"At one time MAD DOG AND ANNIE thought they'd have a future together, but he left town and she married his best friend. Now the sinfully sexy policeman unexpectedly returns and once again looks in her direction. Years of abuse from her soon-to-be-ex have made the single mom wary of love. Well-developed characters, strong emotions and good romantic tension blend beautifully in this first-rate Virginia Kantra offering." –RT Book Reviews
Bad boy Maddox “Mad Dog” Palmer has loved Annie Barclay since they were kids. But when she married his high school teammate, golden boy Rob Cross, Maddox backed off and moved away. Now he’s back in town, and Ann is in trouble, threatened by both her abusive ex-husband and the law.
Tender-hearted Ann is fighting for a new life and custody of her young son. She has enough on her plate without a burned out, big city cop reigniting an old flame or reminding her of the girl she used to be. Maddox tempts her beyond her safe boundaries. But can the first man who made Ann feel desire teach her to love again?
Romance Writers of America RITA© Award finalist
All About Romance "Desert Isle Keeper"
Praise for "emotionally compelling" New York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra:
"Virginia Kantra is back where we want her, writing fantastic contemporary romance." –Rendezvous
"I'm a long time Virginia Kantra fan girl because every time I read one of her books, she reminds me why I read romance." –JoAnn Ross, New York Times bestselling author
"Kantra has to be the only romance author I've read whose characters are as rich as those of Nora Roberts." –The Romance Reader
"I have read and enjoyed all of Virginia Kantra's books. One thing for sure, her heroes are some of the best in the business. They are strong and tender with a protective and nurturing streak and a deep commitment to family - all traits that I love." –All About Romance
Snatching a couple of dirty glasses, Ann got busy, got moving, got her mind off Rob’s latest threats and Mitchell’s outgrown sneakers and the things she did and should have done with Maddox Palmer back in high school.
No regrets, she reminded herself. Figure out what has to be done now, and do it. After nine years of having the spunk and the tar whaled out of her, initiative still came hard. But she was learning, she thought with satisfaction. In the past year, she’d had to learn.
The cheery little bell over the door summoned her back to the hostess station. She grabbed a menu and a smile to welcome the new customer and then stopped dead and let both of them slide.
It was him. Maddox Palmer, in the flesh. In jeans, she corrected herself, and a tan T-shirt that almost matched the color of his skin. She squeezed the menu tighter. This time the Cutler grapevine was right. He was handsomer than ever.
He had to be over thirty now, big and broad and somehow harder. Solid. His face had a lot more lines. Well, he was three years older than her, though only two years ahead in school. He’d been kept back in first grade, she remembered, the year his mama died. He had thick brown hair that his new short cut couldn’t tame and hooded eyes that still saw right through her, and a juvenile-delinquent slouch that made him look tough and ready to react to whatever punch life threw at him. He dangled a cigarette between two fingers of his right hand, and he still had that not-a-dimple in his chin that tempted every good girl to press a finger to it.
Ann damned the way her heart speeded up just at the sight of him. She’d given up Big, Bad and Dangerous to Know almost a year ago.
He smiled crookedly. “Hey, Annie.”
Like they were just passing in the hall in high school. Like he’d never shared gum or secrets with her on the school bus or filched cookies from her mother’s kitchen or stood up for her on the playground.
Like he’d never grappled with her in the back seat of his father’s unmarked police car and then walked right past her locker the