by Joyce Holmes
Drey Winston is a fierce competitor who enjoys challenging her mind and body. But when it comes to her heart—no one ever gets close enough to compete for it. Having grown up believing she was an unwanted burden to her parents, she prefers to keep her feelings well hidden. Just when her hard-fought goals are finally within reach, the audacious Jesse Devlin comes along to breach her carefully guarded defenses.
After a disastrous marriage early in life, Jesse Devlin prefers strings-free relationships. Confident and outgoing, he gets along well with women, but his natural charm can’t seem to penetrate Drey Winston’s aloofness. While attempting to win her over, he’s the one who ends up losing his heart.
Can this commitment-phobic bachelor convince the stubbornly independent woman he loves that his feelings—and hers—are the real deal?
Will their emotional firestorm leave nothing but ashes or can love emerge victorious?
Jesse leaned against a tree to draw in a few deep breaths. As he straightened, he plucked his ball cap off his head and wiped his forearm across his brow, then hooted a victory cheer. “Hard work’s over. Time for the reward.”
He dropped the cap onto the sand and emptied his pockets into it. Then he pulled his T-shirt over muscled shoulders, dropped it onto the sand on top of his cap, and made quick work of his footwear. Drey stared in disbelief as he beelined down the beach and ran straight into the low surf. When he was hip-deep in the water,he slipped smoothly beneath the surface. He reappeared several feet out and turned to wave.
“Join me,” he called. “The water’s great.”
“Not a chance. The ocean is cold in summer, I can only imagine how frigid it must be today.”
“Wuss,” he scoffed and splashed water in her direction.
Shivers thathad nothing to do with feeling chilly shot through Drey as she watched him emerge from the water a few minutes later. Rivulets ran down his chest, following the ridges and planes of his brawny body. Wet shorts clung to muscular thighs.
He ran his hands over his face and then shook himself like a playful pup. “You don’t know what you missed. Nothing like a dip in the salt chuck to get the heart pumping. Well, almost nothing.” He stalked deliberately up the beach toward her, and the look on his face made her back away, but she didn’t react fast enough. He caught her up in his arms, laughing at her shrieks of protest.
“Lemme go, Jesse. You’re cold. Come on, Jesse, lemme go. You’re getting me all wet.”
“That’s the whole idea. Get you wet and me warm.”
She gave him a firm push in the wrong direction as she sprinted down the beach. “Not if you can’t catch me,” she threw over her shoulder as she went.
Joyce Holmes lives with her husband and very small dog in the beautiful Okanagan region of British Columbia. The award-winning author is
happily living her dream of being a stay-at-home writer. Photography and blogging about her travels are two of her passions, along with visiting her kids and grandkids. When she’s not dreaming up stories in her head or planning her next great adventure, she’s off enjoying the great outdoors.