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Tip-A-Canoe for Two

The Wild Rose Press

Heat Rating: SIZZLING
Word Count: 79,950
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When Kat Delaney’s last romance ends in disaster, she flees from the city to claim a dubious inheritance from an eccentric aunt. Determined to stick to her new no-men-allowed rule, she settles in at Mill Pond and attempts to figure out her next move. It works, too, until a hungry pool filter eats her bikini top and she's rescued from drowning by a hometown hero with incredible dimples.

Jake's dimples conceal a guilty secret. He's trying to move forward, but between caring for a motel that’s seen better days, a fashion-challenged elderly uncle, and a ghost toting a duck, his options are limited.

When city meets country, sleepy Mill Pond is turned on its head. It seems the rules don't always apply--no matter how stubborn the players are!

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The steel key stuck in the lock as if cemented in place. It slipped in smoothly enough, but now that it shot home there was no turning the thing. And no pulling it out.

Kat attempted to twist it to the left, to no avail. She tried turning it clockwise, with the same result. Sheer frustration made her kick the bottom of the door, inches below where the plate glass met rutted wooden doorframe. The glass rattled ominously. so she took a step back.

And collided with a solid form.

“Damn!” It shot from her lips before she realized it was in her mind.

A familiar chuckle met her ears.

Double damn.

The wall she pressed against wasn’t a wall at all, but the very same man she’d been squished up against yesterday afternoon. Now her backside met his front side, whereas yesterday they’d been front to front.

There was no time to contemplate which position she preferred.

“So that’s how it is in the big city, then? Swearing and kicking all day long?”

The teasing made her smile. She turned to find his smile matched hers—except he had those knee-wobbling dimples she’d noticed yesterday.

Trapped between the door behind her and the handsome man in front of her. All things considered, not a bad place to be.

“What makes you think I’m from the city?”

The move from Manhattan to Mill Pond only put a couple hundred miles between her Upper East Side apartment and this stubborn door, but it felt like two entirely different realities. Which it was.

“Don’t try to hide that city accent.”

She bristled. “I’m not trying to hide anything.”

The grin fell from his face. “We all hide something.”

It was true, especially in her case, but she didn’t intend to reveal herself to a man she barely knew. “Not me. Nothing to hide.” Waving her arms wide, showing she didn’t have anything in her hands or behind her back, didn’t bring a return smile.

He quirked an eyebrow, his disbelief as readable as a Broadway marquee.

“Then you’re a pretty unusual woman.”

How had they gotten on such a serious note so quickly? Just a minute ago, she had been kicking a door like some spoiled juvenile delinquent.

“Just telling the truth.”

They stared at each other for a long moment. A pulse beat in his throat, beneath the tanned skin. It was crazy, but the thought to lean in and kiss the spot crossed her mind.

Finally, he showed the dimples again, ending the spell his masculine neck had cast.

“Always a good thing, the truth.” The words sounded hollow, but the smile seemed genuine.

Her gaze still drifted from his face to his neck, then back again. Damn, but the man was good looking!

“So, what’s the deal?”

“The deal?”

He nodded to the door behind her. “The door? I saw you doing your citified kung-fu move on it. Problem is, this is upstate New York and doors here don’t drop like Central Park muggers.”

“So you’re a comedian, eh? Are you one of those street performers, telling jokes for pocket change?”

“Wrong guy. The mime went that way.” A fast jerk of his head to the sidewalk behind them.

It made no sense. They barely knew each other, yet the banter came naturally.

She dropped her glance downward. His faded blue jeans were tight—and low. Scoping out his pockets—and giving his zipper a fast gaze—before looking back into his shocked eyes was dangerous, but she couldn’t resist. “Empty pockets, then?”