Erin came to New Bay on her year out from college, keen to experience the lifestyle of a vibrant seaside town famous for its surf and its surfers. Attractive and fun-loving, Erin doesn’t expect to be left with a very expensive spare ticket to the hottest concert in town.
Her boss Kelly’s solution is to recruit Dan to take the ticket off Erin’s hands and to escort her to the concert. Ex-champion surfer Dan soon accepts the offer. But why would Erin want to go on an enforced date with the geekiest looking guy in New Bay? And why doesn’t Dan surf?
Here’s a taster from September Song – © Nell Dixon 2006 from the Fall in Love anthology available from Moonlit Romance and Fictionwise.
As they rounded the cliff base, the rocky strand petered out and they entered the next bay. Dan called the kids together and they sat down as a group on the dry sand, shielded from the breeze, and had a drink from the sports bottles they all carried in their backpacks. Erin snuggled close to Dan, enjoying the feel of his body next to her and the gentle warmth of the autumnal sun on her face.
She took a long drink from her bottle and gazed along the golden curve of the bay. Unlike the beach at New Bay where there were always a few people out walking, the sands here were deserted all except for one lone surfer. The familiar figure in a black wetsuit rode the waves on a board further down the beach.
‘It looks as if Brad’s out practising early today. He doesn’t usually use this bay.’ Erin watched as Brad rode the surf onto the sand.
‘It’d be better if he had someone with him. The currents are treacherous in this part of the bay and it’s easy to get caught out.’
Erin felt Dan shift his position, moving his arm as if uncomfortable.
‘Brad’s an experienced surfer.’ She popped her bottle back in her backpack.
‘Even so, it’s still risky to be surfing alone on this part of the beach.’
She looked at Dan in surprise, he sounded unusually vehement. He called the teenagers and they set off again across the beach.
‘We need to round the next headland before the tide turns to make it to the rendezvous.’ Dan consulted his watch and looked at the tide timetable he had in his pocket. ‘Brad needs to finish up his practice soon. The currents will start to sweep in with an undertow in the next half an hour.’
Erin glanced over at Brad, belly down on his board as he waited for the waves. ‘You sound as if you know a lot about the sea. I didn’t know you surfed.’
The Little Shop of Dreams by Jessica Raymond
Tess Worthington has finally achieved her dream of opening a gift shop in an Oxford shopping centre despite emotional struggles and debts, so when the handsome stranger she’s noticed around the mall asks her out, her happiness seems complete. Property consultant Mack Brady falls hard for Tess the more time they spend together, and after a magical Halloween celebration, he just knows she’s The One. But when the property deal Mack is brokering at the mall turns sour, Tess fears that not only has the man she’s just fallen in love with broken her heart, but he might also have taken her dreams—Little Shop and all.
The Little Shop of Dreams(c) Jessica Raymond, 2006
Tess didn’t realize how long she and Mack had been talking until she tried to take another sip of tea and found only cold dregs in her mug.
“I should let you go. We might get snowed in if we stay too late,” he said.
Tess followed his gaze out the window and saw that a coating of snow now lay across the ground. It glistened like whipped cream topped with diamonds, and she mused to herself that being snowed in with Mack was probably something she’d very much like to try and handle.
At the door, Mack took Tess’s jacket from the rack and held it out for her. She savoured the feel of his warm fingertips brushing her neck as he lifted her hair away from her collar. He gently looped her scarf around her neck when she turned, and all the while, his eyes never left hers. Tremulous warmth moved through her.
They both laughed as their words met in the cold air outside the café. A new snow had just started to fall, the tiny flakes bright against the late-night darkness.
“You first,” she said, and began to rub her bare hands together for warmth. A gasp escaped her lips when Mack covered her hands with his and began to massage them with slow, assured movements.
“Do you have far to go?” he asked.
“No, my flat’s ten minutes away by bus.” Suddenly, she wondered if he was going to kiss her. Could she even remember how to do it? She hadn’t kissed anybody since… well, she’d rather not think about it. She would much rather be able to say that the last person she’d kissed was Mack Brady if somebody were to ask her tomorrow.
“Bus?” Mack repeated. “I think I’d feel better if you took a taxi straight home in this weather.”
“It’s all right. The stop’s only a ten minute walk away and—”
But he had already dropped one hand from Tess’s fingers and hailed a passing taxi. He quickly passed money to the driver and then turned back to her.
“Now it’s my turn to say ‘no arguments’. I’m paying.”
Tess smiled at his noble gesture. “Thank you, that’s very kind. I… had a nice evening.”
Mack’s eyes linked with hers as if on some private connection. “So did I. I’d love to see you again, Tess.”
Elation rushed through her, warm and newfound. “I’d love to see you, too.” She drank in the sight of his strong, kind face; his solid, protective shoulders; his large, capable hands. “In fact…” She trailed off and bit her lip. Was she really about to do this?
Purchase the Fall in Love anthology at Moonlit Romance... 2006 catalog.