Elle Amery has grown up a fighter--her late mother's bad-boy-loving reputation was not the best inheritance....
So when smooth-talking Sean McElroy turns up with a pink-and-white ice cream van called Rosie that's apparently hers, Elle tries to ignore the traitorous flicker of attraction!
Family-oriented Elle is the last girl Sean should want, but as they embark on a journey filled with unexpected twists, these two misfits may discover they are the perfect fit for each other!
Life is like ice cream: you have to take it one lick at a time.
If ever there had been a moment to follow Gran's example and check her reflection in the mirror before she opened the front door, Elle decided, this was it.
On her knees and up to her rubber gloves in soapy water when the doorbell rang, she hadn't bothered to stop and fix hair sliding out of its elastic band. And there wasn't much she could have done about a face pink and shiny from a day spent catching up with the housework while everyone was out, culminating in scrubbing the kitchen floor.
It was the complete Cinderella workout.
She couldn't afford a fancy gym membership and, as she was always telling her sisters, cleaning was a lot more productive than pounding a treadmill. Not that they'd ever been sufficiently impressed by the argument to join in.
Even sweaty Lycra had to be a better look than an ancient shirt tied around the waist with an equally geriatric psychedelic tie. Sexier than the jeans bagging damply around her knees.
It wouldn't normally have bothered her and, to be fair, the man standing on the doorstep hadn't made much of an effort, either. His thick dark hair was sticking up in a just-got-out-of-bed look and his chin was darkened with what might be designer stubble but was more likely to be a disinclination to shave on Saturday, when he didn't have to go into the office.
Always assuming that he had an office to go to. Or a job.
Like her, he was wearing ancient jeans, in his case topped with a T-shirt that should have been banished to the duster box. The difference was that on him it looked mouth-wateringly good. So good that she barely noticed that he'd made free with a name she'd been trying to keep to herself since she'd started kindergarten.
Swiftly peeling off the yellow rubber gloves she'd kept on as a 'Sorry, can't stop' defence against one of the neighbours dropping by with some excuse to have a nose around, entertain the post office queue with insider gossip on just how bad things were at Gable End, she tossed them carelessly over her shoulder.
'Who wants to know?' she asked.
Her hormones might be ready to throw caution to the wind— they were Amery hormones, after all—but while they might have escaped into the yard for a little exercise, she wasn't about to let them go 'walkies'.
His voice matched the looks. Low, sexy, soft as Irish mist. And her hormones flung themselves at the gate like a half-grown puppy in a let-me-at-him response as he offered his hand.
Cool, a little rough, reassuringly large, it swallowed hers up as she took it without thinking, said, 'How d'you do?' in a voice perilously close to the one her grandmother used when she met a good-looking man. With that hint of breathiness that spelled trouble.
'I'm doing just fine,' he replied, his slow smile obliterating all memory of the way she looked. Her hair, the lack of makeup and damp knees. It made crinkles around those mesmerisingly blue eyes and they fanned out comfortably in a way that suggested they felt right at home there.
Elle had begun to believe that she'd bypassed the gene that reduced all Amery women to putty in the presence of a good looking man.
Caught off guard, she discovered that she'd been fooling herself.
The only reason she'd escaped so far, it seemed, was because until this moment she hadn't met a man with eyes of that particularly intense shade of blue.
A man with shoulders wide enough to carry the troubles of the world and tall enough not to make her feel awkward about her height, which had been giving her a hard time since she'd hit a growth spurt somewhere around her...