When Keri Daniels's boss finds out she has previous carnal knowledge of reclusive bestselling author Joe Kowalski, she gives Keri a choice: get an interview or get a new job.
Joe's never forgotten the first girl to break his heart, so he's intrigued to hear Keri's back in town--and looking for him. He proposes an outrageous plan--for every day she survives with his family on their annual camping trip, Keri can ask one question.
The chemistry between Joe and Keri is as potent as the bug spray, but Joe's sister is out to avenge his broken heart, and Keri hasn't ridden an ATV since she was ten. Who knew a little blackmail, a whole lot of family and some sizzling romantic interludes could make Keri reconsider the old dream of Keri & Joe 2gether 4ever?
"You got busy in the backseat of a '78 Ford Granada with Joseph Kowalski--only the most reclusive best-selling author since J. D. Salinger--and you don't think to tell me about it?"
Keri Daniels sucked the last dregs of her too-fruity smoothie through her straw and shrugged at her boss. "Would you want anybody to know?"
"That I had sex with Joseph Kowalski?"
"No, that you had sex in the backseat of a '78 Granada." Keri had no idea how Tina Deschanel had gotten the dirt on her high school indiscretions, but she knew she was in trouble.
An exceptionally well-paid reporter for a glossy weekly entertainment magazine did not withhold carnal knowledge of a celebrity on the editor in chief's most-wanted list. And having kept that juicy little detail to herself wouldn't get Keri any closer to parking her butt in an editorial chair.
Tina slipped a photograph from her purse and slid it across the table. Keri didn't look down. She was mentally compiling a short list of the people who knew she'd fogged up the windows of one of the ugliest cars in the history of fossil fuels. Her friends.
The cop who'd knocked on the fogged-up window with a flashlight at a really inopportune moment. Her parents, since the cop was in a bad mood that night. The approximately six hundred kids attending her high school that year and anybody they'd told. Maybe short list wasn't the right term.
"That was like two decades ago," Keri pointed out, because her boss clearly expected her to say something. "Not exactly a current event. And you ambushed me with this shopping spree."
Actually, their table in the outdoor cafe was surrounded by enough bags to stagger a pack mule on steroids, but now Keri knew she'd merely been offered the retail therapy before the bad news. It shouldn't have surprised her. Tina Deschanel was a shark, and any friendly gesture should have been seen as a prelude to getting bitten in the ass.
"Ambushed?" Tina repeated, loudly enough to distract a pair of Hollywood starlets engaging in some serious public displays of affection in a blatant attempt to attract the cheap tabloid paparazzi. A rabid horde that might include Keri in the near future if she didn't handle this correctly.
"How do you think I felt?" Tina went on. "I reached out to a woman who mentioned on her blog she'd gone to high school with Joseph Kowalski. once there was money on the table, I made her cough up some evidence, and she sent me a few photos. She was even kind enough to caption them for me."
Keri recognized a cue when it was shoved down her throat. With one perfectly manicured nail she hooked the eight-by-ten blowup and pulled it closer.
A girl smiled at her from the photo. She wore a pink fuzzy sweater, faded second-skin jeans and pink high heels. Raccoon eyeliner made her dark brown eyes darker, frosty pink coated her lips and her hair was as big as Wisconsin.
Keri smiled back at her, remembering those curling iron and aerosol days. If the EPA had shut down their cheerleading squad back then, global warming might have been a total nonissue today.
Then she looked at the boy. He was leaning against the hideous brown car, his arms wrapped around young Keri's waist. Joe's blue eyes were as dark as the school sweatshirt he wore, and his grin managed to be both innocent and naughty at the same time. And those damn dimples--she'd been a sucker for them. His honey-brown hair was hidden by a Red Sox cap, but she didn't need to see it to remember how the strands felt sliding through her fingers.