All former Navy SEAL Mason Lawson craves is solitude. Unfortunately, his new neighbor won’t allow him the peace he so desperately needs. Between the traffic and the music, Mason is constantly on edge—not exactly what the doctor ordered for someone recovering from a bullet to the leg. However, when he finally has enough and confronts his neighbor, nothing can prepare him for how hot he’d get for the teacher next door.
Piano teacher, Skylar Jernigan, loves everything about the town of Jessamine—from the quaint Main Street shops to the people who own them. Unfortunately, once she’s chewed up and spit out by her sexy neighbor, Skylar begins to question her decision to move to a new town. Until, that is, she learns he’s suffering from a war wound and refuses to have anything to do with his family.
Now, Skylar is determined to help Mason recover—mentally, physically and socially—until he turns the tables and sets out to seduce Skylar right out of her meddling ways. Only seduction turns into something more and soon, Mason can’t stop looking for excuses to be with her. But when the Navy wants Mason to reenlist for a dangerous mission, will Skylar be too irresistible for him to leave?
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About the Author:
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Marquita Valentine, writes sexy heroes that make you swoon and sassy heroines that make you laugh. She’s the author of the bestselling contemporary romance series, Holland Springs, and the new adult romance series, Boys of the South.
Marquita met her husband aka Hot Builder at Sonic when they were in high school. She suggests this location to all of her single friends in search of a good man—and if that doesn't work, they can console themselves with cheesy tatertots. She lives in North Carolina in a very, very small town with Hot Builder and their two children.
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“I bought too many, so I thought I’d share the extras with you,” Skylar said. Her explanation sounded perfectly reasonable to her, even if her reason for being on Mason’s front porch was entirely unbelievable.
She had caved, faster than a sandcastle taking on high tide.
Mason stared at her as if he couldn’t quite comprehend what she was saying. “That’s a hell of a lot of crab for only being extra.”
“My eyes were bigger than my stomach.” She held out the large bag of crabs to him. “And I can’t resist a sale.”
He leaned against the doorframe, his light hair pulled back off his handsome face. She studied him for a minute, taking in his blue t-shirt and loose jeans. He was too skinny for the jeans, but the t-shirt stretched out rather nicely over his shoulders and the indentions on each side of his hips were not hard on the eyes at all.
“Anything else you can’t resist?” he asked and she jerked up her gaze, blushing hotly at being caught ogling him.
“Beer?” She held up the six-pack. “Fat Tire was on sale, too.”
He narrowed his sexy, blue eyes at her. “You’ve already eaten?”
She shook her head. “Not yet. I need to search for a recipe for the crabs I kept for myself. I’ve never cooked them before.” The crabs moved in the bag, and she almost dropped them. The cold had kept them immobile, but the longer she stood in the heat…the more awake they became.
Stepping to one side, he motioned for her to come inside. “Might as well eat with me. I already have a recipe,” he said as he closed the door behind her and started for the back of the house. Instead of using his cane, he limped as he walked and Bomber stayed at his side.
“I can just write it down,” she said, following him.
He tapped the side of his head. “Secret family recipe.”
She laughed. “But I’ll see what you use.”
“You won’t know the exact amounts and that’s important.”
Mason’s kitchen was huge, with stainless-steel appliances and more cabinets than anyone could ever need. In the center stood a large island with a prep sink and a butcher-block top.
“Really nice kitchen,” she said, admiring the wavy glass in the doors of the nearest cabinet.
“I like to cook.”
“I like to eat,” he said, as if that explained everything.
“Who doesn’t?” she replied.
“Lately, I haven’t.” He turned around and leaned against the counter. She set the bag of crabs in the sink and the beer on the island.
“Do your meds make your appetite go away?” They had for her dad, in those awful, final months. He’d practically wasted away to nothing. Maybe that was why she wanted to help Mason so badly. She didn’t want another person to just waste away, especially if she could help. Mason didn’t have cancer either.
He nodded stiffly. “You’re the first person to ask me that…besides my doctor.”
“The alcohol doesn’t help.” She wasn’t stupid. She’d seen the half-empty bottles and had smelled it on his breath. “It’s a good thing you exercise or you wouldn’t look like you do.”
She half expected him to take offense, but he only lifted a brow and said, “How do I look exactly?”
“Like a man who used to take care of his body.”
His lips thinned. “How is the air working in your house?”
“Like a freezer.”
“Very good thing. I actually wore pajamas to bed last night,” she said. “But I’m going to have to bring you a lot of noise-cancelling headphones in order to pay you back. They had to replace the entire thing.”
“What did you used to wear?” he asked with a grin that almost made her forget her own name.
He would focus on that. “Nothing. I mean…” She narrowed her eyes at him. “Don’t try to change the subject. I will pay you back.”
“Crab and beer are a good start.” He pushed away from the front of the island and opened a deep drawer, pulling out a large pot and handing it to her. “Fill this halfway up with water and put it on the stove to boil. Gas burners okay for you?”
“Yes. I have one, too.” She took the pot and filled it, then set it on the stove and turned on the gas while he poured in a dash of vinegar and sprinkled in some spices. “What’s next?”
“We fix the sides—I’m thinking fries and hushpuppies.”
She glanced at the crabs and shivered. They were moving more vigorously now. “What about them?” She whispered the last word.
“We’ll get to them in a minute.” He nodded to the right. “There’s a bag of potatoes in the pantry. Get those out and we’ll make fries.”
Thankful for something else to do besides worry about the stupid crabs, she hopped right to it. “I guess this is as good of time as any to confess that I’ve never cooked live seafood before.”
“Figured as much.”
She glanced up into his blue eyes. “I can do whatever I need to in order to cook them.”
“I’ll take care of the crab.”
How could something so simple, and about cooking of all things, make her want to swoon?
He touched her face, starting at her cheek and ending up at her lips. His thumb brushed her mouth. The smell of liquor wafted over her. “You’ve been drinking.” So that explained his easygoing mood. It wasn’t her presence. “Did you take your meds with it?”
“Always do before bed.”
She frowned. “That’s not safe, Mason.”
“You’re worried about me?”
Instead of answering, she nodded.
“Because we’re neigh—”
“Don’t.” His thumb made another pass, and she shivered again. This time in pleasure and not fear. His touch was making her weak in the knees. “The real reason, Skylar.”
“Because when I saw you on the ground, I thought that if anyone needed love, it was you.
“Not that I’m in love with you. I meant a neighborly type of love. Love for fellow man type of love,” she added. “What would Jesus do love.”