Authors: Rachel Brimble,Geri Krotow,Callie Endicott
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Series, #Harlequin Superromance
Harlequin Superromance brings you three new novels for one great price, available now! Experience powerful relationships that deliver a strong emotional punch and a guaranteed happily ever after. This Harlequin Superromance bundle includes
Christmas at the Cove
by Rachel Brimble,
by Geri Krotow and
Until She Met Daniel
by Callie Endicott.
Enjoy more story and more romance from Harlequin Superromance with 6 new novels every month!
More family for Christmas?
Scott Walker doesn’t have time for a relationship. The sexy mechanic has career ambitions, not to mention a mother and three sisters to take care of. The last thing he needs is Carrie Jameson, the beauty he never forgot, arriving in Templeton Cove over the holidays with some unexpected news.
Scott still finds Carrie irresistible, and he’s not one to shirk responsibility. Scott’s issues with his own dad make the prospect of parenthood a minefield. But if he and Carrie can overcome their fears, this Christmas could bring them the best gift of all.
Scott gripped Carrie’s arm, his eyes blazing. “I don’t know what you expected by coming here and telling me this, but if you thought I wouldn’t give a damn, you’re mistaken. I don’t walk away from the problems that drop into my lap uninvited. I never have before and I’m not about to start now.”
She glared. “Belle isn’t a
She’s a little girl who’s lost the only father she’s ever known.” She yanked her arm from his grip. “And you’ve got plans, so why don’t you do us both a favor and continue with them? It’s Christmas. Go be happy with your family.”
“It seems one half of my new family is standing right in front of me.”
It’s time for
Christmas at the Cove!
I am so excited to introduce my first ever Christmas story and the fourth book in my ongoing series set in the fictional U.K. town of Templeton Cove.
Thank you so much for the emails and Tweets asking me to write the stories of so many of the secondary characters who have appeared so far. I am overwhelmed with the love for Templeton Cove and its residents! I have just finished book five, which features a hero and heroine from book three,
What Belongs to Her
(Harlequin Superromance, March 2014), so I hope you’ll look forward to that.
Christmas at the Cove
stars Carrie Jameson and Scott Walker, who met a few years before when Carrie was visiting the cove. The sexual heat between them was too much to resist, and soon after Carrie returned home she discovered she was pregnant.
Deciding a baby was the last responsibility a gorgeous bad boy would want, Carrie chose to raise little Belle alone, then later in a marriage with a good and devoted man. Carrie has always been tormented by the guilt of not telling Scott he is a father, and after her husband’s death, she returns to the cove to lay her guilt to rest so she can live an authentic life.
After thinking about Carrie for years, Scott is thrown for a loop when she returns…and even more so when she tells him he’s a daddy. Scott is devoted to his mother and sisters and won’t turn his back on his daughter, but he needs to know that he can trust the woman who kept Belle a secret.
I so enjoyed writing this book, and the glittering Christmas lights and warm homely scenes only added to my creative joy. Merry Christmas, everyone!
I’d love to hear from you, so feel free to follow me on Twitter or email me anytime.
Christmas at The Cove
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rachel lives in a small market town only a short distance from the famous Georgian city of Bath, England. Becoming an author is a dream come true, and Rachel now writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense for Harlequin, and Victorian romance for Kensington. When she isn’t writing, Rachel likes to read, knit, watch far too much TV and walk the gorgeous English countryside with her husband, two daughters and beloved black Labrador, Max.
Christmas at the Cove
is Rachel’s fourth book with Harlequin, and with book five finished, she has many more books in mind for Harlequin Superromance and her beloved Templeton Cove. Watch this space! She loves chatting and connecting with readers and romance authors alike and would love to hear from you!
Books by Rachel Brimble
1869—A MAN LIKE HIM
1912—WHAT BELONGS TO HER
Other titles by this author available in ebook format.
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Harlequin Reader Service
U.S.: 3010 Walden Ave., P.O. Box 1325, Buffalo, NY 14269
Canadian: P.O. Box 609, Fort Erie, Ont. L2A 5X3
This one is for all my fabulous, wonderfully kind and devoted readers—I couldn’t continue to live my dream without you.
Summer, Three Years Earlier
The Coast Inn swung open and Carrie looked up from her shot at the pool table. The stranger in the doorway was tall and broad, his face in shadow as the freak summer downpour flowed in torrents behind him. She straightened, inexplicable tension lifting the hairs at the back of her neck. The reggae track that blasted from the jukebox faded, and the chattering laughter all around her subsided.
He stepped inside the bar and shook the rain from his dark hair, pushing his fingers through the wet strands. She tried to drag her gaze away but instead openly stared at his wide, powerfully built chest. He didn’t wear a jacket and muscles rippled beneath translucent white cotton. Her gaze wandered lower over his flat stomach to linger shamelessly at his groin encased in blue jeans.
“Carrie? What’s wrong?”
Carrie blinked and plastered on a wide smile. She turned and met Michaela’s slightly wine-glazed stare. “Nothing’s wrong. I’m working out my strategy for this next shot.” She focused on the task at hand, her grasp trembling around the cue. “Hold on to your hat. You’re going down.”
She shot the ball and missed by inches.
Michaela gave an inelegant snort. “Oh, yeah, you’ve got this game in the bag.”
Carrie shrugged and tossed her hair over her shoulder. “Fine, let’s see if you can do any better.”
She stepped back when Michaela elbowed her out of the way. The music and chatter had re-emerged and Carrie breathed a little easier. With her friend’s back turned, she looked at the stranger again. He faced away from her, laughing with the bartender as he snapped the top off a beer bottle and slid it across the bar. When her object of fascination lifted the bottle to his lips, the skin at his throat shifted and moved as he drank, hitching every nerve in Carrie’s body to high alert.
Never in her life had she looked at a guy and wanted to keep looking like she did now.
I have to talk to him.
Her head swam with too much wine and too little food. What else could be the cause of this momentary lapse in the sensible and steady personality she’d worn with ease her entire adult life?
She was here for a fun weekend with her girlfriends. A hardworking, ambitious woman working as a TV producer for a national network. A woman who went through life with methodical precision. A woman who dated and carefully considered...who never leaped into bed with a guy she’d only just seen.
So why did she want to do exactly that?
She couldn’t think past walking over to him, sliding her hand into his and leading him out of the bar to the hotel where she and her friends were staying.
She swallowed and hungrily ran her gaze over the back of his head, continuing her perusal. Muscles flexed and relaxed beneath his shirt; his butt was firm...the side of his thigh muscular and thick. Her body yearned with a desire she couldn’t explain.
He turned and her breath lodged in her throat.
Their eyes locked and his laughter came to an abrupt stop. His smile dissolved as the beer bottle hovered at his mouth and everything quieted once more. She tried to move, to turn and rejoin her friends, but her feet remained welded to the wood flooring.
With his eyes still on hers, he put the bottle on the bar and stepped toward her. Panic rushed through Carrie and she shot a glance over her shoulder. Her three friends watched him approach, their cheeks flushed and their eyes agog. Carrie’s heart pounded and her mouth drained dry. She turned to face him.
He stopped directly in front of her and she tipped her head back to look into his eyes. In the muted light, they shone a bright blue, striking against his deep olive skin. His gaze roamed over her face, down to her breasts and back again.
She wet her lips and forced a smile. “Hi.”
“Hi.” The seconds beat like minutes before he took another step closer. “I’m Scott.”
“I haven’t seen you before.”
“I’m visiting for a few days.” She glanced behind her. “These are my friends.”
He turned to Michaela and the others and dipped his head before facing Carrie once more. “You look as though you’re having a good time.”
She lifted her chin, forced nonchalance into her stance. “I am. Templeton seems a nice place.”
“How long are you staying?”
His gaze bored into hers. “Then we don’t have much time.”
No. He can’t mean
... She huffed out a laugh. “For what?”
His eyes gleamed. “You know what.”
She crossed her arms to hide the trembling, to stop from reaching up and grabbing his jaw to bring his lips to hers. “Do I?”
“We need to get out of here.”
Oh, my God
. “I don’t think so.”
Carrie glanced toward Michaela and the others and bit back a bubble of nervous laughter. Her friends wore identical, jaw-dropped expressions of fascination. “I can’t just leave—”
“You don’t strike me as the type of woman who lives to other people’s schedules.” His gaze glided over her face in a steady, soft caress that made her feel like the most beautiful woman in the world. A way she’d never felt her entire life. He lifted his shoulders. “Or maybe I’m wrong.”
Carrie drew in a long breath as her habitual need to maintain control rose.
He’s a player. Walk away. Go back to your friends
. “You’re right, but I don’t know you.”
His gaze darkened and settled at her mouth. “Ditto.”
“Then I should stay here.”
He lifted his gaze to hers and said nothing.
Time stood still as her heart beat fast and her mind whirled. How could she not go? Every nerve in her body screamed for this man; every second that passed felt wasted. She waited for the rush of her returning sanity, but instead, relief swam through her. Relief he’d suggested they leave together first, that this madness was his idea, not hers. Could she do this? Just go with him and to hell with the consequences?
“Do you do this often?” She lifted an eyebrow, going for the breezy rather than the terrified. “Approach women in bars and ask them to leave with you?”
“Never. You’re the first.”
She looked into his eyes and nothing but sincerity shone back. God, she wanted to go with him. Desperately. “You could be an axe-murderer for all I know.”
She said the words, but no part of her was afraid of this man. Instead, she wanted to comfort him, to soothe the deep frustration emanating from him. The look in his eyes wasn’t full of male ego but intense inquiry, mixed with a hint of disbelief that she understood only too well in that moment.
He exhaled. “I could be, but I’m not. I’ll look after you, Carrie. I promise.” He raised his hand. “Scott’s honor.”
Her stomach knotted and laughter bubbled in her throat once more. “Well, in that case...” She smiled, still apprehensive. “I’ll grab my purse.”
For the first time since he’d left his barstool, he smiled. A smile so soft, she sensed his mutual relief. Sensed he was as unsure about what he was doing as she was. On shaking legs, Carrie approached her friends and glanced at each of them in turn, desperate for the words to explain she had to make love to this stranger or regret it for the rest of her life. She wanted him to take her and feel the weight of his body pressed down on hers. She wanted to smell him, touch him and hear him groan.
She focused on Michaela, her best friend and only hope of being understood.
Michaela frowned. “Carrie?”
Carrie smiled, even though nerves and doubt danced in her stomach. “I have to go with him.”
She moved to walk away, but Michaela gripped her wrist. “You don’t know this guy.”
Aware of Scott watching, Carrie pulled back her shoulders. “But I will.”
“I have to do this.” She eased her arm from her friend’s grip. “I’ll call you. If you don’t hear from me in a couple of hours, call the police.” She winked and pushed away the seriousness of the implication.
“That’s not funny.” Michaela glanced toward Scott before facing Carrie again. “If you want to go, I can’t stop you, but for God’s sake, call me later so I know you’re okay.”
Carrie smiled even as unease rippled through her. Michaela’s concern was justified. Wouldn’t she have been saying the same things to her friend if the roles were reversed? She squeezed Michaela’s hand. “I will. I promise.”
After a final worried look in Scott’s direction, Michaela smiled and raised her hands in surrender. “Fine. Then get out of here.”
Grinning, Carrie faced Scott. “Ready?”
He nodded. Her heart stuttered, but still Carrie slipped her hand into his and led him from the bar.
* * *
like smoldering silk beneath his hands. Scott relished his exploration over her back and along the bumps of her spine and ribs as she lay facedown on the hotel bed. Her body delicately quivered and a soft mew whispered from her lips. He burned it all into his memory because there was every chance this would be their single time together. An event never to be repeated.
The tension in her shoulders when he smoothed his fingers across them and the way her toes remained curled against the mattress spoke of a woman doing something alien to her. The thought he’d never see her again sent panic ricocheting through him, but he had no right to expect more. He’d approached her. He was the one who’d been pulled from his barstool as though hypnotized.
He was no angel. He enjoyed the chase and the conquer. This was neither. He was hers for the taking. The feeling was unwanted...and scary as hell. For the first time in his life, it was important he found a way for a woman to entirely trust him...to understand he’d take care of her. That he wouldn’t walk away from her as he had others.
A crack of summer lightning lit the peach-and-cream hotel room and she stiffened beneath his fingers. He smiled. “Shh.”
Her body relaxed into the mattress. The drapes lifted as the wind gathered ferocity and washed into the room through the open window. When the sun had burned hot that afternoon, he wouldn’t have believed they’d need to seek shelter from this seemingly impenetrable storm. He swallowed. How could he have imagined any of this?
He didn’t pick women up in bars and sleep with them. He dated them, romanced them and ensured they had a good time whenever they were with him. He didn’t understand nor need the unspoken seriousness of his reaction to Carrie. She mattered. Something in her eyes spoke to his heart. It was as though he already knew her...and she possessed the power to change his life in the blink of an eye. He laughed, joked, played pool and hung with the boys. He didn’t fall in love.
He’d been struck; caught in her invisible snare.
Yet despite the emotional risks to his heart, he didn’t leave her bed. He didn’t gather his discarded clothes and escape the room in a bid to salvage what was left of his sanity. He continued to touch her. Adore every damn inch of her.
She’d shaken her long, blond hair from its clip the moment they stepped inside, her brown eyes boring into his, dark with desire.
The urge to say her name over and over rose to his tongue and he swallowed it down. He wanted to know where she came from...and, more important, would she stay with him.
But he wouldn’t push her. Her need to be in control permeated the room. If he didn’t let her lead this moment, it could be over before it began and he couldn’t allow that to happen.
He sensed her tension, her confusion and it was equally as potent as his. His heart hammered and his cock hardened as he smoothed his hand lower over the dimples at the base of her spine to the soft curve of her ass. She stretched beneath his touch, languishing like a panther against the stroke of his fingers. Scott clenched his jaw. He sensed one wrong move on his part and the spell would be broken.
But for now she was his.
Something had gripped them both, and its claws dug deep. Her hair was thick and long, almost reaching to her waist, her figure the hourglass perfection akin to Marilyn Monroe. Unbelievable curves in all the right places. She had the sexiest body he’d ever had the honor to touch. He didn’t need to question if doing something like this, with him, was in any way the norm for her. Her insecurity showed over and over in the flashes of doubt that whipped across her gaze, before she blinked and they were replaced with determination.
He didn’t dare question her reasoning for fear he wouldn’t like the answer. The moment he laid eyes on her, fate had reached in and gripped his damn heart.
She turned over and his gaze dropped to her full, creamy white breasts. He smoothed his thumb across one pink nipple and then the other. They instantly hardened. He smiled softly and met her huge eyes in the semidarkness. They were wide with wonderment, yet confident and sexy as hell.
“I want to make love with you.” She reached up and smoothed the fallen hair from his brow. “Then you leave. Can you do that?”
No. I can’t leave. I can’t not look at you or touch you again
. He looked deep into her eyes, desperate to understand her. “Why?”
“It has to be this way. I have things I want, things I need to do. I can’t give or promise you anything.” She closed her eyes. “I need to hear you’re okay with that. Otherwise this stops now.”
What the hell was going on here? It was usually he who laid the ground rules so a woman didn’t get hurt, he that made them understand he wasn’t the type of guy they wanted to hang around with too long. Yet now, with Carrie...he swallowed. He had no idea how he’d leave. Scott’s heart beat fast, but he held her steady gaze. “I won’t ask you for anything.”
She smiled softly and opened her eyes. “Good.”
His gut knotted with regret as a woman turned the tables on him for the first time. He wanted her. All of her. He slid his gaze from her face to glide languidly over her body. His heart twisted. She’d been honest, which was a quality he held above all others. This was about tonight and tonight only for her. He’d deal with the aftermath because not doing this, not taking her while he could, wasn’t an option. He met her eyes. “Will I see you again?”