The One Real Thing Page 34

Riley snorted. “Like I didn’t know you were going to say that.”

Ignoring her teasing, Cooper hurried out of the bar, hoping to catch up with the doc before she made it to the inn. One, he didn’t like the idea of her walking back there alone so late at night, and two, he’d been hoping to get some alone time with her. He wanted to take her out on an actual date and he wanted her to know that he wasn’t just looking to fuck around, as if she was just another hot tourist passing through his town.

He could be a gentleman and he wanted to show her that.

Just as he was about to hurry up the boards, he felt that tingle down the back of his neck again and something drew his gaze out toward the beach.

And that was when he saw her.

Sand kicked up under Jessica’s feet, her hair blowing wildly behind her as her shoes and purse dangled from one hand. It was chilly out by the water at this time of night, but it didn’t look like Jessica was feeling it by the way she spun around, laughing at the way the dying waves rushed around her ankles at the shoreline.

That tingle shot down his spine.

His blood turned hot.

And suddenly Cooper wasn’t feeling very gentlemanly toward the sexy doctor.


The water was cold, but it felt great against my flushed skin. I’d been alternating between wine and water after my indulgent Long Island iced teas, so I wasn’t drunk. However, my blood was still hot from the alcohol, from sitting across the bar from Cooper Lawson all night, and the chilly sea breeze was just what I needed.

I stumbled out of a tipsy spin only to stop on the shore to stare up at the sky. My feet sank into the wet sand, the squishy grain of it warming underfoot. It was a pleasant sensation, relaxing even, and that, mixed with the sound of the soft surf and the infinite darkness of the sea and sky, was soothing.

The stars were brighter here than in the city. They weren’t obscured by all the city lights.

They were beautiful.

Goose bumps suddenly prickled my scalp and a little sigh escaped me.

Maybe Bailey was right. Maybe there was magic here.


For a moment I thought I’d imagined the voice in the dark, attributing the phantom voice to my guilt over leaving the bar without saying good-bye to Cooper.

I was much too aware of him for my own good.

The feelings he incited in me, this stranger with his bar, well . . . it was just a complication I didn’t need.

A hand touched my shoulder and this time I jumped, spinning around in alarm.

Relief and that damn awareness washed over me as I stared up into Cooper’s face.

“Coop—” His name turned to a gasp because suddenly I was in his arms and my mouth was crushed beneath his.

Confusion was quickly replaced by lust as the kiss instantly turned wild. He had one arm around my back, while his other hand threaded through my hair to hold my head, to hold me to his lips.

Everything about the way he held me said he had no intention of letting me escape him.

And for a few moments, surrounded by the feel of his warm strength, my blood at melting point from his hungry, hard, wet kisses, I didn’t want to escape him.

I clung to him, my fingers curled in his T-shirt as I gloried in the feel of his tongue stroking mine, the hard muscles of his chest pressed against my breasts, the tingling tightness of his fingers in my hair—

My cell phone abruptly burst into song and its unwanted shrillness jerked me back into reality.

I pulled out of Cooper’s hold and he reluctantly let me go.

He stared at me with narrowed eyes, his lips deliciously swollen from our kisses.

My own lips tingled as I stared back at him, openmouthed and shocked.

“Doc,” he began, but I ducked my head, fumbling in my purse for my phone. By the time I got it, it had stopped ringing.

I wasn’t surprised to see a missed call from Andrew. He was the only one I knew who would think to call me this late.

Guilt suffused me. I had a deal with Andrew. I wasn’t supposed to be kissing anyone else. No matter how tempting he was!

I glared up at Cooper. “What the hell was that?”

He raised an eyebrow at my tone. “Something we were both enjoying.”

“It came out of nowhere!”

“I think you and I both know it didn’t come out of nowhere.” He took a step toward me and I stumbled back. “Doc, what’s stopping you from exploring this heat between us?”

“I’m on vacation, for one thing. Nothing good could possibly come of this. And . . . and . . .”

He took another step toward me, so close his chest almost brushed my body.

My knees wobbled at his nearness. I couldn’t remember the last time a guy gave me wobbly knees. I didn’t think a guy ever had.

I looked up at Cooper, incredulous. How could one man incite so much sexual need in me?

“And?” he said, curling my hair behind my ear, his fingers trailing gently against my skin in a way that made my nipples tighten.

It’s the sea breeze! I lied to myself.

“I’m . . . uh . . . I’m sort of seeing someone.”

“Sort of seeing someone?”

For some reason I found myself explaining. “Andrew and I aren’t in a relationship because neither of us wants that, but we have agreed that while we’re doing what we’re doing, we won’t be doing that with anyone else.”

He crossed his arms over his chest and I could see the amusement in his blue, blue eyes. “Doing what exactly?”

I gave a huff of laughter. “You know what.”

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