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Read, Write, Love at Seaside(7)

By:Addison Cole

Kurt stepped to the side to give her room.

The blonde put her hands on her hips and exhaled loudly, raking her eyes down Kurt’s body. “I came to see whose sweet ride was outside.” She shoved her hand toward Kurt. “Bella Abbascia. Nice to meet you. I’m Leanna’s neighbor.”

He shook her hand. “Kurt Remington.”

“No way.” Bella looked at Leanna. “No freaking way.”

Leanna’s eyes darted between them. “What?”

Kurt looked down, readying himself for what he always hoped to avoid. Attention.

Bella stepped closer, and Kurt leaned back a little.

“You are him. Leanna Bray, you sneaky little minx. Why didn’t you tell me you knew him? I’m a huge fan of yours. You write the scariest crap I’ve ever read.” Bella shook her head, and her thick blond hair swept across her shoulders.

“Crap?” Kurt could tell by her wide-eyed stare and smile that she enjoyed his work and crap wasn’t meant in a derogatory fashion.

“You know what I mean.” Bella grabbed his arm and pulled him over to the empty chair. “Sit, please. I would love to talk to you.”

“Actually, I was just leaving.” He turned toward the door. “I’ve got some writing to do.”

“Wait. You’re a writer?” Leanna asked.

“Wow, Lea. Look at this place.” Bella began gathering dishes. “He’s not just a writer. He’s one of the hottest thriller writers out there.” She ran her eyes over him again. “No pun intended.”

“Bella.” Leanna swatted her arm. “I was late this morning and didn’t have time to clean up after I made the last batch.” Leanna looked at Kurt. “I’m sorry. I’m so used to this. I never even notice the mess.”

“No worries. I’ll be going.”

“Kurt, wait, please.” Bella put her hands on her hips again. “Actually, you know what? I can see why you’d want to bolt. It’s like a typhoon hit in here or something. I’d tell you she’s not usually like this, but our jam girl is always a little like this.”

“Jam girl?”

“She makes jams and jellies and sells them at the flea market.” Bella looked between the two of them. “Wait. How do you know each other? You guys don’t even know what the other does for a living? Did you just hook up tonight or something?”

Flea market?

“No, no, no.” Leanna pushed Kurt toward the door. “I’m sorry. Bella knows no boundaries.”

Her hands were on his chest again, and she was gazing at him with a look of something—embarrassment, maybe—in her gorgeous hazel eyes. Typhoon might just have been the accurate word for her. She was a hot mess. A hot, incredibly sexy mess, and she made him a little dizzy.

And surprisingly, he liked it.

“Thank you for helping me and for driving us home.” She glared at Bella.

You’re pushing me out? Why does that make me want to stay?

“Sure. Be careful next time you’re out there. You could have really been hurt in the current.”

Pepper jumped off his bed and clawed at Kurt’s legs. Leanna reached down to pick him up, and Pepper escaped her reach, running circles around Kurt.

“See? I told you he has no manners.” Leanna blew a wayward hair from her eyes. It fell right back in front of them.

Between the dog barking and circling his feet and Leanna touching his chest, Kurt was having trouble thinking straight.

Leanna blew at the lock of hair again. It flitted up, then fell back in her eyes again. Pepper added whining to his reverie.

Kurt shot a look at the dog. “Hush,” he said sternly.

Pepper sat at his feet with a whimper, his tongue lolling from his mouth.

Leanna blew at her hair again, and Kurt reached out and tucked the offending lock of hair gently behind her ear.

“Wow.” Bella opened the refrigerator door and grabbed a beer. “You got Pepper to listen. You can write and you’re magical? Impressive.”

Weirdest night ever.

Kurt held up his beer. “Thank you for the drink.” Aw, hell. Leanna’s bike. Had she made his mind completely nonfunctional? How’d he forget that? “Your bike? Should I put it in my garage?”

“Yeah, sure. I’ll come by and get it.”

He nodded, stifling the urge to ask when. Of course, first he’d have to waste time looking for her bike, and for some strange reason, that didn’t bother him one bit.

“Have a nice night, ladies.” He drove out of the complex completely perplexed—and intrigued—by the messy free spirit that was Leanna Bray.

Chapter Three

IT WAS THREE forty-five Saturday afternoon, and even beneath the awning above her booth at the flea market, it was a scorcher. The flea market was held in the parking lot of the Wellfleet Drive-In, and it was where she’d met Al Black when she was a little girl. He was an elderly jam maker from Plymouth, and over the years they’d become trusted friends. When Al became ill last year, he’d contacted Leanna, shared his recipes, and when he passed away a few months later, at the ripe old age of eighty-two, the idea for Luscious Leanna’s was born. In honor of her friendship with Al, and with the support of her most trusted friends, she’d set out for the Cape, hoping to make a go of the business.