Layne MacDonald’s life should be better than ever. He’s successful, handsome, and part owner of a successful resort called Seaside Escape. But nothing makes Layne happy or satisfied for very long. Not even a reunion at Highland Bay with his brothers. His solution to his unhappiness has always been to run away from his problems. When sassy dancer Raven Solis saves Layne from a potentially violent altercation, all he sees is the beautiful face, the sexy body, and what he perceives as a party girl lifestyle. In other words, a totally unsuitable girl. But Raven is so much more than a party girl, and by the time Layne realizes she is The One for him, will it be too late?
Raven couldn’t feel more like a princess swept up into her very own fairy tale. Only the night before, she had befriended and cared for a stranger. A stranger who turned out to be a prince. Well, maybe not exactly a prince, but close to it. A handsome, strong lawyer and part-owner in a to-die-for resort. Being wealthy helped, but never having much money growing up, Raven valued trust, respect, intellect, and a good heart above money. And so far, Layne hadn’t let her down. They dined by candlelight in the resort’s divine dining room. Over five courses, he listened to her—really listened to her—talk about her life, her upbringing, her disappointments, and even her dreams for the future. In return, he opened up about himself. How, like her, he grew up with a dysfunctional parent who was never around. A mother who abandoned her young sons for a new life. His world was now one of jadedness and always feeling the need to be on guard, and how he allowed his on- again, off-again lover, to steer him away from a relationship with his brothers. The same woman who without his consent, dosed his drink with Ecstasy to loosen him up, only to abandon him after he had an adverse reaction to the drug. For most of his life, when things got rocky, he ran, always looking for something or someone new, to take away the pain of the past. Only now that he left behind a toxic relationship, and an unfulfilling life in Los Angeles, were his eyes opening to the possibility of reconnection with his family, and the promise of a brighter, happier future. What struck Raven the most, beyond how his fingertips danced with hers across the table, or how his eyes never strayed from hers, was Layne’s sincerity. It was in his voice, the way he projected his words, and his overall countenance.
“Are you sure you wouldn’t like a glass of wine or champagne?” he asked. “You know you don’t have to drink seltzer just because I am.” She shook her head. “No, I am happy just the way things are. Except…” her voice trailed off.
“Except what? Tell me what you need, and I will be happy to provide it.” He caressed the top of her hands ever so gently, his voice a warm elixir of seduction.
“I would really like to take a walk along the beach with you.”
“Something so simple?” He smiled and stood up from the table. “I can certainly fulfill that request right now.”
Natalie-Nicole Bates is a book reviewer and author. Her passions in life include books and hockey along with Victorian photography, Frozen Charlotte dolls, and antique poison bottles. She currently resides in the UK where she is working on her next book and adding to her collection of 19thcentury post-mortem photos. Visit Natalie online at www.natalienicolebates.com