So I have to confess when I planned yesterday’s Series Saturday and today’s Sunday Snippet I didn’t realize they were both spotlighting Carly. But that’s okay because we love her and her awesome stories. Today’s snippet comes from the last book in her Serendipity’s Finest series, and it’s one of those books you won’t want to miss.
Joe, the bar’s owner, grabbed a microphone and announced the start of Karaoke night. He hadn’t had the theme in awhile and obviously thought with the bar full of regulars, it was a good time to start.
“Karaoke isn’t my thing,” Sam muttered.
Nicole met his gaze. “Mine either.”
That made up his mind. “Want to get out of here?”
She appeared startled at the suggestion, but nodded her head, much to his relief.
A few minutes later, they were outside Joe’s.
“Where are we going?” Nicole asked.
“With a little luck? Some place quiet.” His fingers itched to take her hand, but the maxim too much too soon ran through his head and he refrained.
Nicole fell into step alongside him and they walked across the street to the center median, which was covered with a multitude of colorful flowers.
“Wow, calla lillies, hyrdrangeas, and lilacs,” she murmured.
He blinked at her knowledge. “Are you a florist?” he asked, realizing he’d never found out what she did for a living.
She shook her head. “No. But my mother was always very specific about flower orders when she planned her dinner parties. Many, many dinner parties,” her voice droned with the memory.
“Very.” Her smile packed a punch. “Still these are beautiful.” She swept her hand through the air to indicate the panorama of flowers and color spread out before them.
“Beautiful is an appropriate word in more ways than one,” he said, speaking more of her than the flowers.
Her jet black hair and Mediterranean coloring must come from her mother, he figured, since Farnsworth wasn’t an ethnic name. Those blue eyes stood out against her olive skin, like two deep pools, beckoning to him, making it difficult for him to the thread of their conversation.
Somehow he pulled the subject from the back of his mind. “The town’s beautification committee works hard in maintaining this area.”
“I’m so used to the city, being able to see so much color and space is such a treat.”
And her appreciation of something he passed every day and took for granted touched him deeply, prompting him to explain more about their origins. “There’s a yearly event to raise money to fund this area. It’s a big, formal party at Faith Harrington’s house over Labor Day weekend.”
Sam shook his head and laughed. “Right. You’re not a local. Did you notice that big house on the hill when you drove into town?”
“How could I not? It resembles my childhood home.”
He let out a whistle. “Nice.” And way out of his league.
She laughed. “No, the mansion here is much grander. It just happens to remind me of my parents’ home. The way it’s set off from reality and obviously meant to impress, that sort of thing.” She shifted from foot to foot. “But it’s not who I am at all,” she said, as if desperate for him to understand and still accept her.
He nodded in grateful understanding. He didn’t want a spoiled princess in his life – and if he had his way, this understated woman would, at the very least, end up in his bed. Still, she was clearly the kind of girl he’d be taking his time with and he appreciated that about her.
“So back to the house on the hill,” he said. “Faith and Ethan Barron live there now and they’re nothing like Faith’s parents who were the previous owners.”
“That’s unusual,” she murmured.
He nodded. “It is. And yet it’s very right. You and Faith have a lot in common. She’s down to earth and sweet.” Nicole blushed, but Sam merely continued. “Now that you’re living here, I’m sure you’ll meet them at one point or another.”
She smiled. “I’ll look forward to it.”
“Want to sit?” Sam pointed to the empty bench beneath the white Gazebo.
She nodded and walked up the few steps, easing down on the wooden seat. He settled in beside her.
“This is the best part of the summer,” she said, relaxing and leaning back.
“This time of day. The sun doesn’t set until late. When I was younger, my sister and I would stay outside until it turned dark.” Her lips lifted upward at the memory. “We’d play games and make up stories. Anything to avoid going back into that cold, empty house with people who … people like my parents.” She shivered but clammed up, obviously realizing she’d said more than she wanted to.
As far as Sam was concerned, she hadn’t said enough.
“Thanks for showing me this place.” She stretched her legs out in front of her and let out a blissful sigh.
His groin responded to the sound. “My pleasure. So … you told me why you chose Serendipity, but why the move in the first place?” He asked the question dodging him since he’d discovered she was here.
She turned to face him, her gaze serious. “Because I was finished living my life for others.”
He already knew that meant her parents.
“I liked the town … and the people from when I was in town before. Despite the horrible situation, I felt a connection here.”
She didn’t shift her gaze from his, warming him with her statement which clearly included him.
“I’m here for me.” She shrugged. “It was really that simple.”
So much … and so little revealed, Sam thought, intrigued by her. “What are your plans?”
“Eventually I want to open up a specialty bake shop, but I’ll start by seeing if there’s someone here who’ll hire me while I’m getting my bearings in town. I want to do some research on the area and make sure there’s a need for what I’m offering before I invest.”
“There was a bakery off Main Street that closed down awhile back. Not because they couldn’t sustain business, but it was too much for the couple who owned it.”
“Hmm. I’ll have to look into it.”
“It’s smart that you’re not rushing into something. Taking your time to understand whether a business is viable or not is an intelligent move.”
Again, her cheeks flushed a deep shade. “Thank you.”
Unable to stop himself, he reached out and twirled a strand of her dark hair around his finger. “Would it bother you if I said I couldn’t stop thinking about you after you left town?”
She gazed at him through her thick lashes. “Only if it doesn’t bother you to know I felt the same way.” Her husky voice tripped the lever on the desire he’d been carefully holding in check.
“Good to know.” He tugged on her hair and she leaned in closer, their mouths inches apart.
God, he wanted to taste her, to explore this living breathing desire that shimmered between them. And when her tongue swept out, moistening her lips, the unpracticed move broke his control. Covering the distance between them, he brushed his lips over hers and she welcomed him with a soft sigh of acceptance. But she held back, waiting for him to take the lead. His pulse pounded as hard as his groin had become.
His body wanted to go fast, but something about Nicole kept his baser impulses in check. Keeping the kiss under control, he tasted her lips, sliding his tongue back and forth until she parted and let him inside. His tongue brushed hers and the taste of her exploded inside him. Her flavor was better than he’d imagined and her sweet scent went straight to his groin.
Without thinking, he twisted her hair tighter, tilting her head for deeper access, which she freely granted. His heart knocked against his chest, the connection between them deepening along with the kiss. Only his free hand, clenched into a tight fist, helped him keep a grasp on reality.
Her tongue tangled with his and the kiss went on, sweeping him along with her, until he was lost completely. Suddenly laughter and the rowdy sound of a group of kids broke into their intimate moment.
She jerked back, face flushed, lips damp and curved in a smile.
He grinned back just as a pack of teens strode up to the gazebo, talking loudly and ribbing each other with insults and innuendo.
“Oh man. It’s taken,” one of them said.
Nicole quickly rose to her feet, straightening her shirt, brushing shaking her hand over her jeans. “We were just leaving,” she said to the boys.
Sam stood, grateful for the darkness that had begun to surround them, hiding the obvious evidence of his arousal. “I’ll walk you back,” he said, his voice unsteady.
“Okay.” Her lips twitched in a knowing grin.
He placed his hand on the small of her back and she trembled. Good. At least he wasn’t the only one still being pulled under by the tide they’d unleashed.
Sam couldn’t remember the last time he’d made out with a woman in the middle of town, where anyone could see. Not that it mattered when all he could think about was this woman – and when he could see her again.
In the picturesque town of Serendipity, New York, three siblings have grown up in the shadow of their proud and respected police chief father. But what do love, fate, and fortune have in store for the next generation of Serendipity’s finest?
Tired of being the easygoing daughter, always ignored in favor of her high-maintenance sister, and no longer interested in being her fiancé’s trophy wife, Nicole Farnsworth calls off her wedding. All she wants is to be herself. And where better to find her destiny than Serendipity? The place where she met the one man who made her heart beat faster, and gave her the courage to reinvent her life—even if he doesn’t know it.
Officer Sam Marsden calls Serendipity home and he loves it there—even though his childhood sweetheart was stolen by his best friend. After such heartbreak, Sam fears he can’t trust his instincts when it comes to love. Yet he’s so tempted by Nicole, a woman he met only briefly but who has starred in his dreams ever since. For Nicole and Sam, opening their hearts one more time could change their lives forever. But who’ll be the first to take that chance?