New York Times 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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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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“Did you have a good time?” he asked, curious if she would go out with him again. Wait, did he want her to go out with him?
The answer was yes. His terms, he reminded himself. Honor his brothers by attempting to live. He could do this, starting with Skylar. She was his test.
And if things went well…
“I had a great time. Maybe you could invite your brother, Tristan, and my friend Lemon to go out with us on the boat.”
His eyebrows shot up. “You think there’s going to be a next time?” He decided not to inform her that it would be a cold day in hell before Tristan and Lemon did anything together that didn’t require a court order.
She flashed him a flirty smile, and his gut clenched. What was it about this woman that made him lose his mind? Made him want to try to live again? “I know there will be.”
“What makes you so sure?”
Snatching his sunglasses from the captain’s chair, she settled them on her nose and struck a pose like an old-school movie star. “I’m fabulous company,” she said and tossed her hair. “So fab.”
His lips twitched before he could stop them, and her mouth curved into a satisfied smile. “You’re tolerable.”
“I’m irresistible, sugar,” she replied in an over-exaggerated accent.
Yes, you are. He grunted. “That might be stretching things.”
“That’s not exactly disagreeing with me.”
“Bomber needs company while I swim or dive.”
“You normally go diving alone?” She looked at him over her glasses, green eyes wide. “Isn’t that dangerous?”
“For him it might be.” He rechecked her lifejacket and Bomber’s. “But for me—no.”
“What about sharks?” She whispered the last word.
“I stay away from them, and they stay away from me. Predator respects predator.”
“Oh, good Lord,” she muttered. “Try being serious.”
This time, he did more than allow his mouth to twitch. He laughed, and damn, it felt good.
Skylar, however, didn’t think he was amusing at all. She crossed her arms and turned up the cutest nose he’d ever seen.
“There are no sharks in the sound,” he said, but he didn’t go diving in the sound. The water wasn’t clear enough for his liking.
Her lips flattened. “Hmpf.”
“Okay, so you might run into a sand shark every now and then, but they won’t bite you. Hell, I’m more likely to bite you.” Nibble on you. Kiss the golden skin of her neck and work his way down to—
“I read online the other day that in January of this year, Katharine was practically all the way to Belhaven.”
“They’re still tracking her?” The fourteen-foot, twenty-three hundred pound great white had been tagged a few years back. He’d never seen her, not once, since he started diving. Maybe—
“Mason, you should not look so happy about a shark hanging out where people normally swim.”
“I’m not happy,” he snapped.
“Of course you’re not, but your mouth started doing that thing.” She touched her lips.
He frowned. “What thing?”
“The opposite of what it’s doing now.”
He started the engine and headed to shore, grateful for the excuse not to talk.
The pier came into view and he cut the boat’s engine, letting the tide carry them the rest of the way, with only short bursts of power when the boat went off course.
“You worry way too much about stuff you can’t control,” he said as he stood, grabbing the anchor and dropping it over the side. Then he formed a clove hitch and looped it over a post, securing the boat.
“I don’t have to be in control.”
“Yes, you do.”
“Well, if I’m a control freak, then you are an ultra-to-the-max control freak.”
“Never said I wasn’t, but I can’t control Mother Nature,” he pointed out and turned to his dog. At his signal, Bomber leapt onto the pier.
“Yet, you like to tempt God by going out alone and swimming with sharks.” She grabbed her beach bag, and stuffed her towel in it, then allowed him to help her onto the pier.
“No great risk, no great reward.”
He had lost his damn mind. “No swimming with sharks, get to see another day.”
“You’re cute when you’re angry,” he said to rile her up and managed to somehow piss himself off as the same time. “And I’ll swim anywhere I want, when I want.” Damn woman. He made to walk away, but she grabbed his arm.
“Don’t you dare walk away from me.” Skylar let go of his arm and fisted her hands on her hips. “You will listen to what I have to say.”
A tic started up in his jaw. “You have one minute.”