Falling for the New Guy

By: Nicole Helm

She needs a distraction

One of Bluff City’s finest, Tess Camden always follows the rules. That means a romp with the strong and silent new guy on the force would be out of the question. Besides, no matter how deliciously sexy Marc Santino is, she’s his boss. So she’ll stick with her keeping-to-herself routine.

Still, Marc has Tess aching to be all kinds of wrong. And all those reasons they have to stay away don’t seem important…especially if their sexy arrangement remains their secret. Suddenly, their hot affair becomes more than just a distraction. Can they let it turn into something more?

Maybe a bar was exactly what he needed.

And what about Tess?

It didn’t matter if she was pretty. If his body had some different idea of her than his brain did. Because his body was kind of interested in her body. His mind? It found her irritating as hell. Besides, she was practically his superior.

Marc glanced up from locking his door to see Tess leaning against the rail at the top of the staircase. She’d changed. Jeans, long-sleeved T-shirt, leather jacket slung over her shoulder. Her hair was still pulled back, but in a looser way than it had been when she’d been in uniform.

There was nothing sexy about it. Nothing. But sexy was the first word that popped into his head anyway.

Trouble. Plain and simple. And he’d never done anything remotely resembling trouble. Was that why it seemed so enticing?

Dear Reader,

Marc and Tess’s story ends my Bluff City series (I mean, probably—you never know!), which is my first series with Harlequin Superromance.

I think more than anything I’ve written, the books in this series are about the ways love holds us up when times are tough, and that is one of my favorite themes to explore. I’ll miss Grace and Kyle, Jacob and Leah, Henry and Ellen, and Marc and Tess a little extra for the milestones and firsts that came along with them.

I hope their stories bring you some of the joy and hope they’ve brought me.

If you’re on Twitter, so am I (probably more than I should be). I love to talk to readers: @NicoleTHelm.

Happy reading!

Nicole Helm



MARC SANTINO PLACED a box in the corner of the empty apartment along with one other box. Add the two his sister and her boyfriend carried, a bed, a bookshelf and a few folding chairs, and it made up all his worldly possessions. That hadn’t seemed quite so little until he put it into the apartment, tiny as the space was.

“Are you sure about this place?” Leah asked, dropping her box and then skeptically kicking loose baseboards and poking at electrical outlets.

Marc had to bite his tongue to keep from telling her to be careful. She was an electrician—she knew what she was doing.

But what kind of lunatic so casually ran her fingers over outlets?

He didn’t say that, though. He was not going to ruin whatever weird equilibrium he and his not-at-all close little sister had managed over the past few months with his—some might say—paranoid worry. He liked to call it concerned with safety.

“It’s a little rough, but I’ll have plenty of time to clean it up. Besides, the price was right.”

Leah and Jacob shared a look. Marc wasn’t a big fan of when they did that. Unfortunately, the brief time he’d spent visiting in order to facilitate this move to Bluff City, Iowa hadn’t given him any insight into what those shared looks meant.

“Jacob and I could move into the big house,” Leah said, referencing the large house Jacob’s company had restored and used as an office. But Marc knew they were trying to sell it, and living in Leah’s house was more practical for them. Or more private, anyway.

“I want a space of my own. Somewhere small that I don’t have to clean.”

Leah let out a pained sigh. “I don’t think Mom will like this.”

Marc ignored the bitterness that coated his stomach. He’d made strides with Leah over the course of the past few months, but his relationship with their parents, Mom especially, remained complicated.

He didn’t want to analyze it, or to feel that bitter asshole part of himself that, even at thirty-two, was jealous of his sister. A sister whose health problems had been the center of his childhood.

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