Noah Reynolds--screenwriter, dive master, borderline recluse--moved to Grand Cayman two years ago after the death of his fiancee. He owns a dive boat operation with his long time friend, Larry Gibbon, who moved with him from Los Angeles. Both thought they'd left the past dead and buried, but someone's on the island who wants them to remember every sordid detail.
Noah's dead fiancee's dress appears in his bedroom, clippings from tabloids are taped to the door of his house, sex tapes from his scandalous past show up at work, notes blaming him for his fiancee's suicide appear in the mail sans envelope, and threats intensify as a redhead lurks at a distance but always disappears before he can reach her--a redhead who looks remarkably like his dead ex.
When Lauren Biltmore, a former anchorwoman from Atlanta, shows up on Grand Cayman, he knows he should stay away from her. She's on Grand Cayman to stay with his best friend Austin, who happens to be her brother. Lauren's recovering from a near death experience from a stalker of her own, an encounter that ended with her killing the man in self-defense. She doesn't need Noah's kind of trouble in her life. No, if he had any morals of any kind, he'd avoid her at all costs, especially since her real life trauma shattered his writer's block.
Noah has a firm set of rules that have served him well for the past two years. Rule 1: stay busy. Rule 2: avoid relationships with women. Rule 3: confide in no one. Rule 4: remember rule #2.
But he can't stay away from her. In Lauren, he senses a kindred spirit, someone who understands what it's like to be in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. When he's with her, he feels a crack in the numbness that's surrounded him for years.
Excerpt of Riptide:
Noah knew people who played with fire always got burned, yet he couldn’t help it. Lauren’s kind of heat was magnetic. He heard her switch the music in the living room and start humming. He grabbed the dress that had been left, stuffed it in with his laundry, and walked past her cleaning the kitchen counters.
He indulged in looking at her long legs as she unloaded the dishwasher. Damn, what he would give to have those legs wrapped around him right now. Bad idea. He reminded himself of rule number two, avoid relationships with women, and then added, especially sisters of best friends.
He jogged down the steps leading to his laundry slash storage room located beneath the stilts of his house. Tired from being awake for nearly twenty-four hours, he took a moment to shove the clothes in the washing machine before stepping out the front door with the red dress in hand. He stopped in mid-step at the sight of a tall redhead standing at the end of the driveway...watching him. The sunlight glistened off of her hair like an emergency siren.
No one walked along that highway. Not regularly anyway. The way she stood there...that figure...he knew her, recognized the long body, the hair that billowed behind her like a cape, the confrontational stance. Alicia.
The cold fist of fear punched him in the gut. Frozen, he stared at the woman. It couldn’t be his dead fiancé. The key word here was “dead.” He didn’t believe in ghosts or miracles. He did, however, believe in assholes with nothing better to do with their lives than mess with him.
Clenching his teeth, he shoved the dress into the trash without looking away from the redhead. When he took a step toward her, the woman darted to the left and out of sight. Definitely not an apparition.
Determined to get to the bottom of this, he jogged toward the road. No one walked there. He looked in both directions...only a few cars, a van or two and a bus lined the highway. No tall redheads. Frustrated, he kicked at the gravel with his bare feet. Someone wanted to get inside his head and was doing a damn good job of it.
He shoved his hands through his hair and looked back toward his house built on stilts to protect itself from hurricanes. He couldn’t help but wonder what kind of storm brewed beyond his control. With every step toward his house, he knew he should wrap this breakfast up as soon as possible and stay the hell away from Lauren Biltmore with her long legs, big eyes and a laugh that made him forget common sense. Being within a few feet of her was as intense as being dragged under by a riptide.
Before closing the front door, he looked toward the driveway again. Maybe he wasn’t a genius, but he could play connect the dots. The redhead plus the dress equaled trouble.
He leaned his back against the closed door and listened to Lauren’s humming. He needed to end this before it began, go upstairs, thank her for joining him for breakfast, make an excuse about how tired he was, and then avoid The Lazy Turtle for at least a month. Maybe he’d return to Los Angeles, finish his screenplay far away from the psychotic redhead and beautiful blonde. For once in his life, he wanted to do the right thing.
Women equaled trouble, especially those who looked like Lauren with endless legs, curves made for his hands, and a smile that melted his insides.
He closed his eyes and smiled as the humming turned to singing. Great. She could actually carry a tune. Damn, she was bad news.
His smile faded as he reminded himself of right versus wrong. Not only was he writing about her stalker, he feared he suddenly had one of his own. Karma was most definitely a bitch.
Riptide--Available now for a 10% pre-order discount directly from Bookstrand.com.
Official release day is August 1, 2012.
Official release day is August 1, 2012.
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