Title: The Wedding Gift by Cara Connelly
Save the Date Series Book 3.5
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 176 pages
What’s the New-Jan-Plan? Discover the answer in Cara Connelly’s newest Save The Date Novella, and see how mousey Jan Marone gives herself the gift of living, laughing, and finally loving … all under the hot Key West sun.
She’d come to Key West for a wedding, only to discover the hotel had messed up her reservation. So although Jan Marone has to share a tiny room with sexy Mick McKenna, it shouldn’t really be a problem. Mick’s her best friend, and he doesn’t think of her “that way” … or does he?
Mick McKenna loves hard and plays hard. His thick black hair, chiseled jaw, and hard, muscled body make him irresistible. But when once-innocent Jan walks into his hotel room, Mick can’t believe his eyes. Now she’s wearing a sexy bikini and telling him it’s time for her to “get lucky,” making him protective and tantalized at the same time.
Worried she might be in over her head, he decides never to leave her side … and suddenly their hotel room seems smaller—and hotter—than ever. Mick’s always been hands-off with Jan—but has the right woman been under his nose the whole time?
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She did not just say that.
Mick froze like a statue. Holy shit. Three days—and two nights!—in this shoebox with Jan?
He opened his mouth to say so, then snapped his jaw shut. He’d cut off his left nut before he hurt Jan’s feelings.
She obviously had no qualms about a platonic roommate arrangement. So if his frustrated fantasies of getting her naked kept him climbing the walls all weekend, that was his problem, not hers.
Barbie raked her with sullen eyes. “Your suitcase is in the lobby. The hotel can’t be responsible if someone walks out with it.”
“I’ll get it.” Mick used the excuse to duck out from between them.
In the lobby, he hit up the water cooler, gulping an icy cupful down his parched throat.
Christ, rooming with Jan was the last thing he needed. He’d loved her for twenty years, while she’d never seen him as more than a friend. Sharing a bed with her would be torture.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the timing couldn’t be worse. He already had one foot in crazytown and the other on a banana peel. And all because of the rescue, the one that earned him the medal for valor.
Valor. Ha. People wouldn’t think he was so brave if they knew about the nightmares. Or rather, one nightmare, always the same every night, replaying the collapsing ceiling that missed him by inches.
Except in his dreams, it didn’t miss. In his dreams, the sheet of flames caved in on him, ripping from his arms the little girl who’d counted on him to save her. Pinning him to the floor, broiling him alive.
He came out of the nightmare screaming, lungs on fire, skin melting off his bones.
Not exactly pajama-party material.
He shivered in the heat.
Barbie said his name, and he turned, his smile automatic, a conditioned response to estrogen proximity that she apparently took as encouragement, because she tapped his chest with one finger.
“You didn’t look thrilled back there,” she said.
Was it that obvious?
“I get it,” she went on. “You don’t want to hurt her feelings. But honestly, is it worth your weekend?” Lavender eyes blinked slowly, invitingly. “I can show you parts of Key West tourists don’t get to see.”
Her tone said the parts she wanted to show him were up under her flouncy skirt.
The truth was, another time he would’ve taken her up on it. But not this weekend.
For better or worse, he’d be spending every minute with Jan.
And here she came to the rescue, hands on her hips jealous-girlfriend style. “Damn you, Mick McKenna, I can’t let you out of my sight for a minute.” She blistered Barbie with a step-off glare.
It was an old ruse, dating back to high school, and very effective at fending off the girls who thought nothing of elbowing Jan out of their way to get to Mick.
Playing his part, he wrapped an arm around her shoulders and tugged her to his side. “Thanks for the offer,” he said to Barbie. “But we’re here for a wedding. No time for sightseeing.”
Barbie crinkled her pert nose. “If you change your mind, you know where to find me.” She disappeared through a door behind the desk.
CARA CONNELLY is an award-winning author of contemporary romances. Her smart and sexy stories have won high praise, earning Cara several awards including the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart, the Valley Forge Romance Writers’ Sheila, and the Music City Romance Writers’ Melody of Love. Cara, who lives in rural upstate New York, works as appellate court attorney when she’s not crafting steamy novels of love and romance.
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