Excerpt Monday – Love At High Tide

My sassy & sexy beach fling novel Love At High Tide  releases today. I know you all are in desperate need of a beach vacation, and this will give you one – without all the sand and sunburn. Here’s the scoop, to get you started:

LAHT coverDarcy Trent is lucky Cooper Hudson is on hand to sweep her off her feet—literally—when she nearly drowns while swimming in the ocean. But life-saving aside, Mr. Perfect’s timing stinks: Darcy’s career is about to take her to the complete opposite side of the
Atlantic. Still, a little summer loving with the tall, blond and sexy former cop is far too tempting to pass up.

When his plans to enter the Secret Service went south thanks to a bum knee, Coop retreated to the family beach house to mull his future. Romance is the last thing on his mind, until he fishes a curvy brunette out of the sea. Now, spending time in Darcy’s arms seems like the ideal distraction, even if it is just for a week.

But with Darcy’s departure date fast approaching and their careers on the line, can they realize in time that their beach fling might become the real thing?

And here’s a fun introduction to Coop and Darcy on their first official date:

An electric blue Mini Cooper stopped at the front of the resort. Darcy got out and handed her keys to the valet. She looked—well, not better in clothes than on the beach, but damn good. As she walked around the car, he got an eyeful of long legs strapped on top of wedges that showed off her polished toes. Super sexy. Having grown up with five sisters, he knew enough to identify her outfit as a peasant dress, with a full skirt that swished around her knees. The orange top slid off one shoulder. Coop would give just about anything to take a nibble of that exposed skin. Probably smarter to wait until they’d shared a drink to try to sneak in a kiss, though.

“You look beautiful.”

“You clean up pretty well, yourself.” Darcy tugged self-consciously at her skirt. “It feels odd to have met you half-naked.”

“I’ll take you any way I can get you.” Coop put his hand in the small of her back and ushered her through the cool lobby, and right back outside to the deck. People packed every inch of it. A DJ spun tunes from a raised platform in the corner. It was loud, festive chaos. “What would you like to drink?”

“Will you think less of me if I order something completely frou frou, like a piña colada?”

“A girly drink for a gorgeous girl. Nothing wrong with that.”

“Uh huh. I see that smirk. Remember, I’m on vacation. I get to indulge in as many slushy drinks and salty chips as my heart desires.”

“Good to know you’ve set up some rules for your vacation.”

She shuddered. “Don’t talk to me about rules. I had a weird afternoon.”

“I can’t wait to hear. Weird afternoons make for interesting cocktail conversation. Wait here for a minute.” Coop parked her at the white, carved railing, then pushed his way through the crowd at the bar. Everyone in town came to Fager’s at least once during their vacation to watch the sunset. This being a Saturday, the line was seven deep, and the floor around the square bar shimmered with a sticky layer of spilled drinks. He ordered her drink, and a local beer for himself. And while he waited, he just watched Darcy.

Instead of staring at the view of the bay, she had her back to the railing. What captured her attention seemed to be the raucous, laughing crowd. Girls with crocheted tops that barely covered their bikinis squealing in tight circles. Guys with peeling noses and sand-spiked hair chugging shots. Older couples looking bemused and halfway to sloshed in matching Ocean City tees. He pegged them as escapees from a family reunion. The anthropologist in her was showing. Avid interest brightened her eyes and tilted the edges of her mouth up into a pre-smile. He couldn’t wait to sidle up to her and say something, anything that would morph it into a full-fledged beam directed at him.

“Let’s put a little distance between us and this crowd.” He pointed with his beer at the long pier leading to an oversized gazebo floating in the bay. They wandered slowly down the weathered boards, past ornate, Victorian-style lamp posts. The raucous din faded until all they could hear was the driving bass from the speakers. “Want to tell me about your weird afternoon?”

“Hmm.” Darcy turned in a slow circle, making her skirt flare out. “In a nutshell, I participated in a sting to take down a prostitution ring.”

“Really?” If she’d said her afternoon was spent harvesting corn on Mars, Coop wouldn’t have been more surprised. Instinct almost froze him in his tracks, demanded he lose the drinks and insist on a full run-down. But interrogation sucked the sexy out of a date. He had to force himself to keep walking. “Were you successful?”

“Not in the least. The sting was a flop. Even worse, I failed to convince my friend there’s no possible way that a secret, underground brothel is operating right down the street.”

Coop unbunched the muscles that adrenaline had locked up tight. “Can I assume you’re not actually an undercover agent, recklessly spilling secrets?”

“No. Well, if I was, I probably couldn’t tell you. But the brain trust behind this particular idea is my friend. Trina wants to become a private investigator. She dragged me with her to buy a gun, and then we trailed after some poor guy who probably has no darker secret than a perverted fixation on women half his age.”

Okay—so nothing official going down tonight. No cops or agents about to break up his date with walkie-talkies and hours of questions. Coop slugged back a significant portion of his beer in relief. “You weren’t overstating the weirdness of your afternoon.”

“I definitely earned this drink. And some conversation that doesn’t revolve around criminals.” She sat on the red bench that encircled the edge of the gazebo and crossed her legs. “Tell me, Coop, what are you escaping from on your vacation?”

“Criminals.” It slipped out before his brain caught up with his mouth. Damn. He really was off his game.

Darcy halted with her glass right at her lips. “Oh. I guess I should ask if you’re on the lam?”

Funny. And more than a little ballsy. He liked a healthy dose of spunk in a woman. Someone who could keep pace with him. “Come on. If you won’t cop to being an undercover agent, do you really think I’m going to admit to being an escaped prisoner?”

“Touché.” She finished her sip, staring at him as though expecting to read something in his face. Good luck with that. “However, if you don’t want me to dump this drink over your head and run away screaming, you should probably explain yourself.”

“I’m not a fan of drinks that taste like melted ice cream, but I certainly don’t want you to waste yours.”

“Thoughtful. It is pretty yummy.” She popped the cherry in her mouth and twirled the stem. The sight of those red lips pursed around the stem sent a double pulse of blood racing south of his waistband.

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