Read an Excerpt
Crash Into Love
By Sofia Grey, Theresa Marie Cole
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2014 Sofia Grey
All rights reserved.
Sunlight roared in and smacked me firmly on both cheeks, leaving me in no doubt it was morning. I'd been staying here two weeks, and the days were blurring into each other. I had to think hard before I decided it was Thursday.
Jesus. Waking to a four star hangover was definitely overrated. Well done, Cass. Time to cut back on the wine. I closed my eyes and counted slowly in my head. One. Two. Three. And lifted my gritty eyelids again for another quick look round. Empty bed — tick. Forgot to close the curtains — tick. Abandoned wine bottle and mountain of used tissues — big tick.
Sitting up was a mistake. Little hammers began tapping a cheery rhythm inside my head, one that would only be helped with a strong infusion of caffeine and a side helping of Panadol. Neither of which I had at my fingertips. An hour later, I finally staggered through the sliding glass doors, onto the deck, and sat down at the patio table with my hands wrapped around a large, milky coffee. The two Panadol had already been gulped down with the first, excruciatingly hot mouthful, but if I was lucky, and sat very still, they'd start to work soon. I might be able to shower without throwing up.
I leaned back in the padded seat, closed my eyes, and let the warm rays kiss my face while I zoned out to the rumble and crash of the nearby surf. My mind flashed back to the evening before and the arrival of the guests for the holiday rental next door. Five young people, probably students, had scrambled out of a car that looked far too small to contain them. Two girls and three young men, they looked no older than my son, Dylan, and were equally animated. My peaceful, little retreat was about to be wrecked.
The chirrup of my mobile phone broke into my dozing, and with a measure of reluctance, I stretched out one lazy hand to pick it up. Another text from my soon-to-be-ex-husband.
Sandra. I'm still waiting for your address so I can send the papers. Let me know ASAP. Colin
He could wait.
* * *
I stared idly at my shell collection lined up on the kitchen windowsill. If I carried on collecting them at this rate, I'd have to expand to another room soon. Would I take them with me when I went home? If I went home? That was a question for another day. My phone beeped softly with another text.
Hi. Just to let you know, I've had a last-minute booking for the bach next door. Any problems, let me know.
I thought at first he'd made a typo. Bach? Then my sluggish brain kicked into gear. Bach was the New Zealand name for these little holiday cottages by the sea. Sam, the grumpy and usually absent landlord of both properties, had neglected to say how long they would be staying. I hoped it wasn't long.
Heading out for my morning walk, I was surprised to see signs of life from next door, one of the guys sitting at the bottom of their steps, facing out to sea. It was barely nine in the morning. No self-respecting student would be up yet. His hair obscured by a hoodie, I wondered if he'd notice me.
Dark eyes swiveled to me as I walked past. When he saw me, he shoved the hood back and nodded a greeting, a hint of a smile tugging at his lips. "Morning," he murmured.
Surprised, a little unsettled, I paused. "Hey," I managed and then picked up my pace and headed for the beach, putting some distance between us, yet still feeling his gaze upon me.
This was the perfect summer hideaway: a one-bedroom beach cottage in a sleepy, seaside village with only one other house nearby. The rental next door was much larger, easily three or four bedrooms, but I didn't need anything that size. I loved my temporary home, from its duck-egg blue shelves and cupboards to the azure mosaic tiles in the shower. The short stroll down from my deck took me straight onto a never-ending stretch of sand. Open coastline stretched as far as I could look in either direction and was usually deserted, despite it being the last gasp of summer.
I needed peace and quiet if I was to get this damned book finished. I could only hope my new neighbors would not distract me.
* * *
I set up my laptop on the outside table and stared at my word processor. The blank page dazzled me, even with my sunglasses on. Maybe I needed a change of pace. Instead of the complicated medical thriller I'd been trying to write, perhaps I should do something more instinctive. More angst-filled. Trouble was, I'd sold three novels in this series so far and had promised my publisher the fourth by the end of the year. My handsome-detective-doctor-hero should be wading through clues right now and dropping terse, little hints to his plain-but-brilliant sidekick. If only.
The cursor winked at me some more.
I clicked back to reread the first chapter for maybe the fifteenth time.
The page stayed stubbornly, rudely empty, much like my brain. I folded down the lid and stood up. I'd make some coffee, have a snack, or even go lie down.
I'd only just gone into the kitchen when I heard a squeal of laughter from outside. A shrill, female voice. "Layla, help me! Greg! No, don't you dare!" I had to look. A skinny, blonde girl wearing a long, floaty summer dress was being held by one of my new neighbors while he pretended to dunk her in the sea. He stood in water up to the knees of his baggy shorts, the girl clinging to his naked upper body. Every time he moved her closer to the water, she squealed and all the others laughed.
I was envious. It was a long time since I'd been that close to any man's bare chest, and Greg's merited a second look. Lean and bronzed, he had a swirling, tribal tattoo across his right, upper arm and ... oh my ... rings in both his nipples. My overactive imagination immediately wondered where else he might be pierced.
A character bio danced in the forefront of my imagination: early twenties, tall and lean, clean-shaven face and close-cropped dark hair, clear brown eyes, pierced nipples and dick. Broad-shouldered and muscled, he'd work outdoors to explain his dark, tanned skin and six-pack. Greg would be the perfect inspiration. He'd have a girlfriend who looked remarkably like the lithe blonde now frolicking in the shallows, her sweeping skirts held up to her slender thighs.
There was a chorus of yells from the beach. "Go Kari," they shouted. Kari. It suited her. My Kari would have a soft French accent. She'd be an exchange student here for the summer.
A fresh surge of excitement rippled through me. They would be my two main characters; now I needed my secondaries. I glanced across at the others and paused to survey them more slowly. The second blonde was draped across the shortest of the three guys. His dirty blond, shaggy hair appeared a shade darker than hers, but almost as long. I could imagine him as a surfer. They had their arms around each other, hands tucked into each other's pockets. Sweet.
The third guy was the one who'd spoken to me this morning. He stood alone, separate from the rest. His thumbs were hooked through the belt loops of tight, faded jeans, and his chest filled out the overwashed T-shirt he wore. I couldn't tell from this distance if it was really sun-faded or just designed that way, with scratched, unreadable lettering across the front. He fit it well. Thick, dark hair flopped onto a tanned forehead, and as I watched, he lifted one hand to shove it back from his face. The breeze immediately pushed it forward again. Did he wait for his own girl to appear? Or would he have to play third wheel to the two couples?
Only one problem remained. How the hell did I work Greg and Kari into Dr. Monaghan's latest thriller?
The answer was simple. I didn't.
Bubbling with new and shiny ideas, I needed time to ponder this new direction, so I headed out to the sand. The students had retreated to their house, and the beach was deserted again, apart from a couple of seagulls that flew above my head. I walked along the water's edge and splashed at the outgoing tide, my mind light-years away.
Could I do this? Change my writing style for something completely new? The idea was as scary as it was exciting. I took stock of my whereabouts. A little farther back, hidden in the sand dune, sat a wooden bench. Perfect.
I'd not been there long when I saw someone approaching. I had to squint into the sun to see them properly, and at first I could make out no features at all. Then I recognized him. Loner.
Had he seen me? Maybe not. I only saw the bench once I'd walked past it. He strolled along the water's edge, much as I'd done, and then paused and stared out to sea. The breeze lifted his hair and whipped it against his face, but he ignored it. Perhaps he was as lost in his world as I'd been in mine. With his hands deep in his pockets, he stood there for an age.
I needed to get back. My ideas were crystallizing, and now I itched to get them committed to paper. I doubted he'd notice me, but, when I drew near, he spun around, his shoulders tense.
It was my turn to speak first. I smiled and nodded to him. "Hello again." I didn't wait for his reply.
Eager to capture my idea, I hurried back to my laptop and opened a new document. For the first time in many months, the words poured out of me faster than I could type.
Daniel had finally persuaded Tami into the sea with him.
His dark blue eyes held more than a hint of danger. When his lips brushed against her cheek, Tami felt her heart flutter. Heat poured from his skin and threatened to burn her, even through her clothes. She imagined that any moment, she would ignite, a piece of tinder to his flame. He shifted her in his arms, that devilish grin firmly back in place.
"I can feel you getting wet, baby." He slid one of his hands beneath the hem of her dress and closed it around her bare thigh. "You're dripping." His eyes teased, and she giggled. "Soaking wet," he purred, "and it's all my fault."
Tami knew that Lena watched her from the beach. Lena also wanted Daniel, had made a play for him, but he'd chosen Tami. God. If his hand moved any higher, he'd find out where else she was wet — and that had nothing to do with the warm seawater.
"Uh-oh." Right on cue, Daniel pretended to drop her in the waves. It gave Tami the perfect excuse, as if she really needed one, to bury her face in his neck and inhale the scent of his skin. She squealed and pressed herself closer. Grains of sand stuck to his throat, and she couldn't hold back any longer. She needed a taste of Daniel. One lick.
Her head spun. He tasted of summer, saltwater, and a hint of masculine sweat, with just the traces of a woody cologne. It was her favorite scent ever, she decided. One more lick; her tongue curled into the hollow at the base of his throat and drew a groan from deep inside him.
His chest was shielded from view by her body, and she took advantage, shameless in her exploration. She stroked one curious finger over each nipple ring in turn and watched, fascinated, as the nipples hardened and the rings stood out. Daniel growled at her, but she couldn't stop now. His nipples were dark brown against his bronzed chest, and she knew she'd taste them later, too. She crooked one finger through the nearest ring. Daniel tensed and gripped her even closer. All pretense at dropping her in the sea had finished. He stood as still as a Greek statue, eating her up with his eyes.
"I'm wet, chéri ," she murmured, and watched blue eyes darken, brown nipples swell. The tiniest of tugs to the ring, and she felt him harden against her hip, delectable abs rippling.
"I want you, baby. You're staying with me tonight." It was not a question. Tami licked at his throat before she replied.
It was only when I straightened my back and felt a dull ache across my shoulders that I realized how long I'd been hunched over my laptop. The sun had begun its nightly drift through the sky before it dropped beneath the horizon, and the sunset was a beauty tonight. The neighbors had gone quiet, and when I looked, I saw them on the dry sand at the top of the beach.
They clustered around a tiny, portable, charcoal barbecue, and the smell of sausages grilling reminded me I had yet to eat. My stomach rumbled in agreement. Greg sat with Kari in his lap, a tangle of tanned limbs and bare skin. I looked for the others. Surf Dude sat a little farther back, sitting with Layla. The loner was still alone.
Silhouetted against the last streaks of light, they looked so perfect, so right, that I couldn't drag my eyes away. When one of the guys started strumming on a guitar, I gave up trying to convince myself to move and just watched them.
When I'd been their age, I was married with a young child. Holidays were rare. Lazy evenings around a barbecue were nonexistent. Colin worked late, I kept house. I felt a pang of wistfulness for my younger self. If Colin and I had enjoyed such simple pleasures, he might not have felt the need to look elsewhere. I might not be sitting here alone and lonely, mourning the charred remains of my marriage.
I worked late into the night until I felt my eyelids drooping. Daniel and Tami had made it as far as the bedroom, and I needed a clear head for writing their first major sex scene. I fell into my own bed, my head filled with buff bodies and beautiful blondes.
* * *
I strolled along the beach the next morning, my imagination sparking from one sexy scene to another, my handsome doctor forgotten. The sea was gentle today and easily soothed my ruffled composure. Soft ripples of water swirled up in a teasing fashion, dancing up to my ankles before drifting away again. I dug my toes into the damp sand and watched as the water puddled up beneath them, waiting for the incoming wave to splash over my feet. In my left hand, I carried one perfect scallop shell, all pink gloss and pale sheen like a bridesmaid's dress, while my right hand nursed a bottle of water. Gulls wheeled overhead, mewing like kittens in a sky too bright to look at without squinting. I'd left my sunglasses on the table.
I found a patch of pristine sand in the shelter of a mountain of bleached driftwood. It looked as though it had been there for years, the branches twisted into strange, alien shapes. The shade it offered was tempting, and I took the opportunity to sit there for a rest. I was short of sleep. I awoke with a start some time later to find the sun high in the sky and the now familiar noise of my neighbors. I felt sleepy and disheveled, had sand in my hair and my clothes, and I was thirsty. My neighbors appeared to be going out, squeezing all five of them into the car. I watched, amused.
"Layla," yelled Kari. "Get your butt in here."
She obliged and squeezed into the back, and I wondered which guy would be lucky enough to sit with them. Greg, of course. Surf Dude was the driver, and Loner rode shotgun, and they were still messing around when I tried to sidle unobserved into my cottage.
Kari scrambled out again, Greg made a grab for her, and Surf Dude bellowed with laughter. Again, Loner watched, silent.
I knew the second his gaze fell on me. Standing at the top of my steps, I pretended to stretch, to roll my shoulders, and then I glanced in his direction. His face was impassive, but his eyes burned into me. He leaned a tanned, slightly olive-skinned arm on the open window, his stubbled chin resting on his hand. The chatter behind and around him continued unabated, but he could have been at the eye of the storm. Silent, untouched. Intense. Watching me.CHAPTER 3
I worked steadily all afternoon, astonished and pleased at the speed with which my new story came together. I'd never written romance before, never had to seek out the myriad of ways in which to describe a caress, a kiss, the press of naked flesh.
Daniel did everything at full throttle, and Tami began to wonder if he had a volume control at all. Yelling and horsing around on the beach was one thing, but she'd never had a lover so vocal in bed. Her previous two partners had been almost silent. To have Daniel looming over her, his face contorted with pleasure and every muscle straining would have been quite enough. She didn't need the constant flow of encouragements that poured from his mouth.
"Yeah, baby, just there, just like that." He gasped and then continued, "Fuck, baby, yeah, oh yeah."
How could she quiet him without disturbing his rhythm? "Kiss me," she urged and tugged his head down to her lips. He obliged and intensified his thrusts at the same time. His cock felt amazing, plunging in and out, hitting every sweet spot along the way. She'd never had a man with a pierced cock before. It lifted good sex to fabulous sex and more than made up for his talking.
Excerpted from Crash Into Love by Sofia Grey, Theresa Marie Cole. Copyright © 2014 Sofia Grey. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.