Hope Hampton is back home for the summer, fresh off her freshman year at college. As usual, she’s spending the next ten weeks dishing up fried clam strips and hush puppies at the Shrimp Shack food truck. Licking her wounds after a nasty scandal back at school, all Hope wants to do is fry seafood, bank her paychecks, and lay low for the summer. That is, until she spots the sexy new girl dishing up smoothies in the food truck across the way.
Jade McPhee has had it with love. Burned one too many times, she’s renting a trailer after a cross country odyssey left her heartbroken and broke. A job making smoothies isn’t exactly her idea of heaven on earth, but it pays the bills until she can decide on her next move.
When the sexy tomboy from the Shrimp Shack lends her a raincoat during an afternoon thunderstorm, the good girl home on summer break and the punk chick on the run catch lightning in a bottle all summer long! Can their rainy, opposites attract meet cute stand the test of time? Or will it be just another summer fling?
Jade held Hope’s hand, the skin warm and smooth in her gentle grip as she squeezed it reassuringly. “Excited,” Hope continued. “Worried. Anxious. Happy. Scared?”
Jade cocked her head slightly, even as she inched a millimeter closer. “What are you scared about?”
“Kissing you,” Hope said quickly.
Jade nodded. “What if I kiss you instead? Will that make you feel less scared?”
Hope glanced around the cozy deck nervously. Jade followed her eyes, seeing past the winking fairy lights in the snake plants and the flickering mason jar candles on the deck railing to the soft, quiet strand of scrub brush that stretched beyond it. “Here?” she asked, predictably.
Jade rolled her eyes, unclenching Hope’s clenched fist and drifting toward the railing where, blow by blow, she extinguished each candle until the sky grew ever darker. In their absence, the soft glow from the half-dozen planters at their feet did little to dispel the darkness all around. “Better?” Jade asked with a knowing smirk.
Hope nodded, inching closer. Their eyes scanned the horizon, the nearest cottage in the tiny, winding subdivision dark and quiet, as were the two just beyond it. She nodded, then shook her head. “But I want to see you,” she croaked.
“I’m right here,” Jade murmured, dragging Hope closer and feeling her reluctance weaken with every inch. “See my face? And I bet even a newbie can find my lips --”
Hope kissed her then, her soft lips full upon Jade’s own and silencing her with the aching press of flesh on flesh. It was as surprising as it was sensual, full of longing and tenderness and, just beneath every tender tug and pull and slide, a surprising amount of confidence.
Jade leaned against the railing at her back, breathless with surprise and aching with sensuality. Despite all her nervousness -- Jade could sense it in her wiry, almost humming body -- Hope was a passionate and swoon-worthy kisser. When at last her full lips let Jade’s up for air, she was breathless, gripping the railing on either side of her with white knuckles.
“Where did you learn to kiss like that?” Jade gasped. Literally. Gasped. She’d never done that before. With anyone. Ever.
Hope gave her an almost cocky wink. “Practice. Lots and lots of practice.”
“But you said you barely even kissed your sorority sister,” Jade murmured, shivering with unexpected delight as Hope ran greedy hands down her sides.
“I dated a boy for three years, Jade,” Hope murmured between soft, gentle pecks that grew more insistent with each drizzle of her eager fingertips. “That’s ... a lot of kissing.”
“But a boy?”
Hope’s fingers found her waist, pressing the silken kimono against Jade’s eager, wanton skin. “Boyd didn’t like kissing very much,” Hope explained, holding Jade in place as her warm breath caressed her ears, nuzzling both in turn as she spun her sexy tale. “But he had beautiful lips. Thick and ripe and full and almost always moist. So tender and so moist. Sometimes, between class, or when there were too many people around or we didn’t have enough time to do more, all we could do was kiss. I ... tried to make the most of it, and imagine that, one day, the lips might be someone else’s ...”
Jade’s eyes rolled back in her head with the taunting, teasing whisper of Hope’s breath against her cheeks, the soft brushing of her lips along her own and the teasing grip clenched around her waist. She’d been with four women, all told, and each of them had been rushed, hurried, torrid affairs, as brief as they were bonkers, and not one of them had ever made Jade feel the way she did right now: helpless and desperate with want.