Miranda Carter needs to jump-start her love life. Or make that jump sexy Colin Jacobs. Her best buddy is the perfect man, but the studious prof needs some…encouragement. Like one uninhibited night in her bedroom—lingerie, toys and all!
Colin is aching the next day, and the amnesia he's got from the bump on his head isn't helping. He and Miranda had a fantasy evening—uh, didn't they? So why can't he recall undressing such a sexy woman, or kissing every inch of her delectable body?So he'll just have to show up for a second night, and a third…and hope that this time it will be unforgettable for both of them.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
“So, when are you going to jump Colin?”
Penny’s voice was loud, and the women sitting nearby in the beauty salon had ears like bats. Miranda Carter cringed, praying that Penny had been drowned out by the sound of the blow dryers and the salon’s Muzak. Otherwise, even before her gold highlights had a chance to take, word would be out all over the seaside city of Portland, Maine that she was after Colin Jacobs.
“Shhh! Like that’s going to happen anytime soon. Or at all.”
“You can do anything you set your mind to. I have faith in you.”
Before Miranda could reply, Penny had pushed her whole head up under the dryer so she wouldn’t be able to hear Miranda’s objections anyway. Oh well. It still felt good to be able to spend time with her friend and pamper herself. The highlighting was expensive, but she deserved a treat. It had been a tough year: she’d kicked it off by almost dying and now she was opening her own business. Not to mention she was living back in Portland again after being gone for almost ten years. Sure, she’d come back for holidays and the occasional birthday, but she hadn’t lived here since she’d left for college. It was kind of weird. Nice, but she was still getting used to the idea.
She flexed her leg, stretching it as best she could in the chair. Penny’s head popped out again, her usually impish eyes concerned. “Leg hurt?”
Miranda nodded and rubbed it, gesturing to Penny to get back under the dryer. She was fine, the pain was just a residual effect of a compound fracture that was mostly healed but would take much more time to mend completely. Six months ago, she’d been in Denver where she’d lived since graduating from Colorado State. She’d thought she knew the lower trails around Gray’s Peak well enough to risk a weekend hike by herself. A violent autumn thunderstorm had sent her sliding down a slippery slope, proving how wrong she was with a vengeance.
The accident had shaken her badly. The two days of struggling in the cold and rain were thankfully a painful blur. She’d dragged herself over the dirt and rock, searching for her cell phone to call for help, unaware of the extent of her injuries. Apparently she had passed out while trying to call 911 and the signal, though weak, had led an emergency rescue team to her.
When she’d awakened in the hospital her parents had been there, worried to death. When she was out of critical condition, she’d been transported back to Maine where her folks had helped her to recuperate. At first she’d planned to return to Denver, but she’d discovered she’d missed Portland more than she’d thought.
Besides, there was nothing really keeping her in Denver. She’d ended a romance that was going nowhere a year before her accident, so there wasn’t anyone there waiting for her. But there was someone here in Maine, and that had influenced her decision to stay, though she wasn’t ready to admit it, not even to Penny.
Looking out the window at the fading snows of early April, she found it hard to believe her life had changed so much so quickly. She was almost completely healed and happy to be alive, period, but a near-death experience changed the way you looked at things, corny as it sounded. She deeply appreciated simple joys like getting her hair done with her friend in a way she realized she never had prior to the accident.
Her thoughts about experiences like falling in love felt more urgent. Though she’d always been one to try new things and believed in living life to the fullest, her accident had somehow unleashed a new passion for living. That passion was particularly powerful when she thought about Colin Jacobs, and she wanted to do something about it – something that she’d failed to do once before such a long time ago.
The tumble down the side of the mountain had also shaken more than her romantic sensibilities. She’d been drifting through life, working odd jobs since college, not really knowing what she wanted to do. While in the hospital she’d had a lot of time to think about it, and she knew she wanted to make a difference. The sight of the big brown eyes that were the first thing she’d seen when the rescue team found her – the dogs had reached her first – had inspired her to open her own dog-training school.
It was surprising she hadn’t thought of it before. For years she’d been volunteering at animal shelters and with dog trainers, helping to train the abandoned pooches to behave better so that they could find homes. She loved working with animals and was good at it. Now she could combine that experience with her business degree. Her own two dogs, Chuck and Lucy, were so well-trained that people always commented on how nicely behaved they were, and she was proud of that. Not being one to move slowly, once the idea struck her Miranda had practically cleaned out her bank account to open a small office close by the veterinary office where Penny worked in south Portland. In business for just a little more than two months now, she was receiving referral customers steadily. The accident had nearly killed her, but in many ways it had gotten her to focus on just what her priorities were.
Turning her attention again to the magazine she was holding, she smirked at the cover story – “The Total Seduction: A Five-Step Plan to Jump-Start Your Love Life (or your Lover).” She didn’t even have a lover to seduce – yet – though she had plenty of fantasies rolling around in her lust-saturated brain. She knew that what she needed was a plan to make those fantasies reality. No more waiting around for love to happen.
Colin was an old friend, true, but he also could melt her bones with just a glance. His sparkling, golden eyes seduced her constantly and he didn’t have a clue. But things between her and Colin were . . . complicated. At least for her. They’d known each other since kindergarten; they had a lot of history, and that history had a habit of getting in the way of something more developing between them. When she’d come home, it was very much like old times – she and Penny, Colin and Travis, all back together again. She saw Colin all the time, in fact, he’d helped her move her mammoth desk into her office. The four of them usually got together at least once a week. But he didn’t really see her – not as a woman, certainly not as a lover – just as his old pal Miranda. It was beyond frustrating.
The hair stylist returned, lifting the hot dryers off of their heads. She checked under the foil, blessedly proclaiming them both “done.” Miranda grimaced inwardly. She hadn’t been done in quite a while. Looking down at the magazine, she knew that one way or the other she was going to have to change that. And soon.