“Unforgettable You” by Georgina Penney
Blurb: After months working on an oil rig in the Atlantic Ocean, engineer Jo Blaine can’t wait to get home. Her job is tough, and she is desperate for some long overdue girl time. The last thing Jo needs when she walks through her front door is to find a strange man staying in her house. When she learns that her uninvited guest is none other than Stephen Hardy, she’s tempted to head straight back out to sea.
Stephen has always felt guilty for the part he played in ruining Jo’s life years earlier and immediately jumps at the chance to make things up to her by looking after her apartment and her giant cranky cat. It takes some fast talking, but Jo is finally convinced to let him stay. And by the time she leaves for her next shift at work, they’re both eagerly anticipating her return.
But as they grow closer, it soon becomes clear Jo is hiding something about her past that is coming back to haunt her. After a lifetime of taking care of herself and her sister Amy, Jo isn’t used to sharing her problems, especially when they involve her messy family history. But when threats start to escalate, Jo must decide whether to trust Stephen before her stubborn independence places them all at risk.
This was not cool. Not. Cool. Her house was supposed to be empty. Her cat was supposed to be at her sister’s and there wasn’t supposed to be a . . . man anywhere within a good twenty metres of her right now, even if he was her best mate. She’d spent the last sixteen weeks surrounded by Y chromosomes and all she’d been looking forward to was a blessedly empty, male-free environment.
Scott finally answered, his tone suitably shocked. ‘Jo? What time is it over there?’
‘It’s eight in the morning. I’m home. In Perth. Where are you?’
‘Home?’ Scott’s deep voice momentarily took on choirboy heights he hadn’t achieved since pre-puberty. ‘You’re supposed to be on holiday in Brazil!’
Jo squeezed her eyes tightly shut. ‘Yes. Home. I cancelled the holiday because I wanted to be home. You know, that place I like to come when I’m not on some rusting oil rig in the middle of nowhere? You know that place? The place you were looking after. The place currently being lived in by someone who has feet the size of yours. The place currently containing my cat, who should be at Amy’s.’
‘Ahh. Yeah. About that.’
‘Yeah, about what? What the hell is going on?’
There was a moment of silence and then a dull thud as if something had been hit, quite hard. ‘I’ll explain, but it’s probably better I do it in person.’
‘What? Why? I just want an answer and I want it now!’
‘You’ll get one . . . just . . . just stay there. I’ll be there in fifteen minutes. We’ll get all this sorted out. I’m sorry, Jo.’
Jo scowled, turning around, taking in the disorder and feeling a renewed sense of outrage. ‘You bloody well better be. And bring me some goddamn coffee. I haven’t slept properly for days and all I wanted was to have a shower and fall into bed and instead—’
‘Ten minutes,’ he said with an edge of frustration in his tone that had better not be aimed at her. Given the mood she was in at the present moment, she’d be able to take Scott on one-on-one. They didn’t call her Krakatoa out on the rigs for nothing.
Jo hung up, looking around until her eyes settled on her bedroom door.
There was no way Scott would make it in ten minutes, let alone fifteen, and she was tired.
Shooing Boomba out of the way with her foot, she headed for her room.
The feeling of tiredness was blasted to smithereens the minute she pushed the door open, took in the contents of her bed and roared with rage. ‘Who the hell are you?!’
‘AAGGHH! Gnph.’ The very naked, very buff and all-over tanned blond man who’d until that moment been sleeping spread-eagled on her bed shouted in surprise, leapt to his feet, tripped over Jo’s cat and fell facedown on the floor.