Home > Only Her Injured Stuntman

Only Her Injured Stuntman
Author: Cami Checketts

Prologue

 

 

Hope Greenwood walked briskly along the Mossy Ridge Trail. Nashville was great and she was happily pursuing her dreams of a singing career, but she missed her hometown of Mystical Lake, Montana. Hiking this trail most mornings made her feel a lot closer to home. It was close to her apartment and wound over creeks and near waterfalls.

A group approached from the other direction, jogging at a fast pace and talking and laughing. She scooted over to the side, smiled, and murmured, “Hello,” to the group in general. Her eyes caught on the handsome face of one of the men and she about tripped on her own shoelaces.

Cedar Chadwick’s blue eyes lit up and he darted around another man and came straight at her. He wrapped her up in a bear hug and lifted her off her feet. “Hope Greenwood! What are you doing here?”

“Running, you beautiful man, you,” she retorted. The feel of his arms around her was incredible. She felt as lit up as when she took the stage.

He chuckled and released her. “I mean what are you doing in Nashville? Don’t you belong in Mystical Lake?”

“I’m singing my heart out.” She put a hand on her hip and lifted her eyebrows. “What are you doing in Nashville? Don’t you belong in Hollywood?”

He chuckled.

His group had stopped to watch their interaction. Hope glanced over at them and felt her jaw drop as she recognized several famous faces—Bennett Pike, Scarlett Lily, and Allison Bradford.

“I’ll meet you back at the house.” Cedar waved them on.

“You’re not even going to introduce us to your beautiful friend?” Bennett asked.

“She doesn’t want to meet you,” Cedar said.

The group laughed. Bennett was one of the top actors in Hollywood and most women would give up their eyelashes to meet him.

“Humor me,” Bennett said.

Cedar rolled his eyes. “If I don’t listen, he’ll annoy us until I do.”

“I can brave an introduction,” Hope said in an undertone, but everyone heard her and laughed again.

“I believe you can.” Cedar grinned. “Hope, this is Allison Bradford and her husband Birch Merrill, Scarlett Lily and her husband Griff Quinn, Bennett Pike and Sariah Bohme.” She waved at all of them. “Hope is from my hometown and she’s going to be a famous singer.”

Hope smiled at that. It was her dream, but so far she’d only gotten a few gigs at bars. Luckily, she had a decent job at a nursing home as an LPN to pay the bills.

“We’ll have front row seats at your concert someday,” Bennett said with a wink. Hope thought he might be flirting with her. The woman next to him, Sariah, was an absolutely gorgeous lady with an exotic Arabian flair. She gave Bennett a look that clearly said she was desperately in love with him. It seemed Bennett was oblivious as he continued smiling at Hope.

“Someday,” Cedar said. “But today, you’re going to run along so I can spend uninterrupted time with my lovely friend from home.”

They all laughed, waved their goodbyes, and jogged off down the trail. Cedar focused on her. “Sorry, Bennett doesn’t know how to not flirt.”

Hope tilted her head and appraised him. He’d grown up and then some since she’d last seen him in person. Of course, she’d watched all the blockbusters he’d been a stunt double on, proud as everybody else in Mystical Lake. “What about you? Do you know how to not flirt or are you just like your handsome double in real life?”

He grinned. “No, I know my boundaries. I only flirt with gorgeous blondes from my hometown who are going to be famous singers someday.”

She smiled. “Don’t know if I believe that. Do you want to do the loop with me?”

“I thought you’d never ask.”

They fell into step and she said, “You keep famous company. Scarlett Lily? Allison Bradford?”

“Glad to know they were more intriguing to you than Bennett.”

She wasn’t sure how to respond to that and wondered if there was a note of jealousy in his voice. “Bennett Pike? He’s so old news.”

He threw back his head and laughed. “Oh, I’m telling him you said that.”

She shrugged. “I’ll never see him again.”

“If you see me again, you’ll see him. We’re like clones.”

He and Bennett looked very similar, but Cedar’s build was more sculpted and his blue gaze more seductive and tempting.

“Maybe I’ll never see you again,” she said rather than tell him why he appealed to her more than Bennett did. “What’s it been? Fifteen years since you graduated and left for the military?”

“Sixteen, but who’s counting?” He glanced over at her and his eyes trailed over her face. “You’ve grown up a lot. Grown into yourself beautifully.”

She flushed. “Thank you. I could say the same about you.”

“But you won’t because I’m super handsome, not beautiful.”

“Oh yes, and so humble as well.”

He chuckled. “Tell me about you, about home. How’s your family? How long have you been in Nashville? How’s my family?”

She smiled and started talking. They walked slowly and chatted fast. When they’d finished the loop, they kept right on talking. He was obviously hungry for details about home, but he also seemed hungry for details about her. She loved the way he looked at her with those fabulous blue eyes of his.

“I’ve got to go,” she finally said, her voice full of regret. “I’ve got to work at nine.” She was lucky to be on mostly a daytime schedule so she could sing at night. “It was fabulous to see you, Cedar.”

“You too.” She turned to go, but he stopped her with, “Meet me for dinner … please.”

Hope turned back. She’d love the chance to catch up some more, but wondered if he was feeling what she was feeling. An attraction and connection that was exciting and new. She’d known all the Chadwicks her entire life and had always thought Cedar was a handsome and great guy, but he was four years older than her. She hadn’t known him as well as his brother, Ren, who was her age, and his cousin, Cruz, who she’d dated in high school. Sixteen years could really mature a man. She licked her lips. Sixteen years could really make a man absolutely irresistible.

“When and where?” she asked.

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