The mercury's soaring—and so are the body temperatures of three lucky couples:
No Reservations by Samantha Hunter
Edie Stevens is shocked when the property owner Joel Roberts appears at her vacation cottage because of a mix-up with the dates. Seems they'll have to steer clear of one another…yeah, but how will they handle the sizzling chemistry?
The Guy Diet by Thea Devine
Disillusioned food columnist Lo Cavallero only wants her men "lite." But what will happen when dishy newsman Jed Costigan tries to convince her that he's more than just a scrumptious morsel?
Light My Fire by Debbi Rawlins
Jordan Samms has a mountain to climb-led by supersexy wilderness guide Zach Wilde. Before long, they're lighting each other's fire every night. But will the flames stay smokin' hot or blaze out of control!
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Edie’s heart stopped when she finally hit the end of the road and pulled into the short driveway, the Mustang’s tires crunching to a stop in front of the most charming home she’d ever laid eyes on. It was a hundred times better than the pictures she’d seen on the web, and much bigger.
Surrounded by slanted dune fences where vines with bright pink flowers wove themselves into a complex lattice above the sand and grasses, she couldn’t have pictured anything lovelier.
A short, stone path wound up to the front door, steps leading up to a porch that wrapped entirely around the house. Cedar shingles were worn and faded by sun and salt, the roof and dormers angled sharply down in classic Cape style. Wood-framed windows were divided into eight panes each, upper and lower, and everywhere she looked, ocean, beach, and marshlands spread out around her. It was dusk, and a light was on inside; probably left on by the realtor, which she found very considerate.
“Okay then, time to officially get this vacation started,” she said to herself, opening the car doors and pulling out the first of her bags, wondering if she would be able to take a moonlight walk on the beach.
Lugging the bags up the steps to the porch, she searched her purse for the key sent to her but it wasn’t necessary – the door pushed open.
She hesitated for a moment. The place was probably so safe that people didn’t lock the doors, she decided, and she made her way inside, though she kept her cell phone in hand, just in case.
The first thing she spotted was the unexpected sight of two other bags – and a pair of men’s jeans – thrown over the sofa.
“What’s this?” she said to herself and set her bags down, toeing the bag on the floor and taking a second look at the jeans – definitely male. The realtor? Caretaker?
“Hello?” she called tentatively, the louder, “Hello? Anyone here?”
Silence answered her, and she moved through the house to the kitchen and the back door. “Hello?” she called again, checking through one beautifully decorated room after another, and finding nothing.
Relief thrummed through her. Someone had left the clothes here, maybe the previous renter, but she’d just contact the realtor about it tomorrow. For now, she crossed back to the door to go retrieve her other bags.
The second time she rushed back through the front door, humming a song that had been playing on the radio and wondering if buff beach boy Greg would come calling as he’d promised, she hadn’t made it halfway inside the room when the sound of another door slamming froze her in her tracks.
“Who are you?”
They both spoke at the same time, Edie and the nearly stark naked, soaking wet – gorgeous – man who stood on the other side of the room, staring at her, equally shocked.
He was tall – the epitome of tall, dark, and incredibly, fascinatingly handsome. All coherent thoughts log-jammed in her brain. Her heart pounded in her ears though she wasn’t sure if she was frightened or just surprised. She stood staring, gaping.
“Who are you? And how did you get in here?” the man asked suspiciously, walking across the tile floor as if he belonged there. He obviously wasn’t worried about his safety with her.
He moved to a closet where he opened a door, pulling out a towel and proceeded to rub it over his perfect torso, further distracting her. He was muscular, but not overly so. Sculpted was the word that came to mind as she watched him dry off.
My God, were all the men here perfect?
“I’m Edie. Edie Stevens,” she managed, dragging her mind back to the moment, blinking as he reached for the jeans and hauled them on over his wet skivvies. “The door was open.”
“So you just let yourself in?”
His sarcastic tone shook her out of her momentary halt.
“Wait. Who are you?” she asked more clearly, raising her eyes to his intense silver ones.
The irises seemed almost transparent and his gaze was incisor sharp. A wedge of straight black hair over his forehead added a touch of devil-may-care danger to his appearance, making her shiver. The way he looked at her – like she’d done something wrong even though she hadn’t – was so distracting.
“Well, Edie Stevens, why are you in my house?”
Her eyebrows flew up. “Your house?”
“Yes, my house. I live here.”
A furious blush burned her cheeks as realization set in – had she screwed up the directions again? Or had Greg sent her in the wrong direction? The door had been unlocked and the place looked so much like the one in the pictures. . .could she have located the wrong house? Sheer mortification had her closing her eyes, then opening them again to face the music.
“Oh God. . .I’m so sorry. I must have the wrong place. I was a little turned around, and someone gave me directions. This was the only house on the road, and it looks just like the pictures, so I just assumed--”
“What house are you looking for?” he interrupted. He had a foot on her height wise, and she was face-to-face with his amazing chest. She’d always been a chest-girl – nothing like a strong male torso to cuddle up on. His was fantasy material.
Edie wasn’t usually flustered around men – she worked with dozens of them, many of them powerful, wealthy, and good-looking males. She was confident in her own looks and intelligence. Being so rattled irritated her, and she drew herself up, mentally chastising herself for the unexplainable response.
“I was looking for 1279 Beach Plum Road. I rented the house for two weeks, and--”
“Who’s your realtor?”
“Jason Yates. Beachside Realty?”
The man offered a gusty sigh, and tossed his towel on the chair by the door.
“Well, it seems you have the right address, so accept my apologies, but we’ve obviously got a rental screw up. I’m Joel Roberts, the owner of the property. I distinctly instructed them not to book rentals for this month, but unfortunately, I guess someone must have gotten their wires crossed. Sorry about that.”
Edie took in his conciliatory tone, but instinct told her that he didn’t sound like he was going to rectify the situation, either. “Well, it wasn’t my screw up. I rented this house for two weeks – I paid months in advance. I drove all the way from Cleveland.”
“You’ll have to find another place. I’ll make sure you get a full refund of your money,” he said matter-of-factly.
Edie stood her ground. “I don’t want a refund – and I don’t want to be stuck in some crowded motel on the highway, either. I paid in advance and in good faith for this place, and this is where I want to be. It already cost me time and money to come this far, and I want the vacation I paid for. I have my receipts,” she said with conviction, glad she’d packed a copy of the rental agreement and the connected payments. In her line of work, she’d always found too much documentation was better than not enough.
He seemed momentarily taken aback by her vehemence, but shook his head. “I’m sorry, I really am. I understand you’re in a spot, but I’m here for the next few weeks, and this is my home. I have contacts around the Cape – you can stay here tonight and I’ll make some calls in the morning to find you another comparable house, maybe even someplace better, okay?
“You want us to stay here in the same house? Together?”
He smiled, but it didn’t reach his eyes. “Don’t worry. It’s just one night, and you’re not in any danger from me.”