Madison McIntyre loves the beach - the sun, the sand, a frosty drink by her side. But a beach with rainstorms, rocky ground, and the smell of fish? Not her first choice for an extended stay - especially when it's under orders from her obnoxious boss. She has one month to prepare a resort plan the notoriously suspicious town will accept, or she'll be out of a job. So she's gone incognito in the hopes of succeeding where her coworkers have failed. What could go wrong?
Dylan Edwards loves living in Westhaven. He loves his charter fishing business, his little daughter, and the coastal town he calls home. He has no patience for big city snobs like the fish-out-of-water currently vacationing at his mom's bed and breakfast. No matter how gorgeous she might be. Women like her always want to change things, just like his ex-wife. And he likes things just fine the way they are.
But Madison and Dylan can't deny the sparks that fly whenever they're together - as wild and untamed as the ocean itself. When the truth comes out, will their passion survive the storm?
To John and Lori. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this manuscript and help out with the fishing details. It's greatly appreciated! (Any errors, of course, are my own.) I'm so proud to call you family.
© 2007 Kate Davies
Captain Dylan was flirting with her.
Not blatantly, of course. Just a little extra eye contact, a smile that promised more. A touch on the shoulder to steady her when the boat lurched down yet another monster wave. Some pseudo-concerned expression meant to weaken her defenses.
Her defenses were already weak enough, thank you very much.
Her face was green and her hair was limp and tangled from the constant barrage of salt spray. The smell of diesel and burnt coffee, combined with the continual roll of the boat, made her stomach heave. She was decked out head to toe in completely inappropriate "outdoorsy" resort wear, clothes so new the creases hadn't even been worked out yet.
She looked ridiculous.
So why in the world was he coming on to her?
She glanced around at all the other passengers. Maybe the fact that she was the only female on the charter fishing trip had something to do with it.
Great. She was a target by default.
Well, this couldn't go on. She was in town for work, not a roll in the hay. Especially with a devil-may-care fishing boat captain like Dylan. Her father's example had taught her well-stay away from playboys.
"Look." She swallowed down her nausea as the boat pitched down another rolling wave. "I appreciate the thought, but you're wasting your time."
"Excuse me?" Slate-blue eyes reflected the color of the ocean under the cloudy sky. A puzzled frown settled over his features.
She waved a hand vaguely between them, then clutched the slick railing again as the boat struggled its way back up the wave. "I'm sure lots of women are flattered when someone like you hits on them, but I'm not one of them." Madison winced inwardly at the snobbish tone in her voice. Dimly, she wondered when she'd started channeling her mother.
"You thought I was hitting on you?" Amazingly, he looked almost insulted, his shoulders pulling down and back as he straightened.
"Flirting. Whatever." She could feel a deep blush creeping up her neck. "I mean, it's nothing personal. I'm just not interested."
A muscle worked in Dylan's jaw. "I'll keep that in mind."
Madison nodded briefly, grateful that the confrontation was over. She turned to go, only to be stopped by a strong, calloused hand on her elbow. Even through the damp khaki sleeve she could feel heat spread up her arm. An unfamiliar warmth settled in her chest as her heart raced out of control. Startled, she stepped away, tugging her arm from his grasp.
"Was there something else?" Even to her own ears she sounded horribly snippy, but the embarrassment of the situation, combined with her seasickness, did away with her usual restraint.
"Just a question."
She gave a slight nod, barely moving her head in an effort to keep her nausea under control.
"You said, 'someone like you.' What exactly did you mean by that?"
She glanced around. Some of the other members of the fishing party were starting to eavesdrop, if the tilted heads and hushed whispers were any indication. Why in the world had she started this awful conversation?
"I don't know," she mumbled. Madison gestured at Dylan, the boat, the speck of land on the far horizon. "A resort-town person."
"A resort town person?" He echoed her phrase, a note of disbelief in his voice. "What does that mean? Someone with no ambition? A slacker? A beach bum only interested in a casual fling?"
He was putting words in her mouth, but she was too sick to care. She just stood there, mute and miserable.
Dylan waited, narrowed eyes challenging her to respond, but she said nothing. He shook his head, a mix of anger and disgust on his face. Then he turned on his heel and walked away.
She watched him go, arms wrapped around her waist. Then the boat took another rolling, roller-coaster ride down an angry wave. Madison lurched to the rail and, in front of the deckhand, the other passengers, and the man she'd just publicly insulted, lost her breakfast.
She had a feeling this would be one charter trip Westhaven would never forget.