Authors: Toni Blake
Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary, #General
The following summer
enny and Mick headed across the lake in the green canoe, her telescope resting between them. “Pretty soon,” he said, “we won’t have to paddle over here every time you want to look at the stars.” By day, he did masonry work at the new development on the edge of town, but by night, he was busy building a balcony above the front porch, where the trees wouldn’t get in the way. They’d bought the house from her father, so they felt free to remodel and redecorate at will now. And as for the shrine to her mother, it was all packed away somewhere at her dad’s house, as it should be. Anita was an understanding woman, but not so understanding that she wanted a life-size portrait of her boyfriend’s late wife hanging in the house—and to Jenny’s dad’s credit, he finally seemed to “get it.”
“You know I can’t wait ’til my balcony’s done,” she said to Mick, “but I’ll still want to keep coming over
sometimes, too.” The canoe glided smoothly across the water, nearing the southern shore, and crickets sang in the trees.
He grinned. “You just like what happens in the woods on the way up the hill.” They never planned it, but sometimes, when they passed by the spot where they’d first bumped into each other, they found themselves reliving that first meeting.
“Maybe,” she said, aloof, teasing.
He arched one eyebrow in doubt. “
She smiled in concession. “All right,
. But it’s about more than just sex. I never would have met you—again—if I hadn’t come over here to look at the stars. And we wouldn’t have had that lovely wedding in Miss Ellie’s English garden, and you wouldn’t be the unofficial horseshoe champion of Destiny. I didn’t even know you
horseshoes until you beat the socks off of everybody at my Labor Day picnic.”
He shrugged. “What can I say? I’m a man of hidden talents.”
She let a wicked grin sneak onto her face. “I won’t argue with you on
.” He still rocked her world in bed like no other guy could. “Besides, you’ll like coming over to this side better once the cabin is knocked down and the cemetery is enclosed.” That was the plan for next summer—Mick wanted to make a nicer resting place for his brother, and there was nothing about life in the old house he cared to remember.
“Probably, but…don’t forget what I told you about school. I like it here a lot now, but if you decide to go back to school, do your astronomy thing full-time, I’m on board. I still hate knowing that bastard stole your dream,” he growled.
And Jenny only sighed. The truth was
she’d never been happier than she was right now, and she loved her job and being close to her father and her friends, and she suspected her old dreams were best left in the past—yet she
loved that Mick valued them so much on her behalf. Then she asked him something that had somehow never come up between them before. “What was
dream, Mick? Back when we were young?”
An uncharacteristic look of contentment washed over his face. “To live on
side of the lake. And…to fit in there.” He raised teasing eyebrows. “So I’m
’ the dream, baby.” But she knew he was also being serious.
When the canoe glided up onto the sand, they stepped out and Mick grabbed the waterproof bag holding her equipment. She trudged ahead of him into the woods, but as the trees closed in around them, blocking out the remaining light of the day, Jenny slowed her pace to maneuver the hill.
That’s when she felt Mick’s hand slide around her waist, up under her tank top. Her whole body warmed as his touch grazed her skin, and a sigh of pleasure escaped her even as she looked over her shoulder to say, “What’re you doing?”
He leaned in behind her to kiss her neck. “Thinking…the stars can wait.”
Jenny bit her lip as Mick’s sweet kisses moved through her like hot liquid—but still protested. “The sky is
right now, Mick. And the weatherman said there’ll be clouds later, rain by
“Too bad—I want you,” he rasped in her ear. “Right here, where I first
Okay, that made her a little wet, but still…“Mick—
on. Stars first, sex later—I promise.”
“Sex now,” he argued, sounding just a little like a caveman and pressing against her until she felt the full effect of his erection at her rear.
,” she heard herself moan in response. “But…come on, let’s go.” She reached for his hand, took it in her own,
proceeded to draw him up the steep landscape.
Until he stopped her again, with his body. Just like the first time—he stepped in front of her on the trail and said familiar-sounding words, but they came out more seductive than menacing this time. “Listen, honey, you’re not going up that hill.”
“Oh yes I am.” She tried to push past him, but he stepped in her way again, molding his big hands to her shoulders.
“You don’t want to mess with me, pussycat,” he warned.
“And if I do?”
He crossed his arms, arched one eyebrow. “I might have to…have my way with you.”
To which she teasingly rolled her eyes and said, “Promises, promises.”
In reply, Mick pinned her to a tree. And the playful look on his face quickly transformed into something much more feral and hot, burning her up from the inside out.
And the rest was history, one more reckless, urgent encounter with Mick Brody in the woods across
y deepest thanks to Renee Norris, first reader extraordinaire. Your insights were vital in helping me make this book the best it could be, and I appreciate your time, input, and enthusiasm more than words can express. Thank you, as well, to Joe Roberts of Rocket-Roberts.com for so kindly taking the time to answer all my questions about astronomy—and I hope I got everything right. Thank you to Lindsey Faber for all your wonderful efforts on my behalf—you completely rock! And finally, thank you to May Chen and all the fine folks at Avon Books for being so fun and fabulous to work with, and to Meg
Agency for being the best cheerleaders on the planet.
’s love of writing began when she won an essay contest in the fifth grade. Soon after, she penned her first novel, nineteen notebook pages long. Since then, Toni has become a
author of contemporary romance novels, as well as more than forty short stories and articles. She has been a recipient of the Kentucky Women Writers Fellowship and has also been honored with a nomination for the prestigious Pushcart Prize. Toni lives with her husband in the
and enjoys traveling, genealogy, crafts, and snow skiing.
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This book is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogue are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
ONE RECKLESS SUMMER
. Copyright © 2009 by Toni Herzog. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books.
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