Good With His Hands — Out Now!
When Pepper looked up, her cheeks burned, and it wasn’t from the sun. Jake had taken his shirt off. She swallowed hard.
With him sitting there half-naked and looking absolutely delicious, concentration became near impossible, but she managed to complete a few more scales. She continued working, scraping away excess sand, leaving plenty for the mermaid’s head and hair, and finally, it was time to start with the details on the upper body.
Pepper stopped for a minute to give her back a break. “It’s your turn,” she told Jake.
He held up his hands and shook his head. “I’m not very creative. I don’t think you want me to get my hands into your sand.”
That was for sure. She wanted Jake’s hands elsewhere. Everywhere, in fact. His fingers were large. Manly. They looked as though they’d seen a lot of hard work. Pepper took one of them in hers and squeezed. It was firm and strong.
“Liar,” she said. “You’re an architect. You wouldn’t be in business if you weren’t creative.”
Jake gave a nervous laugh. “I guess what I really meant is that I haven’t had much experience using sand as a building material.”
“It’s easy once you get started.” Pepper looked him squarely in the eyes. “And I’ve got everything you need. Don’t be afraid. I’ll help you.”
“I’m sure that’s true.”
A smile tugged at the corners of Pepper’s mouth as an idea formed in her head. She crawled around the base of the sculpture and sat close to him. “First,” she said, “we need to finish these two small mounds.” She added a small nob of sand to the top of one and told Jake to do the same to the other.
He gathered a small bit of sand between his fingers and set it on top of the mound, rolling it and tweaking it just so, until it closely resembled the one Pepper had finished.
Oh, how Pepper wished she were that mermaid right now.
When Jake finished his assigned task, she sat back and gave it her appraisal. “Perfect,” she said.
Jake nodded and smiled. He’d just gotten the joke. “Breasts.”
“You’re very perceptive.” Pepper looked up at him through long lashes. “Shall we continue?”
Jake leaned back onto his forearms, his biceps and chest glistening in the morning sun. Dark brown hair fanned out from the center of his chest, with a thin line running halfway down his stomach. Pepper hadn’t seen muscles ripple like that in, well, forever. It’d be awfully nice to have a few clients like him in her kickboxing class.
She offered him the melon baller. “Want to, um, try making some scales?”
“I’d rather work on her hair.” Jake reached up and tugged playfully at the lock of hair that hung alongside Pepper’s face.
“Um, maybe we should stop for now. Go inside, get cleaned up.” Pepper knew that if she didn’t get away from Jake’s bare chest in the next few seconds, she might do something very enjoyable…like dive on top of him…
“The perfect blend of passion and humor.”
— Meryl Sawyer, New York Times bestselling author
“A promising debut.”
“Intriguing story…amusing and energizing.”
“A ride that is over way too quickly…”
—Madelyn Hill, author of THE SPANISH CONQUEST
“A well-crafted, satisfying read…an impressive debut novel.”
—Christine DeSmet, author and screenwriter