent during her time away, but apparently she’d also lost some of her “hear me roar” attitude. What had shaken her confidence so much that she questioned her abilities? His stomach twisted at all the different scenarios running through his mind that could have made that possible.
“I’ll help you with the first cut.” Luke positioned himself behind Scarlett and leaned over her bent frame, placing his hand over hers. Her soft hand twitched underneath his for a second and then settled. “All right, the key is to keep an eye on the saw base as you cut and to push with enough force that the saw keeps moving through the wood, but not so fast that the saw seems to slow down. Sound good?”
She nodded, the movement of her body shifting her hips ever so slightly—enough that he became painfully aware of his crotch’s proximity to the juncture of her thighs. He shifted his weight, trying to get comfortable in pants that were becoming more uncomfortable by the second. Scarlett’s whole body tensed underneath him.
With a deep breath, Luke decided the best course of action was to ignore her response to being so physically close to him, even though her rigidity further twisted the knife she’d dug into him a decade earlier, leaving him wanting to question why he was never good enough.
Scarlett cleared her throat. “Let’s get this over with.” Her words dug the knife in deeper. “Once I have the first one under my belt, I’m sure it will get easier.”
Maybe that’s all he’d ever been to her—a notch in the proverbial belt for experience sake. He’d never thought he was just a good time to her, but she’d left him questioning everything. “Turn the saw on then, and I’ll help you guide it,” he said in a brusque tone.
The sound of the blade whirling against the side of the wood cut through the silence in the storefront and Scarlett jerked a bit, startled, bumping into him.
Not at all helping the situation below his belt.
Luke lightly squeezed her hand below his, indicating that she should push the saw forward. As she did, bits of wood and sawdust bounced up and into the air. Five seconds later, the small piece they’d cut fell to the ground and the saw’s rotation started to slow.
The noise died down, and Luke was about to congratulate Scarlett on making her first cut when a shrill voice rang out from behind them.
“Well, well. Isn’t this cozy? Still trying to sleep your way into high society, are you, Luke?”