The Carolina Series Book 2
by Debby Grahl
Genre: Contemporary Romance , Romantic Suspense
When bookstore owner Suzanna Shay and writer Austen Kincade meet on a Who Done It mystery cruise, their instant attraction has them more interested in romance than searching for clues. But when the leading actress in the shipboard murder skit, Austen’s publisher’s wife, throws herself at Austen, she’s furious when he rejects her advances and vows to have Austen no matter what it takes.
After the ship docks, with plans for a future together, Suzanna and Austen part, unaware vindictive lies will soon test their newfound love and entangle them in a real mystery that proves deadly.
“There’s a full moon. How about a stroll out on the deck?” Suzanna, you don’t know him. Think about what you’re doing. Her mother’s voice rang through her head. But as she gazed into Austen’s face, careful was the last thing she wanted to be. She stood. “Let’s go.”
They said goodbye to the Paiges and headed for the doors leading onto the deck. The night was warm with a gentle breeze. Stars filled the velvet sky as moonlight sparkled upon the water.
Suzanna breathed in the salty air. Right now, my life in Charlotte might as well be a million miles away, and I haven’t a care in the world.
“There’s Orion,” Austen pointed. “Studying the constellations is a hobby of mine.”
“I find the stars fascinating. And I love having my fortune told.”
“I can tell you what your future will bring,” Austen replied.
He took her into his arms. “This.” His lips covered hers.
The warmth of his mouth made Suzanna’s skin tingle. This moment came right off the pages of the romance novels she so loved — a moonlit night, a handsome man, and the faint sound of a piano in the distance. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back.
He held her close. His kiss, gentle at first, his lips moving slowly across hers, skillfully coaxed her lips apart. Their tongues met, and Suzanna let out a low moan as the kiss deepened. Her body molded to his. She slid her fingers through the hair on the nape of his neck. His hand glided up and down her back. His hard erection rubbed against her, and Suzanna’s passion soared.
Austen broke their kiss and gazed into her eyes. In a husky voice he said, “I want you.”
Suzanna, never one to jump into bed with a man she’d just met, hesitated. Again, for a second, her mother’s disapproving scowl flashed through her mind. She defiantly brushed it aside. There’s no one here to question your actions.Don’t let this perfect night pass you by. Besides, who would ever know? the adventurous part of her brain screamed drowning out any misgivings. Who was she kidding? Nothing would keep her from having sex with Austen. “Yes.” she whispered.
“I suggest we get off this deck before we go any further. Your cabin or mine?”
Struggling to gather her wits, Suzanna nodded. “Mine.”
Award-winning author Debby Grahl lives on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, with her husband David. Besides writing, she enjoys biking, walking on the beach, and a glass of wine at sunset. Visually impaired since childhood by Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), she uses screen-reading software to research and write her books.
Rue Toulouse, a contemporary romance set in the French Quarter, medalled as second place in the Readers’ Favorite international competition, and was awarded first place in the Top Shelf Fiction for the Romance category. His Magic Touch, a paranormal romance, is also set in New Orleans. Her latest book, Island Heat, will be released May 1, 2023, and will be the second book in her three-part Carolina series. The first, Mountain Blaze, released November 2, 2020, has received a five-star review from Readers’ Favorite.