Now You See Me

1
Who’s a good girl now?

Café owner Lydia Brewster wants to shake things up. And J.T. Delaney, infamous legend of Comeback Cove, just might be the man she needs. With his wild reputation, who better to help a girl shake off a “poor widow” image she’s too young to keep wearing?

Despite the rumors, J.T. doesn’t seem quite the troublemaker Lyddie’s heard about. He actually seems focused on business—the subject they don’t see eye to eye on. Really, all she wants is a fling. But after a few long, hot nights together, the most dangerous thing about J.T. is the unexpected way he makes her feel…

“Good dialogue and well-drawn characters …” – RT Book Reviews

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Excerpt

The Wednesday-morning rush was in full gear, leaving Lyddie little time to worry about Tracy’s revelation of the night before. Good. If she let herself think too long about this, she could come up with a dozen possible outcomes, each one scarier than the last. She was all too aware that the worst-case scenario really could happen in a life.
She could lose her business. Have to start over in another location. Worst of all, she would have to say goodbye to another piece of her children’s history—the shop their grandfather started, the place where their father carved his initials into the kitchen wall.
But all that had to wait. Right now she had to draw a hazelnut roast for Jillian.
“Leave it black, please,” Jillian called, as though this were a new request. Every morning she ordered the same thing. Nadine and Lyddie were getting on in years, but even they could remember a medium hazelnut, no cream, no sugar.
On the other hand, Jillian hadn’t attained the office of mayor—and every other title in town, from Little Miss Fall Festival on up—by leaving anything to chance. Maybe Lyddie should take a lesson from her. Jillian would never find herself breathless and foundering while her building was sold out from beneath her, that was for sure.
“How about a blueberry muffin, Your Worship?” Nadine was in fine form. “Mmm, look at that brown sugar streusel.”
Jillian, queen of the Thighmaster, shuddered visibly. “No. Just coffee. No food.”
On the other hand, there had to be a more positive role model than an anorexic power slut.
“I need music,” Lyddie announced, and scooted around the counter to reach the long-outdated CD player. Usually she didn’t start the tunes until the morning rush had cleared and conversation had dwindled. But today she needed all the distraction she could get.
She thumbed through the CDs and shook her head. Gregorian chants, harp music, the sounds of relaxation…none of those felt right. She needed in-your-face vocals that would give her a socially acceptable outlet for the frustration perking inside her. She needed—
“Oh, yeah.”
Bonnie Raitt’s greatest hits slid into place. In a moment, assertive guitar chords punctured the atmosphere, mingling with the warm smell of coffee and the casual atmosphere. It was almost enough to make her relax.
She boogied her way behind the counter where Nadine waited with her arms crossed and eyes rolling.
“Lydia, it’s bad enough you make me work at this hour. Force me to listen to that and I’ll report you to the labor board.”
“Stop. This is good, people like it.”
“It has a beat, I’ll give you that.” Nadine scanned the room, pausing briefly at the opening door. “But I think you need to try something…oh, my God.”
“What?” Lyddie looked up, more worried by the sudden drop in Nadine’s volume than her words. Then she realized that the entire room had gone suddenly, eerily still. If it hadn’t been for Bonnie belting from the CD, asking if she was ready for the thing called love, there would have been dead silence.
“Nadine?”
A nod toward the door was the only answer.
Lyddie glanced in the direction indicated and saw that a man had entered the shop. Dark hair. Slightest hint of stubble on the chin. Electric blue T-shirt over black biker shorts. The most remarkable thing about him was the Rollerblades on his feet, and even Comeback Cove had progressed enough to handle those.
On closer inspection, this guy didn’t need anything remarkable to stand out. He wasn’t what she’d call drop-dead gorgeous, though he certainly was making the second look worth the effort. It was something about the way he held himself. The set of his shoulders, the slight quirk at the corner of his mouth, the calm and purposeful way he scanned the room sent a clear message that this was a man who knew exactly who and what he was, and nothing would change him.
So why did she get the feeling he was braced for attack?
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