Title: That Man of Mine by Maria Geraci
Whispering Bay Series Book Three
Publisher: TKA Distribution
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 356 pages
When Mimi Grant becomes mayor of Whispering Bay, she gets a whole lot more than she bargained for. Her biggest concern? The city’s annual festival is in financial ruin and the former housewife doesn’t have a clue how to fix things. But, she’s determined to bring the sleepy beachside town into the twenty-first century.
Hunky Police Chief Zeke Grant isn’t happy that his estranged wife Mimi has just become his boss. But for the town’s sake, he’s willing to swallow his pride and let her order him around—to a point. Everything aside, he doesn’t count on someone from his past coming back to haunt him, forcing him to reevaluate what’s really important.
While Mimi and Zeke continue to butt heads on how to get things done, there’s one thing they can’t help but agree on: their chemistry is hotter than ever. However, when a robbery threatens to derail the annual festival, some of the town’s residents question Mimi and Zeke’s ability to keep Whispering Bay safe—as well as keep their war-torn personal life out of civic business. Mimi and Zeke must team up to solve the crime, and decide once and for all if it’s time to move forward with separate lives, or if true love really does conquer all.
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Mimi began to pace the living room. Between the noise from all the cars and all the people, Toby’s persistent barking, and that horrible thumping sound, she felt like her ears were going to explode.
And then, she heard another noise which sounded suspiciously like…laughter?
She peered out the living room window again. The fire engine was taking off, as well as a couple of the police cruisers. She saw Rusty shaking hands with some of the paramedics and the neighbors were going back into their houses.
What was going on? Obviously, they hadn’t caught the culprits yet, so why were they were leaving?
Rusty and Zeke exchanged some words, and then Rusty began motioning for everyone to go home.
Okay. This was it. She’d had enough. She deserved to know why everyone was abandoning her. She went to go outside, then realized she was barefoot and wearing nothing but a camisole and a pair of baggy flannel pajama bottoms. She grabbed a robe and some flip-flops and went out the front door. Zeke was the only one left in the yard.
“What’s going on? Why did everyone leave?”
“What the hell is going on here, Zeke? I’m glad you think this is funny, but—”
He took her by the elbow and led her around to the side of the house.
“What? Where are we going? Is it safe to—”
Mimi just stared, too stunned to do more than gape at the scene taking place in front of her.
Zeke aimed a flashlight at the large metal box that housed the air-conditioning unit and on the two armadillos that were oblivious to anyone or anything except themselves (and what they were doing). They were joined together but every once in a while, the female would try to take off with the male still on top of her. She’d walk a few steps and…
…bang into the side of the metal unit.
“Oh my God,” Mimi whispered.
Zeke shook his head. “Yeah. Your home invader is nothing more than a couple of amorous armadillos.”
“Are they…what the…is this normal?” she gasped.
“Who’s to say what’s normal? As long as they’re both over age and have given their consent.”
Mimi covered her face with her hands and began to laugh. Zeke joined her. Soon, the two of them were laughing so hard that Joanie Klingman, their next door neighbor stuck her head out her window. “Hey! Keep it down out there. Between you two laughing and those armadillos no one’s getting any sleep tonight!”
Mimi swiped a tear from her cheek. “Sorry, Joanie!” she called out. She turned to Zeke. “Oh…I just don’t think I’m ever going to stop laughing.”
“Me either,” he said, still smiling.
“It’s chilly. Let’s go laugh inside,” she said.
Zeke flashed his light on the armadillos one last time. “Get a room, you two.”
They walked back into the house and Mimi offered him some coffee.
“No thanks,” Zeke said, “It’s two in the morning. I’d like to get a few more hours of sleep if I can.”
“What happened here tonight? I mean, I called police headquarters and before I knew it, Ellie had practically initiated a state wide disaster code!”
“She’s been training for this all her life,” Zeke said good-naturedly. “No, really,” he said seeing the look on Mimi’s face. “For all she knew you were about to become the victim of a home invasion. She did the right thing.” He shrugged. “Besides, this will make a good story for years to come.”
“And…she called you?”
“Of course she called me.”
“Well, thanks. And please, thank everyone who came out here so quickly.”
Toby began barking again. Zeke walked over and affectionately scratched him behind the ears. “You did a good job tonight, Toby. You’re all right in my book.” Toby’s eyes got that glazed dog look in them. He stopped barking and did what Toby did best. A long stream of drool dripped its way onto Mimi’s clean kitchen floor.
Mimi sighed. “At least we know he can bark if he needs to.” Now that all the excitement had died down, the kitchen suddenly seemed deathly quiet.
“I guess I should get going,” Zeke said.
“Or…you could stay,” Mimi heard herself say. “It’s crazy late, and Rusty’s cousin’s cabin is like ten miles away, and I mean, this is your home.”
“How do you know how far Rusty’s cousin’s cabin is from here?”
The mood had now shifted from deathly quiet to deathly tense. Thick with something in the air that Mimi’s lungs couldn’t quite breathe in.
“I…looked it up on a Facebook map,” she admitted. He didn’t say anything, so she felt the need to clarify. “I guess…I just wanted to know where you were at night.”
He stared at her.
“You want to know where you are every night?” he asked solemnly.
“Me? Here in my house?” she said, feeling confused. Because, where else would she be?
He picked up her hand and placed it against his chest. She could feel the slow but steady beat of his heart against her palm. “You’re right here with me, Mimi. Every single damn night we’ve been apart, you’ve been right here with me.”
Maria Geraci writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction with a happy ending. The Portland Book Review called her novel, The Boyfriend of the Month Club, “immensely sexy, immensely satisfying and humorous.” Her fourth novel, A Girl Like You, was nominated for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA ® award. She lives in north Florida with her family, which includes a very needy chihuahua, an extremely needy dachshund and a not-so-needy cat (guess which one she likes best?). You can reach at her www.mariageraci.com
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