Love blogger Kate Bell is finished with men—especially the hot ones. Of course her only chance to save her career requires snagging an interview with the man who literally wrote the book on love, reclusive and super-sexy relationship expert Jake Wright. Who happens to be her boss’s brother.
The last thing Jake Wright wants is to be dragged back into the spotlight as a bachelor for his sister’s dating website. But when a sweet and sexy blogger crashes onto his island in the middle of a storm worse than his love life, keeping his hands off proves to be a challenge—especially when they’re stuck sharing the same bungalow.
“If I could just ask a couple of questions—off the record.”
“What part of no interview do you not understand?” He yanked her duffle with its neon pink Smart Cupid tags from the underside of the plane, slung it across his shoulder, and stalked over to a truck parked at the edge of the airfield.
Kate stopped, a small voice inside her whispering, Give the guy a break. He’s not interested in being the bachelor. Just forget the interview and hunker down with some Ho Hos, a couple magazines, and a bottle of Chardonnay. But a second voice, a louder, drunken voice said, Let this sucker off the hook and you’re going home with no interview and no shot at Cosmo. A blonde, brokenhearted failure.
The drunken voice won.
She rushed forward on her damaged heel. “Being a hunk for Smart Cupid is a once in—”
“A lifetime opportunity.” He tossed the bag into the bed of the pickup and secured it under the tarp. “I’ve heard the company line, Miss Bell.”
“So why not grab the brass balls? Or, ring. I mean—grab the brass ring.” Damn, that didn’t sound right. She pressed a palm to her forehead and tried to organize her thoughts.
He yanked at the overlong curls at the back of his neck. “Despite what your boss may have told you, I’m not interested in love.”
Hold everything. Not interested in love? He was the expert. Her heart kicked in its reflexive response. “Everyone’s interested in love.”
“Not everyone.” The truck’s tailgate slammed into place. “Definitely not me.”
Kate stared back at him, her thoughts all jumbled together from the martinis…and the flying…and the hurricane. “Look, don’t take this the wrong way, but maybe love’s not the problem. I mean, I know you’re the authority on the subject…”
“Ex-authority on the subject.” He fished his keys from the pocket of his chinos and let the beep of his auto-starter punctuate his words.
“…but maybe you’ve been looking in all the wrong places.”
He cocked a dark eyebrow. “There are right places?”
Like she needed his sarcasm right now. Where were all the good guys? The romantic ones who climbed fire escapes, flowers at the ready. “You just haven’t found The One.”
“Right. The One.” That muscle in his jaw ticked again, all cynical and derisive. “Sounds like three martinis talking.” He opened the passenger door and waved her inside.
“No, no, no, definitely not the martinis talking,” Kate said, depositing her butt inside the front cab. “Okay, maybe they’re talking a little. But they’re talking sense.” He moved to shut the door, and she stopped it with her kitten heel.
“Can I tell you something?”
“Can I stop you?”
She scooted to the edge of the leather seat. “Here’s the deal. I suck at dating.”
His head fell forward on a sigh. “Please get in the truck.”
Balancing her hands on his shoulders, she continued, “Seriously. I do. All kinds of dating. My one and only blind date actually had a warrant out for his arrest. Halfway through dinner, the police dragged him from our table in the back of this little Thai place in Queens. I spent the rest of the night scouring line-ups downtown.”
His eyes snapped to hers. “Jesus—really?”
Kate nodded. “Another guy I’d been dating for about a month left me in the middle of a movie. Went to get popcorn. Disappeared.” She blew at her open palm. “Like David Copperfield. In a puff of smoke.”
“You have to be kidding.”
A definitive shake of her head. “Not kidding here, Jake. We’re talkin’ blockbuster dating issues. So I get the whole ‘love’s not for me’ attitude. Easier to take a pass than commit to another round of love and face inevitable heartbreak.
Trust me. I. Am. Down. With. That.” Her voice dipped to a whisper. “But—and this is what I wanted to tell you.” She shifted closer. “This morning? My most recent company-line package smashed my heart. Smashed it. Like, with a ballpeen hammer.” She leaned out of the truck a little farther, her body swinging from the cherry-red door. “But even I know love is out there. And you—you’re the expert.”
She placed a hand over her heart. “And I—I am the new Kate.”
“That’s terrific. Now can ‘the new Kate’ please get in the truck?”
“No. This is important.” She shook her head and tried to focus on what he needed to know, but—wow—last martini was really kicking in, or maybe it was the tumble, or the prospect of being stranded, but keeping her thoughts together was tough. “Listen, Jake, you’re the guy who wrote the book on great sex. You should be looking for The One, too. Because great sex is part of that package…that whole star-spangled, bells ringing, love-forever package.” And her super-sized heart needed that package. The romance, the proposal on bended knee, the everlasting declaration of love. All of it. “I thought my ex was The One, but obviously I was wrong, because The One ponies up the great sex.”
“Really need you to get back in the truck now.”
“Truth be told, my ex wasn’t all that and a bag of chips on the old sex-o-meter.” She crooked her index finger, and he leaned in. “If you know what I mean.”
His eyes narrowed. “Think you might want to change the subject?”
“No, Jake, what I want is the chips.” Her elbow slipped a few inches down the open door. “Can you tell me where to find The One and some crazy hot chips?”
His hand gripped the doorframe. “Yeah, those martinis are definitely talking.”
She tilted closer. “Don’t you think I deserve the chips?”
Please say yes.
It wasn’t just a sales pitch. She needed to believe it.
He stabbed at his glasses. “Am I really qualified to answer that question?”
“Hell, yes, I deserve the chips.” Her fist flew into the air, Norma Rae–style. “All women deserve the chips. We all deserve the freaking chips.”
“Chips for all. That is extremely democratic. Now let’s get you back into the truck.”
About the Author
After ten years of survival, aka working, in Hollywood, this former actress and current author of sexy contemporary romance is living happily-ever-after with her longtime sweetie, AKA Husband Number 1, and their two occasionally punky kids. When not carpooling to birthday parties or testing her gourmet cooking skills by throwing a frozen pizza into the oven, Maggie daydreams about sneaking off to the Vegas or Napa, or even just the movies. A love of red wine, Italian food, and music round out her list of life’s greatest joys. Oh, and Tuesday night karaoke, totally underrated fun!