The lazy, hazy days of summer are here!
Days filled with lemon yellow sunshine, nights of velvety warmth… summertime is the season of love. Romantic tales filled with memorable characters, these nine binge-worthy books will sweep you away like a summer breeze.
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FREE on Kindle Unlimited
STILL WATERS: Alyssa Bailey, USA Today Bestselling Author: When city ideals meet country tradition, the summer heat is the least of their worries.
WEDDING BELL BLUES: Susanne Mathews, International Bestselling Author: The wedding may be canceled, but the honeymoon's on!
MAEVE: Josie Riviera, USA Today Bestselling Author: He’s all business. She loves to laugh. When business conflicts with pleasure, what could possibly go wrong?
LISA: Denise Devine, USA Today Bestselling Author: When Lisa’s life crashes, she returns to Enchanted Island. Is true love waiting in this idyllic place from her childhood?
HOPE: Aileen Fish, USA Today Bestselling Author: Will Always Hopeful find her Sir Galahad?
JUDE: Taylor Lee, USA Today Bestselling Author: An arrogant, go-it-alone homicide detective and a quirky intelligence analyst team up to solve a murder during the Summer Solstice Celebration.
LADY IN DISTRESS: Katy Walters, USA Today Bestselling Author: Could he protect her, would she continue refusing him? Little does he realize the height of passion, or the depth of terror that lay before them.
A Scene from LISA
“I promise to be home by midnight, and I’ll only have one drink. I’m not going to buss up,” Lisa said, using Shakara’s Bahamian slang for “get drunk.”
The lines in Elsie’s brow deepened with concern. “I worry about you going down to Nigel’s. That place has had too many police calls.” She shook her head. “It’s the tourists staying at the resorts causing all the trouble—getting drunk and starting fights. You be careful. Call me when you’re leaving and make sure Nigel finds someone to escort you and your friends to your cars. I don’t want you girls walking alone through the parking lot after dark.”
“I will, Auntie. Don’t worry.”
Lisa took the keys and headed out to the car. Elsie didn’t know she’d been communicating with a total stranger by email and had planned to meet him there. She thought Lisa had coordinated a “girl’s night out” with a few people to meet at Nigel’s.
I’m over thirty and I can’t tell my aunt the real story about what I’m doing.
Why couldn’t she be honest with Elsie? The truth didn’t make any sense!
“Is this absolutely the most totally brainless stunt I have ever pulled or what? I should have my head examined.” She tossed her wristlet onto the passenger seat, worrying about meeting City Boy. He could be a rapist or a serial killer for all she knew. The thought produced goosebumps on her arms. Maybe she shouldn’t go after all...
Wait a minute. This is Enchanted Island, not West Palm Beach. Stop with the scary thoughts.
First of all, she knew Nigel personally and had known him most of her life. He ran a reputable establishment and didn’t tolerate troublemakers—which were usually tourists. Second, she had no intention of leaving with “City Boy” and going somewhere alone with him. Third, if he tried anything inappropriate and she resisted, the locals would step in. The most likely scenario, however, would be that she’d meet up with a decent guy and have a nice time.
With that thought in mind, she slid in, shoved the key into the ignition, and drove out of the driveway.
Elsie had mentioned seeing a clip on the nightly news about a tropical storm brewing. If it stayed on its current path, it would hit the island by the weekend. She breathed a sigh of relief, glad she didn’t have to worry about that tonight.
At Nigel’s, Lisa stood at the door and scanned the full room, looking for a man in a red shirt. She noticed a group of islanders wearing “rasta tams” over their dreads—crocheted hats with red, green, black, and yellow stripes. They congregated around a large table in the corner, eating conch chowder and warm Johnny Cake with butter. The aroma hovered in the bar, making her hungry for the chowder, Nigel’s signature menu item.
She waved to Nigel behind the rectangular bar. His dark skin glistened under the lights, his graying hair, shorn close to his head, matched his salt and pepper beard. He patted a spot on the bar, signaling he wanted her to take the empty chair. She smiled and sat down, tucking the skirt of her long dress underneath her. She’d worn an ankle-length dress tonight in royal blue with cap sleeves and a round neckline. Shakara had crafted new pieces of jewelry for her; a heart-shaped pendant made from Larimar on a long sterling silver chain with matching teardrop earrings. The sky-blue gemstone marbled with white contrasted beautifully against the dark fabric of her dress. She’d left her long hair flowing and made a headband out of the red ribbon.
Nigel smiled, revealing a new gold tooth in the front of his mouth. “Ha it go, gyal? Whatcha drinkin’?”
“Hi, Nigel. I’ll take a Coke for now. I’m meeting someone here.”
“A Coke?” He laughed. “Muddasik dred! You can’t ha no fun tha way.” He set a wine glass in front of her and filled it with Jamaican Red Label wine. “First one is on da house.”
She thanked him and sipped it appreciatively. Perhaps she needed a little wine to settle her nerves. Uncertainty had set in again and worrisome imaginings were getting the best of her.
What if this guy is merely trolling for some hot babe to hop into bed with him?
She shuddered and stared into her wine glass, once again getting second thoughts about this “blind date.”
She glanced up and saw a handsome man with short blond hair sitting at the bar wearing a red shirt printed with gold palm fronds. Could he be the one? He looked to be the right age, but she didn’t recognize him. If he’d lived on the island for a while, she would have surely seen him somewhere.
He smiled at her. She smiled back. He picked up his drink and walked over, sliding onto the seat of the empty barstool next to her.
“Well, hello there,” he said in a deep, sexy drawl.
“Hello, City Boy,” she replied, hoping he understood. If not... “I’m Island Girl.”
“You can call me Darren.” His brows rose in amusement, his smile widening. “So, you’re Island Girl, huh? What’s your real name, or don’t you give it out when you’re working a place like this?”
Okay, so maybe this guy wasn’t the right one. Maybe the red shirt was just an unfortunate coincidence…
She clutched her wine glass, ready to bolt at the first sign of trouble. “Are you meeting someone here at eight o’clock?”
“Yeah,” Darren said and leaned toward her, sliding his hand across the small of her back. “I’ve been waiting all night to meet someone like you.”
Irritated by his boldness, she pulled his hand away. “Please, don’t do that.”
“Geez, you’re pretty uptight for a girl who came here looking to get picked up.”
“Look, I’m not uptight and I didn’t come here to get picked up. I’m sorry if I gave you that impression. Now, if you’ll excuse me…”
She grabbed her purse and slid off the barstool. “Thanks for the wine,” she said to Nigel. He tried to pour her another glass, but she placed her hand over the top of it and shook her head. “I’m leaving.” As soon as she got home she planned to delete every email from City Boy and block him, too!
“You’re leaving?” Darren stretched out his arm to block her way. “Why, do you want to go somewhere more romantic? All right, let’s go.” He slid off his barstool and chugged his drink.
She pushed her chair aside and sidestepped him. “Didn’t you hear me the first time? I’m leaving, but not with you. Goodbye.”
“Ah, come on.” He tried to put his arm around her, but she pushed him away. “Look, we’ll go to my suite and I’ll order Champagne. Strawberries. Chocolate. Whatever it takes, okay?” Obviously, he’d done this sort of thing before. He’d deciphered her refusal as an act to get him to offer her more.
“Stop it.” She backed away, ready to shove him if he tried to touch her again. “Get away from me. I’m not going anywhere with you.”
From the corner of her eye, she saw Nigel watching, his bushy brows dipping with concern. He pulled his phone from under the bar and dialed 911.
“C’mon, babe.” Darren moved close and slid his arms around her. “I’ll show you a good time.”
She was about to give him a knee in the groin when suddenly a long, powerful arm slid past her and gripped the man by the front of his shirt, lifting him off the floor.
She turned and saw Shawn glowering at her harasser. He wore a Ralph Lauren polo shirt in solid red.
“Get your hands off her…”
Darren began to shout colorful curses and swing his fists wildly, but Shawn, having long arms and the advantage of being sober, easily blocked every blow.
Things were happening so fast, Lisa barely got out of the way.
A crowd began to form around the incident, some cheering on the altercation, others trying to break it up.
Shawn shoved Darren away. “Stay away from her or I’ll—”
“She came on to me! She’s mine!” Darren tried to level a punch to Shawn’s face, but Shawn smacked it away.
“Break it up, people. Move aside!” Duane Hall, the police officer on duty tonight—and Nigel’s cousin on his mother’s side—elbowed his way through the crowd and pulled the men apart. He glared at the drunk. “Ah-ha, so it’s you again. I warned you about fighting last night and da night before. Now I’m going to lock you up. You’re under arrest.”
Darren’s face turned red and he began to spit obscenities as Duane read him his rights.
Nigel slipped his phone into the front pocket of his orange-flowered shirt. “Duane, how did you get here so fast?”
The husky, island-born cop slapped his cuffs on the drunken man. “I was sitting in my cruiser in da parking lot, waiting for da trouble to start.” He shook his finger at Nigel. “You gotta get better customers in dis place. It’s a disgrace!”
As an age-old argument between Nigel and Duane ensued, Shawn grabbed Lisa by the hand, pulling her through the barroom and out the back door into the moonless night. Outside, the police cruiser’s red and blue lights flashed brightly, looking like a UFO in the parking lot.
“Where are we going,” she shouted, running to keep up.
He sounded angry. “Away from here!”
“Wait a minute.” She jerked on his hand to make him halt. “Are you City Boy or are your red shirt and your appearance in the bar at eight o’clock simply a coincidence?”
He spun around. “What do you think?”
She gasped and snatched her hand away. “Well, if you are, why didn’t you tell me this when we first met?”
“I didn’t know it myself until I walked into Nigel’s and saw the red ribbon in your hair. I couldn’t believe it. Then I saw you getting mauled by a drunken tourist. Whatever possessed you to talk to that jerk?”
“He had a red shirt on,” she argued in her own defense. “At first, I thought he was the person who had been emailing me.”
“He’s a weasel!” Shawn towered over her. “I doubt he’s ever read a poem in his life, much less written something that rhymes. You should have seen right through him.”
“I did! He wouldn’t take no for an answer.”
“I can see why.” He grabbed her hand and started walking toward the beach. The loud, systematic roar of the waves rushing toward shore and back out to sea should have calmed her, but Shawn’s reply made her angrier than before.
“What do you mean by that?”
He stopped next to a row of tall palms, their trunks wound with strings of clear lights. “You’re beautiful and sexy in that dress. Every guy in the bar couldn’t stop looking at you.”
She rolled her eyes. “They all know me, Shawn.”
“Yeah, and they all want to know you better!”
“What. Is. Your. Problem!?”
He grabbed her by the forearms and drew her close. She tried to pull away by stepping backward but instead slammed her back against a palm tree.
“You want to know what my problem is?” He drew his face close to hers. “It’s simple. I’ve never been a jealous man, but when I saw you in the bar with that guy and he was trying to put his hands all over you, I had all I could do to keep from ripping his head off.” His eyes pierced hers with hurt and confusion. “Look, I know we haven’t known each other long, but I don’t want to be friends anymore. Do you understand? I want to be the one.”
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