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In Pursuit of Paradise

The Wild Rose Press

Heat Rating: STEAMY
Word Count: 50,205
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Ship captain Nicholas Becket knows he needs to change his playboy ways. And when he discovers beautiful divorcee Lily Kingston at a job fair for his cruise line, he thinks he has found someone who can reform him.

Lily is looking for a change of her own but she isn’t prepared for Nick and all of his baggage. Not to mention her own scars from the recent past. Although she is fiercely attracted to the handsome and dashing millionaire, an unexpected event threatens to tear them apart forever.

Can this pair of lost souls overcome the stormy waters of life’s ups and downs in order to find their true paradise?


He looked at her with his stunning blue eyes. “Yes and no. There are fun times, but it is a lot of hard work. I’ve had my share of both. It can be exciting, yes. But you must be dedicated to the job first and foremost. Do you think you are up for the challenge?”

Lily smiled a nervous smile. She was being interviewed again and she didn’t like it, despite the fact that this handsome man in uniform was asking the questions. “Yes, of course.” She was using a much more confident tone than she was actually feeling and she surprised herself, for the second time today. “I have a lot of experience, and I’m no stranger to hard work.” There, she had told him. Then, he smiled at her again and her stomach dropped.

“Good to know. We are always looking for dedicated employees to join the Caribbean Paradise family. Do you live here, near Cape Canaveral?”

“Actually, I live in Orchard Park. But it is not too far away, just over an hour drive from here. Where do you live?”

“On a cruise ship most of the time. But I do have a condo in St. Petersburg, where the corporate headquarters are located.” He glanced at his watch and then frowned. “Well, I would love to keep chatting with you, Lily, but I must get back to my interviews now.”

“Of course.” Lily stood and prepared to leave. She didn’t want to keep him from his work, but she had to admit, she was a little bit disappointed their conversation had been cut short. There was so much more she wanted to know about this man, but it just wasn’t meant to be. “Thank you so much for your time. It was a pleasure to meet you.” She held out her hand for him to shake.

Instead, he grasped her hand and brought it to his lips. His kiss was so delicate, she almost fainted on the spot. The touch of his skin on hers was warm, light, and inviting. She imagined how his lips would feel on the rest of her body. What was going on with her? Was she losing the tenuous grip she had on her sanity?

“No, Lily,” he said. “The pleasure was all mine.” He paused for a moment. “Would you like to have dinner with me tonight? Unless of course you have other plans and have to head back home.”

Lily hesitated. She had been on a few casual dates since her divorce six months earlier, but she had never been asked out by a complete stranger. Sympathetic friends, just trying to help her get on with her life, set up most of the one-date-only events she had attended. But none of the nice yet ordinary men made her feel the way she did right now.

Electricity crackled between them. She was certain they had a strong, unexplained connection even if her rational side was telling her it wasn’t a smart idea to get involved with this guy. Despite her misgivings, she found her voice. “No, I don’t have to get back home, so yes, I would like to have dinner with you, Captain Becket.” There. She had overruled her common sense yet again, and went with her gut. A warm flush crawled across her face again, but she just didn’t care. This was what she wanted, and she was going for it. There was no turning back now.

“Wonderful,” he said. “I’ll meet you in the hotel lounge, say six o’clock?”

“Yes.” She smiled and hoped she didn’t sound too nervous. “See you then.” He let her hand go, and they parted ways. Lily walked toward the lobby with a grin on her face and the feel of Nick’s lips on her hand still etched in her mind.

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