on the hot, wild tales of mythology, Callie Prescott leads a tidy life. And
that, thank you, is exactly how she wants it, despite her family’s pestering
that she’s a control freak who needs to have fun. Callie prefers order and
predictability. After her father’s death and her mother’s recent health scare,
who can blame her?Jake Ryan fights bad guys, jumps out of airplanes, and escapes disasters…on
film. But when a scandal engulfs his career, he takes cover in his hometown of
Bliss Cove while he puts out the fire. No one knows his true identity until a
chance encounter with Callie ignites powerful flashbacks of their high-school
Despite the threat of exposure, Jake wants some close-up action with the
brilliant, beautiful professor. Callie’s structured life has no room for a
sexy, muscular hero…until Jake shows her how thrilling it is to have fun and
lose control (a little).
Jake and Callie surrender to a hot affair and the possibility of love. But with
dangerous secrets, a public scandal, and a mother’s scheming plots, can Jake
ever win the starring role in his leading lady’s heart?
snapped her laser pointer shut and swept her gaze over the lecture hall of a
hundred shuffling, slouching undergraduates. “If your paper is not either in my
hand, on my desk, or in my mailbox by five p.m. Friday afternoon…that’s the day
after tomorrow, to avoid any misunderstanding…then you will receive an
incomplete. And no, emailing me a copy does not count. Printed copies only. No
exceptions. Class dismissed.”
students stuffed notebooks into their backpacks and started checking their
phones. Her graduate teaching assistant, Jordan, approached from the projection
booth with a stack of slide carousels.
twenty-first century computer, I would be delighted.” He set the carousels on
the table with a grimace, as if he were carrying forty-pound cement blocks.
electrical cord and placed the carousels and remote control into boxes. “I’ll
put this all in your office.”
doors, a barrage of anxious-looking students approached the podium like a
Spartan army on the march. Callie stiffened her spine.
in the hospital…?”
her heart to their puppy-dog eyes and beseeching pleas. In her early days of
teaching, she’d learned her lesson about showing any weakness. These kids might
look all scruffy, ear-pod-wearing innocence, but they could smell blood.
of class.” She closed her leather satchel and snapped the latch. “No
exceptions. Enjoy the rest of your day.”
cashmere cardigan she’d left on the back of a chair. She started toward the
door, her heels clicking purposefully. Behind her, the students radiated
swiveled and leveled the group with an icy glare.
afternoon until five. I will also plan to check my email more often than usual.
Should you encounter further obstacles in your research and writing, you may
either come to my office or email me. I will do my best to assist you. But
there will be no exceptions. I wish
your grandmother well, Mr. Hamilton.”
strode from the lecture hall. Hopefully her hard-ass attitude would still
deflect any notion of weakness.
meeting with the senior professors in the Classics department, which gave her
just enough time to drive over to the Bliss Cove Library and pick up the books
she’d ordered through interlibrary loan.
library was always so slammed with requests from students and other professors.
Not to mention, the Bliss Cove librarian Beatrice was highly efficient, a
quality Callie both appreciated and often found lacking in other people.
teemed with students trudging to their next class, backpacks slung over their
shoulders as they balanced their cell phones with takeout coffee cups. The May
sun peeked through a fluffy layer of clouds, and a breeze strengthened the
scent of the Pacific ocean and the surrounding redwood forests.
private college with its brick buildings and tree-lined flagstone pathways. If
it weren’t for her meeting, she’d have gotten herself a coffee and found a
quiet place to sit and enjoy the lovely day.
finish a book proposal on Greek mythology didn’t have time to enjoy the day. Or
to enjoy anything, really.
and drove toward the library. Ocean waves splashed against the rocky coastline,
and downtown Bliss Cove bustled with people out walking and shopping.
Everything about the town—from the ivy-covered buildings to the town square
presided over by a white gazebo to the Mousehole Tavern tucked away in a grove
of redwoods—was part of Callie’s blood. Even when she was a child, she hadn’t
been able to imagine living anywhere else.
Now more than ever, she wanted—needed—to stay in Bliss Cove. Being awarded
tenure would ensure her job security and also allow her to continue living
where her roots were planted.
expanse of land where a massive, old Victorian mansion sat beneath a bower of
trees. A round tower rose from the back, giving the place a fairy-tale quality.
and went inside. A hush filled the cool, dark air, and a few people sat at the
long tables reading and studying.
librarian, Beatrice Delaney, was busy checking in books.
of her nose. “Callie, sorry. I didn’t even hear you come in. How are you?”
wanted to pick up the books you ordered for me through interlibrary loan. You
messaged me that they were in.”
toward the hold shelf and perused the alphabetically stacked titles. “I told
Peter to put them under your name, but I don’t see them here. Hold on a
on this isolated stretch of coastline—and dialed. “Peter? It’s Bee.”
to her meeting. She also needed to stop at her office on the way to pick up her
mystery novels, giving Callie a nod of greeting.
forehead. “He mistakenly put them back in the stacks instead of on the hold
shelf. I’ll run up and get them for you.”
indicating that Bee should help the gentleman check out his books. “It’s okay,
I’ll get them.”
hurried toward the worn staircase leading to the upper floors. She reached the
third floor and crossed the expanse of looming shelves to the very back where
the Greek mythology section was located. She checked the list of call numbers
on her phone.
to come back later either, as she had to get over to her mother’s house right
after the meeting. Besides, she was here now and she wasn’t about to waste
between others that were coated with dust. The last volume was so large it was
stacked sideways on a lower shelf. Callie knelt to yank it out and grimaced as
cobwebs clung to her cashmere sleeve. Some of the shelves had apparently never
seen the benefits of the library’s cleaning budget.
stack into her arms and hurried back to the stairs. From the corner of her eye,
she caught a glimpse of the narrow, gated elevator, which she usually avoided
due to its advanced age. She started toward it. Her arms were already strained,
and she’d need to shave seconds off this errand to avoid being late.
books into the crook of her other arm. Smears of dirt and dust covered her
beige silk blouse and the front of her sweater.
face six senior professors with smudges streaking her clothes. If Bee got her
books checked out quickly, she might have time to stop at the ladies’ room and
try to clean up.
numbers indicating its location. She shifted again, hitching her satchel higher
up on her shoulder. Her long, straight brown hair was starting to escape its
usual neat chignon, which meant another repair before the meeting.
hefted the books to her other arm. Strength training at the gym had nothing
compared to hauling around Greek mythology books.
glowered at the elevator, as if irritation would make it move. If she’d taken
the stairs, she’d be at the check-out desk by now.
colliding with eyes so blue that looking into them was like diving into a pool
of pristine, tropical water.
her chest. Words dissolved in her throat. If a Greek hero statue came to life,
this man would be the result.
features—high cheekbones sloped down to a square jaw and beautifully shaped
mouth, and his thick-lashed eyes studied her with penetrating intensity from
behind a pair of black-framed glasses. His longish hair, a strikingly uniform
and heavy shade of dirty blond, brushed the collar of his jacket, and his wide
shoulders looked as if they could bear any weight in the world. A black strap
cut across his chest, holding a camera at his side.
ached from holding the books, she shook her head. “I…I’m fine. Thank you.”
paperback under his arm. Just standing beside him was an exercise in awareness,
as Callie couldn’t help but notice the breadth of his muscular chest beneath a
navy T-shirt, or the way his worn jeans hugged his long legs…
gate, extending his hand to hold the door for her. Callie’s appreciation of the
chivalrous gesture faded as she moved past him, the close quarters causing her
arm to brush against his abdomen. The half-second contact elicited a
ridiculously disproportionate surge of heat in her veins.
elevator. Halfway in, her heel stuck in the gap between the elevator and the
floor. With a squeak of alarm, she pitched forward.
hands out to break an inevitable fall, he darted in front of her, grabbed her
arms, and hauled her upright.
her. Heavens, he was strong.
erratic breathing. He was right in front of her, so close that she caught his
scent—something earthy and masculine, like autumn leaves and salt. She stared
at the tanned column of his throat, the hollow where his pulse beat visibly
beneath his taut skin.
affected by their contact as she was?
retrieve her books. She started forward to help him, then stopped. She couldn’t
move. Her narrow heel was still stuck in the elevator door gap.
and stepped to her side, putting up an arm to keep the doors from closing on
she was in no position to reject his help—he closed one strong hand around her
shoe and the other around her stocking-clad ankle.
and warmth flooded her. She couldn’t help imagining what his big hand would
feel like sliding up her calf, around to her knee, then clear up to her thigh
of her students, or worse, a fellow professor, didn’t decide to wander by at
that very second. Bracing one hand on the wall, she tugged her foot. He pulled
at the same time, and her heel jolted free from the gap.
and engaging that pleasure constricted her chest—and then familiarity struck
idea. She wouldn’t have not
remembered a man like him.
falling head over heels.”
her a wink before turning to press the first-floor button. Why did he suddenly seem so familiar?
covers. “Greek mythology, huh?”
eyebrows. Callie realized she was still staring at him. Maybe he was a new
resident or another professor—though of what, she couldn’t imagine. Love 101?
just…I’ve never seen you here before, but you look familiar. Do we know each
his features, closing off all traces of warmth and humor.
the elevator bumped and rattled to a stop. She extended her arms to take the
books from him.
opening? Didn’t the bump indicate they’d reached the first floor?
know. Maybe it was just slow.
Pocus’?” Though his tone was light, he frowned slightly.
She shifted her weight and pushed the button again. “I knew I should have taken
panel. Nothing happened. The overhead lights flickered.
rumored to be haunted by the ship captain who built the mansion, then he was
either from around here or he’d read up on the history of Bliss Cove. It had to
be the former. But why couldn’t she place him?
alarm button. A buzzing noise echoed in the small space. “So at least we know
watch. Half an hour before her meeting. “Bee knows I went to get those books,
so even if she didn’t hear the alarm, she’ll wonder where I went.”
the stacks.” She started to pace to the other side of the elevator before
remembering they were in an enclosed space that was about fifteen square feet.
And he took up a lot of room. His presence radiated beyond his considerable
physical form, warming her from the inside out.
much distance between them as possible. “I…um, I just mean I’m busy. I have an
important meeting in half an hour. I always know exactly what books I want. No
need to browse.”
blue eyes. He pressed the alarm button again and leaned toward the intercom.
one step forward and two steps back. “I can’t miss this meeting. Do you think
we can climb out the top?”
and stretched his arm toward the ceiling. The movement caused his T-shirt to
ride up, revealing a stunning, washboard abdomen with a light trail of hair
leading straight down into his jeans. Though Callie had always prided herself
on her self-control and discipline, she was helpless against the hypnotic pull
of this man’s abdomen. Until now, she’d only seen an actual six-pack in
underwear ads, and his very real muscles—which were right in front of her—had her fingers twitching with the urge to
explore that expanse of smooth, taut skin.
were too high for him to get a grip. He muttered a noise of frustration. “I
once did a…I mean, I can lift you up and you can try to get those light panels
off to see if there’s an escape hatch.”
from his abs back up to his face. She tried to ignore a surge of awareness at
the thought of him touching her again. “I really can’t miss this meeting.”
off, she looked at ceiling. “So go ahead. Lift me.”
Cove for her lucrative new tech job. Tavern owner Grant Taylor is desperate for
a date to his brother’s wedding before his mother tries to marry him off next.
Grant makes Rory a deal—he’ll let her stay in his cottage if she’ll pretend to
be his girlfriend. Though the two friends bicker over everything from her love
of gummy worms to the horrible singing fish he has on the tavern wall,
“pretending” to like each other isn’t a stretch.
one hot kiss, their fake relationship soon becomes passionately real.
possibility of a happy ending. Their hot, tender romance is about to crash and
burn…unless they’re willing to risk everything for love.
She is delighted to introduce readers to Bliss Cove, California, a coastal town
with an abundance of warm cookies, ocean breezes, and the ever-present
possibility of love.Nina loves all things spicy and sweet, with chili chocolates being at the top
of the list. She is also a fan of glossy magazines, pop culture, Gilmore Girls,
energy bites, Orangetheory, and the sound of silence.
She lives in Wisconsin with her meteorologist husband (yes, she asks him daily,
“What’s the weather forecast?”), their two children, a hyperactive
dog, and a snail named Pipsqueak.