Turn Up the Heat: An Anthology

Turn Up the Heat: An Anthology

NOOK BookOriginal (eBook - Original)

View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now


Three sizzling tales from three bestselling authors 

Love Won't Wait 

Lori Foster 

Brendan "Brick" Carlisle is used to women falling at his feet, so shy waitress Merrily Loveland is a breath of fresh air—and an irresistible challenge. But before he can make his move, Merrily comes to him with an offer he can't refuse. If only their "no-strings" pact didn't leave him wanting so much more…. 

Beach House Beginnings 

Christie Ridgway 

She might have avoided Crescent Cove, California, for years, but no-nonsense Meg Alexander is confident she can handle a brief trip home. What she doesn't count on is the spark of desire she feels for Caleb McCall. Can a weekend in paradise convince her to give love a second chance? 

Strong Enough to Love 

Victoria Dahl 

Photographer Eve Hill had always told herself that sexy Brian Stewart was off-limits. But now he's back in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Eve can't resist their long-denied attraction. When the reality turns out to be hotter than the fantasy, Eve might end up getting more than she bargained for….

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781460323779
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 12/31/2013
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 150,171
File size: 272 KB

About the Author

Lori Foster is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author with books from a variety of publishers, including Berkley/Jove, Kensington, St. Martin's, Harlequin and Silhouette. Lori has been a recipient of the prestigious RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Fantasy, and for Contemporary Romance. For more about Lori, visit her Web site at www.lorifoster.com.
Christie Ridgway is the award-winning author of over forty-five contemporary romances. Known for stories that make readers laugh and cry, Christie began writing romances in fifth grade. After marrying her college sweetheart and having two sons, she returned to what she loved best—telling stories of strong men and determined women finding happy ever after. She lives in Southern California. Keep up with Christie at www.christieridgway.com.
Victoria Dahl lives with her family in a small town high in the mountains. Her first novel debuted in 2007, and she’s gone on to write seventeen books and novellas in historical, contemporary, and paranormal romance. Victoria's contemporary romance, Talk Me Down, was nominated for both a RWA Rita Award and the National Readers' Choice Award. Since then, her books have been nominated for two more Rita Awards, and she hit the USA Today Bestseller list with the anthology Midnight Kiss.

Read an Excerpt

Rumor had it, she was a virgin. As in, had never had sex. Ever.

Looking at her now, Brendan Carlisle—Brick to those who knew him well—found that hard to believe.

Young, sure.

But not so young she hadn't had time and opportunity to get busy. He figured her to be in her mid-twenties, which would put her at a few years younger than him. Plenty old enough for just about anything. Actually, for everything. Like all those things now crowding his brain and making him twitchy.

Shifting in the booth seat, Brick settled back a little more and continued to study her.

Sweet? Oh, yeah, she was super sweet. Just look at that smile. And the dimples in her velvety cheeks were so damned cute. He'd almost swear her big green eyes sparkled as she spoke to customers and took orders. Polite but engaging. And yeah, really, really sweet.

But sweet enough to remain untouched? Pfft. He'd known plenty of sweet women who loved sex. Sometimes they dragged him off to the bedroom. He'd always adored sexually aggressive women. It was a big turn-on.

But the idea of sexual innocence teased him. He'd never before realized how exciting it might be to be…the first.

Until now. Until he looked at Merrily Loveland.

From the get-go, he'd been drawn to her. For nearly a month he'd been flirting, chatting her up and teasing while keeping things superficial—the way he preferred his relationships to be. He liked to sit back and let women make the first move. Then he would inform them of his intent to stay single, and take it from there.

Merrily hadn't made a move.

She was friendly enough, always gifting him with those dimples and smiles and bright green eyes.

But then, she gifted everyone the same way.

Why would an attractive, lusciously built, friendly woman have remained a virgin?

Lack of interest from guys? No way.

Merrily—God, he loved her name—looked like a stacked elf. Curvy, but still petite. Adorable, but with a sensual heat lurking in her gaze. Bubbly…and yet somehow a little reserved. Religious convictions?

He didn't think so. Not that he'd know how to tell just by engaging in occasional casual conversation with her while ordering lunch. But she had such a ripe look about her that it seemed at odds with any deep religious affiliation.

Waiting for marriage?

If so, then maybe he could convince her that experiencing life was better than waiting.

She finished taking an order and turned to head back to the kitchen. Her silky brown hair, held in a high ponytail, swished back and forth between her shoulder blades with each hurried step she took.

A plain sky-blue T-shirt hugged her upper body, while snug jeans showed off her curvy backside.

Brick shifted again. In the weeks he'd known her, he hadn't pressed her beyond friendly greetings and putting in his lunch order. But how much time could he spend hanging out at the diner before she caught on to his interest?

Was she a virgin? He wanted to find out. He would find out.

And with that decision made, he felt himself stir.

Damn it, around her, he had to constantly fight off a boner. Insane. At twenty-eight, he didn't lack control. But she affected him—and that was reason number one why he'd hesitated to ask her out. A woman with that much influence on his libido could only be trouble. He liked being free of commitments and took great pleasure in answering to no one for anything, being accountable only to himself.

A clingy, marriage-minded woman could put a kink in his lifestyle.

But he could be her first…

Brick shook himself because reason number two—her supposed innocence—was a biggie.

If she was waiting for Mr. Right, or if she had some strong reasons for avoiding intimacy, well…he'd be as wrong for her as wrong could be. He'd ensure she enjoyed herself while in the sack, but afterward, when the spark faded and he walked away.

Yeah, much as he relished the idea of her innocence, he didn't relish the idea of breaking her heart.

Unfortunately, he wasn't into self-torture, and not having her would be pretty torturous, so to hell with it. He'd just have to figure out a way to have it all, and if—

"Hey, Brick. What's up?"

Guilty over the carnality of his thoughts, Brick jumped a good foot. "Damn it," he complained when diners at nearby tables glanced at him. He scowled over the appearance of his good friend, Jesse Baker. "I didn't see you come in."

As he sat opposite Brick in the booth, Jesse scrutinized him. Then he looked back at where Brick had been staring. He saw Merrily bent over a table as she served an older couple, turned back to Brick and grinned. "Taking in the view?"

"I was—but you shouldn't."

"Ho! Are you warning me off? Seriously?"

Brick hated to admit it, but… "Yeah, I am."

"Huh." Jesse eyed him with humor and great interest. "Well, in case you missed it, every guy with a pulse is also taking in the view. Why should I be the only one not to look?"

Brick didn't have to answer because Merrily joined their table, menus in hand. As she leaned over to place a menu in front of him, she said, "I'm so sorry for the wait. What can I get you guys to drink?"

Brick inhaled the scent of her hair and skin and froze as his pulse rushed and a slow heat unfurled. Her nearness affected him like a full-body caress, leaving him in a lust-inspired stupor.

Straightening, she struck a casual stance, one slim brow lifted, a half smile on her mouth, her eyes inquisitive…and Brick knew he was going to get hard.

Jesse eyed him again, snickered at his obvious condition and said, "I'll take a Coke."

"Yeah." His voice was so thick, Brick cleared his throat. Fighting the urge to study her body, he locked his gaze on her face. "Coke, light ice."

"Sure thing, guys. Be right back."

As she sashayed off, he released a pent-up breath.

And Jesse let loose a big guffaw. "What the hell, Brick?"

"Shut up." He tugged at the leg of his jeans, but it didn't help with the restriction of the denim.

"She's hot," Jesse agreed, as if he'd invited comment. "For a virgin, that is."

Eyes closing, Brick fought off the wash of automatic anger. He had no claim on Merrily—and he didn't want a claim.

He just wanted to be first.

So why should Jesse's taunt bother him so much? Easy answer: it shouldn't.

When he felt calm enough, he stared at Jesse and spoke in what he hoped sounded like mere curiosity. "You heard that, too, huh?"

"Yeah." Jesse studied him with tempered humor. "It's an intriguing concept, right? Initiation and all that."

Oh, yeah. Brick shook his head in denial. "You're an ass, Jesse."

"Just being honest. What red-blooded guy wouldn't be drawn to the idea of a woman who looks like she does but is still untouched?"

"Who says she's untouched?" The croak was back in his voice, but he pretended not to hear it. "There're all sorts of things to do that could leave a woman a technical virgin but not really inexperienced." And thinking about those things wouldn't help to cool his engines.

Merrily returned. She set the drinks down and pulled out a notepad and pen from her apron pocket.

And damn it, even that rumpled apron seemed somehow sexy, which was absurd given it was plain old sturdy white cotton.

"What's it gonna be, guys?"

God, such a loaded question.

Jesse, obviously enjoying his predicament, looked at Brick and waited for him to order.

Without touching the menu, Brick said, "Burger, loaded. Fries. And some hot sauce, please."

Her dimples appeared. "I should have known. That's a regular order for you. Maybe I can start using that old cliched line."

The things her smile did to him… "What line is that?"

She struck a pose, then asked, "The usual?"

"Ah." She was so cute. "Could be. I've been eating here forever, but you've worked here for…what? A month now?"

"Just about."

He already knew that, of course. Hell, he could tell her how many days, and if he thought about it, probably how many hours. He'd been a little obsessed since the first day he saw her, and once he heard that virgin business, he'd been lost. "Time flies when you're having fun."

Jesse kicked him under the table. Yeah, that was pretty lame, deserving of a kick.

But she didn't seem to notice. "I like it here. Everyone is so nice. And they've been great about working with me on my hours."

This was the first time she'd deliberately lingered to talk and Brick wanted to take advantage of it. "Meaning?"

She was always there for lunch but barely for the start of the dinner crowd and almost never for breakfast.

"I have classes." The smile widened. "I'm going to be a physical therapist—that is, if I ever get done. It's been slow going so far."

"Yeah?" His elbows on the booth top, absurdly charmed for no apparent reason, Brick leaned forward. "Why the delay?"

"I relocated, and that threw me off for a while, getting settled in and everything. It wasn't easy finding a place that'd take my pets. And the pets, of course, take up some of my time."

"Pets, plural?" So she was an animal lover, too? Nice.

"Two dogs and three cats."

He liked animals, so that didn't faze him. "A regular menagerie."

She laughed, and it was like getting French-kissed by a really hot chick.

"They have very different personalities, and I love them all. They've gotten me through some rough times." Suddenly catching herself, she shook her head—still smiling—and turned to Jesse. "I'm sorry for going on and on. What can I get you?"

As if waking up, Jesse said, "Hmm? Oh. I'll take a BLT and chips, and throw some pickles on the side, will you?"

"You've got it. I'll get this right out to you."

Off she went, with Brick staring after her…until Jesse grabbed his heart and feigned a swoon.

Damn it, it rankled that Jesse had reason to harass him. "Go screw yourself."

Jesse laughed. "You look like a lovesick pup! What the hell, Brick? Mooning over her? Hanging on her every word? I half expected you to slide out of your seat and onto your knees before her."

"I repeat, go screw yourself." But he knew it was true. Even now he had to consciously fight the urge to track her every movement in the restaurant. He didn't do things like that. He didn't get all hung up on a woman. Ever.

Not even a hot little virgin.

And that reminded him… "So where did you hear that virgin stuff?"

With a knowing smile, Jesse shrugged. "I overheard some of the other waitresses talking, and one of them said she heard it from a past boyfriend of hers.''

"Probably jealous," Brick muttered.

"Probably," Jesse agreed. "She's getting more than her fair share of attention."

Something he'd already noticed—and didn't like. "Tips, too." In the small town where they all lived and worked, everyone knew everyone. Brick ran the family-owned hardware store, and Jesse was a carpenter with his own shop. Brick's brother, Evan, worked for the elementary school as a gym teacher, and Evan's wife, Cinder, was a nurse.

Most days, Brick and Jesse met for lunch at the diner because it was just across the street from Brick's store. It served good, homemade food, it was affordable, and it catered to locals by celebrating high school sports and supporting the other businesses.

When Ms. Merrily Loveland started working at the restaurant, everyone noticed, especially everyone male—and the gossip started.

"Where did you hear it?" Jesse asked.

"Couple of bozos came in a few weeks ago to buy paint. One guy said he'd asked her out and was turned down flat. The other said he used to live in the same town with her back in college, only a couple of hours from here."

"Same with the waitress." Jesse shrugged. "I think maybe they were in college at the same time."

"One of the guys claimed she used to be engaged, but when she wouldn't give it up, the guy left her."

"And told everyone about it?" Jesse snorted. "What an ass."

"Yeah." Brick took a big drink of his cola. "The talk went downhill from there." He wouldn't repeat it all because it hadn't been kind, but there'd been insults claiming her to be cold, asexual, even deliberately manipulative, as if she used her innocence as a tool.

"And you didn't throw them both out? Huh. Good for you, Brick." Jesse reached across the booth to slap his shoulder. "I mean, I can see you're pissed about it, so the fact that you actually kept your temper in check—"

As Merrily returned to them, Brick gave a quick shake of his head. But not in time.

While setting their food on the table, she teased, "You have a temper? No way. You're always so nice."

"He would never show that temper to you," Jesse assured her. "But yeah, when warranted, it makes an appearance."

Brick gave him a dirty look. Was he trying to scare her off?

Intrigued, Merrily asked, "Is that why they call you Brick?"

She knew his nickname? Nice. Though they'd chatted casually many times, they hadn't been formally introduced. He'd seen her name on her name tag and used it as most would. Apparently she'd been paying attention when others spoke to him.

"Actually," Jesse said, now on a roll, "he got that name ages ago when he fell off a roof onto his head and was still able to laugh about it."

"Ohmigosh." She stared at Brick in disbelief. "You're serious?"

"Yeah, but it's not as bad as it sounds." He'd strangle Jesse later for bringing that up. "The house was half-built into a hill, so the roof at one end was pretty close to the ground."


"I only dropped around ten feet."

"Ten feet?" Her eyes widened again. "And you weren't hurt?"

"Just bruised my pride." He gave a slight grin. "That is, as much pride as a nine-year-old boy can have."

"If you guys were that young, what in the world were you doing on the roof?" Brick felt his neck getting hot.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Turn Up the Heat: An Anthology 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I paid over $7 for less than 180 pgs broken into 3 very short stories!!! Obviously I feel conned and robbed. Ugh
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
These three short books were a huge disappointment.
dutcheja More than 1 year ago
This book is three short stories in one book. I was drawn to it for the first story by Lori Foster. I just love her books. This one was short and very sweet. My only complaint about the books here are that the stories are all too short. I wish they were longer I wish the romance was longer. The stories aren't quite as fulfilling as a regular length romance but all 3 stories in this book were great. If you are looking for a great beach or pool read this could be it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read
Beverly_D More than 1 year ago
The hot cover does not belie the contents - don't read this unless you like your love stories smokin' hot. I received an ARC of this anthology via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Love Won't Wait - Lori Foster This novella features a virgin heroine, Merrily Loveland (I'm sorry, but I think that name is AWFUL), who's also a hottie. She's also annoying insecure about her long-legged blonde neighbor/landlady, and is afraid the man she's chosen to pop her cherry, Brick Carlisle, will be more interested in the woman next door.  It's well-written, the sex scenes are hot, the lead-up is tantalizing, but I couldn't sink into this story, possibly because I gritted my teeth every time the goofy name Merrily was mentioned. The barrier keeping this couple apart seemed artificial and a control move on Brick's part, which also annoyed me. I'm developing something of a pet peeve for hot men who seem to have no other demands on their time than lovemaking (perhaps because I've never found such sex partners). I did enjoy the intrusion/inclusion of a menagerie of cats and dogs, each with his/her own distinct name and personality. Beach House Beginnings - Christie Ridgway At 19, Starr Alexander had found the love of her life, for one golden summer at her family's Crescent Cove beach rental complex, until Peter went kayaking and drowned. Ten year's later, she's changed her name to Meg for Meh, how's she's felt about life, and has reluctantly returned to cover for her sister. When Peter's look-alike cousin Caleb McCall shows up, she has no intention of getting i nvolved... but of course, we know differently. Slow build, wonderful consummation. This includes a hint of magick realism, and an NDE (Near Death Experience) dream for Caleb that may annoy some readers, but for me, it added to the charm of this short story, which was my favorite of the three. Strong Enough to Love - Victoria Dahl  Set in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, this is a tale of forbidden love, and I could REALLY feel it. Eve Hill and her boss Brian Stewart were best friends, as well as co-workers. She secretly was carrying a torch for him, because he was married, if separated. When he sold her the photography studio and returned to  his wife to try to patch things up, it broke her heart. Did she date in the meantime? Yes. Did the other men "do it" for her? Not really. This short story carries the most emotional punch of the three, IMO, and although I felt the whole thing was quite raw and real, I am not sure heartbreak can be overcome with lots of talking and incredible sex (though I'd like to try). Kudos to all three stories for responsible and unobtrusive condom use.  All in all, very enjoyable.
Bookeroo More than 1 year ago
Turn Up the Heat Anthology: Love Won't Wait by Lori Foster: Merrily had plenty of responsibility in her life and an ex-boyfriend that wasn't a real hardship to lose. Deciding to give herself a new start in life, she moved to a new town. What she found was a sweet and sexy local guy she could finally lose her blasted virginity to. She new Brick wasn't into any long term commitments, but that was okay with Merrily. She just wanted to have a little fun, become a real woman, and get on with her life. Although that seemed like a simple plan, it quickly backfired on her when she realized she was quickly falling in love with Brick. What Merrily didn't know was that Brick was falling for her just as fast and already knowing he'd never get enough of her. I loved this story and it was an added bonus that Brick and Merrily were animal lovers. Ms. Foster worked that into the story perfectly. I also enjoyed the jealousy factors added in with Merrily's landlord, Tonya, and Brick's friend Jesse. That meshed quite well also. It gave each character the added edge of possibly losing the other. That made everything play out in a much more tender yet sexy way throughout the story. The hero and the heroine had sparks of chemistry from beginning to end and the added characters, their friends, had their own chemistry going on. I wanted Love Won't Wait to go on and on and I highly recommend it! Beach House Beginnings by Christie Ridgway: Meg hasn't been back to the cove since she'd lost her teenage love, Peter. She no longer believes in love or happily ever after. She's only back to take care of things since her sister is away on vacation. She's surprised by a man she thinks is Peter, but quickly realizes it's his cousin, Caleb. From the moment Caleb awoke from his near death experience, he's wanted to come back to the cove to see Meg. He needs to see if his "dreams" are leading him to a future with her, but Meg is resisting any connection, afraid she'll lose him like she lost Peter. The attraction is immediate and Caleb quickly leads Meg into a relationship, even as she fights it.  I loved this tender, sexy, erotic love story right away! I only wish it was longer! The chemistry between the hero and heroine is immediately obvious and the sex was sizzling hot and extremely erotic. Caleb was perfect, always attentive and loving. Who could ask for more?! The detail was so carefully incorporated, you didn't even notice it was necessary to the story because you were so intent on the romance between Meg and Caleb. It was very well written and captured my complete attention immediately and held it to the very end. I loved it! Strong Enough to Love by Victoria Dahl: Eve fell in love with a married man. Brian had been separated from his wife when he fell for Eve. As much as he wanted Eve, he had to try to make things work with his wife, one last time. He didn't want to hurt Eve, but felt he owed it to his wife to try. Eve was heartbroken and did everything she could to erase Brian from her life. When he returned two years later, she didn't want to forgive him. Before he could walk back out of her life she gave him only one night, needing to have him one time, wanting him out of her system. Brian now wants Eve forever, but he'll take what he can get and hope to change her mind…While I'm not fond of the "in-love-with-a-married-man" scenario, I was pleasantly surprised by this story. At first I was prepared to dislike the hero, but wow, how quickly Ms. Dahl turned that around for me and I was loving him just like the heroine, Eve. The chemistry was oozing from Eve and Brian, their love intense, along with the sex. I guess in this story we should most definitely call it making love, because that's exactly how it makes the reader feel. I really got into this book and gosh, would I have loved it to go on and on. Those warm fuzzy feelings were out in full force for me reading this one!  I absolutely adored Turn Up the Heat! All three stories were fantastic and I wouldn't have missed this book for the world. I very highly recommend it to all romance readers. Not only is it a Must Read, but it's a Keeper too! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JackieBCentralTexasJB More than 1 year ago
Read from January 07 to 08, 2014 Book Info  Paperback, 384 pages Expected publication: December 31st 2013 by Harlequin HQN ISBN 0373778384 (ISBN13: 9780373778386) series The Carlisles #2 other editions None found Source:Netgalley EARC Book Buy Links  AMAZON  B&N  BOOK SYNOPSIS Three sizzling tales from three bestselling authors  Love Won't Wait by Lori Foster  Brendan "Brick" Carlisle is used to women falling at his feet, so shy waitress Merrily Loveland is a breath of fresh air—and an irresistible challenge. But before he can make his move, Merrily comes to him with an offer he can't refuse. If only their "no-strings" pact didn't leave him wanting so much more….  Beach House Beginnings by Christie Ridgway  She might have avoided Crescent Cove, California, for years, but no-nonsense Meg Alexander is confident she can handle a brief trip home. What she doesn't count on is the spark of desire she feels for Caleb McCall. Can a weekend in paradise convince her to give love a second chance?  Strong Enough to Love by Victoria Dahl  Photographer Eve Hill had always told herself that sexy Brian Stewart was off-limits. But now he's back in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Eve can't resist their long-denied attraction. When the reality turns out to be hotter than the fantasy, Eve might end up getting more than she bargained for…. My Thoughts Beginning Novella “Love Won't Wait” is the 2nd story in The Carlisles series by author Lori Foster and to be quite frank it is my hands down favorite for the simple reason that as a lover of animals the menagerie that stole Merrily and Brick's story right out from under them also stole my heart! As a longtime fan of Lori Foster I expect humorous banter and flirty dialogue between the main male and female characters, heated romantic tension, steamy bedroom scenes and a secondary character “sidekick” who at some point will manage to find their way to being the lead in their own book. Got all that and more with the addition of the gang of pets that Merrily owns. What is not to love when you are confronted with the soulful eyes of a pair of dogs and three cats? Each animal had a clear and complete character and believe me they stole the show over and over and I loved every second spent with them in a scene! Author Christie Ridgway is new to me and her offering is “Beach House Beginnings” and it takes place when Meg Alexander returns to her childhood town of Crescent Cove California 10 years after leaving due to the tragic loss of her teenage sweetheart Peter McCall. Losing him drove her to leave and in the intervening years she has steered away from ever feeling the pain of love and loss again.  Having gone through a “life after death” eye opening experience Caleb McCall decides that he needs to learn how to slow down and find happiness other than from his demanding work. His dream of Meg leads him to go to Crescent Cove and convince her that they both deserve a second chance together. This was a very bittersweet romance story of finally letting go of a lost love and allowing an even stronger connection to forge that has the possibility of lasting a lifetime for Caleb and Meg. Again there was a bit of scene stealing by Bitzer, the now aging mixed breed dog that Peter left behind and that Caleb considers to be his best friend. Victoria Dahl is also a new to me author and her contribution “Strong Enough to Love” about Eve Hill and Brian Stewart takes us through the fallout following falling in love with your best friend who is married leaves. Eve has now finally 2 years later reconciled herself to having lost Brian since he moved from Wyoming to try and make his marriage work. Funny thing is she still feels the empty space his absence has left in her life, even though they never acted on their mutual attraction that fact has caused Eve both pain at her loss and pride that her morals were not compromised. Brian shows up unexpectedly at Eve’s gallery on a night she has gone to a friends birthday party, when she comes home he is standing outside the window admiring a photographic display. All of Eve’s mixed feelings come rushing back when Brian tells her that he is now divorced and wishes to have a chance for he and Eve to be together as he still loves her. Will Eve decide that she deserves to finally win Brian’s heart or will she turn her back on this second chance at love? You will be glad when you read for yourself how the author answered that question. This amalgamation of contemporary romances will indeed "turn up the heat" for those of us who are caught in winter's icy grip these days. [EArc from Netgalley in exchange for honest review]
RipeForReader More than 1 year ago
My rating: 4 of 5 ¿¿ LOVE WON'T WAIT by Lori Foster Not one for long term entanglements, it has been unusual for Brick Carlisle to be so taken with one and the same girl for this long. But the new waitress at his favorite diner is something special and if the stories are to be believed, she is about as innocent as the driven snow.  Needing a change of scenery after her mother's passing, Merrily Loveland recently moved into a duplex with her animals and started work at the diner while finishing her studies. After serving him lunch for about a month, she finally works up the courage to ask the hot hardware store manager for some advice. Seeing his opening, Brick grabs the opportunity to, quite literally, get a foot in the door with Merrily and noting the returned interest in him, it doesn't take much to convince her to try him on for size! *** A sweet, sexy short, where the hunky and popular town native falls head over heels for the innocent and shy newcomer! ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ BEACH HOUSE BEGINNINGS by Christie Ridgway Coming back to Crescent Cove, ten years after the loss of her first love there, was more of a homecoming than Meg Alexander had expected. Still the memories were bittersweet. Bumping into a very familiar canine and his very handsome owner a bit of a surprise. Returning to the familiar vacation spot of his youth, was something Caleb McCall had thought about for quite some time, and running into Meg part of his plans. She barely remembers him, but he hasn't forgotten one thing about her, and is determined to find out everything. Past hurt has made Meg resistant to the possibility of romantic entanglements, but Caleb's calm and convincing zest for life has her wavering..... *** A compelling, seductive and hopeful story of letting go and allowing life back in. ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ STRONG ENOUGH TO LOVE by Victoria Dahl Two years ago, Eve Hill's outlook on life took a dramatic dive. Just as she had finally found a professional future she could believe in, her heart was shredded and she had never quite recovered from the blow.  When, under pressure from her friends, Eve finally decides to go out again, what are the odds she finds the cause of her heartbreak right on her doorstep? Saddled with obligations he needed to honour, Brian Stewart knew he had hurt Eve when he left town two years ago. Free of responsibilities but with Eve still very much on his mind and in his heart, he is back. To stay, if she'll have him.  Even though Eve's feelings still run deep, she drew the short end of the stick once before and that still hurts today. She is not eager to forgive or likely to forget. The question is, what hurts more?? *** Gripping, sultry and poignant novella in which a heartbroken woman tries to find courage to say yes to her love......again.  ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ ¿A striking and steamy collection by an impressive trio of authors¿ **ARC provided by NetGalley and Harlequin HQN in return for an honest review.**