Cocktails on the Beach
EmKay Connor, Helen Hardt, Leah Marie North, Lyz Kelley
Publication date: June 8th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Sip something sweet… Savor something steamy…
Feel the heat and find love in these four original romances written by New York Times, USA Today, award winning, and international bestselling authors! AVAILABLE FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY.
Are you looking for a hot and naughty book boyfriend to take you away this summer? What’s your pleasure? A sexy billionaire? A smooth-talking bartender? A gorgeous island doctor? A seductive Irishman? These irresistible men are hot enough to melt the ice in your margarita. Start your sizzling read today!
Escape by Helen Hardt
She’s running from one man…and ends up in the arms of another, putting them both in danger.
Exes and Ohs! by Leah Marie Brown
A chance meeting with a gorgeous Irishman has her thinking about Mr. Right instead of Mr. Right Now.
Next Rock on the Right by EmKay Connor.
Sometimes life takes an unexpected turn…that takes you on a wild ride leading to exactly where you’re meant to be.
Her Perfect Guy by Lyz Kelley
She’s his sister’s hands-off best friend. He’s her perfect guy.
One-click now to sip an island cocktail and find your summer bliss!
Escape by Helen Hardt
I stop looking over my shoulder on the fourth day.
I don’t notice this until the evening, when I sit down by myself at the bar. I’ve been at the Wolfe Island Art Colony less than a week, but until today, I’ve been watching my back.
When you’re hiding from the devil himself, you don’t let your guard down.
A second after sitting down on the wooden stool at the beachfront bar, I look behind me.
That’s when I realize it’s the first time I’ve done it today.
Whether that’s good or bad, I can’t say. I shouldn’t be getting too comfortable.
“What’ll it be, pretty girl?”
I shift my gaze toward the bartender’s deep voice—
And nearly drop my jaw onto the counter. His eyes are such a gorgeous mixture of emerald and cognac. Most would simply call them hazel. I see a swirl of Prussian Green and Olive Green with hints of Renaissance Gold.
And believe it or not, those amazing eyes pale in comparison to the rest of him.
I smile shyly. I’ve kept to myself since I arrived on the island, spending most of my time painting the scenes outside my hut. This is the first time I’ve ventured to the beach.
“You going to answer me?” Hunky bartender raises his dark brown eyebrows.
“Yeah. Sorry.” My cheeks burn. “Just some water, I guess.”
“You guess? You can do better than that, pretty girl.”
Pretty girl. The second time he’s called me that in the span of two minutes. I don’t feel pretty. On the outside, I suppose I’m okay. On the inside, a disaster.
“Cat still got your tongue?” He smiles a lazy smile, that makes him even better looking. “Trust me?”
I part my lips and lick them. Trust him? I trust no one. No one. He has no idea what kind of can of worms he’s opened.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” He reaches under the bar and pulls out a martini glass.
I hate martinis, but still I say nothing.
“Try my specialty. Virgin?”
My jaw drops. “Of course not!”
He laughs. “I mean do you want the virgin version of my specialty?”
“Oh.” God, my cheeks can’t get any hotter. I can only imagine what they look like in the light of the setting sun. “That’s what I meant. I don’t want the virgin one.”
“Got it.” He smiles.
Yeah, he doesn’t buy it, but I give him credit for letting me try to weasel out of my embarrassment.
He turns toward the back of the bar and pulls three different bottles from the myriad options.
Three bottles? Maybe I should have gone with the virgin.
He fills a stainless steel shaker with crushed ice and adds a stream of the golden, the yellow, and the hot pink. I eyed the bottle closest to me—the pink one. Crème de Noyeaux. Never heard of it.
Next he adds what appears to be orange juice and then pineapple. A Mai Tai maybe? No, he said it was his specialty. Surely he didn’t invent the Mai Tai. Or maybe he invented this particular version.
He adjusts the lid and shakes several times. Once he’s done, he slides a slice of lime around the rim of the martini glass, dips it in sugar, and then strains the contents of the shaker into the glass.
I notice the color first. It’s a lovely pinkish-orange, the shade of last night’s sunset that I tried to capture on canvas but couldn’t.
He pushes the drink toward me and sets a cocktail napkin next to it. “Tell me what you think.”
Good enough. I inhale and pick the martini glass up by its stem. I sniff. Nice fragrance. Orangey and almondy. Very tropical.
“Well?” he says. “Are you waiting for a little umbrella?”
I can’t help myself. I laugh. I laugh like I haven’t in a long time, and it feels good. Really good.
“You got one?” I ask.
“Your wish is my command.” He reaches under the counter and then pops a tiny pink umbrella into my drink.
If I had my phone, I’d shoot a pic and post this on Instagram.
I don’t have my phone, though, and I deleted all my social media accounts.
In fact, the only person who has a clue where I am is my brother, Buck, and he’s sworn to secrecy. He helped me get the invitation to the colony when I needed to leave town in a hurry. The person I’m running from can’t touch Buck.
No one can.
Exes and Ohs! by Leah Marie Brown
“What can I get ye?”
“Are ye wanting a drink or a man?”
“Either way, I would recommend something Irish.” His blue eyes sparkle.
“Whiskey will be fine.”
“Leave the bottle.”
“Not a bother.” He slides the bottle toward me.
He looks like one of the thirst traps I follow on Instagram, all chiseled jaw and dimpled cheeks. His dark blond hair is styled in an undercut, like he just took off his flat cap and stepped off the set of Peaky Blinders. His black button-up is straining to contain his chest and bulging biceps. He winks before walking to the other end of the bar to take an order. Broad shoulders and an ass so sweet it makes me want to sink my teeth into it. Not that I’m into asses…or biting them. Don’t know where that came from.
I drain my whiskey in one swallow. I’m reaching for the bottle to pour a finger or two of the emotion- and tongue-numbing liquid into my glass when I notice a tall, slender woman hovering at the entrance. She’s wearing a J. Crew little black dress with an Exes and Ohs nametag slapped to her chest—more in the region of her shoulder than her breast. She’s clutching her purse to her stomach as if she expects to be accosted by a knife-wielding hooligan. Poor thing looks like one of those cartoon fraidy cats—eyes wide, shoulders dropped, back hunched, like she will startle at the slightest noise. She takes a deep breath and hurriedly walks to the bar, practically collapsing onto a stool near me.
She notices me watching her, slides her glasses up her nose, and offers me a tremulous smile before pulling her phone out of her purse. Classic self-conscious single woman move. I want to snatch the phone out of her hand and replace it with a bottle of vodka and a
straw. Everyone knows drinking alcohol through a straw accelerates its effects, and this girl needs twenty-five ounces of liquid courage, stat.
Next Rock on the Right by EmKay Connor
“How was your trip?”
“Long. I’d like to get to the hotel…or wherever I’m staying.” She jutted a hip, planted a hand on it, and cocked her head. “Is it true you don’t have WiFi? That’s going to make it very difficult to do my job if there’s no internet here.”
I bristled at her patronizing attitude. “Grab your stuff, and I’ll show you to your thatched hut. We put up a new hammock just for you, and the women checked every inch of your mosquito netting to make sure there are no tears. We wouldn’t want you inconvenienced by something like a bug bite or no internet.”
She glared at me, and I glared back. I didn’t want to be the Care For All spokesman, and I didn’t want to deal with a spoiled city girl throwing a temper tantrum because she couldn’t check her social media. The commitment I’d made out of respect for Doc felt like rough rope binding my hands and feet and neck. It chaffed and burned and made it hard to breathe.
“Doctor Man not so good at da hospitality.” Martina popped out of the kitchen. She bustled down the hall and wedged herself between us.
Britt Connolly’s gaze dropped to read Martina’s T-shirt and then jumped to me, a pink blush tinting her cheeks.
Hah. I’d teased Martina about the slogan this morning.
Doctors Do It with Skill and Love
“You stay with Oz and Nina. They da owners of Sandcastle Bungalows. Nice place. Good food.” Martina shrugged. “Maybe technology.”
“Maybe?” Britt looked past Martina to me. She dipped her head.
“Our infrastructure is limited.” I regretted my own outburst. “A power plant built in the eighties provides enough electricity for fourteen hours of service each day. There’s no power before seven a.m. and or after nine p.m., although Oz has a generator he uses for paying guests. BrightStar Telecommunications provides satellite internet access to most of the islands in the Caribbean, but the signal isn’t reliable.”
“Thank you for explaining.” She lifted her backpack. “If you’ll give me directions to this bungalow place, I’ll check in.”
“Doctor Man, he show you da way.” Martina glowered at me, giving me no choice. She could make my life miserable if she wanted to.
It was easier to comply.
It would also give me a chance to clear the air with Miss Connolly. I resented being thrust into the role of spokesman. I disliked Big Pharma and distrusted Corporate America. Even nonprofits like Care For All made me leery. Too many rules and too many hoops meant people went without timely, affordable medical care.
Bureaucrats cared about money. I cared about people.
I’d agreed to work with CFA because Doc asked me to and because the islanders would suffer if I let pride get in the way. I could suck it up for two weeks. That fact that Britt Connolly was hot as hell might even make it fun.
I swooped down to grab the suitcase before she could add it to her load. The backpack looked like it carried bricks, the straps digging into her shoulders, pulling her blouse tight against her breasts. Tight enough reveal the lacy pattern of her bra.
Blood raced to my groin, my cock engorged in seconds. I flashed back to life in the States and the casual availability of sex. Young women at nightclubs in slinky dresses or on beaches with everything hanging out. Singers and performers whose careers exploded, not because of talent, but how well they bounced their tits and ass. The infamous Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.
Don’t misunderstand. Totally not judging. I love eye candy just as much as the next guy.
There aren’t many eligible women my age on this or any of the nearby islands, so my visual sweet tooth has long gone unsatisfied. Catching sight of Britt’s bra was a tease, a tiny bit of deliciousness, like the corner broken off a chocolate bar and laid on your tongue to slowly melt.
“Are you hungry, Miss Connolly?” I led her out the front door, down the short walkway, and out to the street. “Because I am suddenly ravenous.”
Her Perfect Guy by Lyz Kelley
He turned—and blinked. Devon was standing in his room, surrounded by luggage. She looked adorable, her hands fidgeting like she didn’t know whether to stand there or leave.
“Devon? How did you get into my room?” He stared at her and did his best to appear calm.
“Kayla was supposed to call you.” Devon took a step forward, even though she looked like she wanted to turn around and leave. “It turns out your uncle and aunt’s arrival was unanticipated, and the hotel is a room short.”
“And?” He crossed the room, wanting to be near her. Her sweet scent of suntan coconut oil hit first, and then the smell of her light perfume.
“Kayla thought that, since you have a suite, you wouldn’t mind sharing your room. I told her about the fake fiancée thing, and she decided this would solve her problem…and yours.”
“My problem?” He chuckled at his sister’s audacity. “You were the one who announced our engagement.” He stopped far enough away to avoid touching her or pulling her into his arms. Peeling back those layers was getting more and more tempting.
He released a breath of pent-up frustration. “This seems like a solution Kayla would come up with to please my parents and avoid my aunt’s complaints. My father’s sister is demanding, and knowing her the way I do, I guarantee she’d complain nonstop if she had the inconvenience of staying at another hotel, even though it’s her fault for not being organized enough to avoid last-minute plans.”
“Don’t blame Kayla.” Devon softened her tone. “Appeasing everyone is her way of showing she cares.”
Kayla was a pain in his ass, always badgering him to take a break, have some fun, and stop working so much. When she started sounding like a video meme on a constant rewind loop, he stopped taking her calls, but then she’d just discover fresh ways to get him to stop working, like sending him tickets to his favorite sports events and the new release of his favorite role-playing video game. He appreciated that she cared, but he wished she were more supportive of his dreams.
Personally, he didn’t blame his sister for her show of concern. They might have their differences, but he adored Kayla. Besides, she just wanted him to be happy and to stop hiding.
She’d witnessed two of his very public and messy breakups after neither woman would sign his prenuptial agreement. Both had wanted his wealth and status, not him. Kayla swore there were women in the world who were not like that, but he had yet to find one.
Then again, it could be that one of those rare women was standing in front of him right now, but he’d never know, because his heart couldn’t go there. Not again.
However, the vulnerable Devon looked even more luscious than she had this morning. His head was saying don’t touch, but his heart was sending different signals.
What the hell am I doing?
He had a new product to get launched. If past relationships were any indication, women wanted his time—time he didn’t have to give. He needed to stay focused, and focusing on Devon wasn’t where he needed to spend his time right now.
“I should go. I told Kayla this wasn’t a good idea. I’ll see myself out.” Devon bent to retrieve her backpack.
“And where will you go?” he asked, just to make sure she’d thought her decision through. “You said so yourself. The hotel is fully booked. Staying with me is the only option.”
“There must be a couch or a rollaway somewhere. Like you said, I’m the one who created this problem. I’ll solve it.”
He liked the way her chin lifted a little. “I’m sure you will.”
She crossed her arms and bristled. “What is that supposed to mean?”
“Just that. You’re a problem-solver.” And he would have liked nothing better than to have her solve his problems, but his business issues would have to wait. “Don’t make me look like the bad older brother who doesn’t support his kid sister during her wedding preparations. The best solution would be for you to stay here.”
“So you want me to stay?” Her brows hitched to their highest level.
“Yeah. I do.” He walked to the door and closed it.