Bianca Rogers is ready to forget her worries for a while and celebrate her brother's wedding at the exotic Bandicoot Cove resort. The last thing she expects is to be knocked off her feet-literally-by Brody Evans.
The chemistry between Brody and Bianca is undeniable. She's everything he wants in a woman. She's sexy, warm, friendly...delicious, and overwhelming attraction quickly grows to full-blown lust.
But they've come to the island with baggage that can't be ignored forever, and their previous mistakes and the circumstances that have led them to the island soon demand attention. As desire transforms into love, it's time to see if the past is going to get in the way of any happy-ever-after there could be in their future.
Each book in the Bandicoot Cove series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Book #1 Tropical Sin
Book #2 Paradise Found
Book #3 Island Idyll
Book #4 Sunlit Surrender
Book #5 Sunset Heat
Book #6 Moonlight Mirage
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.28(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Bandicoot Cove Series: a Novella
By Jess Dee, Jennifer Miller
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2012 Jess Dee
All rights reserved.
See Aidan and McKenzie get married.
Dear Bianca Rogers,
Aidan and Mack would love to invite you and your "plus one" to bear witness to their wedding on Bandicoot Cove's main beach,
Saturday, four p.m.
Dress is completely casual as the atmosphere will be relaxed and full of laughter. No top hats, tuxedos or stilettos allowed.
Please come and share in Aidan and Mack's special day as they finally formalize what the rest of the world already knew: they were meant to be together from the start.
RSVP Kylie Sullivan
Bandicoot Cove Resort
Bilby Island, Australia
Bianca fingered the invitation with a sigh. "Plus one". Damn if those words didn't tear a hole through her heart. When had she ever needed a "plus one"?
Never, that's when.
She and Rick had been together since school, for heaven's sake. Since she was sixteen.
You're too young, they'd been warned countless times. It'll never last.
God, she hated those words.
At least wait until you've finished uni. Get your degrees.
They had gotten their degrees. Several years after their wedding.
She set the invitation on the glass table in the center of the luxurious living room. Maybe they should have waited. Maybe they had been too young. One thing was for sure. It hadn't lasted. Not long enough, anyway.
Which was why Kylie had addressed the invitation to Bianca Rogers. Per Bee's request, her married name had been dropped, and after ten years she'd reverted back to using her maiden name. Although the divorce wasn't final yet. Not until she and Rick had added their initials and signatures to the papers.
She'd sign them as soon as she got home. It was the top item on her to-do list. Not now, though. Not while she was on this glorious tropical island. Now was not the time to mull over her life or her failed marriage. Now was not the time for regrets. It was a time for celebration and joy.
Bee shoved her feet into a pair of Havaianas and headed for Oasis, the resort's poolside bar. She had a meeting there in less than ten minutes with Mack — her sister-in-law-to-be, Kylie — Mack's BFF and Bandicoot Cove's manager, and the hotel photographer — Kennedy someone or other. If she didn't move her arse, she'd be late.
So determined was she to get to the bar on time, Bee almost tripped over a man as she hurried from her beautiful beachside bungalow and made her way through the lush gardens.
"Whoa. Easy there." Strong hands reached out to steady her.
Bee caught herself mid-stumble, grateful for the muscular arms that prevented her from falling. She looked up to say thank you and immediately lost her breath.
Try as she might, she could not remember the last time seeing a man had taken her breath away. But the second her gaze touched his face, there went her oxygen. Gone. Just like that.
"Are you okay?" His voice was soft, a whispered caress, although she was pretty sure that wasn't how he'd intended it to come across. He looked at her with concern, not blinding, unexpected lust.
It was she who was blinded by unexpected lust.
Dear Lord, he was gorgeous. Sexy, in a knock-your-socks-off kind of a way. Not classically good-looking. His nose was a little too crooked for that. And his lower lip a little too plump. Good for nibbling on, but not so good in front of a camera.
But then Bee never carried a camera with her, so that point was irrelevant. She did, however, carry her mouth around at all times, so a little nibble — the smallest taste of that lower lip — was a distinct possibility.
She knew how it would taste too. Sweet. Soooo sweet. With a hint of something unknown, mysterious. All wrapped up with a little dusting of spice. For added flavor.
Her mouth watered.
His eyes were an odd color. Neither blue nor green. More like a mixture of the two, the exact shade of the ocean behind her. Crystal clear and utterly beautiful. She kind of fancied she could read his every thought in them. And as soon as she'd decided she could, she decided not to try. Rather leave the mystery than try to understand him. Mystery was good.
Perhaps that was one of the problems between Rick and her. There'd been no mystery. They'd been together too long for that.
But if there'd been no mystery, how was it they'd become strangers?
She brought her attention back to the stranger standing before her. It was all Bee could do not to flip back the dark lock that fell over his forehead so endearingly. She wanted to run her fingers through his hair so badly, they actually itched.
His hands tightened around her arms. "Are you okay?" he repeated. "Winded?" Concern was replaced by worry. "Can you breathe?" He released one arm suddenly, holding her steady with the other, and brought his hand behind her back.
Dear Lord. Was he going to hug her?
A hug would be nice. Unexpected, but nice. Especially if she got to cuddle into that lovely chest of his. Big, but not too big. Solid and inviting ...
That was what she'd always thought about Rick's chest. Big, lovely, solid and inviting. Even when he was a teenager.
He tapped her firmly on the back.
Ah, so not a hug. More like a halfhearted attempt at the Heimlich maneuver.
"It's okay," she piped up, remembering she not only had a voice, but lungs too, and was perfectly capable of using both. "I'm okay. I can breathe fine."
He immediately dropped his hand. It took him a little longer to release her arm though, and when he did, Bee almost complained. She liked the feel of his grasp there.
"I'm sorry." He offered an apologetic smile. "You had me worried. For a minute I thought you might be choking."
"Nope. Not choking. Just surprised." Very surprised. "I didn't see you." She wasn't sure how she'd missed him — since he towered above her. In fact, standing in front of him, she couldn't see anything else. He blocked her vision entirely.
She eyed him with speculation. Oh, he was sexy indeed. Sexy and gorgeous. He looked like her ideal man.
On impulse — because wasn't that the way she always did things, on impulse? — she stuck out her hand. "I'm Bianca, by the way. Bianca ..." She struggled with her last name. "Rogers."
His jaw dropped.
His surprise kind of mirrored hers. Would it ever feel right using that name again? Introducing herself by it?
And then she couldn't concentrate on her name at all anymore because with his mouth open like that, the urge to nibble on his full bottom lip was overwhelming. She wondered if he'd mind if she stood on tiptoes, pulled his head close to hers and helped herself to a taste.
He probably would. Better to keep talking. "My friends call me Bee, though."
He stared at her for a long, silent minute.
Bee cleared her throat. "Uh, usually, at times like this, you'd introduce yourself. You know, tell me your name and all." Flirting, Bee? Really?
He raised an eyebrow. "My name?"
"Yeah. You know. It's the title your parents gave you when you were born. Helps other people to identify you."
He blinked once, as though startled, and then nodded slowly. "Ah, yes. My name. It's ... Brody. Brody Evans." He stuck out his hand, and she slipped hers in it, loving the way his fingers curled around hers as they shook. So formal. So ... tempting.
"So, Mr. Evans, are you here on the island alone?" Shameful of her to ask, but there'd be no point taking this any further if he wasn't.
Her heart shocked her then, racing overtime as she awaited his answer.
Er, yeah. Very. What if he is here with someone?
It would be crushing.
Brody hadn't released her hand. Instead he stared at it as though he'd never seen a hand before. Or maybe he was staring at the white band of flesh around her ring finger. She knew she stared at it a lot. Perhaps to the point of obsession. Not long ago a simple gold ring had covered it, but she'd removed that when the divorce papers arrived. No point wearing it anymore, now was there?
"I am," he answered eventually. "Well, kind of. I came for a wedding. So I guess you could say I'm here with lots of people."
"Well, isn't that a coincidence? I'm here for a wedding too."
"Bianca ... Rogers? Would I be right in assuming you're here for Mack and Aidan's wedding?"
She grinned at him. "You would indeed. Savvy mind you have there. Aidan's my brother. You here for the same wedding?"
He grinned back, and the sheer warmth in his smile heated her blood. It had been a long time since a smile had affected her like that. "I am."
"On the bride or groom's side?"
"The groom. Although I know the bride too. We all go back a long time."
It was her turn to look at him speculatively. "So you know the bride and groom, and you have for a while. It's interesting that we've ... uh ... never met before. I thought I knew all of Danny's mates."
Brody took a long time to answer. Once again, Bee fancied she might be able to read his thoughts in those beautiful eyes but immediately decided she had to be wrong.
"Are you sure we've never met?" he asked finally. "You look ... familiar."
Bee shook her head. "Nope. I'd have remembered if we had. You're not the type of person one would forget in a hurry." He wasn't the type of person she'd forget ever.
He tilted his head to the side, regarding her thoughtfully. He opened his mouth to say something, must have thought better of it, closed it again, then said, "Would you like to have a drink with me, Bianca?"
And just like that, Bianca's mouth was drier that it had ever been. Her throat was parched too, as though she hadn't had liquid in a year, at least. A drink with him was exactly what she wanted. Needed. "I'd love to."
His smile was blinding. "Excellent."
He gave her a swift once-over, making Bee instantly self-conscious. Wearing nothing but a bikini had seemed like a good idea in this heat, but having Brody's gaze — brief as it was — take in every inch of her lily-white skin was a little inhibiting.
"Looks like you're all ready for a swim," he said. "Tell you what, I need to change, put on a pair of boardies. How about I meet you at the poolside bar in ... ten minutes?"
Ten minutes? That felt like a veritable lifetime. "Ten minutes would be perf — No, shoot!" Bianca slapped her forehead. "Sorry, sorry. It won't be perfect. I already have a meeting in ten minutes. Actually, more like one minute now, and if I'm late, Mack is gonna let me have it." More like Kylie was gonna let her have it. The woman ran a tight ship. Her only instruction to Bee had been not to be late.
Uh, yeah. About that ...
"Look," she hastened to say, "I can't do drinks. How about lunch instead? They serve a killer salad nicoise at the Seaspray Bistro."
Brody wrinkled his nose at the very suggestion. "Tuna salad?"
She grinned at him. "Not a fan, huh? Me neither. But Mack's friend recommended it to me, so I thought I'd recommend it to you."
"How about a simple grilled cheese sandwich and a bottle of red wine instead?"
Bee's jaw dropped. She couldn't help it.
She and Rick had shared that exact meal on the night of their wedding. In the cheap hotel they'd chosen for their honeymoon. Gourmet food it hadn't been, but Bee had never eaten anything more delicious.
She swallowed at the memory. "G-grilled cheese sounds really good."
"To me too." His smile was warm, but his eyes ...
"Shall we say twelve thirty? At a table outside?" Aidan was arriving on the island then, so Mack would ensure they'd be done by that time.
"I'll be waiting for you."
As Bee waved goodbye and headed off to her meeting, she couldn't help but think how incredibly appealing the idea of Brody Evans waiting for her sounded.CHAPTER 2
Bianca absently rubbed the right side of her bottom as she made her way through the maze of tables towards the one where a man sat alone, a bottle of wine his only company.
He watched her approach with an unwavering gaze, and for the second time that day Bee felt self-conscious. What did he see? The same as she did when she looked in the mirror? A woman who'd passed her teens years ago, leaving behind her nubile, youthful body? Did he notice the dimples in her thighs? Or the breasts that weren't quite as firm as they'd once been? What about the extra kilos she'd picked up over the last year, using food for comfort — and as a substitute for sex?
God, she missed sex. That was one thing she and Rick had never had trouble with. When they'd hit the sheets, the sheets had more often than not landed on the floor — on top of them. Vigorous, enthusiastic lovemaking had always been their strong point. Whatever else had gone wrong in their marriage, it hadn't been a physical problem. Even now, thinking about Rick's prowess increased Bee's body temperature.
That, combined with the rush of awareness that came from Brody's appreciative glance, made her breasts tighten and her heart thump. Bee took a second to enjoy the sensation. She felt alive. And she hadn't felt that in so very long.
"Are you okay?" Brody enquired as she approached the table.
"Of course I am. Why d'ya ask?"
"Because you have a red splotch on your, uh, butt cheek."
Bee broke into a huge grin. "You're checking out my arse?"
He snorted. "It's hard not to, Ms. Rogers. The way you're rubbing it, every man within a one-mile radius of the pool is checking it out."
"I have to rub it," she said as she took a seat opposite him. "It's sore."
He looked at her in exasperation. "You just said you were okay."
"Well, what did you want me to say? I hurt my butt?"
"Hurt it? Yeah. But it wasn't my fault. I was attacked."
His exasperation turned to alarm. "Attacked?"
"Attacked," she confirmed. "Here's a word of advice. Never try to convince a bride she'll look good in a photograph with her groom's teeth attached to her thigh. She won't appreciate it."
Brody squeezed his eyes shut and lifted up a finger. "You suggested Aidan bite Mack on the leg? For a photograph?"
"Not bite," Bee corrected. "I simply asked if Kennedy — the hotel photographer — would take a piccie of Danny removing Mack's garter ... with his teeth."
He opened his eyes. "And Mack attacked you for this?"
"She pushed me off the chair." Bee snapped her fingers. "Just like that."
"Did you suggest anything else?"
"I might have said Mack should pin a sign on the back of her wedding dress saying 'It took me long enough'."
"You might have?"
"Okay. I did."
He tipped the bottle over the edge of her glass, pouring her a healthy serving of wine. "And how did Mack respond to that one?"
Bee had the grace to blush as she mumbled her answer.
"Pardon?" Brody poured some wine for himself.
Bianca cleared her throat. "She pointed out that she'd at least waited until she was out of nappies before getting married. Unlike some people she knew."
He raised an eyebrow. "Some people?"
"Me. And my husband."
Vey slowly, Brody set the glass he'd been raising to his mouth back on the table. "You're married."
She sighed. "I was married. Not so much anymore."
"And that means ... what, exactly?"
Bee stared into her own glass. She so didn't want to go here. So didn't want to have this conversation. "We're separated. Divorcing."
Pain lanced her chest.
Damn it. She thought she'd worked through all of this. Worked through the hurt.
"I'm sorry," Brody whispered.
"Me too," she whispered back, and took a deep sip of wine, not quite able to meet his eyes.
"For what it's worth," Brody said quietly, "I am too."
"You're what too?"
"In the middle of a divorce."
She raised her gaze to look at him. This time she couldn't deny what she saw in his eyes. Regret. Hurt. Sadness. "It sucks, doesn't it?"
"Big-time," Brody agreed. "So," he said with a deep sigh, "you were young when you got married?"
"Seventeen. He was eighteen." She shrugged. "We got married on the last day of school. All our friends went to Queensland for Schoolies week, you know, to party and celebrate. We went to the Holiday Inn in Newcastle on honeymoon."
Brody regarded her with serious eyes. "Would you rather have gone to Schoolies?"
"God, no." She smiled at him. A secret smile, filled with memories of days and nights spent in bed, naked. "Our honeymoon was the best weekend of my life."
He smiled back, telling her he understood every one of those memories. "Mine too."
She wrinkled her nose. "It's a funny thing. How life goes on and honeymoons get left in the past and marriages end."
"Funny strange, or funny ha-ha?"
"Funny strange. There's nothing funny ha-ha about it."
"But it was the right decision for you? Splitting up?" "It was the only decision." She bit her lip. "That's quite an, uh, intimate question."
He gave her an apologetic look. "I'm sorry. It's probably none of my business. It's just that ..." His voice trailed off.
Excerpted from Sunlit Surrender by Jess Dee, Jennifer Miller. Copyright © 2012 Jess Dee. 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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
RATING 4.5 STARS Sunlit Surrender is part of the Bandicoot Cove series and is by Jess Dee. Although I’ve had a couple of her books on my list, this is the first book I’ve read by Jess. I honestly have to wonder why because I loved her writing. This book was sexy, so sweet and when I thought I understood what was happening, she found a way to surprise me. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Bianca Rogers or Bee as most call her, is in Bandicoot Cove for the destination wedding of her brother. It’s been a very rough year for Bee. She met and married her husband, Rick right out of high school. She was only seventeen years old. After over ten years of marriage, Bee and Rick had separated. The divorce papers were waiting, only requiring signatures. She and Rick had grown apart, the distance seeming insurmountable. This weekend, she just wanted to relax and enjoy the festivities. To forget the hole in her heart that just didn’t seem to close up. When she literally ran into the best looking man she’d ever seen who smelled even better, Brody Evans, and chemistry sparked between them, things started looking even better. This was fairly short, about 128 pages, but there was so much inside. I fell in love with Bianca and Brody. These two together had chemistry like crazy. I was getting to know them as they revealed themselves to each other. I loved the way Jess Dee told this story and I loved what she did! This was such a wonderfully entertaining little book and I’m so glad I read it. I definitely want to read more by her.
Bandicoot Cove is the place to go, to cut loose. In more ways than one. Escapism at it's finest. Jess Dee delivers a story of emotional discovery, sexual awakening and starting over all in a handful of pages. Not bad for a first impression.