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Meant for Love

Meant for Love

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Lissa has her future all figured out—marriage, kids, and the white picket fence. The only thing that doesn't figure neatly into her plans is Jesse, who decided long ago that marriage wasn't in the cards. After a fateful kiss under the stars, they both question everything. Can they find a way past their difference and discover they're meant for love?

Main Tropes

  • Office Romance
  • Friends to Lovers
  • Opposites Attract


Lissa Winters has her life all figured out. She wants a happy marriage and a house full of kids, right down to the white picket fence. The only thing that doesn't figure neatly into her plans is Jesse Kincade. She's been in love with him as long as she can remember, but after a fateful kiss under the stars he made it clear they weren't meant to be.

Jesse is struggling to keep his farm supply store in the black and has no time for a distraction like Lissa. Especially when he knows they have no future. He comes from a dark past and he's just not marriage material. He knows he could never be what Lissa needs.

When Lissa finds her chance to be with Jesse, even if it means she has to sacrifice her dreams, she wants to take it. But can she really be okay with only having part of him? And can Jesse deal with his past enough to see that he and Lissa are meant for love?

Read Chapter One

Melissa Winters slammed the phone down on its cradle and gritted her teeth, cutting off the automated voice before it finished relaying the message. She was so sick of collection calls. Lately, it seemed her workload amounted to dealing with countless creditors, and the list grew bigger each day. How was she supposed to get any real work done when she spent her mornings fielding these calls?

She really needed to talk to Jesse about what was going on, but every time she broached the subject recently, he brushed her off as if it were no big deal. 

There had to be some underlying issue he was keeping from her if the collectors were becoming this insistent. She hadn't been the office manager at Kincade Supply, Willow Valley's primary farm supply store, for this long without learning a thing or two, and the fact that Jesse continued to dismiss her questions was beginning to irritate her.

The bell on the front door tinkled through the main store and back to her office. Lissa pushed away from her desk, glad for the interruption. The last thing she wanted was to start her day returning calls when she had no clue how she was supposed to pacify a bunch of people wanting payment. Yesterday. 

"It's just me, Lissa!" Jesse's voice echoed through the building.

Just the person she wanted to see. She may have a giant crush on her boss and friend, but even the flutter in the pit of her belly when he said her name wasn’t going to get him off the hook this time.

He may have the power to unsettle her, but Lissa was boiling on the inside. He expected her to deal with the situation without any information at all. And that didn’t work for her. Lissa pushed back from her desk and stomped toward the office door. 

Just as she was about to go out and confront Jesse about the increase in collection calls, he sauntered into the room, all tall, dark and I-know-I’m-handsome, and leaned against the door frame, casually crossing his arms and tilting his head in her direction like he didn’t have a single care. 

"Morning, sunshine." He gave her one of his slow, easy grins that both of them knew had a reputation for melting the hearts of many a woman in Willow Valley.

"Don't even try that crap on me, Jesse Kincade. I don't need you trying to charm the pants off of me this morning." 

The way Jesse's eyes darkened when she said the words had her wishing she’d chosen them more carefully. It was always like this around him lately—ever since she made the mistake of kissing him a few months back. Now she felt she was continually walking on eggshells lest she make him think she hadn’t received his message loud and clear that he had no intention of pursuing anything with her beyond friendship. Moving on. Pushing the uncomfortable memory from her mind, she focused on the matter at hand.

"Do you want to tell me exactly why I had fourteen messages from just as many creditors waiting on my voicemail this morning?"

"Aw, Liss, please don't start in on that already. It's Monday morning, and that is definitely not the first thing I want to walk in and hear." He stood up and brushed by her, the momentary heat in his eyes—if, in fact, it hadn't just been wishful thinking on her part—fading as he walked over to his office door at the back corner of the main office where she worked.

"Don't brush me off again, Jesse. It's getting to be more frequent and I'm starting to worry. I know you said you had it under control, but honestly, it doesn't seem that way. There's something you aren't telling me."

Jesse stopped and whirled to face her. Lissa had been trailing behind him and nearly ran straight into his chest. She reached out reflexively and grasped his arms to steady herself, instantly regretting it. Just the feel of his biceps under his plaid flannel shirt had her mind drifting right back to their kiss. Their one and only kiss. Something she apparently couldn’t forget.

She backed up, trying to hide how flustered she was, but she needn't have worried. When Jesse opened his mouth, all her frustration and fiery-redheaded-anger came right back to the surface. "I said I have a handle on it."

Lissa put her hands on her hips and pinned him with an expectant glare. "I'm sorry, but you owe me more than that. I have worked here since I was sixteen years old, and I'll be damned if something is going on that you aren't letting me know." 

Jesse had spent the last couple years working to take over the supply store from his father once he’d returned home from college. It had always been assumed that he would take over one day, but neither of them had expected the difficulties they’d encountered. Lissa was instrumental in the transition, having been a vital part of Kincade Supply for the last eight years. All the more reason she was so frustrated in being out of the loop with what was going on. 

"I've let you put me off on this, but this is too much. You know I deserve a real explanation."

Jesse heaved a sigh as he stared at her, slightly deflated, finally shrugging his shoulders. "Fine. I've been working on a way to handle the debt. You know as well as I do that my father made some poor business decisions in the past, and it has nearly cost us this business." 

Lissa felt a rush of sympathy. She knew how tirelessly Jesse had been working since his father had pretty much dumped the business into his lap a few months ago, announcing his retirement. He left a mess of bills and debt for Jesse to clean up, and Jesse had been determined not to let his legacy go under. They had been working together to make sure everything was taken care of. At least, they had, up until things spiraled out of control the last month or so and Jesse had been less forthcoming about what was going on. Lissa knew how important it was to Jesse that he salvage this business, but there was something he wasn't telling her. 

"You know you can trust me. What are you keeping from me? And don't tell me you're not. I know you better than that." Like most people in Willow Valley, they had grown up together in the small town, attending the same schools from kindergarten all the way through high school, and everybody tended to know everything about everyone else's lives. Sometimes a bit too much, but such was the nature of small towns.

Jesse met her eyes, and she saw sadness there that she hadn't seen before. He tended to cover up any serious emotions with bravado and good humor. The quintessential ladies' man of Willow Valley, he had plenty of charm to go around. The look on his face now wasn't one she was familiar with. 

"Okay, fine. I haven't said anything because I've been trying to figure out how to break this to you delicately, but it seems that there really is no way. I know how much the store means to you." 

Lissa's stomach dropped. His somber tone was not something she was used to seeing. Even though he could be serious when it came to his business, he was never this grim. She had no idea what to expect next as he ran his hand through his dark hair and breathed a heavy sigh.

"Lissa, I'm selling Kincade Supply."

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