He’s the Swift brother who got left behind, the son abandoned by his father. Now Kyle Swift is a man determined to destroy the whitewater rafting empire built by the half-brothers he never knew, the Swift sons who got the life—and the love—he was denied. Seducing Fisher Jones isn’t part of his revenge, but sharing a bed with the beautiful whitewater instructor is the one bright spot in his otherwise dark plan. That is, if he manages not to fall for the sad-eyed beauty . . .
Fearless when it comes to facing even the most daunting river rapids, Fisher never takes chances with her love life—until the night she gets swept away by a sexy stranger. But when her one-night stand unexpectedly shows up in her whitewater class, Fisher faces her greatest challenge yet: keeping her heart safe from a man determined to put an end to the family business—and the life—she holds dear. . . .
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Life is good.
At least that's what it said on the front of Fisher Jones's T-shirt. Standing in the parking lot of the American River Grill — the Argo to the locals — she accepted congratulations and hugs from her friends and coworkers. They had been celebrating her recent promotion to river operations manager. She'd be in charge of the rafting part of the Swift River Adventure Company and Resort.
No one knew she'd been crafting a letter of resignation. One she'd been working on for weeks. No, months. But she didn't have the courage to hand it in. She loved life on the American River. Taking visitors down the river was always a thrill. Whether it was their first time or they were return customers, they always had a blast. She especially enjoyed helping people rise to the challenge of stepping outside their comfort zones.
Fisher loved her job. That wasn't the problem.
The problem was she loved her boss. Her married, with children, boss. Four years ago, at this very bar, Cody Swift had hit on her. It being her first night in Prospector Springs, she had brushed him off. A good thing, since the very next morning she'd started her first day as his assistant guide.
Although she'd seen dozens of women floating in and out of his bed, she'd come to know the real Cody. The man behind the fun-loving, life-of-the-party persona. They'd developed a friendship. And somewhere along the line, her feelings had deepened.
She had hoped, after his twin brother, Carson, met and married Lily, Cody might consider settling down and sticking with one woman.
And that's exactly what he did. Only it was Miranda who had managed to capture his heart. And then she gave him two beautiful, perfect twin daughters, Ava and Addy.
Fisher had never been one of those women who went all gaga over babies. But damn, those two girls were adorable. She watched Cody lovingly strap them into their infant seats and she could almost feel her ovaries explode.
She reached for her sunglasses to hide the glisten of tears that would come if she watched him another minute. But they weren't perched on the top of her head, where she normally kept them when she wasn't squinting into the bright sunshine.
"I think I left my sunglasses inside," she said to Brooke, a fellow guide and the woman she shared a room with at the guides' house back at the resort. "Can you give me a minute to go look for them?"
"Sure." Brooke had ridden over in Fisher's Jeep. Cody had, of course, driven with his wife and daughters. Carson had come down from Hidden Creek with Lily and their baby boy, Brandon. Gavin, Jake, and Aubrey had all piled in Jake's old Honda. Tyler had been working the store, so he'd met them there after closing out the register.
"If you want to ride back with me, I don't mind." Tyler flashed Brooke a hopeful smile.
"You guys go ahead." Fisher almost preferred driving by herself. As much as she appreciated everyone coming out to help her celebrate, she needed some space. And that was hard to get when she lived with all the guides.
"You sure?" Brooke asked. "You're okay to drive, right?"
"Oh yeah. I only had one beer." She didn't trust herself to have any more than that around Cody. The last thing she needed was to loosen up too much and let her feelings show. "Heck, I may even go back and have one more, maybe stay for the band."
"Do you want me to hang out with you?" Brooke offered, but Fisher could tell she'd rather go with Tyler. Something had been developing between them, and maybe with Fisher out of the way ...
"No. I'm fine. I'll text and let you know when I'm on my way home. So you don't worry." Fisher gave Brooke a wink, letting her know that she'd hold back, give them time to ... whatever.
Brooke blushed and then darted toward Tyler's pickup.
Fisher walked back into the bar, but the tables they'd been sitting at were already cleared. Hopefully the waitress had handed her sunglasses over to the bartender.
The crowd had picked up even though the sun hadn't gone down yet. Of course, it was Friday night in June. The weather was fine, the food fabulous, and live music would keep the place rocking into the night.
Fisher pushed her way to the bar, but Randy, the bartender, was slammed. She wasn't in a hurry. Her friends had left, and now that she didn't have to watch Cody kissing his babies and his wife, she didn't really need her sunglasses. Wouldn't need them until noon tomorrow when she'd meet her students for whitewater school orientation. Mostly college kids, eager for a summer job of adventure, they'd learn more than just how to read a current and maneuver a raft. She'd be teaching whitewater safety, wilderness camping, environmental awareness, and gourmet outdoor cooking skills.
She'd been guiding for Swift River Adventure Company for four years. She'd been an instructor for two years, but this would be her first year in charge of the school. Cody had been the one to really put himself into the instruction, but he'd be a little busy being a hands-on dad wrangling two four-month-old babies.
Since she'd start work a good three hours later than normal, Fisher figured she might go ahead and have a second beer. If she did end up feeling tipsy, there was a well-maintained bike path, and she could walk home.
"Here you go, a Strong Blonde for the strong blonde." Randy set a glass of the local craft brew in front of her. It wasn't her usual drink choice. She preferred a pale ale or an IPA after a long day on the river.
"I didn't order this," Fisher said with a smile.
"No. He did." Randy nodded toward the guy on the end of the bar, who lifted a glass and flashed a killer set of dimples.
"Oh, okay." Fisher felt heat creep across her cheeks. She took a sip and smiled at the stranger. He was kind of cute. No, he was very cute. Hot, actually. And he was walking toward her.
"Hi. I'm Kyle." He offered a firm handshake. Warm, strong. Kind of tingly.
"Fisher." She held up her glass. "Thanks for the drink."
"Well, I wasn't sure what to order, but then I saw you walk in and decided I was in the mood for a strong blonde." He glanced down at her bare arms, well sculpted from her years on the river. "And then I thought I'd try the beer."
"Well, be careful," Fisher warned. "Strong blondes can knock you flat on your back if you're not used to them."
"That's what I was hoping for." He grinned at her, lifted his glass, and took a long sip, not taking his eyes off her.
Flirting. Something she'd given up on in recent years. Not that she'd been completely celibate since the night she'd turned Cody down. No, she'd hooked up with an old boyfriend here and there. She'd even tried dating this guy who lived over in Auburn, but he didn't get her excited enough to keep making the twenty-mile commute.
What the hell? Kyle was good looking. His hair a little darker than Cody's, a little longer, too, but not long enough for a ponytail or man bun. He had a nice smile. His eyes were startlingly blue, and presently focused on her chest.
"Life is good?" He was just reading her shirt. No need to get too excited. "What's good about your life right now?"
"Besides not having to pay for beer?" Fisher took another drink to lubricate her very rusty flirting gears. "I guess getting a promotion today was pretty good."
"Oh yeah? Congratulations." He held his glass up in a toast and she dutifully tapped it.
"Thanks. It's weird, though." She took another swallow and found the glass nearly empty. "I was going to quit."
"Really?" He flagged the bartender and held up two fingers. "Tell me about it."
She should tell him to slow down, these beers were strong. Hence the name. But she'd felt so numb lately, she welcomed the buzzed feeling. And the novel sensation of having a guy interested in her.
"It's complicated." She lifted her glass again. Probably not a good idea, but neither was spilling her guts about her sad crush on her boss.
"I like complicated women." He matched her swallow for swallow. "Especially when they look as good as you."
She laughed, sputtering the last of her beer.
"What? Don't tell me you don't realize how hot you are?" His eyes filled with longing. Lust.
"It is rather warm in here." She fanned herself. Was it the beer or the way he looked at her?
He paid for the two fresh pints and grabbed both glasses. "Why don't we check out the deck? I think the band is about to start."
"Yeah. Sure." Fisher's legs felt a little wobbly. But she also felt a sense of exhilaration. She took the beer he offered and gave him what she hoped was an encouraging smile.
He held the door open for her and she scooted past him onto the deck. It was a perfect night. Warm, but with enough of a breeze that it wasn't stuffy. The sun was just setting, painting the sky in orange, pink, and purple.
Kyle placed his hand on the small of her back and she had to admit, it felt nice. Sexy, yet comforting. He guided her to the edge of the deck, where they could set their drinks on the wide ledge.
"Wow. Beautiful." But he wasn't looking at the sunset or the river below them.
"How many of those have you had?" Fisher wasn't used to the attention. She was used to being one of the guys. Used to teasing, of the brotherly love kind. "And have you eaten dinner?"
"This is my second. And yes. I've had my dinner." He continued to look at her as if he hoped she was on the menu.
"Good. I mean, it's just that these are kind of potent."
"I don't know about the beer, but I'm definitely feeling the effects of a certain strong blonde."
"And what effect is that?" She tried to sound sexy, sure of herself, but she was really bad at flirting.
"I think you know." He lowered his voice, making her insides quiver.
"Why don't you enlighten me." He made her nervous, but not in a creeped-out way. No, it was more how she felt when approaching a big rapid. Full of excitement, tension, anticipation. But the river was familiar, something she'd come to understand, and respect. Could she respect this man, or herself, if she took this flirtation to the next level?
"Oh please." Her cheeks heated and she glanced up at the outdoor TV where the baseball game was playing. The Giants had two on and no one out. Good, she needed a distraction. But she could hardly focus on the game. She could still feel his eyes on her.
"You a baseball fan?" The intensity in his voice eased, just enough to help her relax a little.
"A little. I catch an Angels' game now and again."
"So, you're a Southern California guy?" She turned toward him, and yeah, he was definitely one hot guy.
"Guilty." He leaned closer, lowering his voice. "Is that a deal-breaker for you?"
"No." Were they negotiating here?
"So what is a deal-breaker for you?"
"Are you married? Involved with someone?"
"No. I'm not married." His voice slid over her, as smooth as the river gliding over a flat boulder. "But I am hoping to get involved, at least for tonight."
"Why?" She sipped her beer, hiding behind the glass. "I mean, why me?"
"You really have to ask?"
"Yeah. Because ..." She sank back against the railing. She was blowing it. Big-time.
"Someone hurt you." He reached for the hand that wasn't holding her beer. His grip was soft, warm, and steady. "Recently, I'd say."
"No." She sighed, leaning her head back and letting her eyes flutter closed briefly.
"He's an idiot. Whoever he is." He stroked her hand gently with his thumb.
"He's married." She didn't mean to let it out. Yet, it felt somewhat freeing. "And my boss."
"Married, huh?" His eyebrow shot up. "The bastard."
"No. It's not like that." Fisher tried to stand tall. "He's totally faithful. And I'm just pathetic."
"You don't look pathetic to me." He sounded sincere, like he cared or something. "In fact you look like the kind of woman who is usually ready for adventure. Why not take a chance on someone who is equally up for the challenge?"
He was still interested in her for some reason. And she was standing here telling him about her stupid crush on Cody. It was stupid. She knew it. She just didn't know how to move past it.
So here was a guy — a hot guy — who was interested in helping her move on. Sure, he wouldn't be around tomorrow or the next day or the day after that. But he was here. Now. And he was willing. She just had to have the courage to jump on it. To jump on him.
"Would you like to dance?"
She set her beer down, hoping he'd get the hint that she was ready to give him a chance.
He shot her a wicked grin and took her hand. She expected him to lead her over to where others were dancing, but there was plenty of room where they stood. He placed his other hand on her waist and pulled her close. Fisher circled her arms around his neck and leaned against his shoulder. She closed her eyes, focused on the sensation of having a man hold her, hips gently swaying with the music.
His heart beat steadily against hers, and her whole body flooded with emotion. Desire. Heat. Connection.
The song ended and the band started playing a livelier tune. Fisher pulled away, but Kyle kept his hands on her hips.
"You feel so good," he murmured. "I want to hold you a little longer."
And she couldn't think of one reason to argue. Sure, there were people around. Some of them probably people she knew, but she didn't care if they were staring at them. She couldn't let go.
"Just one question?" Fisher's heartbeat quickened.
"Anything." He kept his hands right where they were.
"How do you feel about the designated hitter?" Because she couldn't ask him not to hurt her.
"I have a feeling this is important to you." He pulled her even closer, so he could whisper in her ear. "Since my team is in the American League, I'm kind of for it. But ... I can see why some people feel it interferes with the integrity of the game."
"True." Fisher liked the way he was humoring her. "Besides, there's nothing better than pitchers who rake."
"Wow. That is the sexiest thing I have ever heard." He brushed his lips against the delicate skin behind her ear. "Can I kiss you?"
She nodded, feeling a little lightheaded.
Slowly, carefully, he lowered his mouth to hers. Just a whisper of kiss, and she sighed. He pressed his lips more firmly against hers and slipped his tongue into her mouth. Slow, yet sweet, playing her until she opened to him.
One of his hands slid into her hair, gently stroking her long silky strands, and the other pulled her hips closer. Pressing her against him, so she could feel just how turned on he was.
Amazingly, she was even more turned on.
"Wow." She finally came up for air. "That was ... just ... wow."
"Yes, you are pretty spectacular." Kyle's eyes blazed with desire.
"There's just one problem." Fisher had to regain some control. "I don't think I should drive."
A wicked smile spread across his lips, lips that were slightly swollen from their kiss. "You think you can walk? My RV is just on the other side of the parking lot."
"Yeah. That sounds good." Fisher reached for her glass and downed the rest of it. She shouldn't feel this drunk. And she wasn't. Not really. Just tipsy enough that she could let herself be seduced by a handsome stranger. But not so much that she would regret it in the morning.
She wanted this. No. She needed this. She needed to forget about Cody, even if it was only for one night.
Steady. Kyle led the hot blonde — no, the strong blonde — across the parking lot to his RV. She was intoxicating, that's for sure. He knew better than to mix business with pleasure, but as he was perusing the beer menu, he'd looked up and there she was.
Tall, not quite six feet, and strong. She looked like she worked out, but not with a personal trainer. No, she was one of those outdoorsy-type girls. She could be a triathlete or something. Tan and blond, but not like the women he knew in Southern California. This one was all-natural. She didn't wear so much as mascara. No, the closest thing to makeup she wore was lip balm, the kind with SPF to protect her luscious lips from the sun.
She had an air about her that said she was comfortable here. Comfortable in her skin. She'd given the bartender a friendly smile, not the kind designed to flirt or get served more quickly. She kind of stood there, content to just wait her turn, and maybe look around a bit. But she wasn't on the prowl. Something else that made her stand out.
"It's nothing fancy." He pulled out his keys when they reached the RV, suddenly a little nervous. "But the bed is big enough for two."
"Sure. No big deal." She sounded nervous, too. "I have to tell you: I don't do this kind of thing. Like, ever."
Excerpted from "Diving In"
Copyright © 2017 Kristina Mathews.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.5stars Diving in is another story from Swift brothers. It is nice easy going story with well-developed characters. Both Kyle and Fischer are likable and they have strong chemistry between. The story is not complicated, their romance adventure stars really quickly and Kyle is easy to adjust in new environment and job. It is great to see that he changes and is not so bitter toward his brother. I liked that although you knew where the story goes there are some unpredictable things, like Kyle sharing his secret with Fisher and the things that come/happens toward the end. It is also great to see that Fisher finally realizes that she was not truly in love with her boss but it was just a crush who she used as a shield and that she realized what is true love and that is what she felt for Kyle. I volunteered to review an ARC of this book for Netgelly
the swift brothers series comes to a close with diving in, where we meet kyle, the long lost swift brother. he's on a recon mission to buy out the swift whitewater rafting business out from under his brothers. but early on he finds himself more focused on strong blonde, fisher jones. from the moment he sees her at a bar and they share this incredible night together, to finding out that she's connected to the business he's been brought on to convince to sell, he knows she will be his. he's not the kind of guy to give up at the first sign of adversity. and it doesn't matter the obstacles fisher throws in his way, he makes sure that at the end of the day, she's in his bed. kyle is a really good guy, and being with him proves to fisher that whatever she felt for cody was a pale imitation of love. things between kyle and fisher get serious fast, but you still get a lot of time to enjoy them together as a couple. when all their secrets are revealed, how easily some of these things are accepted stretch reality, but it doesn't matter. in the end, this was an enjoyable contemporary read. **diving in will publish on september 19, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/kensington books (lyrical shine) in exchange for my honest review.
Excellent book! This is a nice easy read that is very well written with wonderfully developed characters. Kyle Swift is set on revenge. He was the forgotten Swift son. His father chose to be with his half brothers rather than Kyle and his mother. So he will take his revenge out on the other two Swift sons by snagging their business out from under them. Fisher Jones was never part of the plan. The feisty whitewater instruction is beautiful, tempting, and someone Kyle can't stay away from. Problem is spending time with Fisher and getting to know his brothers puts his plans at risk which could also put his job at risk. So he has to decide, follow his heart or his head. A recommended read!
If you are looking for an easy to read romance that includes tips on learning to ride rafts on rivers and includes friends and family then this book might be for you. It is straightforward, uncomplicated and ties the three brothers’ story up with a HEA that is positive and enjoyable while also being somewhat predictable. That said, the chemistry between Kyle and Fisher is steaming hot and the story an okay way to spend the day. I missed book two of the series but as this is a standalone story – no problem at all. Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington-Lyrical Shine for the ARC – This is my honest review.