Pull up a seat at The Firefly Café and fall in love with the first novella in Lily Everett's heart-tugging "Billionaire Brothers" trilogy!
For years, the Harrington family has dominated the business world. Gorgeous billionaire brothers Dylan, Logan and Miles Harrington command the family empire, which has given them everything they could ever want…except the one thing that matters most. Now they're about to travel to the windswept refuge of Sanctuary Island, where they'll discover that fortune, fame and power don't mean a thing without someone to share it with.
Dubbed "the Bad Boy Billionaire" by the tabloids, Dylan Harrison's playboy lifestyle is starting to lose its appeal. When he hops on his motorcycle and drives to Sanctuary Island, he's looking for time alone to get his head on straight. Instead, he gets pulled into the warm friendliness of the island—and an intense attraction to Penny Little, waitress at the Firefly Café and caretaker of his family's vacation home. Trouble is, Penny doesn't realize he's a Harrington brother…and he wants to keep it that way until he's sure he can trust her with his heart. But Penny has a secret of her own, and when the truth comes to light, will they still have a chance at love?
About the Author
Lily Everett grew up in a small town in central Virginia, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Although she's lived many other places since, from college in Philadelphia to her first job in New York City and her current home in Austin, Texas, she never forgot the beauty and warmth of her little hometown. She is thrilled to be writing the Sanctuary Island series full time because it allows her to combine.
Lily Everett grew up in a small town in Virginia reading Misty of Chincoteague and Black Beauty, taking riding lessons, and longing for a horse of her own. Sadly, her parents gave her a college education instead—but she never forgot what the world looked like from the back of a horse. She currently lives in Austin, Texas, where she writes full-time.
Read an Excerpt
The Firefly Café
The Billionaire Brothers
By Lily Everett
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2013 Lily Everett
All rights reserved.
Dylan Harrington popped the kickstand down and swung his leg over the seat of his hand-restored fifteen-year-old BMW sport bike. Tugging off his helmet, he stared up at the fairy tale of Victorian ginger breading and white clapboard at the end of the boxwood-lined walkway.
This may have been a mistake.
Or maybe that was just the hangover talking, and all of this stately colonial business would look better after a strong pot of coffee and a pile of greasy cheese fries at the one restaurant he'd passed on his way in. Even a tiny, picturesque seaside joint called the Firefly Café would serve cheese fries, right? Right?
Dylan pinched his eyes shut around the throbbing headache. Walking his bike onto that tin can masquerading as a ferry boat hadn't helped the sickness roiling in his gut, and the way he'd turned heads with the growl of his bike as he rode through the town square sure hadn't done much for his state of mind. But he was here now, and what the hell? His grandparents' vacation home was as good a place as any to lay low until Miles got over his temper tantrum.
Dylan wasn't a moron. He was well aware that he was wasting his life partying, getting into bar fights, and taking a different woman back to his penthouse every night. He didn't need his perfect, responsible, judgmental eldest brother to lay it all out for him.
Miles looked at me like I was a complete stranger.
Shoving down the angry shame that choked him at the memory of his brother's disappointed frown, Dylan set his jaw. Miles made his choice a long time ago, and it hadn't been to stick with the family and be there for his brothers.
This was just another in a long line of lectures about his lifestyle, Dylan reminded himself. Yet another argument with Miles about missed opportunities and what their parents would think if they were still alive. No reason to get bent out of shape. It certainly wasn't why Dylan had impulsively jumped on his bike and started riding south.
Dylan was bored with the city, that's all. Same scene every night, same gallery openings, same women in tight dresses looking at him with that same edge of calculation from under their fake eyelashes. He needed a break from being the "Bad Boy Billionaire," as the scandal rags had tagged him.
Sanctuary Island, though? Might turn out to be more of a change than he could handle.
Realizing he'd been standing on the sidewalk in front of the house for a good five minutes, Dylan shook his head to clear it. The way his pickled brain sloshed against his skull made him regret it instantly, but at least it got him moving.
He slung his leather duffel over his shoulder before starting up the walkway to the wraparound porch. Morning light glittered off of the house's navy-blue-shuttered windows, and Dylan shivered a little and zipped his leather jacket a little tighter to his chin, even though it was warmer here than he was used to.
Back in New York it was still in the sixties almost every morning, but tucked away off the coast of Virginia, Sanctuary Island already felt like high summer. Pink and white dogwood blossoms nodded at him from the small trees lining the path, and deep magenta azalea bushes crowded the flowerbeds below the porch.
He glanced over his shoulder to remind himself that, yep, the house really honestly faced out on an old-fashioned town square, complete with gazebo and bandstand set in the lush green sprawl of the grassy park.
It was beautifully serene, almost idyllic. Dylan felt as if he'd blundered into a Thomas Kinkade painting. Rubbing a hand over his suddenly dry mouth, he grimaced at the rasp of stubble against his palm.
Just like that old song from when we were kids ... one of these things is not like the others.
Despite feeling viciously out of place, even a jaded cynic like Dylan could appreciate the appeal of this place. No wonder his grandparents, Bette and Fred Harrington, had loved this island. They'd spent summers on Sanctuary until their deaths, one following the other as closely as they always had in life, five years ago.
The edges of grief had smoothed over time, like stones tumbled on the riverbed, and Dylan breathed through it as he contemplated how to get into the locked vacation house.
He probably should've planned ahead, gotten the key from whoever his family employed to oversee their various properties around the world. Now he'd have to bust in a window or something, which sounded like a lot of trouble in his hungover state, after ten straight hours on his motorcycle.
Dylan was tired, his bones almost aching with it. Of course, that's why he'd come to Sanctuary Island in the first place.
If he was honest, Dylan was tired of the life he'd chosen, the reputation he'd deliberately cultivated.
The pretense of it all, paddling around the shallow waters of the New York art scene, made him sick. He couldn't remember the last time he'd looked a beautiful woman in the eye without catching the edge of calculation as she wondered what she could get out of him.
Grimacing, he dropped his duffel on the porch and prepared to jam his leather-jacketed elbow through the diamond pane of decorative etched glass flanking the front. Before he could do more than crack his knuckles, the heavy wooden door swung open.
A woman appeared in the doorway, pushing a strand of dark chestnut hair out of her eyes. She was small and delicate looking, with softly rounded cheeks that were flushed a healthy pink that had nothing to do with cosmetics.
She couldn't look more different from the magazine-ready models he usually dated, so the sudden shot of desire caught him off guard. Already off balance from nearly getting caught in the act of breaking into this woman's house by accident, Dylan stood there silently while the woman closed those wide hazel eyes and clasped her hands in front of her.
"I thought I heard someone out here," she breathed. "And thank the sweet lord, because my shift starts in half an hour and I can't afford to be late. Come on in, the toilet's this way."
"Toilet?" Wrong house. Man, I even manage to screw up my vacation.
Somewhere, his brother Miles was laughing his ass off.
Obviously clocking his confusion, the angel flushed and brushed a self-conscious hand down her front. "Right. The uniform. I know, it doesn't look right, and I swear I don't usually wear it around the house."
For the first time, Dylan noted her getup, which looked like a costume for a diner waitress in a fifties movie, complete with a sea-green skirt that bared long, slender legs and a tiny white apron emphasizing the curves of her waist. THE FIREFLY CAFÉ was embroidered in pink over her left breast.
"You look just fine to me," he told her honestly. Dylan was no stranger to beautiful women, but this woman, with her messy, tumbled-out-of-bed hair and slightly tired eyes unaccentuated by makeup sparked something in him. Something he hadn't felt in a long time.
She managed to look so nice, even while rolling her eyes; maybe it was the good-natured twist to her pretty pink mouth. "You're sweet. A liar, but sweet. And I've got a plumbing issue that needs to be fixed or the Richie Rich one percenters who own this place will throw a hissy."
Dylan frowned — was she talking about his family? Maybe this was Harrington House, after all. But what was this woman doing here? Stalling for time to figure out what the hell was going on, he said, "I'd like to help you out, but I'm not sure I'm the guy you want."
The smile that lit her face heated Dylan's blood faster than the most seductive pout. "Oh, you're definitely the guy I want."
Arousal, all the stronger for being so unexpected, tightened his belly. "Is that right?"
Pink bloomed over her cheekbones and down her neck, but instead of getting bashful, she lifted a flirty brow and said, "That's exactly right, sugar. So long as you can snake my pipes."
His bark of laughter surprised even Dylan. "Is that my cue to make a crack about showing you my tools?"
"Don't strain yourself, sugar." She waved a cheerful hand. "I work the night shift at the only restaurant on this island that serves alcohol. Trust me, I've heard every dirty joke there is. Now get in here, the clock's ticking and the plumbing isn't the only issue. I've got a whole list."
When Dylan hesitated, reluctant to own up to belonging to the family she'd rolled her eyes over before, a slimly toned arm shot out and grasped the lapel of his leather jacket. With a laugh, she hauled him over the threshold and into the dimness of the house.
Half a second later, Dylan Harrington, third son and heir to the multibillion-dollar Harrington fortune, stood in a small white-tiled, paisley-wallpapered bathroom staring down at the plunger in his hand.
Glancing up, he caught a glimpse of his own bemused expression in the gilt-edged mirror above the pedestal sink. The wry half-grin tugging at the corner of his mouth gave his face an unfamiliar lightness, but it felt good.
So much for a vacation from women who wanted something from him.
But somehow, as he faced down a misbehaving toilet and whipped out his smartphone to search the Internet for tips on plunging, Dylan admitted to himself that this was something different.
The mystery of who this woman was, and why she was living in his grandparents' old vacation house, roused Dylan's curiosity. But the bigger mystery was why he found himself attracted to a woman whose clean, fresh looks screamed "good girl."
Dylan gripped the handle of the plunger, his rusty laugh echoing off the bathroom tiles. For the first time in a long time, his life had taken a sharp turn ... and he couldn't wait to find out what was around the corner.CHAPTER 2
Penny Little smoothed her palms down the front of her oft-mended uniform, fingertips automatically worrying the loose buttonhole at the collarbone, and breathed deep to calm her racing heart.
When she phoned her employers for help, Penny had been expecting Grady Wilkes, the local handyman, or one of the Hackleys who ran the hardware store on Main Street. Not some tall, muscled, motorcycle-riding, scruffy-chinned vision of hotness on her doorstep.
"Bad Penny," she muttered as she escaped to the kitchen to fix a pitcher of sweet tea. "Quit thinking about borrowing trouble. You're full up already."
And a man like the one who'd peeled off his leather jacket to reveal a white T-shirt straining across broad shoulders was nothing but trouble. A dark band of ink circled one muscular bicep, and Penny'd had to stop herself from asking where else he was tattooed.
Still, trouble or not, good manners dictated that she offer him a glass of something cold, Penny told herself as she headed back down the hall to the sound of muffled curses from the bathroom. Good manners. That was all.
But she recognized that for the dirty lie it was the instant she cracked open the door. Her breath caught at the sight of trouble leaning over the toilet in a way that molded those sinfully tight jeans to his lean hips and ... well. Penny wished she had a hand free to fan herself with.
His surprisingly high-tech phone buzzed from the side of the sink, and he frowned down at it as he reached to heave the lid off the tank. The muscles in his corded forearms bulged briefly, drawing Penny's gaze to the tanned skin dusted with hair a shade or two darker than his light brown buzz cut.
Setting the lid down with a clang, he twisted at the waist to consult his phone again, pulling that T-shirt tight across his chest.
"Is that for me?"
The deep voice startled Penny into bobbling the glass. Ice sloshed and cold tea dripped onto her hand as she dragged her gaze up from the mesmerizing play of muscles under his clothes.
He was smiling at her again, the devil grin that heated Penny's blood and sent it racing through her body like a runaway horse. When he reached to take the glass from her, their fingertips brushed. A jolt of electricity zipped up her arm, and the slippery glass dropped and shattered on the floor.
"Oh, shoot!" Penny grabbed the hand towel from sink and moved to wipe up the spilled tea before realizing most of it had drenched the front of his T-shirt before dripping down onto his jeans. She'd actually been about to cop a feel, with only thin terry cloth and wet, clinging denim between her hand and his —
"I'm so sorry," she gasped, feeling her neck and face go hot with embarrassment. Okay, embarrassment and lust, but the lust was a little embarrassing, too, so, yeah.
"No big deal." He smiled and raised her core temperature by another ten degrees when he reached for the hem of his soaked T-shirt and drew it up and over his head. "I was due for a shower, anyway."
Penny blinked. Granted, it had been a few years since she'd been face to chest with a half-naked man, but even considering that, she was pretty sure she'd never seen anything to compare to the golden-tan planes and ridges of this man's perfectly sculpted torso. He looked like a movie star or an underwear model, one of those guys whose whole job rested on their ability to strip down and render ordinary women speechless with desire.
Well, being a handyman required plenty of heavy lifting, she reasoned dazedly, her eyes glued to his pecs. And a flexible schedule that probably left plenty of time for the gym.
Mmm, flexible ...
"If you bring me another glass of tea, I promise I won't throw it on the ground."
Penny's gaze snapped up to his face. He sounded repentant, but the look on his face was anything but. Wicked amusement danced behind his shockingly blue eyes. This man had a very clear understanding of his body and its effect on women.
Natural contrariness stiffened Penny's spine. She wouldn't be another notch on this gorgeous handyman's tool belt. "Sorry, no second chances," she said, the words as automatic as breathing. "House policy."
Confusion narrowed the sky-blue eyes. "House policy?"
Kneeling to carefully pick up the larger pieces of sharp glass, Penny snorted. "Okay, no. Not house policy, as in imposed by the rich folks that own this place. From what I've heard, they're pretty permissive when it comes to family members misbehaving. No, the one-strike-and-you're-out stuff is all me. Call it a personal philosophy."
A lesson she'd learned well and thoroughly, at heavy cost.
"Sounds like a tough way to live. Everyone deserves a second chance, now and then."
His low, husky voice startled her out of her reverie. Finger jerking, she nicked herself on the corner of a glass shard and pressed her lips together as a droplet of blood welled to the surface. "Not everyone. Trust me."
Glass crunched softly under his black motorcycle boots as he crouched down to her level. "Okay, you win." He smiled easily, a man used to using his charm to get what he wanted. "I'll live without the iced tea."
Right, they'd been talking about spilled tea, not her life story. Cursing the riptide of her memories for sucking them into these deeply personal waters, Penny smiled back and let him help her to her feet. "Thanks. Give me a second to grab the broom, and I'll get the rest of this cleaned up."
Every inch of her was so hotly aware of his smooth, hard body a mere breath away from hers. Shivering, Penny backed toward the door and the relative safety of the hallway.
He stopped her with another quick smile. "What you said about the family that owns this place. How much do you know about them?"
"The Richie Riches?" Penny blinked. "Not much, except that they have enough money to leave this gorgeous old place sitting empty for years on end. Such a waste. At least they cared enough to hire a caretaker."
His face cleared as if she'd slotted the final piece into a jigsaw puzzle. "Right, a caretaker. That's you."
She laughed. "Of course! What — did you think I was squatting? No, I'm paid to stay here and make sure the house doesn't fall down while the Harrington boys live the high life in New York City."
"The high life." He said it absently, turning back to the partially dismantled toilet, but Penny caught a glimpse of his slight frown in the sink mirror. He looked upset, maybe annoyed.
She could sympathize. "I know. When you work hard for a living, it's aggravating to be reminded there are playboy types out there who can afford to do nothing but drink and dance the night away. I've even heard ... oh, listen to me gossiping! Never mind, I'll get that broom."
"Wait. What have you heard?"
Thoroughly embarrassed, Penny winced, but when she made reluctant eye contact with the handyman again, there was no judgment in his lean, handsome face. Instead, he looked curious, if still a little tense.
She unbent enough to quirk a half-grin. "Well. I've heard one of the Harrington brothers is actually so famous for his partying that he has a nickname in the press: the Bad Boy Billionaire."
He twitched a bit, clearly as repulsed by the moniker as she was. "Sounds like a douche bag."
Excerpted from The Firefly Café by Lily Everett. Copyright © 2013 Lily Everett. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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
This book has @92 pages and very large margins...pretty short. Story was OK, but rushed. Could't really find much depth or interest in characters or plot. There was potential; too bad author did not make it into a full length book.
A majestic, heart stirring romance! This story made me laugh, cry and rip through the pages. I couldn't stop reading until the very last page, where I sighed happily and quickly ordered the next book in the series. This story was amazing and it captivated me on the deepest possible level. Highly recommended for anyone who loves romance!
Dylan is looking for escape and solitude when he comes to Sanctuary Island, hoping to spend time alone in his Grandparent's house. Imagine his surprise when he finds a woman and her son living there as caretakers, and she assumes he's the repair man she's been waiting for! Dylan is used to people seeing him as a playboy, a rich kid wasting his life. So when Penny has no clue who he is, he decides to play the part of handyman. He's not sure why he does this, except that he is drawn to Penny in a way he isn't usually drawn to women...for she is unlike any woman he's known. Penny is a divorced mother of a teenager getting her life on track. She has no tolerance for liars, does not believe in second chances. She also has a past of her own she's hiding, she struggles to understand her teenage son, and she is incredibly turned on and drawn to Dylan! Things heat up quickly between Dylan and Penny. But secrets don't stay secrets for long, and when Dylan's comes out before he can tell Penny, will the sense of betrayal end any chance they have together? I loved this introduction to Sanctuary Island and the Harrington brothers! Dylan and Penny are both mature adults trying to do the best they can. I can understand why Dylan doesn't tell Penny who he really is after she mistakes him for the handyman, then how hard it is for him to confess as time goes on! But relationships need to be honest, so I can also understand why Penny feels so angry when she does find out! Will she be able to put her anger aside and listen to Dylan, to take a chance on him? Or will her past prevent her from doing this, and keep her hiding from life? Lily has written a great entry to Sanctuary Island that I wasn't able to put down! Ok, at times I really didn't want to turn the page because I couldn't bear to see what happened when Penny found out about Dylan's deception! Sanctuary Island was easy to read, but at the same time went deep exploring the emotions of both Penny and Dylan. It was easy to be drawn into their life! I can't wait for the next book to come out, I'll be devouring that one too!
What a thoroughly enjoyable romance. I was totally swept away by the story and characters. I can't wait to read the rest of the trilogy
This was pretty predictable. I liked the characters but it was WAY too short. Needs another 100 pages.
Fun and easy read, look forward to the other two. Really would have liked them to be a full length story. I would have liked to get to know the characters a little better, however, getting to the happy ending in a couple of hours is just what I needed.
Good love story. I look forward to the next one in the novela.
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