Zack is on short-term leave to attend a funeral, and he's walking a fine line. The loss is unbearable...and he'll do whatever it takes to distract himself from it. Especially if it means a night of searingly-hot sex with Holly Jacobs. Only his brilliant idea isn't exactly going according to plan.
One night isn't nearly enough. But if it goes much longer it might end in broken hearts…
The Glamorous Life of a Romance Writer
A typical day would start with breakfast in bed, or at the very least, fresh ground coffee, fetched by the stunningly hot guy that shares your life. Your muse, and inspiration. Every time you looked at his firm abs you’d conjure up another fictional hero.
Drifting around the house wearing a cream silk robe, you’d sit in a sunny corner and gaze at the view while you nibbled wholemeal toast, or devoured a slice of perfectly ripe melon. Ideas would bubble all the while. Fresh new plots. Feisty heroines. Alpha heroes. Witty lines of dialogue. The words would all line up, ready to be tossed onto the page.
Your email inbox would be bursting with messages from loyal readers, and glowing reviews for your latest release. You might spend a few happy minutes checking your sales rank on Amazon and basking in the glory, then getting down to work and knocking out two thousand words before even taking the dog for a walk.
A phone call from another writer friend would herald a girls lunch out, where you’d discuss the world at large, over a glass of wine.
Back home, you hammer out another four thousand words, then greet your partner. He’d bring a takeaway dinner to save you the hassle of cooking, and give you a soothing shoulder massage while you talk him through the intricacies of your plot, and he offers helpful and useful ideas.
Ah… if only.
Mine runs more along the lines of:
6:00 - check emails, check Amazon book rankings and refresh the screen obsessively when it’s clearly still showing the same as yesterday
7:00 - shout teen son to get up, ask hubs to feed the cats
7:15 - shout teen son again; scramble to get out of the house on time
7:30 - realise my blouse has a tea stain on the front, and try to cover it with a strategically placed scarf
8:00 – 18:00 day job
18:30 – back home, feed cats, cook dinner, supervise homework, load ashing machine and pour a glass of wine
19:30 – stare at manuscript
20:00 – raid the fridge for chocolate. None left. Eat a handful of chocolatey breakfast cereal instead.
20:30 – flick through story notes and try to remember the witty dialogue I came up with while in the shower this morning
22:00 – finally hit the groove and hammer out a thousand words – yay!
22:30 – fall into bed and start all over again…
One day maybe… J
“Thanks.” His voice was gruff. “I have to say, this isn’t how I’d imagined spending tonight.”
Me neither. His words were a timely reminder of my own plans for the evening and the knowledge I needed to get back to Jas soon. I knocked back the last of my drink. “I know it’ll be horrible tomorrow, but hang in there. Where’s the service being held?”
He shrugged. “Dunno. Somewhere local. I’ve got it written down. My mum made all the arrangements, including renting this place for me.”
“You don’t live round here?”
“Uh-uh.” His dark gaze pinned me to my seat. “I live wherever I’m deployed. Right now that’s just outside the Bamiyan province.”
He nodded. “I go where the army sends me.”
A few minutes longer wouldn’t hurt. “How long have you been there?”
He lifted his glass and examined it, as though surprised it was empty again. “This is my third deployment.”
My knowledge of Afghanistan was limited to what I’d seen on TV and in the news. Kiwi soldiers fighting alongside English and American. Soldiers dying. I tried not to shiver again. “What do you do?” It came out as a breathy whisper.
Zack stared at me and then leaned across the table. He reached out with his free hand and slowly, with all the time in the world, traced one finger across my knuckles. A dark ripple of lust fired through my veins, and I swallowed hard. Don’t do this. Don’t make this mistake again. I couldn’t move, even if I’d wanted to. “So, Holly Jacobs. Do you get hot at the idea of keeping a lonely soldier’s bed warm?”
No! Zack’s lazy voice made every nerve ending tingle, and my mouth forgot how to form words. He skated a rough fingertip over my knuckles some more. “Are you serious?” I asked.
“You’re a beautiful woman. You can’t blame me for trying.”
Like a bucket of ice water, his words jerked me back to reality. I tugged my hands back and slapped them onto the tabletop and then pushed to my feet. Not again. I’ll only end up getting hurt. Gwen grunted and lifted her shaggy head, and I sucked in a deep breath. “Thanks for the drink.” With trembling fingers I dug into my pocket for the leads. I had to go, to get away from his hungry eyes and his seductive touch.
“I’m sorry.” He hung his head. “Please don’t go.”
You can’t blame me for trying. The words rang in my head. “I have to.”
“I’m a rifleman, infantry.” I hesitated, and his eyes lifted to scan my face. “I’m a dick. I’m rude, and I’m not even nearly drunk enough to sleep yet.” The words rasped out of him. “But I’m very glad you came to sit with me. Thank you.”
Common sense screamed at me to round up the girls and go, but I ignored it and stayed where I was, my feet rooted to the wooden deck. “I accept your apology, but I can’t stay.”
Zack sighed and then scrubbed a hand over his eyes. “Let me walk you home?”
From insensitive ass to gentleman in the blink of an eye. “It’s a short walk and I have two giant dogs. Really, what could happen to me?”
“Please.” He stood up and jammed both hands in his pockets. It would mean spending five more minutes with him. I could resist him for five minutes.
I shrugged and tried not to be pleased. “Okay.”
He behaved as though perfectly sober, clipping the leads to the dogs’ collars and walking down the steps with them, back onto the sand. I let him take charge of the girls, amused at how they suddenly behaved themselves.
“It’s all in the voice,” he murmured. “You need to speak firmly to them, and they’ll do anything you want.” Unbidden, the idea of Zack doing whatever I wanted swam into my head. With an effort, I pushed past it.
“I think they prefer guys.”
Dark eyes flashed at me, the corners of his lips tugging up. “I prefer girls.”
He’d be a right charmer if things were different. Yeah, if he wasn’t in mourning for his sister, chimed the diligent voice in my head. Don’t even think of getting involved. That should be my new mantra.
Trailer link: https://youtu.be/8zdmj4Xf_zg
For more about the Love at the Beach series, check out the series website: https://loveatthebeach.wordpress.com/
Read the first chapter here: http://www.entangledpublishing.com/his-temporary-fix/
Romance author Sofia Grey spends her days managing projects in the corporate world and her nights hanging out with wolf shifters and alpha males. She devours pretty much anything in the fiction line, but she prefers her romances to be hot, and her heroes to have hidden depths. When writing, she enjoys peeling back the layers to expose her characters’ flaws and always makes them work hard for their happy endings.