First, other than poetry, I haven't entered a writing contest since I was in elementary school. Second, this story was my first foray into the world of *gulp* contemporary romance. So, to have it chosen as a finalist by the people in charge at One Place for Romance and then to have readers vote for it to win...it's crazy exciting for me.
I don't have a release date yet, but I do have cover art. Fantasia Frog Designs was an absolute joy to work with. She not only found fabulous models that really fit my characters, she kept me involved with the entire process. What we ended up with was a cover that embodies the story better than I could have hoped.
Now, as long as you, dear readers, love the book as well as I love the cover, I will feel like I did my job.
With her dreams of a career by the sea shattered by the economy, Katya's trying to be happy with the two weeks she's managed in the Florida Keys. But when the cottage she's rented turns out to be infested, she's ready to go home to Pennsylvania. At least until Jay, the handyman and filmmaker next door, comes to her rescue.
Sweet, talented and sexy, he's everything she ever wanted in a man. Too bad he's only hanging out with her because he's such a nice guy.
Or is he?
He followed breakfast with a walk on the beach where they stopped to admire the elaborate sand castles kids built then kicked down before the waves could get to them and stared in wonder at a large pod of porpoises frolicking just past the breakers. Her new friend changed her miserable morning into the most glorious summer day Katya had ever experienced. Sitting at a table near the sand, sipping a Rum Runner and enjoying the last of her mahi-mahi sandwich, she didn’t think anything could make the day better.
Intent on watching the ocean for more signs of the playful porpoises, she almost missed when Jay said, “Want to head out on the water for a while?”
“Seriously? I’d love to, but I’m not sure I can swing the cost.” With college graduation barely a memory, student loans loomed over her head. Her parents had given her enough grief about taking this trip at all.
Jay stretched, his muscles flexing with the motion, and drew her appreciative gaze for a second until she realized what she was doing and shifted back to the ocean. “No worries; the captain of a certain deep sea fishing boat owes me a favor or ten. What do you say? Want to go out?”
“Is the pope Catholic?”
Laughing, Jay downed the last of his beer and motioned for the bill.
He was too damn good to be true. Fixing her house, letting her stay at his place, and showing her the time of her life? Plus, his long blond hair, baby blues, and crooked grin made him hotter than hell. Everything about spending time with him screamed house of cards, and she couldn’t help but wonder which moment would be the breeze that blew it all down.
All morning, Jay had managed to talk to Katya without his dormant libido rearing its head. Then he got her on the boat—in her bikini—and it was all he could do not to sport tented shorts the entire afternoon. She made it worse by acting self-conscious about wearing the bikini in the first place.
Then again, he spent the whole time wishing she wasn’t in the bathing suit, too.
Her line dipped, the rod bowing as the fish pulled away. Katya handled the beast like a pro, letting it wear itself out before she tried to reel it in. Still, it wrestled with her. Happy for the excuse, Jay wrapped his arms around her and added his muscle to the fight. The fish leapt from the water, and the move allowed them to yank it onboard. With the tension gone from the line, Kat lost her balance and fell against him, both of them tumbling to the slippery deck to join the flopping tuna. She twisted in his arms, and their lips hovered precariously close, electricity dancing between them.