Whispering Cove, Book 8
Release Date: November 26, 2013
Barnes & Noble
Where there’s smoke, there’s trouble.
Tempest Sky has forgotten how to stop running, but when her RV breaks down on the way to a huge Winter Craft Show, she has no choice. Repairs require cash. Getting it means setting up shop on the spot to sell her hand-blown glass.
It’s not too surprising that one of Whispering Cove’s finest has a problem with that. Behind the sexy cop’s sizzling scrutiny, the truth is loud and clear. “Her kind” isn’t welcome here.
Officer Leo Caan can smell trouble a mile away, and it’s rolling off Miss Sky like the smoke from her RV’s blown engine. The crowds gathering around her impromptu studio are a public nuisance. Privately, her sassy, bold sexiness is an uncomfortable surprise. If he didn’t know better, he could swear he’s attracted to the woman.
Yet every time they meet—and clash—it’s like water on hot glass. Pure steam. And it’s a clear signal for the town grandfathers to gear up for a little holiday matchmaking…
Product Warnings: Get ready for an explosion of emotions between a by-the-book police officer and a secretive runaway masquerading as a gothic chick. They might be at odds, but that doesn’t stop the sparks of their fiery passion from leading them down the same sensual path.
Note for Readers: You must be of legal age in your country of origin to read this excerpt.
Oh, can this day get any better?
Thirty minutes into her work and one of Whispering Cove’s finest had arrived. By the strawberry-blond policeman’s dour expression when their eyes met, she knew he wasn’t part of Whispering Cove’s welcoming committee.
Silently he scrutinized her heavy-lined eye makeup, black lipstick and her pierced brow, before his gaze moved to the five studded earrings along the shell of her left ear to the large dangling hoop. As he slowly scanned her attire, he raised a single eyebrow in blatant disapproval. Of course, she shouldn’t have expected anything less, but for some reason it needled her. She didn’t need this added complication.
“Looking for something special for your wife, Officer?” she asked so sweetly that even butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth.
“Wife?” His liquid gold eyes widened, and then he grunted, “No.”
As the pink bubble she blew grew, his eyes widened. The snap of her gum made him startle. “Girlfriend?”
His eyebrow dipped, joining the right one in a scowl. “What?”
Sky should have stopped there, but “Boyfriend?” slipped out before she could help herself.
The cool air between them seemed to solidify into rock-hard ice, until hearty laughter shattered the moment. Both she and the officer turned to Harold, whose nose and cheeks were a jolly red at their expense.
“She be something.” His grin curved higher as he glanced between the two of them, before adding, “Don’t you think, Leo?”
Oh, yeah. The gum-chewing vixen be something all right, and it started with a capital T.
This woman meant trouble. It was in the air that surrounded her, the cocky tilt of her head, and the smug grin she had the good sense to at least attempt to hide behind plump, luscious lips painted a god-awful black. The thought caught him unawares and he scowled.
“The store owner has asked that I escort you off his property.” In fact Bert Delmart had made it clear he wanted her gone—now.
Her eyelids sprung wide. “What?”
Leo couldn’t help noticing the intriguing blue-green of her large, round eyes, which was disturbing because he didn’t find her attractive, not in the least. He preferred a more conservative woman, not one who looked as if her latest boyfriend had been Count Dracula or Charles Manson. Then again, he would have to be a eunuch not to appreciate the firm globes of her breasts presented so nicely in the bustier that hugged her ribs so tightly. Leo was nearly bowled over when his cock twitched. He shuffled nervously before he realized what he was doing.
“Ma’am, this is private property. You must leave.”
And the sooner—the better.
“I see other RVs parked here,” she stated firmly. “I thought the proprietor of this establishment allowed travelers to stay overnight—”
“Yes, but the other residents haven’t opened up shop,” he retorted, thinking her cultured speech was oddly at war with her gothic image. Then he remembered his father scolding, “Son, you can’t judge a book by its cover,” after he had made a derogatory comment about a young boy who had come to school in threadbare clothes. Said boy had become one of Leo’s best friends, one he kept in touch with even today.
The woman started to speak, but hesitated. Instead she puckered up and blew the biggest bubble he’d ever seen and then sucked it in, drawing his attention once again to her full lips. All thought incinerated into a cloud of smoke. It took him a moment to collect himself. It didn’t help that a breeze kicked up, carrying with it the sensual scent of her leather jacket and something uniquely feminine.
“So if I relocate my merchandize—” she chewed hard on her gum, “—can my vehicle remain parked here?”
Was there a slight edge of desperation in her voice? The thought vanished when a squeal of delight stole his attention. A dark-haired girl pointed to a small glass figurine hanging on a display rack.
“Oh, Mommy. It’s a fairy. Can I have it?”
The child wasn’t the only one showing interest in the delicate trinkets or intricate bowls and vases. Judging by the quality of glassware, Leo had no doubt the woman could make a killing at the holiday bazaar. But her type usually didn’t stick around in this sleepy coastal town. Even his parents didn’t understand the allure of Whispering Cove. The quiet, laid-back atmosphere was just what had attracted him. The social life of New Hampshire had never been for him, even if he was born into money.
Leo swept his gaze over her once more. “Do you have a business license to sell on the street?”
She jerked her gaze from the child to him. “No.”
“Bar Harbor is just over an hour down the road. Perhaps you’d have better luck there.”
“Leo!” Harold’s bushy brows furrowed, while the woman’s face reddened and her glare flashed fire. “Is this the way we be treating our guest?”
Leo left the word unspoken, reminding himself that Harold was the sheriff’s grandfather-in-law. “No, sir.” And what was worse, the man was right. Whispering Cove was the friendliest town he had ever known. Still, there was something about this woman that bothered him. “She has no business license.”
“She’ll be getting one tomorrow morning, won’t you, lassie?”
She nodded in silent agreement. Her mouth thankfully shut. She had even stopped that disgusting chewing.
So did that mean she planned to stay?
Either way, she couldn’t remain parked here. The radio call he had received had been clear. Bert wanted the woman off his property. Leo had no choice.
“She can’t remain here.”
“Why?” Both she and Harold asked simultaneously.
“Because it’s private property and the proprietor has asked that she leave.”
“Believe me, I would if I could,” she spewed before pinching her full lips together.
Was that a tear glistening in her eye?
Dammit. That’s all he needed. Leo had never done well with feminine emotion. And if this tough, worldly woman was about to cry then something had to be wrong. She confirmed his suspicion when her chin trembled, yet just as quickly she took control of herself. She raised her chin, narrowing her gaze on him. Then she folded her arms across her chest, a sack dangling from the bend of an elbow as she edged her feet apart and planted them as if she had no intentions of going anywhere.
“Well, Officer, then we have a dilemma.” Something in her tone and mien changed. “The Black Angel won’t start and I’m short of funds, which means no mechanic and no tow.” Which also meant no business license, Leo concluded as she continued. “If the proprietor wants me off his property, he’ll either allow me to sell a few pieces of my work or he can call for a tow. I presume that would be under your jurisdiction. And I’m further assuming an upstanding citizen like you couldn’t live with himself if he put me out on the streets, in the cold, with no place to live, this close to Christmas.”
Oh no, she did not play the homeless card.
But the truth stared him in the face—defiantly so. No money meant she was staying.
“Can you call a friend? Family?” he asked.
“There’s no one,” she said sharply.
Leo ran his fingers through his hair as the tendons in his neck tightened. This was getting better by the minute.