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Capricorn Slate Claybourne, an ex-SEAL, returns to his bucolic hometown on Pieberry Island, desperate for the mundane, everyday routines he once wanted to escape.
A broken, soul dead man unable to be around people, Slate doesn’t count on the arrival of animated Aries Holly Harper, who storms the island set on turning decrepit Pieberry House into a tourist inn, and even more determined to yank Slate back into the land of the living.
First she crashes into him at the island’s holiday Winter Festival, dumping a towering stack of pies at his feet. Then she drags him off to a fortune teller. Except for the sizzling attraction smoldering between them, they’re incompatible in every way.
Enjoy an excerpt:
Yin meet yang. Night meet day. Mutable force meet immoveable object.
Every one of Holly’s most compulsive, impulsive brain waves fluttered like a hummingbird wing. Slate Claybourne affected her like the aftershock of an earthquake. Abuzz with excited tremors, she didn’t know whether to leap into his arms and climb him or run screaming away in the other direction.
Oh, yes, you do know, girlie-girl, one of the imps on her shoulder crooned.
Danger, danger, Will Robinson, the imp on the other shoulder screamed in warning protest.
Why had her father told her to search out the former SEAL? The “if you’re reading this” letter he’d sent—not to be opened until she’d met Captain Claybourne—burned a hole beneath her pillow at Pieberry House, still unopened and unread. Had Dad thought the infamous Sand Shark would protect her from her string of notoriously bad choices?
Just looking at the ripped and cut former SEAL in the flesh made her stupid and silly and all but dissolved the remnants of her filter, always fragile during the most mundane of times and less than a wisp of thread now.
“So how about you help me get what’s left of these back to Pieberry House, Captain? And we take it from there?”
His square, sharp-edged jaw solidified like frozen iron, so rigid over his clenched teeth, a muscle ticked in his cheek. She almost laughed at his stunned expression, his cold, gunmetal- gray eyes unblinking, his brows zooming skyward like tarnished McDonald’s arches. Except that the face in question devastated her. If she’d thought him ruggedly handsome in the photos her dad had sent home, the giant, live-action figure totally stole her breath away, turned her knees to jelly, and melted her core. Hell, in another second, she’d be coughing and wheezing, trying to draw in a sip of the sustaining oxygen the hot-as-sin SEAL all but sucked out of the surrounding atmosphere. Jeez Louise. Raw, overpowering masculinity poured off him in waves.
Yet, the smiling face she’d often drooled over in pictures had disappeared. Did the grim man before her smile at all anymore? His sharp eyes seemed haunted in a profound way, his stares hyper-vigilant and unwavering…focused on her but, at the same time, a million miles away. She detected no humor dancing in them at all, despite the comical barbs they’d traded over the smashed pies. Hell knew bottomless grief gripped her still from time to time, wringing tears from her when she least expected the reminders of her loss. But whatever embroiled Slate seemed worse, as if he’d slipped into a dark crevice of endless, dismal eternity and couldn’t find his way back.
I need to fix him. I have to.
Yeah, and good luck with that, girlie-girl.
The dueling imps on her shoulders clamored again, and she batted them away with a flip of her hair to still their strident voices.
About the Author:Taryn Kincaid writes paranormal, historical romance and contemporary romance, sometimes spiced with a little humor or a lot of snark. She enjoys pinching and tickling words to make them dance. Her latest, RAIN, a post-apocalyptic retelling of Sleeping Beauty, is out now from Decadent Publishing.
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