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Read, Write, Love at Seaside(10)

By:Addison Cole



“Can’t today. I’ve got a few things to do, but thanks anyway.”

She told herself she owed Kurt a thank-you basket. That was her story, and she was sticking to it.



THE SUN BEAT down on Kurt’s bare back as his fingers danced over the keyboard. He was in the zone. The killer was a breath away from his unsuspecting victim. Kurt’s heart slammed against his chest; sweat dripped from his torso and beaded his forehead. His hand perspired with every determined keystroke. This was what he lived for. The moment he became so engrossed in his writing that he was right there with both the victim and the villain, holding his breath in the space in between.

He heard tires in the driveway and blinked the noise away, hoping whoever it was had lost their way and was just turning around. He went back to the villain, who closed his eyes as he caught the victim’s scent, spurring on his deviant desires.

Knocking drew his focus toward the cottage.

“Darn it,” he muttered and turned back to his writing.

The knocking continued. Kurt clenched his teeth and continued hammering out the scene that played in his mind like a movie.

“Hello?”

Kurt’s fingers froze. Leanna. The thought of her in his arms, her wet body pressed against his chest, sent a wave of heat through him. He stared at his laptop, calculating his writing time. He’d written five thousand words and hoped for another three thousand before the day’s end. Once Leanna started talking, he’d have no hope of writing a word. She talked more than his fictional victims when pleading for their lives.

And for some unknown reason, she intrigued him. He wanted to hear what she had to say.

He heard scratching on the deck stairs, and then Pepper was clawing his bare legs and barking at his feet.

Oh, come on.

He shoved away from the table and, ignoring Pepper, descended the stairs and went toward the front of the house. He stopped cold at the sight of a rainbow-colored Volkswagen Bus. A colorful starburst surrounded a spare tire hooked to the front of the old van. He took a step around the gaudy, hand-painted vehicle. Yellow flowers covered half of the side, running from front to back, and a gigantic blue dragonfly covered the driver’s door. An ocean scene of fish, red mushrooms, and bikini-clad women covered the center of the van. A half-moon with a face, of course, covered the rear panel, and the expanded top of the van was painted blue with white clouds and stars.

She was not only messy, but a hippie to boot?

He looked down at Pepper, panting beside him.

“Hey there.” Leanna came around the side of the house with a basket under one lean, tanned arm and flashed a smile that nearly knocked him off his feet. “I brought you something.”

“Hi,” was all he could manage. Her body glistened with sweat, making her light blue tank top stick to her stomach and chest. She wore another pair of cutoffs, and when she bent over to pet Pepper, she flashed a curve of bronze skin where her butt met her thighs. Kurt swallowed hard.

She popped back up and handed him the basket. Her eyes took a slow roll down his body.

Kurt arched a brow, amused by the once-over, but apparently, she didn’t realize she’d done it, or hadn’t cared that he’d noticed, because she never missed a beat.

“I wanted to say thank you. I was kinda rude last night, pushing you out of the cottage and all, but I’m not a total jerk. I hope I’m not interrupting anything.” She didn’t give him time to answer, as she followed the slate path toward the back of the house. “You were on the deck?”

He couldn’t do much more than watch and follow. Leanna befuddled him. No one befuddled Kurt Remington. He was unflappable. Or at least he’d always thought he was.

“Oh, gosh, you were working.” She leaned over his computer screen.

Kurt closed the laptop. “Writing.”

Her eyes grew serious. “You don’t like people to read as you write? No worries. I get that, I guess. In case you want to change something? You don’t want that person to know you changed what you’d written?”

What? No. Or at least I don’t think that’s why I do it. Holy cow. Now she had him questioning his writing practices in ways he never had.

“I have beta readers and editors who read my work before publication.”

She flopped down on a chair with another stomach-rattling smile. “What’s a beta reader?”

Distracted by Leanna and by her dog, who had made himself at home on Kurt’s chair, he answered cryptically. “A beta reader. Test reader before publication.” He glared at Pepper and pointed to the deck. “Off.”

Pepper jumped down.

“You need to teach me that,” Leanna said.

“What?”

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