Read an Excerpt
By Janet Evanovich
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2006
All right reserved.
Ivan Rasmussen swirled the last of his coffee
around the bottom of his mug, looked past the
prow of his ship to the sloping green lawn of
Camden Harbor Park, and wondered for the
hundredth time in the past two hours what the
devil had happened to his cook, Lucy. She was
never late. Until now. Now she was beyond
late, and because she was his friend as well as
his cook, he was worried.
He squinted at a flash of color and movement
toward the top of the hill, and unconsciously
let his mouth fall open at the sight of a
young woman rolling down the grass embankment.
She came to a spread-eagled stop when
she reached the cement footpath at the bottom,
and she uttered an expletive that carried across
the short span of shoreline, bringing the first
smile of the day to Ivan's lips.
Stephanie Lowe, the woman Ivan had been
watching, struggled to her feet, adjusted her
battered backpack, and scowled at the grass
stains on her knees. She was looking ahead to a
whole week of cooking for Ivan the Terrible in
exchange for free plumbing repairs to her bathroom.
And if that wasn't awful enough, she
was the one who had to bring Ivan the good
news that his usual cook was taking an impromptu
"Lord, I'm such a dope!" Stephaniemuttered,
smacking herself on the forehead, broadcasting
her thoughts to all watching. Nothing like
making a memorable entrance. If one more
thing went wrong, she was going home. The
heck with it all, she thought. She wasn't crazy
about this deal anyway. She'd seen Ivan only
once, but he'd made a lasting impression on
her. He was over six feet with gray-green eyes
and strawberry blond hair. And at the time of
their meeting he'd been all packaged up in a
custom-tailored, navy pin-striped suit that had
made him look more like a chairman of the
board than the captain of a schooner.
Stephanie searched the crowded harbor for
the Josiah T. Savage, gasping when she realized
it was directly in front of her, tied to a floating dock at the end of the cement path. It would be
the last of the windjammers to leave the harbor,
she thought with an inward groan--late to
leave Camden because it was waiting for its
cook. Unfortunately, its cook had suddenly decided
to get married. Double unfortunately, its
cook was her cousin Lucy.
Lucy had provided her with a few vital statistics
on the Savage. It was a windship. A tall
ship. A hundred-year-old, two-masted, coasting
schooner with seventy feet of deck length,
carrying twenty-two passengers and four crew
members on six-day cruises along the islandstrewn
coast of Maine. Lucy's description of her
captain had been equally brief. Ivan Rasmussen,
she'd said, was better known as Ivan
the Terrible because he was terribly handsome,
terribly eligible, and terribly slippery. Stephanie
had her own reasons for believing he was terribly
She took a quick survey of the ship and spotted
Ivan standing on deck, coffee mug in hand,
looking at her as if she'd just dropped off the
Get it together, Stephanie, she told herself.
Life was filled with trade-offs. If you packed
away a whole bag of cookies, then you had to wash them down with diet root beer. This was
just another of life's cans of diet root beer.
Cousin Lucy worked as a cook on Ivan's windjammer.
That morning cousin Lucy had decided
to run off and marry Stanley Shelton.
Stanley Shelton was a plumber. Stephanie desperately
needed a plumber. Simple, right?
Cousin Lucy got a honeymoon, and Stephanie
got a toilet. Okay, no problem. Piece of cake.
There was no reason to be nervous. Ivan should
be happy to have her aboard, she reasoned.
Where else would he get a cook on such short
notice? She was actually doing him a favor.
Besides, after what he'd done to her, he deserved
to eat her cooking for a week. Anyway,
how hard could it be? She'd just whip up forty
or fifty peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and
send all the passengers off to an island in the
dinghy. It might even be fun--a week on the
high seas with the wind at her back and the salt
spray in her face. It was going to be an adventure.
A new experience.
She approached the boarding ramp and
looked up into Ivan's eyes, deciding they
seemed only mildly predatory, more curious
than anything else, narrowed against the glare,
shaded by thick curly blond lashes. His hair was longer and lighter than Stephanie had remembered
it, curling over his ears and along
the nape of his neck. He'd grown a beard since
she'd seen him--very close-cropped, oddly
dark compared to his hair, and overwhelmingly
masculine. He wore faded, frayed cutoff
jeans that Stephanie admitted were perfectly
proper but seemed sinfully erotic, molded to
Ivan's male contours.
She bridged the short span between wharf
and ship, automatically taking inventory of her
surroundings, and plastered a hopeful smile on
her lips. "Hello."
"Hello," he responded, contained amusement
clear in his voice.
There was a flicker of recognition in his eyes,
but Stephanie knew he hadn't placed her. She
wasn't surprised. He probably swindled
women all the time. He probably couldn't keep
track of all the people he'd stuck it to.
"Stephanie Lowe," she said. "We met two
months ago when I bought your house." The
very same house that had been falling apart
piece by piece ever since she'd moved in, she
Ivan's brows drew together . . .
Excerpted from Love Overboard
by Janet Evanovich
Copyright © 2006 by Janet Evanovich.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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