Jess moved far enough away from her old life, no one had ever heard of her late husband. Her quaint fixer upper was the perfect place to quietly start over, away from the judgment and scandal of her past. The only issue she has is Jake, her new neighbor. Once it's clear the rude cowboy has no interest in being neighborly any more than she does, she knows she'd made the right choice in this new home.
As if things arent bad enough for Jake, rumor has it a widow lady bought the dump next door. He doesn't have time to add looking after some little old lady on his to-do list.
Jess wants solitude to heal the scars of her past, but once Jake gets a good look at the widow lady and discovers she is anything but old, he works to remove the boot from his mouth and maybe convince her to let him help fix up her place... and maybe even her heart.
After catching up, they were each finishing their second cup of coffee when Jake turned and saw Jess marching down the road. Her sun-streaked, brown hair floated around her shoulders as she walked. The thigh-length robe she wore hung open, leaving in full view the peach colored boxer style shorts and matching tank top. Cowboy boots completed the ensemble.
Grinning, Max said, "Jake, isn't that your horse?"
Jake shook himself mentally. He forced his eyes away from the woman and noticed Houdini beside her. He had a feeling his second meeting with this woman wasn't going to go any better than the first. He thought he should go next door and apologize for his rude comment, but he hadn't yet figured out how to apologize for calling a woman old and telling her you didn't want to have anything to do with her.
Jake watched Jess approach. His horse nuzzled her neck, and she jerked her arm out to the side, holding his head at arm's length. She stopped just short of the porch steps and stared at him with sharp green eyes.
"I believe he belongs here." She held the rope toward him. "Studly here just bred my mare. Don't expect to collect a fee for his services."
Jake stood and moved toward the steps, not knowing what to say as he took the rope. His comments at the store had been bad, but this far outweighed anything he could have said.
Max set his cup on the small table beside the chair Jake vacated and moved toward Jess. "Would you like to press charges, or are you just planning to shoot him?"
When Max glanced at him, Jake gave him a glare proven to stop most men in their tracks. Unfortunately, since they'd been friends since grade school, it didn't detour Max.
Jess took a small step back and glanced down at the rifle in her hand. Her features relaxed slightly. She drew a deep breath and ran a hand through her hair. "No, I don't want to press charges." She indicated the rifle. "I wasn't sure what was after my horse when I grabbed this." She glanced at Jake again. "Just make sure you keep your overgrown hound home from now on."