Toni Sullivan, a primary teacher, in the small town of Paradise Cove, Washington, lives a simple life. Until malicious pranks, a phone breather, and a new neighbor shatters her peace. To regain her balance and see about funds for a new library for her town, she agrees to consult a friend living near Seattle. She's surprised to discover her friend's cousin in residence, Dave Hayden, the man who was her first lover eight year earlier.
Bad boy Dave Hayden's software company, Innovations, is calcifying. He's determined to market his latest security program before his rivals can get theirs up and running. With his company teetering on the brink of disaster, he refuses to leave Toni alone with his program and boldly prods her to accompany him to a media event. She accepts his challenge of an evening out. Drawn to him against her better judgment, she's dismayed when Dave breaks through her emotional defenses. She decides to put as much distance between them as possible and returns to Paradise Cove.
Dave has always had a soft spot for beautiful women, but from the moment Toni Sullivan walks back into his life, he has difficulty putting her aside. She's like a shimmering stream, full of laughter. He's both irritated and intrigued. When she abruptlyleaves town just prior to the delivery of a blackmail note Dave jumps on the coincidence.
He follows her to her small town and winds up in jail. The judge refuses to let him out to work off his community service unless he can claim ties to the community. Dave presses Toni to help him with an engagement of convenience. He doesn't want the media alerted to his current predicament and he can put up with the temporarily enforced togetherness if he can keep an eye on his company electronically.
Toni would rather forget she'd ever met Dave Hayden, especially memories of hot sex with him that sizzle through her mind at the oddest moments. She arms herself with the soul numbing certainty that love and happily ever after were only fairy tales. Her ex-husband taught her not to trust any one, certainly not any man. However, when Dave reminds her of their past, she reluctantly agrees to help him. With his heavy platinum ring on her finger, she finds herself once again at the side of a man she shouldn't want, yet cannot resist.
Toni might be innocent of industrial espionage, but Dave won't accept her assurance without more concrete proof. Too much was at stake for his company. The race to discover who the blackmailer is draws them into a backwash of greed, lies, and betrayal as a human vulture rises out of Toni's past to destroy them both. They must learn to trust each other to save his business and her life.