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Read, Write, Love at Seaside(12)

By:Addison Cole

After securing her hair, she took the towel from his hands. “Thanks so much. I really appreciate it. I was going to take Pepper to the water later, so this saves us time.” She traced a finger over the tattoo on his chest. “I never would have guessed you to be a tattoo guy.”

It was all he could do to shift his eyes from her bikini top to her finger working its way across his bare chest.

“And the one on your arm?” She touched that one, too, and he could tell by the unchanged inflection of her voice that she wasn’t trying to be sexy or flirtatious. She was just being Leanna—curious, sweet.

And it was affecting him. He cleared his throat and stepped away.

“Thanks. They were a…” Still in shock over everything about Leanna, he was at a loss for words. He was used to being in control, and Leanna was stealing that from him one hot breath at a time.

She cocked her head and looked up at him.

“A whim,” he managed. Whim? He’d never done a thing in his life based on a whim.

She smiled. “Really? You don’t strike me as a whim guy. Hm.” She turned and tossed the blanket and towel over her shoulder. “I guess I’ll hit the beach, then. Come on, Pep.” She headed for the beach with a bounce in her step.

Kurt let out a breath and ran his hand through his hair. He watched her spread out the towel and lie down on her back, her hands tapping to some silent beat, her lips slightly parted, and Pepper running circles around her. She was so not what he needed. What am I doing? How was he supposed to think of killing and darkness with that beautiful, touchy-feely, all-too-comfortable-and-happy woman a few feet away?

He nearly jumped out of his skin when his cell phone rang. He needed the distraction.

“Hi, Jackie,” he answered. Jackie Tolson had been his literary agent for six years. She was five feet tall on a good day, weighed about a hundred pounds soaking wet, with stick-straight black hair cut severely above her shoulders, and she was as aggressive as a trapped cobra.

“Kurt. How’s life at the Cape?”

He pictured her leaning back in her pristine Manhattan office furnished top to bottom in leather, mahogany, and white, wearing her Manolo Blahnik strappy heels and designer suit, a pen sticking out between her perfect teeth and her perfectly applied makeup softening her sharp features. The thought brought a smile to his lips. He liked Jackie, and he loved her meticulous nature and her bulldog determination. Professionally, they were a great match.

“The Cape is…” He glanced down at the beach, where Leanna was on her hands and knees, rolling around with Pepper in the sand. “Interesting.”

“Interesting as in inspiring, or interesting as in we’re going to be late with our submission?”

He watched Leanna chase Pepper into the water. “Have I ever missed a deadline?”

“No, and I’m just waiting for the day you do. I’m not sure if I’ll celebrate that you finally have a life or I’ll hate you for making us look bad.”

“If I ever miss a deadline I think you’ll be second in line to shoot me.”

“Yeah, yeah. You’ll shoot yourself first. I’ve heard it from the best of them. Everyone misses a deadline at some point. Did you hear from Layton?”

Layton was Kurt’s editor at his publishing house, Partner Press. “Yes. He’s ready and waiting, and we’ll have revisions back sixty days after he receives the manuscript.”

“Good. And I know timely revisions are a piece of cake for you. I wish you could teach your dedication and work habits to the rest of my clients.”

Leanna turned and waved.

“Mm-hmm.” You are so sexy. He lifted his hand in a semi wave.


He wanted to run his hands over every inch of Leanna’s glistening skin and hear her soft voice calling out his name. “Hm?”

“You sound distracted. Is something going on with your family?”

“Family? Uh, yeah. Jack’s getting married at the end of the month, but everyone’s good. Why?”

“I can’t think of anything else that would distract you. What are you doing right this second?”

She knew him too well. “Going inside to grab some grapes.” Which he did. “Now I’m sitting back down at my computer to nail this scene.”

“Fair enough. What were you doing?”

“Watching a hot chick run through the ocean.”

“Yeah, right.” She laughed. “Okay. Let me know if you run into any issues.”

He ended the call, bothered by her disbelief of him watching Leanna. Was he that boring? It had been weeks since he’d been out on a real date. Before he came to the Cape, his sister, Siena, had set him up with an attractive friend of hers. He’d spent the whole night revising a chapter in his head. Kurt wasn’t a dater. He didn’t enjoy small talk, and he had yet to find a woman he preferred over writing. He had yet to find anything he preferred over being in front of his keyboard and creating heart-pumping literature. Sure, there were women in his life who were available when he had the urge to spend a few hours in the arms of a soft, willing woman, but those nights were on his terms and his schedule. Like everything in Kurt’s life, he believed to do it well, he had to be determined and focused and give it his all. He’d much rather focus on writing.