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Fake it till you make it, that’s what they say.


And that’s what Ivy was doing. She’d do anything to save her ranch. Anything. Including pretending to be engaged to a handsome, retired Marine to placate her sexist clients. Not that draping herself over Ace was a hardship. It wasn’t. She just wished he could get over his hero complex and stop trying to save her. There were far better ways they could be spending their time.


Sweet, shy, and babbling Ivy had gotten so far under Ace’s skin, he knew he was in trouble. Faking a relationship may have been his idea but he knew deep down he didn’t stand a chance with her in real life. Medically discharged from the military, it wasn’t just internal battle scars he’d been left with, he also had some big ugly ones on his face too. If he couldn’t even look himself in the mirror, no one else ever would be able to either. Especially not the most beautiful woman he’d ever laid eyes on.


Can these two wounded souls turn their fake relationship into a real one?


“Morning,” Ivy squeaked as she abruptly came to a halt in the hallway, narrowly escaping bumping into Ace as he exited the bathroom.

Of course the man was half naked. Dripping wet, in just a towel. Damnit. Why did God hate her? Was she being punished for something? This wasn’t fair. There was fruit just flying all over the place. Her traitorous eyes darted straight to the V-shaped muscle above the white cotton. It was taunting her. An arrow. Pointing to everything that she definitely wasn’t thinking about.

Deep breaths, Ivy. Control yourself. At least pretend you have some dignity.

Her gaze wandered back up to a more appropriate body part, his face. Perfectly chiseled, with drops of water clinging to his dark, day-old stubble.

“You never look.” Ace’s deep voice was rougher than she was used to.


“At my burns. You never look at them. Why is that?”

It’s not like she didn’t realize he had scars. She wasn’t an idiot. But they weren’t all that important to her. They were just there. Just another part of him. They didn’t detract from how hot the man was, that was for sure. Maybe she’d see them differently if she’d known him before. But she hadn’t.

“I don’t know. I’ve never really thought about it. Why?”

She felt like this was some sort of test. But it was too early, and he was way too naked for her to pass.

“I guess you’re the first person I’ve met—since it happened—who doesn’t flinch or stare. Even now, with the full extent of my very f***ed-up body on display, it’s like you haven’t even noticed. I don’t get it.”

Ivy wanted to comfort him. Go to him. Run her hands over the puckered skin and convince him how perfect he was, not stop until he saw what she does.

No. No. No. Control yourself, woman. Forbidden fricking fruit, damnit.

Thanks for joining!


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