The One Real Thing (Hart's Boardwalk)

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9781101991671: The One Real Thing (Hart's Boardwalk)

The New York Times bestselling author of On Dublin Street is back with the first in a sexy new romance series set in a small town on the Delaware coastline.
 
Welcome to Hartwell, a quiet seaside escape where uncovering old secrets could lead one woman to discover the meaning of a love that lasts...
 
While Doctor Jessica Huntington engages with the inmates at the women’s correctional facility where she works, she’s always careful to avoid emotional attachments in her personal life.  Loss and betrayal taught her that lesson long ago. But when she comes across a set of old love letters in the prison’s library and visits the picturesque town of Hartwell to deliver them to their intended recipient, she finds herself unable to resist the town’s charm—and her attraction to the sexy owner of a local bar proves equally hard to deny.
 
Since his divorce from his unfaithful ex-wife, Cooper Lawson has focused on what really matters: his family and the boardwalk pub they’ve owned for generations.  But the first time Jessica steps into his bar, Cooper is beyond tempted to risk his heart on her.
 
Yet as their attraction grows hotter and Jessica remains stubbornly closed off, he begins to realize it will take more than just passion to convince her there’s only one real thing in life worth fighting for....

"Sinopsis" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.

About the Author:

Samantha Young is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the On Dublin Street series, including Moonlight on Nightingale Way, Echoes of Scotland Street, and Fall from India Place, as well as the standalone novel Hero. She resides in Scotland.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

One

Jessica

One of my favorite feelings in the whole world is that moment I step inside a hot shower after having been caught outside in cold, lashing rain. The transformation from clothes-soaked-to-the-skin misery to soothing warmth is unlike any other. I love the resultant goose bumps and the way my whole body relaxes under the stream of warm water. In that pure, simple moment all accumulated worries just wash away with the rain.

The moment I met Cooper Lawson felt exactly like that hot shower after a very long, cold storm.

The day hadn't started out all sunshine and clear skies. It was a little gray outside and there were definite clouds, but I still hadn't been prepared for the sudden deluge of rain that flooded from the heavens as I was walking along the boardwalk in the seaside city of Hartwell.

My eyes darted for the closest available shelter and I dashed toward it-a closed bar that had an awning. Soaked within seconds, blinded by rain, and irritated by the icky feeling of my clothes sticking to my skin, I wasn't really paying much attention to anything else but getting to the awning. That was why I ran smack into a hard, masculine body.

If the man's arms hadn't reached out to catch me I would have bounced right onto my ass.

I pushed my soaked hair out of my eyes and looked up in apology at the person I had so rudely collided with.

Warm blue eyes met mine. Blue, blue eyes. Like the Aegean Sea that surrounded Santorini. I'd vacationed there a few years back and the water there was the bluest I'd ever seen.

Once I was able to drag my gaze from the startling color of those eyes, I took in the face they were set upon. Rugged, masculine.

My eyes drifted over his broad shoulders and my head tipped back to take in his face because the guy was well over six feet tall. The hands that were still on my biceps, steadying me, were big, long fingered, and callused against my bare skin.

Despite the cold, I felt my body flush with the heat of awareness and I stepped out of the stranger's hold.

"Sorry," I said, slicking my wet hair back, grinning apologetically. "That rain came out of nowhere."

He gave a brief nod as he pushed his wet dark hair back from his forehead. The blue flannel shirt he wore over a white T-shirt was soaked through, too, and I suddenly found myself staring at the way the T-shirt clung to his torso.

There wasn't an ounce of fat on him.

I thought I heard a chortle of laughter and my eyes flew to his face, startled-and horrified at the thought of being caught ogling. There was no smirk or smile on his lips, however, although there was definitely amusement in those magnificent eyes of his. Without saying a word he reached out for the door to the quaint building and pushed. The door swung open and he stepped inside what was an empty and decidedly closed bar.

Oh.

Okay for some, I thought, staring glumly out at the way the rain pounded the boardwalk, turning the boards slick and slippery. I wondered how long I'd be stuck there.

"You can wait out there if you want. Or not."

The deep voice brought my head back around. The blue-eyed, rugged, flannel guy was staring at me.

I peered past him at the empty bar, unsure if he was allowed to be in there. "Are you sure it's alright?"

He merely nodded, not giving me the explanation I sought for why it was alright.

I stared back at the rain and then back into the dry bar.

Stay out here shivering in the rain or step inside an empty bar with a strange man?

The stranger noted my indecision and somehow he managed to laugh at me without moving his mouth.

It was the laughter-filled eyes that decided me.

I nodded and strode past him. Water dripped onto the hardwood floors, but since there was already a puddle forming around the blue-eyed, rugged, flannel guy's feet I didn't let it bother me too much.

His boots squeaked and squished on the floor as he passed me; the momentary flare of heat from his body as he brushed by caused a delicious shiver to ripple down my spine.

"Tea? Coffee? Hot cocoa?" he called out without looking back.

He was about to disappear through a door that had Staff Only written on it, giving me little time to decide. "Hot cocoa," I blurted out.

I took a seat at a nearby table, grimacing at the squish of my clothes as I sat. I was definitely going to leave a butt-shaped puddle there when I stood up.

The door behind me banged open again and I turned around to see BRF (blue-eyed, rugged, flannel) Guy coming toward me with a white towel in his hand. He handed it to me without a word.

"Thanks," I said, bemused when he just nodded and headed back through the Staff Only door. "A man of few words," I murmured.

His monosyllabic nature was kind of refreshing, actually. I knew a lot of men who loved the sound of their own voice.

I wrapped the towel around the ends of my blond hair and squeezed the water out of it. Once I had rung as much of the water from my hair as I could, I swiped the towel over my cheeks, only to gasp in horror at the black stains left on it.

Fumbling through my purse for my compact, I flushed with embarrassment when I saw my reflection. I had scary black-smeared eyes and mascara streaks down my cheeks.

No wonder BRF Guy had been laughing at me.

I used the towel to scrub off the mascara, then, completely mortified, I slammed my compact shut. I now had no makeup on, I was flushed red like a teenager, and my hair was flat and wet.

The bar guy wasn't exactly my type. Still, he was definitely attractive in his rough-around-the-edges way and, well, it was just never nice to feel like a sloppy mess in front of a man with eyes that piercing.

The door behind me banged open again and BRF Guy strode in with two steaming mugs in his hands.

As soon as he put one into mine, goose bumps rose up my arm at the delicious rush of heat against my chilled skin. "Thank you."

He nodded and slipped into the seat across from me. I studied him as he braced an ankle over his knee and sipped at his coffee. He was casual, completely relaxed, despite the fact that his clothes were wet. And like me he was wearing jeans. Wet denim felt nasty against bare skin-a man-made chafe monster.

"Do you work here?" I said after a really long few minutes of silence passed between us.

He didn't seem bothered by the silence. In fact, he seemed completely at ease in the company of a stranger.

He nodded.

"You're a bartender here?"

"I own the place."

I looked around at the bar. It was traditional dŽcor with dark walnut everywhere-the long bar, the tables and chairs, even the floor. The lights of three large brass chandeliers broke up the darkness, while wall-mounted green library lamps along the back wall gave the booths there a cozy, almost romantic vibe. There was a small stage near the front door and just across from the booths were three stairs that led up onto a raised dais where two pool tables sat. Two huge flat-screen televisions, one above the bar and one above the pool tables, made me think it was part sports bar.

There was a large jukebox, beside the stage, that was currently silent.

"Nice place."

BRF Guy nodded.

"What's the bar called?"

"Cooper's."

"Are you Cooper?"

His eyes smiled. "Are you a detective?"

"A doctor, actually."

I was pretty sure I saw a flicker of interest. "Really?"

"Really."

"Smart lady."

"I'd hope so." I grinned.

Laughter danced in his eyes as he raised his mug for another sip.

Weirdly, I found myself settling into a comfortable silence with him. We sipped at our hot drinks as a lovely easiness fell between us. I couldn't remember the last time I'd felt that kind of calm contentedness with anyone, let alone a stranger.

A little slice of peace.

Finally, as I came to the end of my cocoa, BRF Guy / possibly Cooper spoke. "You're not from Hartwell."

"No, I'm not."

"What brings you to Hart's Boardwalk, Doc?"

I realized then how much I liked the sound of his voice. It was deep with a little huskiness in it.

I thought about his question before responding. What had brought me there was complicated.

"At the moment the rain brought me here," I said coyly. "I'm kind of glad it did."

He put his mug down on the table and stared at me for a long beat. I returned his perusal, my cheeks warming under the heat of his regard. Suddenly he reached across the table, offering me his hand. "Cooper Lawson."

I smiled and placed my small hand in his. "Jessica Huntington."

"Nice to meet you, Doc."

Two

Jessica

Two Weeks Earlier Women's Correctional and Rehabilitation Facility Wilmington, Delaware

"You know, if you go running into any more doors I'm giving you a vision test," I said dryly as I applied antiseptic to Mary Jo's cut lip.

She glowered at me but didn't respond, which was unusual. If only she'd use that kind of restraint with the other inmates she might stop running into so many "doors."

I dropped my cotton swab and took off my latex gloves. "Nothing more I can do here. You can sit in the ward for a half hour with ice on your eye. It should take some of the swelling down." I strode over to the small freezer in my clinic and took out an ice pack.

When I turned back to Mary Jo she was squinting at me with her good eye.

"How come you don't talk to us like we're trash? That older bitch speaks to us like we're trash."

I ignored her reference to my colleague, Dr. Whitaker, who worked part-time at the prison infirmary. She didn't peer down her nose at just the inmates; she considered everyone beneath her. And despite the fact that I was the primary physician and worked the most hours, she still consistently tried to tell me how to do my job. "Maybe because I don't think you're trash," I said, slapping the ice pack into Mary Jo's hand. I guided her hand over her eye.

"How come?"

I heard the suspicion in her voice.

Working as a prison doctor for the last two years had taught me a few things. One of those things was that most of the female inmates were suspicious of absolutely everyone and their motives.

"How come I don't think you're trash?"

"Yeah."

I turned away to put the cotton swabs I'd used in the medical trash. The answer to that question was like the deepest root of a solid twenty-one-year-old tree-buried too far down to unearth it now without toppling the entire tree. "Mistakes don't make you trash." I pasted a bright smile on my face as I turned back to her. "You're good to go." I knocked on the glass pane of my door and the guard on duty, Pamela, nodded and strode over. She opened the door. "Doc?"

"Let Mary Jo sit in the ward for about a half hour with this ice on her eye, and then she's good to go."

"Sure thing. Come on, Mary Jo." Pamela ushered her out.

Once I was alone in my office again I sat down at my computer to update Mary Jo's record. I was just finishing up when there was a knock at my door.

Fatima marched in. Six foot one, proud, and physically fit, Fatima was like a warrior queen in a prison guard uniform. She was also a riot. I grinned. "What brings you here?"

She pulled a face and waved a dusty leather-bound book at me. "These girls have been watching too many movies." She sat down on my desk and flipped the book open.

Well, look at that.

The middle of the pages had been carved into, and sitting hidden in the hole was a makeshift shank. "That's a new way to hide a weapon."

"In Jane Austen," Fatima huffed. "They defiled Mr. Darcy for this shit. Don't they know that man is fine? No shank hole should be defiling such a gentleman."

I chuckled. "I don't think they care about how much of a gentleman Mr. Darcy is."

"See, that there is the problem. Instead of using library books to hide weapons, they should be educating themselves. No wonder they cut the freaking library budget."

"I heard they did that." I knew how much getting the women into the library, for reading groups and to teach them computer skills, meant to Fatima. "I'm sorry."

She sighed heavily. "Shit, I knew it was coming. I'll just make do with what I got. Anyhow, how was your date last night?"

"I told you it wasn't a date." Andrew and I didn't date.

She shook her head in disappointment. "You need your head checked. So does this idiot you're hooking up with. Nothing sweeter than coming home to your man after a long day at work."

I looked at the gold wedding band she was subconsciously touching. "That's not what you said last week when you were complaining about Derek forgetting to do the laundry, or the week before, when his idea of doing food shopping consisted of buying a year's supply of beer and Cheetos."

Fatima scowled at me. "Do you remember absolutely everything?"

"Pretty much."

"It's annoying."

"Noted." I laughed.

"Okay, so I want to kill Derek as much as I want to make sweet love to the man, but it's nice living with my best friend. You should get yourself one and kick that Dr. Commitment-Phobe to the curb."

"I told you, I like not being in a relationship."

She grunted at me like she didn't believe me, but the truth was I did like keeping things casual. I'd never had a serious relationship in my life. I came and went as I pleased. I made all the decisions in my life and got to live each day my way.

And on the days I got a little "fris-frisky" I had Andrew on speed dial.

"I'm setting you up." Fatima got up from the desk with determination. "How do you feel about chocolate?" She winked at me.

Laughing, I shook my head. "Chocolate is very nice, but right now I am happy with my casual dose of vanilla."

"Sobre este título" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.

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Descripción Berkley Books, 2016. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The New York Times bestselling author of On Dublin Street is back with the first in a sexy new romance series set in a small town on the Delaware coastline. Welcome to Hartwell, a quiet seaside escape where uncovering old secrets could lead one woman to discover the meaning of a love that lasts. While Doctor Jessica Huntington engages with the inmates at the women s correctional facility where she works, she s always careful to avoid emotional attachments in her personal life. Loss and betrayal taught her that lesson long ago. But when she comes across a set of old love letters in the prison s library and visits the picturesque town of Hartwell to deliver them to their intended recipient, she finds herself unable to resist the town s charm--and her attraction to the sexy owner of a local bar proves equally hard to deny. Since his divorce from his unfaithful ex-wife, Cooper Lawson has focused on what really matters: his family and the boardwalk pub they ve owned for generations. But the first time Jessica steps into his bar, Cooper is beyond tempted to risk his heart on her. Yet as their attraction grows hotter and Jessica remains stubbornly closed off, he begins to realize it will take more than just passion to convince her there s only one real thing in life worth fighting for. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9781101991671

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Descripción Berkley Books, 2016. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The New York Times bestselling author of On Dublin Street is back with the first in a sexy new romance series set in a small town on the Delaware coastline. Welcome to Hartwell, a quiet seaside escape where uncovering old secrets could lead one woman to discover the meaning of a love that lasts. While Doctor Jessica Huntington engages with the inmates at the women s correctional facility where she works, she s always careful to avoid emotional attachments in her personal life. Loss and betrayal taught her that lesson long ago. But when she comes across a set of old love letters in the prison s library and visits the picturesque town of Hartwell to deliver them to their intended recipient, she finds herself unable to resist the town s charm--and her attraction to the sexy owner of a local bar proves equally hard to deny. Since his divorce from his unfaithful ex-wife, Cooper Lawson has focused on what really matters: his family and the boardwalk pub they ve owned for generations. But the first time Jessica steps into his bar, Cooper is beyond tempted to risk his heart on her. Yet as their attraction grows hotter and Jessica remains stubbornly closed off, he begins to realize it will take more than just passion to convince her there s only one real thing in life worth fighting for. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9781101991671

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Descripción Berkley Books, 2016. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. The New York Times bestselling author of On Dublin Street is back with the first in a sexy new romance series set in a small town on the Delaware coastline. Welcome to Hartwell, a quiet seaside escape where uncovering old secrets could lead one woman to discover the meaning of a love that lasts. While Doctor Jessica Huntington engages with the inmates at the women s correctional facility where she works, she s always careful to avoid emotional attachments in her personal life. Loss and betrayal taught her that lesson long ago. But when she comes across a set of old love letters in the prison s library and visits the picturesque town of Hartwell to deliver them to their intended recipient, she finds herself unable to resist the town s charm--and her attraction to the sexy owner of a local bar proves equally hard to deny. Since his divorce from his unfaithful ex-wife, Cooper Lawson has focused on what really matters: his family and the boardwalk pub they ve owned for generations. But the first time Jessica steps into his bar, Cooper is beyond tempted to risk his heart on her. Yet as their attraction grows hotter and Jessica remains stubbornly closed off, he begins to realize it will take more than just passion to convince her there s only one real thing in life worth fighting for. Nº de ref. de la librería BZV9781101991671

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