Embraced at Seaside

By: Addison Cole

Chapter One





THE SCENT OF patchouli hung in the air as Jana Garner slid silently from the sheets in the unfamiliar room. A thin glow from the streetlights seeped between the heavy curtains, cutting a path across Hunter Lacroux. She couldn’t help but admire his powerful physique one last time. Something to draw upon later when she would surely berate herself for hooking up, yet again, with the unfairly irresistible pigheaded man.

One beautifully sculpted arm arched across his forehead, and the other stretched across the pillow on which she’d slept, revealing the tattoo of the four essential life elements wrapping around his bicep. She’d asked him about it once, and he’d said he was an earthy guy. She didn’t linger on his tattoo for long. His broad chest was too tantalizing, and it led to ripped abs. Abs that, even when he was sleeping, were perfectly defined. The sheets were bunched across his danger zone, which was an ideal location for them, because there were two things about Hunter Lacroux that drove Jana wild: his wickedly dark eyes that made her forget all the reasons why she should never touch him and that trouser snake of his that brought such immense pleasure, it kept her coming back for more.

Hunter Lacroux was the one man on the planet she should stay away from and the only one she seemed unable to deny. She tiptoed around the bed and picked up her miniskirt and top, searching for her bra and panties and wondering how she’d ended up here again. She’d been out with her sister, Harper, her friend Sky, and Sky’s fiancé, Sawyer, at a bar in Provincetown, when Sky’s brothers Hunter and Grayson and their friend Clark had shown up. She vaguely remembered getting into a heated debate with Hunter. Don’t we always? Hunter knew Jana had been training under her brother Brock, a local boxing champ, for almost three years, and he’d been intent on giving her a hard time about women infiltrating a man’s sport.

Jerk.

The next thing she knew they were several shots of tequila to the wind and stumbling along Commercial Street to…? She looked around the room. This place, wherever that was. It looked like a motel bedroom, but in reality, knowing Hunter, it could have been a friend’s house where they’d crashed for the night.

Tequila. It was always her undoing. She should know better than to do shots of it anytime—but especially when he was around. She momentarily wondered why her sister hadn’t dragged her away from him. Harper knew she had fallen into bed with him before and had sworn him off. Darn her.

She glanced at her reflection in the mirror above the dresser. Her long blond hair was knotted and tangled, and her eyes were bloodshot. I really need to stop doing this. Her eyes dropped to the reflection of Hunter. Especially with you.

If she were honest with herself, she’d admit that she needed to stop blaming Harper, too, and take some responsibility for her actions. She was twenty-five, for goodness’ sake, not sixteen.

She stole another glance at Hunter, remembering the way he’d fisted his hands in her hair, tugging until her scalp stung, and nearly growled her name when they were fooling around. The man was an animal in the sack, better than any man she’d ever been with. She didn’t do relationships, not after a string of horrible breakups and hurt feelings. She’d sampled enough men over the years to be certain of two things. Men as talented in bed as Hunter were hard to come by, and if she were looking to settle into a monogamous relationship, which she definitely wasn’t, it wouldn’t be with a player like him.

She pulled on her clothes and sank down to her knees, looking under the furniture for her panties. Where the heck were they?

She tiptoed back around the bed, grabbed her purse from the chair and picked up her flip-flops. She glossed over his jeans lying by the foot of the bed and his T-shirt by the door in one last search for her lingerie. Her eyes danced over the chair in the corner, the dresser, the…Ohmygosh.

Her stomach dipped as she plucked her bra from the top of the lampshade in the corner of the room, where he must have tossed it last night. He was definitely an aggressive and fun lover. Two admirable traits—if they weren’t attached to bullheaded Hunter. She didn’t know what it was about him that pissed her off, but every time they were together they clashed like oil and water, then tangled in the sheets like starving castaways fed for the first time in years.