Authors: Melissa Foster
Seaside Summers, Book Three
ove in Bloom Series
This is a work of fiction. The events and characters described herein are imaginary and are not intended to refer to specific places or living persons. The opinions expressed in this manuscript are solely the opinions of the author and do not represent the opinions or thoughts of the publisher. The author has represented and warranted full ownership and/or legal right to publish all the materials in this book.
All Rights Reserved.
Copyright © 2014 Melissa Foster
This book may not be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in whole or in part by any means, including graphic, electronic, or mechanical without the express written consent of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
Cover Design: Natasha Brown
WORLD LITERARY PRESS
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A Note to Readers
If this is your first Love in Bloom book, then you have many other characters to fall in love with, starting with the Snow Sisters, then moving on to the Bradens, the Remingtons, and the rest of the Seaside Summers gang. The Love in Bloom series follows several families, and characters from each subseries appear in future Love in Bloom novels.
Before I started writing this novel, I thought it was going to be difficult to find the perfect woman for Jamie Reed, but the minute I met Jessica Ayers, I realized that it wasn’t going to be difficult at all. It was a sexy, fun ride. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
is the third book in Seaside Summers series and the newest addition to the Love in Bloom series. While it may be read as a stand-alone novel, for even more enjoyment, you may want to read the rest of the Love in Bloom novels (Snow Sisters, The Bradens, The Remingtons, and Seaside Summers).
For Jon, who makes geekiness cool
PRAISE FOR MELISSA FOSTER
“Contemporary romance at its hottest. Each Braden sibling left me craving the next. Sensual, sexy, and satisfying, the Braden series is a captivating blend of the dance between lust, love, and life.”
—Bestselling author Keri Nola, LMHC
(on The Bradens)
“[LOVERS AT HEART] Foster’s tale of stubborn yet persistent love takes us on a heartbreaking and soul-searing journey.”
“Smart, uplifting, and beautifully layered.
I couldn’t put it down!”
—National bestselling author Jane Porter
SISTERS IN LOVE
“Steamy love scenes, emotionally charged drama, and a family-driven story make this the perfect story for any romance reader.”
—Midwest Book Review (on
SISTERS IN BLOOM
“HAVE NO SHAME is a powerful testimony to love and the progressive, logical evolution of social consciousness, with an outcome that readers will find engrossing, unexpected, and ultimately eye-opening.”
—Midwest Book Review
“TRACES OF KARA is psychological suspense at its best, weaving a tight-knit plot, unrelenting action, and tense moments that don’t let up and ending in a fiery, unpredictable revelation.”
—Midwest Book Review
“[MEGAN’S WAY] A wonderful, warm, and thought-provoking story...a deep and moving book that speaks to men as well as women, and I urge you all to put it on your reading list.”
“[CHASING AMANDA] Secrets make this tale outstanding.”
“COME BACK TO ME is a hauntingly beautiful love story set against the backdrop of betrayal in a broken world.”
—Bestselling author Sue Harrison
JESSICA AYERS COULD hold a note on her cello for thirty-eight seconds without ever breaking a sweat, but staring at the eBay auction on her iPhone as the last forty seconds ticked away had her hands sweating and her heart racing. She never knew seconds could pass so slowly. She’d been pacing the deck of her rented apartment in the Seaside cottage community in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, for forty-five minutes. This was her first time—and she was certain her last time—using the online auction site. She was the high bidder on a baseball that she was fairly certain was her father’s from when he was a boy.
“Come on. Come on. Come on.”
. She clenched her eyes shut and squeezed the phone, as if she could will the win. It was only seven thirty in the morning, and already the sun had blazed a path through the trees. She was hot and frustrated, and after fighting with her orchestra manager for two weeks about taking a hiatus, and her mother for even longer about everything under the sun, she was ready to blow. She’d come to the Cape for a respite from playing in the Boston Symphony Orchestra, hoping to figure out if she was living her life to the fullest, or missing out on it altogether. Finding her father’s baseball autographed by Mickey Mantle was her self-imposed distraction to keep her mind off picking up the cello. She’d never imagined she’d find it a week into her vacation.
She opened her eyes and stared at the phone.
Five seconds. Four. Three
A message flashed on the screen.
You have been outbid by another bidder
“What? No. No, no, no.” She pressed the bid icon, and nothing happened. She pressed it again, and again, her muscles tightening with each attempt. Another message flashed on the screen.
Bidding for this item has ended.
She stared at the phone, unable to believe she’d been seconds away from winning what she was sure was her father’s baseball and had lost it. She hated phones. She hated eBay. She hated bidding against nonexistent people in tiny little stupid phones. She hated the whole thing so much she turned and hurled the phone over the deck.
That felt really, really good
“Ouch! What the…” A deep male voice rose up to her.
Jessica crouched and peered between the balusters. Standing on the gravel road just a few feet from her building, in a pair of black running shorts and no shirt, was the nicest butt she’d ever seen, attached to a tanned back that was glistening with sweat and rippled with muscles. Holy moly, they didn’t make orchestra musicians with bodies like that. Not that she’d know, considering that they were always properly covered in black suits and white shirts, but could a body like that even
He turned, one hand rubbing his unruly black hair as he looked up at the pitch pine trees.
Yeah, you won’t find the culprit there
His eyes passed by her deck, and she cringed. At least he hadn’t seen her phone, which she spotted a few feet away, where it must have fallen after conking him on the head. His eyes dropped to the ground…and traveled directly to it.
Jessica ducked lower, watching his brows knit together, giving him a brooding, sexy look.
Please don’t see me. Please don’t see me
He looked at the cottages to his left, then to the pool off to his right, and just as Jessica sighed with relief, he crossed the road toward the steps to her apartment. His eyes locked on her. He shaded them with his hand and looked down at the phone, then back up at her, and lifted the phone in the air.
“Is this yours?”
She debated staying there, crouched and peering between the railings like a child playing hide-and-seek, hoping he really couldn’t see her.
I’ve been seeked
She rose slowly to her feet. “My what?” She had no idea what she was going to say or do as the words flew from her mouth.
He laughed. God, he had a sexy laugh. “Your phone?”
He stood there looking amused and so damn sexy that Jessica couldn’t take her eyes off of him. “Why would that be mine? I don’t even have a phone.”
Great. Now I’m a phone assaulter and a liar.
She had no idea that being incredibly attracted to a man could couple with embarrassment and make her spew lies, as if she lied every day.
He looked back down at the phone and scratched his head. She wondered what he was thinking. That it fell from the sky? No one was that stupid, but she couldn’t own up to it now. She was in too deep. As he mounted the stairs, she got a good look at his chest, covered with a light dusting of hair, over muscles that bunched and rippled down his stomach, forming a V between his hips.
He stepped onto the deck and raked his hazel eyes down her body with the kind of smile that should have made her feel at ease and instead made her feel very naked. And hot. Definitely hot. Oh wait, he was hot. She was just bothered. Hot and bothered. Jesus, up close he was even more handsome than she imagined, with at least three days’ scruff peppering his strong chin and eyes that played hues of green and brown like a melody.
“Hi. I’m Jamie Reed.”
“How long are you renting?” He used his forearm to wipe his brow. She never knew sweating could look so sexy.
“For the summer.” She shifted her eyes to her phone. “What will you do with that phone?”
He looked down at it. “I guess that depends, doesn’t it?” The side of his mouth quirked up, making his handsome, rugged face look playful and sending her stomach into a tailspin.
Jessica needed and wanted playful in her too prim and proper life, but she needed her phone even more, in case her orchestra manager called.
“Let’s say it was my phone. Let’s say it slipped from my hand and fell over the deck, purely by accident.”
He stepped closer, and suddenly playful turned serious. His eyes went dark and seductive, in a way that bored right through her, both turning her on and calling her on her shit. He placed one big hand on the railing beside her and peered over the side. His brows lifted, and he stepped closer again. She inched backward until her back met the wooden rail. He smelled of power and sweat and something musky that made her insides quiver.
“That’s a hell of an accident.” His voice whispered over her skin.
Jessica could barely breathe, barely think with his eyes looking through her, and his crazy, sexy body so close made her sweat even more. The truth poured out like water from a faucet.
“Okay. I’m sorry. I did throw it, but it’s not my fault. Not really. It’s that stupid eBay site.” Her voice rose, and her frustration bubbled forth. “I don’t know how I could lose an auction in the last ten seconds. My bid held strong for forty-five minutes, and then out of the blue I lost it for five lousy dollars? And it was all because the stupid bid button was broken.” She sank down to a chair. “I’m sorry. I’m just upset.”